The bull's wording decreed that all prelates or other ecclesiastical superiors who under whatsoever pretext or color shall, without authority from the Holy See, pay to laymen any part of their income or of the revenue of the Church, likewise all emperors, kings, dukes, counts, etc. who shall exact or receive such payments, incur eo ipso the sentence of excommunication.
Historians of the papacy of Boniface VIII writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia interpreted this wording as expressing two underlying principles of this Bull:
Outside of France and England there was no secular authority strong enough to resist these Papal claims, and the bull was generally accepted. But what excited the wrath of its two main groups of antagonists, the ministers of Philip IV of France and of Edward I of England, was that by its aggressive tone, from the express mention of sovereigns, and the grave penalties attached, they felt that behind the decree there stood a new Pope Gregory VII, resolved to enforce it to the letter.
The Bull was criticized for the unconventional vehemence of its tone, for its exaggerated indictment of the hostile attitude of the laity of all ages towards the clergy, and for its failure to make clear the distinction between the revenues of the purely ecclesiastical benefices and the "lay fees" held by the clergy on feudal tenure. The unscrupulous advisers of Philip were quick to take advantage of the Pope's hasty language and, by forcing him to make explanations, put him on the defensive and weakened his prestige.