Pope Boniface VIII (r. 1294 – 1303) was elected pope after the resignation of Pope Celestine V in December 1294. An amusing disagreement the pope had with Dante Alighieri was over the Divine Comedy. Dante had placed the pope in the eighth circle of hell along with those who had committed simony (see this article). The pope was outraged, but Dante refused to change the text!
Boniface is best remembered for his conflict with the arrogant King Philip IV of France (also known as Philip the Fair–not due to his fairness but because of his apparent good looks). This conflict began in 1296 because the king, wanting revenue for war, taxed the French clergy without first getting permission from the Pope. However, the true cause of this conflict, and many others to come, was that the secular rulers were gaining too much power over the Church and the popes wanted to prevent this. Continue reading