November 2016

      The theme of aggressive, politically incorrect behavior repeatedly comes up in media stories today as well as events in history; therefore, despite the fact that new administrations propose legislature to ensure that society and its institutions function according to standards which protect the values of equality and freedom for all citizens, such legislation continuously falls short of these goals. This discrepancy is complex, with roots everywhere in history, politics, and the social sciences. Challenged daily, it is a conflict that requires permanent resolution. Some issues which continuously compromise safety and equal opportunity involve gender, religion, infringements of privacy, corporate bullying based on falsified documents, manufactured and organized crime, nepotism, racism, and outdated ideas about "social class." As a major problem in today's society involves lack of integrity, more and more we are apt to measure a person's sincerity of character through displays of bravery, challenge, and selfless personal sacrifices. 

      A most illuminative way to search for solutions to these ancient issues is to examine how previous societies tried to tackle conflict. One such leader was an 11th century Ottonian Emperor, Henry II. He deposed the violent Pope Benedict IX and Gregory VI in what would spark the Great Schism of 1054. Henry II was so serious about improving relations between the German Empire and the Christian Church that he reformed monasticism with respect to clerical celibacy and the wording of the Nicene Creed. The emperor's attempt to centralize papal authority was finalized by acts of selflessness.

     Henry II reformed the Church itself to ensure that bishops remained faithful to the Church so that offices were reserved within the Empire's own churches. Henry II also donated imperial land to monasteries and although he remained an emperor, he was accepted into the monastery as a monk. In an illuminated miniature manuscript, Gospel Book of Henry II, the emperor's theme of judgment replaces that of Christ in Majesty, and it is his own image that is framed by the Virtues. However, despite his resolution and resolve, King Henry II's efforts failed to diminish the conflict between Church and State.