The triangular struggle for supremacy between the Emperors, the Popes and the Councils of Bishops gave a further set back to the prestige of the church.
No doubt the spheres of Emperor and Pope had been clearly ear-marked -the King was expected to look after the physical well-being of his subjects, while the Pope was expected to look after the spiritual matter, but in actual practice they did not operate within their respective spheres and often interfered in each other’s affairs.
As Van Loon has observed, “The Emperor invariably tried to interfere with the affairs of the church and the Pope retaliated and told the Emperor how he should rule his domains. They told each other to mind their own business in every unceremonious language and the inevitable end was war.”
Likewise the Council of Bishops asserted its authority against the Pope and asserted its right to look into the functioning of the church. Naturally the Popes did not like this because it limited their powers. This struggle for supremacy among the Emperor, Popes and Councils of Bishops greatly contributed to the Reformation Movement.