Fourth Council of the Lateran

Ecumenical council
council_name=Fourth Council of the Lateran
council_date=1215
accepted_by=Catholicism
previous=Third Council of the Lateran
next=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=Crusader States, Investiture Controversy
documents=seventy papal decrees, transubstantiation, papal primacy, conduct of clergy, confession at least once a year, Fifth Crusade
The Fourth Council of the Lateran was summoned by Pope Innocent III with his papal bull of April 19, 1213. The assembly took place in November, 1215. It was the 12th ecumenical council and is sometimes called "the General Council of Lateran" due to the attendance by seventy-one patriarchs and metropolitans, four hundred and twelve bishops, and nine hundred abbots and priors.

Purposes of the Council

From the commencemet of his reign Pope Innocent III had planned to assemble 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 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 could he realize this project.

Andrew Francis Vitullo stated his purposes as the defense of the Catholic faith, for the aid to the Crusader States in Palestine, and to establish the liberty of the Church from lay investiture and other lay interference. The pope presented to the council seventy decrees; these were considered along with the organization of the Fifth Crusade and with measures against heretics. In this context, Saint Dominic and bishop Foulques of Toulouse discussed with the pope the establishment and constitution of the Order of Friars Preachers, finally approved fifteen months later by the new Pope Honorius III.

Raymond VI of Toulouse, his son (afterwards Raymond VII), and Raymond-Roger of Foix attended the Council to vindicate themselves and to dispute the threatened confiscation of their territories; bishop Foulques and Guy of Montfort (brother of Simon) argued in favour of the confiscation. Raymond's son-in-law, Pierre-Bermond II of Sauve, was also present to lay his own claim to the county of Toulouse.

Canons

As regards the Canons presented to the Council, it approved them with little discussion or variation. They included:

*Canon 1. Exposition of the faith and of the dogma of the Trinity, affirmation of the principle "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus", that there is no salvation outside the Church. Mention of transubstantiation is taken as affirming that interpretation of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
*Canon 2. Condemnation of Joachim of Fiore and Amalric of Bennes for heresy; vindication of Peter Lombard on the doctrine of the Trinity.
*Canons 3-4. Procedure and penalties against heretics and their protectors, including the provision that "Catholics who have taken the cross to exterminate heretics shall enjoy the indulgences and privileges granted to those who fight for the Holy Land"
*Canon 5. Proclamation of the papal primacy. After the pope, primacy is attributed to the patriarchal sees in the following order:
**Constantinople (at this time there was a Latin Patriarch, following the Fourth Crusade)
**Alexandria
**Antioch
**Jerusalem
*Canon 9. Provision for the celebration of divine offices according to varying rites and in multiple languages
*Canon 13. Founding of new religious orders forbidden
*Canons 14-18. Rules on the conduct of the clergy including against irregularities such as:
**incontinence or non-celibate living
**drunkenness and frequenting taverns
**hunting
**attendance at farces and histrionic exhibitions
**performing of surgical operations and thus shedding blood
**conducting trials by ordeal or combat
*Canon 21, the "Omnis utriusque sexus" (also called the Easter Duty), mandated universal confession for every Christian at least once a year. All members also had to partake in the sacrament of the Eucharist at Easter. Before Eucharist was taken, all members must confess to their priest. Prior to the enactment of canon 21, there were no regulations or mandates on confession and Eucharist. Failure to observe this canon resulted in being barred from entering a church during a person's lifetime and the denial of a Christian burial at death. Canon 21 invested a broad social power among individual priests and increased their control over the individual conscience. If an individual has wronged another person, they are required to confess that sin directly to the priest.
*Canon 51. Clandestine marriages forbidden
*Canon 68. Jews and Muslims shall wear a special dress to enable them to be distinguished from Christians (see Judenhut, yellow badge). The latter are not to go outdoors during four days of Easter week. Jews are not to be given public offices.

The Council confirmed the elevation of Frederick II to the position of Holy Roman Emperor. Pierre-Bermond of Sauve's claim to Toulouse was rejected. The county of Toulouse was adjudged to Simon de Montfort; the lordship of Melgueil was separated from Toulouse and entrusted to the bishops of Maguelonne. The county of Provence, a possession of Raymond VI, was confiscated and kept in trust to be restored to his son if he proved worthy of it; the county of Foix was eventually to be restored to Raymond-Roger. In the event, Raymond VII pre-empted the decision concerning Provence by reconquering the county for himself.

Related Links

* subpoena ad testificandum
* subpoena duces tecum

External links

* [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/lateran4.html Canons of the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09018a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Fourth Lateran Council (1215)]
* [http://www.legionofmarytidewater.com/faith/ECUM12.HTM Fourth Lateran Council]
* [http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k54714k.item "Un document retrouvé"] by Achille Luchaire, in "Journal des savants", n.s. 3 (1905), 557-567, including a list of participants in the Council
* Woods, Marjorie Curry and Rita Copeland.“Classroom and Confession”. "The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature". Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.


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