Fourth Council of the Lateran

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Fourth Council of the Lateran
Date 1215
Accepted by Catholicism
Previous council Third Council of the Lateran
Next council First Council of Lyon
Convoked by Pope Innocent III
Presided by Pope Innocent III
Attendance 71 patriarchs and metropolitans, 412 bishops, 900 abbots and priors
Topics of discussion Crusader States, Investiture Controversy, Filioque
Documents and statements seventy papal decrees, transubstantiation, papal primacy, conduct of clergy, confession and communion at least once a year, Fifth Crusade
Chronological list of Ecumenical councils

The Fourth Council of the Lateran was convoked by Pope Innocent III with the papal bull of April 19, 1213, and the Council gathered at Rome's Lateran Palace beginning November 11, 1215.[1] Due to the great length of time between the Council's convocation and meeting, many bishops had the opportunity to attend. It was the 12th ecumenical council and is sometimes called the "Great Council" or "General Council of Lateran" due to the presence of seventy-one patriarchs and metropolitan bishops, four hundred and twelve bishops, and nine hundred abbots and priors together with representatives of several monarchs.[1]

Purposes of the Council[edit]

Pope Innocent III had always planned to gather an ecumenical council because of the limited results of the Third Crusade and the bitter results of the Fourth Crusade, which had led to the capture by Latin forces of Constantinople and large parts of the Byzantine Empire. Innocent III wanted to reformulate papal involvement in the Crusades as outlined in his decree "To Free the Holy Land", but only towards the end of his pontificate did he realise this project.

The Pope presented seventy-one decrees; the Council considered these along with the organization of the Fifth Crusade and with measures against heretics. Those gathered in Council engaged in little discussion and generally approved the decrees presented by Innocent III.

In secular matters, Raymond VI of Toulouse, his son (afterwards Raymond VII), and Raymond-Roger of Foix attended the Council to dispute the threatened confiscation of their territories; Bishop Foulques and Guy de Montfort (brother of Simon) argued in favour of the confiscation.

The Council confirmed the elevation of Frederick II as Holy Roman Emperor. Pierre-Bermond of Sauve's claim to Toulouse was rejected, and Toulouse was awarded to Simon de Montfort; the lordship of Melgueil was separated from Toulouse and entrusted to the bishops of Maguelonne. Provence, a possession of Raymond VI, was confiscated and kept in trust to be restored to his son if he proved worthy of it.

Canons[edit]

Canons presented to the Council included:[1]

  • Canon 1: Exposition of the Catholic Faith and of the sacraments. It includes a brief reference to Transubstantiation.
  • Canon 2: Condemnation of the doctrines of Joachim of Flora and of Amaury.
  • Canon 3: Procedure and penalties against heretics and their protectors.
  • Canon 4: Exhortation to the Greeks to reunite with the Roman Church and accept its maxims, to the end that, according to the Gospel, there may be only one fold and only one shepherd.
  • Canon 5: Proclamation of the papal primacy recognized by all antiquity. After the pope, primacy is attributed to the patriarchs in the following order: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem.
  • Canon 6: Provincial councils must be held annually for the reform of morals, especially those of the clergy.
  • Canon 8: Procedure in regard to accusations against ecclesiastics. Until the French Revolution, this canon was of considerable importance in criminal law, not only ecclesiastical but even civil.
  • Canon 9: Celebration of public worship in places where the inhabitants belong to nations following different rites.
  • Canon 11 renews the ordinance of the council of 1179 on free schools for clerics in connexion with every cathedral.
  • Canon 12: Abbots and priors are to hold their general chapter every three years.
  • Canon 13 forbids the establishment of new religious orders, lest too great diversity bring confusion into the Church.
  • Canons 14-17: Against the irregularities of the clergy — e.g., incontinence, drunkenness, attendance at farces and histrionic exhibitions.
  • Canon 18: Clerics may neither pronounce nor execute a sentence of death. Nor may they act as judges in extreme criminal cases, or take part in matters connected with judicial tests and ordeals.
  • Canon 19: Household goods must not be stored in churches unless there be an urgent necessity. Churches, church vessels, and the like must be kept clean.
  • Canon 21, the famous "Omnis utriusque sexus", which commands every Christian who has reached the years of discretion to confess all his, or her, sins at least once a year to his, or her, own (i.e. parish) priest. This canon did no more than confirm earlier legislation and custom, and has been often but wrongly, quoted as commanding for the first time the use of sacramental confession. The confession came into existence over a long period of time[2]. However, this was the first time that it took the shape of the Christian confessional as we know it today[3].
  • Canon 22: Before prescribing for the sick, physicians shall be bound under pain of exclusion from the Church, to exhort their patients to call in a priest, and thus provide for their spiritual welfare.
  • Canons 23-30 regulate ecclesiastical elections and the collation of benefices.
  • Canons 26, 44, and 48: Ecclesiastical procedure.
  • Canons 50-52: On marriage, impediments of relationship, publication of banns.
  • Canons 68, 69: Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress to enable them to be distinguished from Christians. Christian princes must take measures to prevent blasphemies against Jesus Christ.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Fourth Lateran Council (1215)". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 
  2. ^ Abercrombie, N., Hill, S., & Turner, B. S. (1986). Sovereign individuals of capitalism. London: Allen & Unwin.
  3. ^ Abercrombie, N., Hill, S., & Turner, B. S. (1986). Sovereign individuals of capitalism. London: Allen & Unwin.

External links[edit]