Here’s a question for the Catholic readers of this blog: What is the status of the document Dictatus Papae, issued during the pontificate of Gregory VII? (See a translation of the text of the document here.) It is a document essential to the Catholic understanding of the Papacy? Does Benedict XVI, for instance, understand his primacy exactly as is expressed in Dictatus Papae? Using the distinction of the late John Paul II, does the papal doctrine of the Dictatus Papae belong to the essence of the Petrine ministry, or is it simply one of the ways in which this ministry has expressed itself in history (for better or for worse)?