Investiture dispute

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The Investiture Dispute was a political clash between the Roman Church and secular authorities, most notably the Holy Roman Emperor. It centred around the right to appoint church officials.

In theory religious appointments were decided by the church, but in practice the profound political implications of the right to make such appointments led to political interference. The most notable case was the election of the pope, who at the beginning of the 11th century was appointed by the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1059 a Roman Church Council declared that secular leaders would play no part in the election of the pope, and created the College of Cardinals to fulfill that rôle.

The matter of other religious appointments was to remain problematic until the early 12th century, when the Concordat of London and the Concordat of Worms in England and the Holy Roman Empire respectively laid to rest much of the debate.