Clerical independence in the Magna Carta era

Reading a bit of history on Wikipedia, I found that after Pope Innocent nullified the Magna Carta (it was “shameful and demeaning but also illegal and unjust”) and excommunicated the barons at odds with King John, there continued to be violence and division between John and later his son Henry III, and the rebel barons.

A couple years later in 1217, Cardinal Guala Bicchieri the papal legate to England, negotiated with Prince Louis, the barons’ choice for the throne. Under the agreement,

Louis would renounce his claim to the English throne; in return, his followers would be given back their lands, any sentences of excommunication would be lifted, and Henry’s government would promise to enforce the charter of the previous year. The proposed agreement soon began to unravel amid claims from some loyalists that it was too generous towards the rebels, particularly the clergy who had joined the rebellion.

Later, a new treaty was agreed, which was

similar to the first peace offer, but excluded the rebel clergy, whose lands and appointments remained forfeit

Did the clergy at the time owe any allegiance to the papal legate, or was he simply like any other bishop, with whom differences of opinion in politics and the application of doctrine were tolerated and even expected?

The first signing as you say was declared invalid and illegal. To this day a document signed under duress is still considered the same.

It’s more of political then doctrinal dispute. From what I know the reason for the clergy joining the rebellion was that King John oppressed the clergy through having a self-appointed archbishop of Canterbury, instead of recognizing the one recommended by the Church and the clergy. Because of this the Pope excommunicated King John. As an act of reconciliation King John offered to become a vassal of Pope Innocent III, which effectively made England a vassal of the Papal States. The annulment of the First Charter was a result of a violation of vassalage between the barons and the king.

So the rebel clergy you mentioned were rebelling with politics as a motive.

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