Popes issued documents, known as papal bulls, in their administration
of Church affairs. This papal bull, distributed by Innocent VIII in 1488,
asserts the popes privilege of appointing the Master of the Spanish
Order of St. James of Compostella, the pre-eminent pilgrimage site in
Europe. The elongated characters of the heading, "SERVUS SERVORUM
DEI," refer to the pope, who in his governance of the Church was
to serve Gods servants rather than flaunt his power. By the time
of Innocent VIII, however, the papacy had lost sight of the ideal of service
that St. Gregory the Great had inculcated. Innocent VIII was more concerned
with raising money to pay off debts than with guiding the moral life of
the Church so much so that at one point he even pawned the papal
tiara. His conduct was typical of the papacy during the Renaissance, whose
abuses led to the Reformation inaugurated by Martin Luther.
Pope Innocent VIII. Papal Bull. Rome, 1488.
to Private Prayer
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