Lateran Councils

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{lat'-ur-uhn}

The Lateran councils were five ecumenical councils of the Roman Catholic church held during the 12th, 13th, and 16th centuries at the Lateran Palace in Rome. The First Lateran Council (1123) was called by Pope Callistus II to ratify the Concordat of Worms (1122), which formally ended the lengthy Investiture Controversy. The Second Lateran Council (1139) was convoked by Pope Innocent II to reaffirm the unity of the church after the schism (1130-38) of the antipope Anacletus II (d. 1138). It also condemned the teachings of Arnold of Brescia. The Third Lateran Council (1179), convoked by Pope Alexander III, ended the schism (1159-77) of the antipope Callistus III and his predecessors. It also limited papal electors to members of the College of Cardinals.

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Although each of the first three Lateran councils decreed a number of reform measures, the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), convoked by Pope Innocent III, was the most important of the Lateran councils. Attended by well over 1,000 churchmen from throughout Christendom, the council sanctioned a definition of the Eucharist in which the word transubstantiation was used officially for the first time. The council also attempted to organize a new crusade to the Holy Land and to encourage crusading efforts against the Albigenses and Waldenses. Many precepts still binding on Roman Catholics (such as the Easter duty, or obligation, of annual confession and Holy Communion) were adopted at this council. In many respects the council marked a pinnacle in the power and prestige of the medieval papacy. The Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17), convened by Pope Julius II and continued by Pope Leo X, was convoked for the purpose of reform, but the main causes of the Reformation were left untouched. Its most significant decree was a condemnation of Conciliarism.

T. Tackett


Lateran Councils

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The Lateran Councils were five ecumenical councils of the Roman Catholic church, held in the Lateran Palace, Rome.

FIRST LATERAN COUNCIL

The first of these councils was held in 1123 during the pontificate of Callistus II; it was the first general council held in the West. Its most important decision was the confirmation of the Concordat of Worms (1122), which ended the controversy between ecclesiastical and secular authorities over investiture. The council also adopted canons forbidding simony and the marriage of clergymen, and it annulled the ordinances of the antipope Gregory VIII (reigned 1118-1121).

SECOND LATERAN COUNCIL

The second council was held in 1139 under Pope Innocent II (r. 1130-1143). It was called to heal the schism caused by the antipope Anacletus II (r. 1130-1138) and decreed excommunication for his followers. The council renewed the canons against clerical marriage and forbade dangerous tournaments.

THIRD LATERAN COUNCIL

The third council was held in 1179 under Pope Alexander III. It established the procedure for the election of a new pope by a conclave of cardinals, decreeing that a two-thirds vote of the conclave was necessary for election.

FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL

The fourth council was held in 1215 under Pope Innocent III. The most important of the Lateran councils, it was attended by two Eastern patriarchs, representatives of many secular princes, and more than 1200 bishops and abbots. Among its 70 decrees were a condemnation of two religious sects, the Cathari and the Waldenses; a confession of faith containing, for the first time, a definition of transubstantiation; an order forbidding the foundation of new monastic orders; a requirement that all members of the Western church confess and communicate at least once a year; and arrangements for the calling of a new Crusade.

FIFTH LATERAN COUNCIL

The fifth council was called by Pope Julius II in 1512 and continued by Pope Leo X, terminating in 1517. It forbade the printing of books without ecclesiastical authority and approved the concordat between Leo X and Francis I, king of France, which abrogated the liberties of the French church.


First Lateran Council (1123)

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The Council of 1123 is reckoned in the series of ecumenical councils. It had been convoked in December, 1122, immediately after the Concordat of Worms, which agreement between pope and emperor had caused general satisfaction in the Church. It put a stop to the arbitrary conferring of ecclesiastical benefices by laymen, reestablished freedom of episcopal and abbatial elections, separated spiritual from temporal affairs, and ratified the principle that spiritual authority can emanate only from the Church; lastly it tacitly abolished the exorbitant claim of the emperors to interfere in papal elections. So deep was the emotion caused by this concordat, the first ever signed, that in many documents of the time, the year 1122 is mentioned as the beginning of a new era. For its more solemn confirmation and in conformity with the earnest desire of the Archbishop of Mainz, Callistus II convoked a council to which all the archbishops and bishops of the West were invited. Three hundred bishops and more than six hundred abbots assembled at Rome in March, 1123; Callistus II presided in person. Both originals (instrumenta) of the Concordat of Worms were read and ratified, and twenty-two disciplinary canons were promulgated, most of them reinforcements of previous conciliary decrees.

H. LECLERCQ
Transcribed by Tomas Hancil
From: The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IX
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910.
Remy Lafort, Censor
Imprimatur. John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York


The First General Council of the Lateran, 1123

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In the five hundred and fifty or so years between the first of the General Councils and that whose history has just been told, there has never been more than 130 years without a General Council being summoned.[1] But between this eighth of 869-70 and that we are now to consider, there stretches an interval almost twice as long--time enough for some revolution to have called a new world into being, and for this new world to have forgotten that the old had ever been; an interval slightly greater than that which separates Luther from Napoleon, or Elizabeth II from Queen Anne.

In that long space, 870--1123, revolution there had been, and the Catholic Church greatly affected thereby. The General Council of 1123 is, in fact, a kind of victory celebration, proclaiming unmistakably that the Church has survived the revolution, has pulled itself clear of the all but fatal dangers inseparable from the long generations of social crisis. It is as part of the history of this age when "the Church was at the mercy of the lay lords,"[2] that the First General Council of the Lateran must be described, or we shall be left wondering what there was, in its achievement of a score of routine legal enactments, to cause its memory to survive where so much else has perished.

First, the political system that historians call the empire of Charlemagne had crashed--it was all but over by 870--leaving Italy, France, and Germany a welter of petty states with the strongest man's will everywhere law. From the north there had then descended upon this Christendom in ruins the fierce pirate pagans of Scandinavia; from the east came the no less aggressive pagan Slavs and Magyars; to the south the Mohammedans were all- powerful and the Mediterranean sea a Saracen lake. The siege lasted through a good hundred years and more, that "century of iron" (888-987) when it really seemed as though the last remnants of civilised ways must be engulfed in these brutal and barbaric tides. A great warrior king emerges in Germany, Otto I (936-72), around whom the resistance begins to make a permanent gain, and the anarchy subsides; and a generation later the same good fortune comes in the West with the appearance of Hugh Capet, king of the French from 987.

In these afflicted generations nothing suffers so horribly as religion--the delicate, barely adolescent Christianity of the still semi-barbarous Carolingian times. Here, too, the will of the local strong man--the chieftain of the local resistance in the long fight with invaders, and the most powerful of the local petty kinglets--is law. The church system, above all the appointments to abbeys and sees, these potentates, half-hero, half- scoundrel, take to themselves. Pillage, murder, general brutality of living--the prelates appointed by such princes are too often indistinguishable from the baronage whence they are taken.

And, of all the sees of Christendom, it is Rome that provides the most spectacular of the horrors, where for a hundred years and more the savage barons of the surrounding countryside intermittently make themselves master, and elect, depose, restore, depose again, and murder the popes according to their own political plans. And some of these popes are as wicked as their masters. These are the classic "bad popes" indeed, and even stripped of the customary rhetorical decoration the story of what they did is truly terrible.

But the tide of goodness that had gone so far out that it seemed to have gone forever turned at last. The northmen were gradually converted, and the Magyars and the Slavs. The chaos of petty rulers began to give way to the better ordered rule of a dozen or so greater lords, dukes, and what not, vassals of the new kings of France and Germany--and the German king being, since Otto I, the emperor, the Roman Emperor, either in lawful claim or by the accomplished fact of papal acceptance and coronation, the better day had arrived for Italy too.

It was through German kings who were the Roman Emperor that the Roman See was delivered from its tyrants; on two occasions very notably, in 963 and again in 1046. But the good German who appointed good bishops and abbots wherever he really was master, and who now, 1046-56,[3] himself appointed a succession of good German popes--this good emperor was for the good popes the beginning of a new problem, and good men, at Rome too, were divided by it: the problem how the Church could profit by the unlooked-for phenomenon of emperors and kings who were good men and yet manage to be independent of them in the control of church life, especially in the vital business of the choice of its rulers, the bishops, and of its supreme ruler the pope.

The solution of that problem took years to work out. It took still longer to win acceptance for it from the Catholic kings. The ninth General Council, with which this chapter is concerned, has been described very truly as "the conclusion and the synthesis of what a whole half century of hard struggle had brought about."[4]

The two most flagrant, universally visible evils that afflicted religious life as these new-style popes began their great task were simony and clerical immorality. The kings and princes were taking money (or lands or property) as the price of appointing a man to be bishop or abbot; the bishop or abbot was taking money, etc., from men who wished to be ordained, and from priests who wanted parishes, canonries, and so forth; the priests, in their turn, were only ministering for a price; such is simony, and church life, by the testimony of every writer, every reformer, every saint of these times, was saturated with the poison, and had been so for generations.

Clerical immorality: it had been, from very early times indeed, the rule in the Latin church (though not in the East) that no married man could receive Holy Orders, and that no man in Holy Orders could marry, i.e., no subdeacon, deacon, priest. This ancient rule had suffered heavily in the transformation of social life from a system where cities dominated, with systematic education, easy supervision, and a good tradition of manners, to a rural economy--the life of the backwoods--where "civilisation" went little further than the individual man's ability to fend for himself. With bishops more baron than Father-in-God, and priests as rude as the illiterate serfs to whom they ministered, such a refinement of ecclesiastical discipline as the mystic celibacy was exposed to altogether unheard-of losses.

From the time when the first "Barbarian" kings became Catholics, the sixth century Franks, semi-Catholics in all but their good intentions, church life suffered an increasing brutalisation. St. Gregory of Tours, who saw it all, has described it in pages that are a classic collection of horror stories. Gradually, through the seventh and eighth centuries, matters improved. The genius of Charlemagne offered, for a brief space, the illusion that the bad times had gone forever. With the breakup of his system, and the new most terrible invasion of all, the devils returned--but sevenfold. One of the devils was the bad-living priest. And here we need to distinguish, as we look at the problem before the reforming pope or bishop.

It was the law that the man in Holy Orders must not marry. But if he did so--and if there was no impediment, say of kinship--the marriage was a real marriage. He did wrong in marrying, for marriage was most strictly forbidden him. But he and the woman he married were man and wife. There was also the matter of the priest living with someone to whom he was not married. And who was to say whether the pair living in the church house were of one kind or the other--clerical marriages being, inevitably, clandestine affairs, as often as not without a witness? The scandal to the faithful people was as bad in the one case as in the other--where scandal was given.

That the scandal was less, in these backwoods, than we might at first suppose seems to be suggested from the incredibly violent language which the reformers used with regard to these unfortunates, lurid and horrific to a degree; from the universality of the evil in every country of Christendom; and from the long campaign of a century and more, when so many good men needed to give so much of their lives to the restoration of the Church's normal ideal of clerical continency. That it was precisely this restoration of an ideal that moved them, their very exhortations show; but there was, too, a relation between clerical marriage and the appointments system--another main object of the reformers' zeal--which must be mentioned, that is to say, the tendency for the priest's son to become a priest, forming a clerical caste within the Church; and for the ordained son to take over his father's benefice, church property becoming a family endowment--never, of course, promising such a crop of evil as when the benefice was a see. And there were efforts in these tenth and eleventh centuries to make some of the greatest sees hereditary.

The third of the chronic evils which the reformers fought--lay investiture, as it was called--was not, at first, seen by all of them as a thing evil in itself, or even as the main reason why the other evils had been impossible to reform. "Investiture," the word, signifies pretty much what we who have been to college or who belong to a fraternal order of one kind or another mean by "initiation"--the becoming something one was not before; the acquirement of a new status, with its rights and duties, together with the ritual by which this is acquired, and which symbolises what is acquired. The feudal lord proposes to make over his manor of Beauseigneur--land, buildings, village, mill, serfs, woods, streams, fish, game, hunting--to one Smith, or Le Marechal. Smith agrees and, kneeling before his benefactor, becomes his "man," i.e., swears to be faithful to him, to be at his side in all disputes, and to render the customary services of a vassal. The lord, in visible sign of the grant, then hands Smith maybe a piece of turf, or a stick. Smith is now possessed of his fief--the manor aforesaid-- and has become a lord in his turn, by virtue of the ceremony of investiture. Such pacts, their oaths and their investitures, were going on daily in hundreds of places throughout western Europe, for centuries before the grace of God raised up our ecclesiastical reformers and for centuries after they had passed away. Here was the basis of all social organisation-- the sworn relation of lord and vassal.

By the time our reformers were born, this was also, pretty universally, the relation of the ecclesiastical ruler to the temporal prince--to the state, we should like to say, except for the risk of a score of misunderstandings generated by the anachronistic term. New bishops and abbots, before any ceremony took place regarding them in church, knelt before their prince, made their oath, and were then invested--the prince putting on a finger of their right hand the episcopal ring, and into their left hand the episcopal crozier. Smith was now bishop, of Chartres, or of Mainz, or of Winchester. And then he went into his cathedral where his metropolitan, or some other bishop, performed the sacred rite of consecration, the final step in the sacrament called Order. And the original, and permanently influential, reason for this royal investiture was the same reason as of all such--these prelates held, "of the king," vast lordships, and it was vital to the stability of the country that the king be assured of the competence and the loyalty of the prelates to whom they were granted. And it had come to be, by long practice, a matter of course that it was the king who actually chose, with finality, who should be bishop or abbot--and, by long abuse, how much the cleric should pay for the favour. Not all kings were bad men-- Henry III, the father of the emperor whom Gregory VII fought so hard, was an excellent man, an appointer of good bishops (and popes); so too was William the Conqueror, held almost in veneration apud Curiam Romanam if only for this, that he never in Normandy or in England sold an ecclesiastical appointment, in all his forty years of rule. In lay investiture, however, the stricter school of the reformers discerned the root of all the evils. They decreed its abolition, a root and branch extirpation. The ninth General Council was the confirmation of their victory.

The great reform began at Rome itself, and the primary agent was the emperor Henry III (1039-56). At the Council of Sutri (1046) he despatched all three rival "popes," and appointed one of his own good German bishops, Clement II. This pope soon died, and his successor also, and then in 1049 came the emperor's third nomination, Bruno, bishop of Toul, who took the name Leo IX, and became in his life, his outlook and methods, the pattern for all the good men that were to follow.

The method was simplicity itself, the summoning in place after place of councils of the local bishops, presided over by a trusted ecclesiastic sent from Rome, clad with all the fullness of the pope's powers. At these councils all that was wrong locally was investigated, the bishops were reminded of the kind of men they were supposed to be, indeed obliged to be by God's law, the old regulations about simony and clerical continency were renewed, incorrigible prelates were deposed, and a general revival of religious life inaugurated. And, most prominently, the appeal of the legate was constant to the reality that he spoke with the authority of him who was the successor of Blessed Peter, and must therefore be obeyed unquestioningly. Unpalatable as the reminder must have been to the recalcitrant, unwelcome as the resurrection of this too long ignored fundamental fact of life may have been--and miserable the mere lip service rendered it--nowhere was it challenged. With Leo IX it was the pope himself who thus "went on circuit," through Italy and in France and in Germany. And other popes were no less constantly "on the road" through the seventy years that followed, very notably Alexander II, Urban II, Pascal II, Honorius II, all of whom had been previously active for years in this conciliar movement as papal legates in one country or another.

This is indeed the true age of the councils--the church council in its traditional sense, viz., a gathering of the local bishops to plan a common action in furtherance of religious life; the tradition that went back, through the Eastern churches, so much older in organisation than the West, to the days of Constantine and even before then. That three generations of such constant, and successful, conciliar action should give rise sooner or later to a revival of the idea of a General Council, and then to the practice of summoning these fairly regularly, was very natural. The break of 250 years between the eighth and the ninth of the General Councils is followed by a similar period in which there are no fewer than six General Councils.

To restore the past in black and white--which is what all historical summaries must do--is to risk, at every step, not only serious misrepresentation, but also an unintelligible puzzle for the reader where, continually, the second chapter seems either to be about a different subject from the first, or to be based on the assumption that there never was a first. The story of the investiture controversy is extremely complicated, and the increasing attention given in the last fifty years to the vast polemical literature of the time, to the developing Canon Law treatises, and then to restudy the official documents and the correspondence in the light of the new knowledge, all this has led to a new representation of the story--to say nothing of the effect of the new type of scholar who is only interested in the event for its own sake.

It has always been known that the Concordat of Worms of 1122, in which pope and emperor finally came to an agreement, was a compromise. And those of us whose initiation into these mysteries antedates the arrival on the scene of the re-creating genius of Augustin Fliche, can recall the miserable figure poor Calixtus II was made to cut (for his "signing" the concordat), by the side of such stalwarts as Gregory VII and the Cardinal Humbert. Nous avons change tout cela. The reformers started out united in zeal, devoted, to the very last, to ends that were purely spiritual, men of prayer all the time. But not all were equally clearheaded as to the theology they made use of, or the implication of the sacred party cries. Not all had, in the requisite degree, what is called a political sense, the gift to do the right thing in the right way, to distinguish the essential from the rest, and to avoid stressing equally the essential and nonessential in their thesis. The first pioneers of the ideas that finally triumphed at Worms were not always welcome to the chiefs of staff. The war was on, and against bad men, and it was the cause of Christ against these, and after twenty years of suffering and loss it was no doubt hard to be asked to reconsider any part of one's case!

The war against the princes' control of ecclesiastical appointments began in the principal see of all, at Rome itself. It was the emperor who had put an end to the bad popes, and now the Roman clergy themselves put an end to the emperor's hold on papal elections. When Pope Victor II died, in 1057, their leaders did not wait for any news of what the German overlord proposed, but straightway, within four days, elected a pope, the cardinal who was abbot of Monte Cassino, Frederick of Lorraine, Stephen IX. And when Stephen died, very suddenly, seven months later, the new pope, Nicholas II, again was not the mere nominee of the court. This new pope was hardly installed before he settled, once and for all, the legitimate manner of choosing popes. This was the law enacted in a council at the Lateran in 1050, which restricted the election to the cardinals.[4a] To them alone it belongs, henceforth, to elect the pope, and a majority of their votes is essential and sufficient. The law makes no reference whatever to the emperor's approval or confirmation.

The first pope elected under the new system was Alexander II (1061), the second was Hildebrand, Gregory VII, in 1073. It was he who, two years later, issued the challenge to the whole system of lay investiture, the act that started the long war whose end the General Council of 1123 celebrates. This challenge was the prohibition, in the Lateran Synod of 1075, to clergy of all ranks to accept an ecclesiastical appointment from the hands of a layman. If a bishop, for the future, has accepted a bishopric from the prince, the archbishop is not to give him consecration. Gregory VII makes no distinction between the bishopric considered as a cure of souls and as a feudal status. He has nothing to say of any claims the prince may make to share in the appointment because of the temporal possessions of the see. These are church property, given to the bishopric for the sake of God's poor, something sacred therefore. The bishopric is considered as a unity, and since it is a sacred unity the state must not touch it in any way. Free election of a good man by the lawful electors, confirmation of the election and sacramental consecration by the archbishop--this is required, and is all that is required.

The law does not provide penalties for offending princes. It is really no more than a restatement of the primitive ideal, the ideal for all future development. Nor did the pope send official notification of the law, as a kind of warning or threat, to the various kings. And in practice, his application of the law varied considerably, according as the abuses it was designed to check were more frequent or less, or non-existent. What the pope was fighting was simony, and the only way (in some places) to put an end to this was to end all connection of the prince and ecclesiastical appointments. William of Normandy, a wholehearted supporter of the reform, with Lanfranc, the model archbishop of the century, at Canterbury, Gregory VII left wholly untroubled. Even for the German sees of the emperor, Henry IV,[5] a bad ruler, the pope did not take the aggressive line to which the root and branch declaration might have seemed the prelude. It was with the great sees of northern Italy, that looked to Henry as patron, and especially Milan, that the trouble began.

At Milan the bad men organised and fought back, supported by the emperor, and the good were extremely militant also. Whence a long history of rioting and, in 1075, half the city burned down, and the cathedral with it. The great events now follow rapidly: the emperor procuring the consecration of his nominee as archbishop (against the pope's express prohibition); the pope's severe reproof; the emperor's bishops, in synod, depose the pope[5a]; and the pope replies with a sentence deposing the emperor, an act without any precedent in history. The extremes had at last collided. The emperor's bishops elected a new, carefully chosen, imperially minded "pope"--the lately deposed archbishop of Ravenna; the emperor came with an army to instal him in St. Peter's; and for years Gregory VII was besieged in Sant'Angelo. The Normans rescued him, in the end, and twelve months later he died, an exile (May 25,1085), his soul and purpose unshaken. For three years the Holy See remained effectively vacant.

War, imprisonment, exile--we are seeing in operation, yet once again, the old tactics of the Catholic tyrant: Constantius against St. Athanasius, Constantine IV against St. Martin I, Justinian against Pope Vigilius, Leo III (had he been able) against Gregory II; no repudiation of the spiritual, but violence until the spiritual consent to be an instrument of the tyrant's government. And what the present tyrant, Henry IV, desires is a continuance of the bad system where he is absolute master of the Church, free to choose whom he will for bishops, and to fix their price, what time the revival of religion may take its chance.

At the election of Gregory VII's first effective successor, Urban II, in 1088, the end of the war is thirty years away and more--years in which popes could make serious mistakes in what they said and what they did: the costly, mischievous vacillation of the far from clearheaded Pascal II (1099-1118), for example, who moved from one extreme position to its very opposite. Meanwhile the trouble in France and in England had been ended by a logical, agreed solution where the true interests of both Church and State were protected, though the condemned investiture ceremony was given up. It was from the French intelligence that the ultimate solution came for the conflict with Germany, from the theologico-legal genius of Ivo, bishop of Chartres, and the realist sense of the newly elected French pope, Guy, archbishop of Vienne, Calixtus II (1119-24), a one-time extremist, and the bitterest of all the critics of his predecessor Pascal II, when that pope (under pressure) made his fatal wholesale surrender.

Ivo of Chartres (1035-1115) and his pupils drew attention to the fact that simony is not heresy, and that no one had ever regarded the royal investiture as a sacrament. He stressed the reality of the distinction between the bishop's religious authority and powers and his temporal rights, duties, and properties; in all that belonged to the feudal side of the bishopric the king had rights, in what belonged to the spiritual side the king could have no right at all. It was this way of looking at the embittered problem which had produced the pact of 1106 that had ended the conflict in England between Henry I and his archbishop St. Anselm.

This new pope was a noble, from Burgundy, and kin to the emperor.[6] He had been archbishop of Vienne for thirty years and in all that time a leading reformer. He took up the great task where his short-lived predecessor, the strong-minded but conciliatory Gelasius II,[7] had left it, who had died at Cluny, on his way to a meeting with the French king. The first appearance of Calixtus II as pope was at a great council of the bishops of the south of France at Toulouse. A second council was summoned to meet at Reims in October, 1119. Meanwhile, the pope and the king of France met, and the emperor called a meeting of the German princes at Mainz, at their request, to consider how best to end the long civil war, and make a lasting peace with the Church. To this meeting came the messengers with the official news of the new pope's election, and the invitation to the German bishops to take part in the council at Reims. The emperor and the princes decided to await the council before making any decisions.

The pope, encouraged by these unusual signs of grace, sent two French prelates to the emperor, who could explain to him how, in France, the king enjoyed full feudal rights over the bishops and abbots as vassals without any need of an investiture ceremony. The emperor replied that he asked no more than this. Whereupon the pope sent a delegation with greater powers, two of his cardinals. An agreement was reached, formulae found, and a meeting arranged between pope and emperor at which both would sign. The emperor was now willing to say, explicitly, "For the love of God and St. Peter and of the lord pope Calixtus, I give up the whole system of investiture, so far as concerns the Church." And now came a hitch, owing to the pope's adding new conditions on the eve of the meeting, refusing to allow the emperor additional time to study these and, although the two men were actually on the ground, so to speak, refusing to meet him. More, the pope was so irritated that the emperor had failed to submit, that he renewed the excommunication.

What there was, in all this, besides personal temperament is not known. But the incident occurred while the great council was in session at Reims, with Calixtus presiding, seventy-six bishops from France, Germany, England, and Spain. It was between sessions of the council that he blundered into the new rupture, and it is recorded that when he returned from the adventure he was too worn out to proceed with the council business and took to his bed. Maybe the thought possessed the pope that the grim and treacherous emperor was about to repeat the treatment meted out to Pascal II, eight years before, whom this emperor had carried off a prisoner, and forced to sign away his cause.

It was only after another two years of war that the two parties came together again, when at a peace conference in Germany the princes asked the pope to free the emperor from the excommunication, and to summon a General Council, "where the Holy Spirit could solve those problems that were beyond the skill of men" (September 1121). The pope now sent to his imperial kinsman a kindly letter, the gist of which is the phrase, "Let each of us be content with his own office, and those who should show justice towards all mankind no longer strive ambitiously to pillage each other."

It was at Worms that the envoys of these high contracting parties met, and on September 23, 1122, they produced the two statements, papal and imperial, which, together, constitute the Concordat of Worms. The war about investitures was over, after forty-seven years.

At Worms the emperor, "out of the love of God and of the holy Roman church," said explicitly, "I give up ... all investiture with ring and crozier and I promise that in all the sees of the realm and of the empire elections and consecrations shall be free. I restore to the holy Roman church the properties and temporal rights [regalia] of blessed Peter which have been taken away since the beginning of this quarrel, whether in my father's time or in my own.... I guarantee true peace to the pope Calixtus, to the holy Roman church and to all those who took that side...."

The pope, for his part, "I Calixtus, the bishop, servant of the servants of God grant to you Henry, my dear son, by the grace of God emperor of the Romans, Augustus, that the election of bishops and abbots of the German kingdoms shall take place in your presence, without simony and without force ... that the personage elected shall receive from you his regalia by the [touch of the] sceptre, and shall fulfil all those duties to which he is bound in your regard by the law. As to other parts of the empire, the bishop being consecrated, shall receive his regalia ... by the sceptre, within six months and that he shall fulfil all those duties [etc., as above].... I guarantee true peace to you and to those who belonged to your party in this quarrel."

The documents were duly signed, the cardinal bishop of Ostia--the pope's chief agent in all this--sang the mass, the emperor was given the kiss of peace and received Holy Communion. The usual ceremonies of humiliating public submission were, for once, dispensed with.

The great act had its imperfections--a certain vagueness in important matters, the king's share in the election for example. There was room for new troubles to grow out of it. But the great principle was safe that the king had not what he had claimed was his lawful right, the choice and appointment of his people's spiritual rulers and teachers. As to the settlement itself, as a whole, we may agree with the leading authority, "It was the common sense solution."[8]

This General Council of 1123 was, beyond a doubt, the grandest spectacle Rome, and the whole West, had seen for hundreds of years. Bishops and abbots together were reckoned at something like a thousand, there was a host of lesser ecclesiastics, and the vast train of knights, soldiers, and other attendants of these ecclesiastical lords, as well as of the lay notabilities who attended. So much we learn from the contemporary chroniclers. As to the proceedings of the council, what method was adopted for proposing new laws, for discussing them, for voting--of all this we know nothing at all, for the official proceedings disappeared long before the time when there was such a thing as posterity interested in the past. It is not even certain whether there were two or three public sessions. But the council opened on the third Sunday of Lent, March 18, 1123, in the Lateran Basilica, and the final session took place either on March 27 or April 6. The emperor had been invited to send representatives, and one of the acts of the council was the ratification of the concordat. The canons promulgated at the council, which cover all the social and religious problems of the day, are hardly of a nature to provoke discussion-- remedies, sternly stated in the shape of prohibitions, for the various moral ills of public and private life. If Calixtus II adopted the simple method of announcing these canons, and asking the assembly to assent, it would be no more than what a series of popes and their legates had been doing, in one country after another, at all the councils of the last seventy-five years. There was nothing to surprise or provoke the bishops of that generation in thus following the practice that had been the means of so much improvement, in morals and in religious life. Calixtus II was no despot ordering submission to novelties now decreed, but the victorious leader of the episcopate, and the representative of other leaders now departed, thanks to whose intelligence and fortitude the episcopate everywhere had been liberated from the thrall of tyrants indeed, its dignity restored and its spiritual prestige renewed.

The twenty-two canons listed as the legislation of the council of 1123 are a curiously mixed collection. They indiscriminately treat of general matters and local matters; there are permanent regulations mixed up with temporary, set out in no kind of order; and almost all of them are repetitions of canons enacted in the various papally directed councils of the previous thirty years. With regard to the long fight against the lay lords' control, simony is again condemned, bishops not lawfully elected are not to be consecrated, laymen are not to hold or control church property, parish priests the bishop alone can appoint, they are not to take parishes as a layman's gift, the ordinations performed by the antipopes (and their transfers of church property) are declared null. A special canon renews the indulgence given to all who assist the crusade, and renews the Church's protection, with the sanction of excommunication, of the absent crusader's property. There is a law to excommunicate coiners of false money, and also (a reflection of the chronic social disorder) the brigands who molest pilgrims. A general rule is made about the new practice called "The Truce of God"--a practice designed to lessen, for the ordinary man, the horrors of the never ceasing wars between the local lords. By Urban II's law made at the council of Clermont in 1095, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were the only days on which fighting was lawful, and this only between Trinity Sunday and Advent. The rule of 1123 only deals with the bishop's duty to excommunicate those who violate the truce. There are two canons about clerical marriage. The first (canon 3) renews the ancient law that those in Holy Orders must not marry. The second (canon 21) repeats this in so many words and adds that "marriages already contracted by such persons are to be broken, and the parties bound to penance."[9]

This law--which may not be a law of the ninth General Council at all, but a regulation of one of Urban II's provincial councils that appears in the list of 1123 by some confusion--is often regarded as the first beginning of the new rule in these matters that makes the contracting of marriage impossible for clerics in holy orders. At the next General Council this will be more explicitly stated.

NOTES

1. Second Council of Constantinople, 553--Third Council of Constantinople, 680.

2. Cf. the title of Monseigneur Amann's classic work, L'Eglise au pouvoir des Laiques, 888-1057 (1945), pp. 544. This is volume 7 of F. and M.

3. The emperor, Henry III.

4. Fliche, in La Reforme Gregorienne et la Reconquete Chretien, 1057, 1950, i.e., F. and M., vol. 8, 394.

4a. Barry, no. 45, prints a translation of this decree.

5. Son of Henry III, emperor 1056-1106.

5a. Barry, no. 47, prints a translation of the letters of the emperor and his bishops to the pope.

6. Henry V, since 1106; the son of Gregory VII's adversary.

7. Pope from January 24, 1118, to January 28, 1119.

8. Fliche, as before, 389. Barry, no. 48, prints a translation of the concordat.

9. Contracta quoque matrimonia ab huiusmodi personis disjungi ... iudicamus.

From: THE CHURCH IN CRISIS: A History of the General Councils: 325-1870
CHAPTER 9
Mgr. Philip Hughes


The Second General Council of the Lateran, 1139

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The tenth General Council, the Second General Council of the Lateran, took place only fifteen years after that just described. It was a council of much the same kind, in its procedure, in its legislation, and in the vast interest it aroused, and it should be seen as complementary to the council of 1123. As the reader may guess, it would never have been summoned but for a new crisis in church affairs. The crisis, this time, was a double papal election, at Rome, made by the cardinals, and an ensuing schism when for some years two rivals, each claiming to be the lawful pope, divided the Church.

When Calixtus II died, in 1124, there was elected in his place, the Cardinal Lambert who had negotiated the great concordat, a veteran of the papal service and one of the last survivors of the band who had stood around Urban II in the grim years that followed the death of Gregory VII. He took the name Honorius II, and lived out all his pontificate in Rome-- the first pope to live continuously in Rome for nearly a hundred years. It was by no means a peaceful city. The old baronial feuds had revived during the years when it so rarely had a resident ruler. Here was the source of the double election after the death of Honorius in 1130. The Pierleoni brought about the election of one of that family--he took the name Anacletus II. The Frangipani faction elected Innocent II. That the better man of the two was Innocent seems certain. But which was the lawfully elected? Neither had been elected precisely as the somewhat vague law of 1059 prescribed.

Anacletus, however, the scion of a wealthy Roman clan, was master of Rome, and Innocent fled for support beyond the Alps. Thanks to Louis VI of France, and above all to the spiritual genius who towers above all the men of this age, St. Bernard, abbot of Clairvaux, he soon had the support of France and the empire, of England, and of the Spanish kingdoms also. But, except intermittently, Innocent was never master in Rome--the Norman king of Sicily being the staunch supporter of his rival--until 1138, when Anacletus died and his successor, yielding to the influence of St. Bernard, made his submission to Innocent. Once again the spectacle of a wandering pope had been turned to the profit of the reform movement, and four great councils are associated with Innocent's presence, Clermont in 1130, Reims in 1131, Piacenza in 1132 and Pisa in 1135.

Rid of the burden of the schism, the pope now summoned the General Council of 1139, but in no such amiable spirit towards his late adversaries as Calixtus II had shown. St. Bernard pleaded for them, but in vain. Innocent showed himself a singularly un-Roman pope when he dealt harshly with the subjected foe.

There were more than five hundred bishops present at the council and, it is said, a thousand abbots--the mention of St. Bernard's role in the schism is a reminder that this is the century of the most remarkable sudden expansion of the monastic orders ever known, the Cistercian century. Again the acta of the council have perished. We know that it was opened on April 4, 1139, in the Lateran Church, and that there were three sessions. All that remains to us are the thirty canons enacted, and a chronicler's story of the pope's fiery reception of one of his recent opponents. This bishop made his way to the papal throne, and laid down his mitre at the pope's feet, in token of submission. But the pope arose, and kicked the mitre down the church, calling out, "Away, henceforth you are no bishop of mine."

The canons of this council, or the list as we possess it rather, is the same kind of omnium gatherum as the list of 1123. Of the thirty canons a half merely repeat the canons of that list, and a half of the remainder do little more than repeat verbatim the canons enacted by Innocent in the great provincial councils of 1130-35.

There are five new canons about clerical life. With regard to the old trouble of clergy who marry, there is the highly important declaration that these unions are not true marriages.[1] The faithful people are forbidden to attend mass said by such married clergy, whose sons are not to be ordained unless they become monks or canons regular. All are warned that in the Church there are no such things as hereditary benefices. Clerics who put forward claims of this sort will be severely punished for their impudence. Clerical dress must be seemly, no riotous colours or the indecent fashions of the day. And the cleric is protected by a law which strikes with an ipso facto excommunication whoever maliciously assaults him--an excommunication which the pope alone can remove.[2]

In what concerns the Catholic's relation with the world in which he lives-- the virtue of social justice in the large sense--the council has six laws to propose. The ancient custom that the populace pillage the house of a deceased bishop is to cease. Usurers, i.e., those who--in this day when money is a nonproductive piece of metal, useful only in exchange for goods- -charge a borrower interest for the convenience he has enjoyed, when he brings back the gold piece borrowed, are to be held (says the council) as they have always been held, as infamous and to be shunned by all. They are forbidden the sacraments, and if they die unrepentant are not to be given Christian burial. The "Truce of God" is now set out for the whole of Christendom in the detail of Urban II's law of 1095,[3] and the bishops are warned that slackness in excommunicating for breaches of the truce may cost them their place. There is a special prohibition against molesting merchants, country people engaged in agriculture and their stock, as well as the clergy. Another class of criminal (about whom there are three canons) is the incendiary. Those who repent of this crime are not to be absolved without heavy penance, i.e., a year's service with the Crusade, in Spain or in the Holy Land. Tournaments are most stringently forbidden. Knights killed in these "detestable jousts" are not to be given Christian burial. And the new military weapon of the catapult, that hurls immense masses of stone at the walls of besieged castles and cities, and over the walls, is condemned as a thing "detested by God." It is never to be used against Christian men under penalty of excommunication.

There are two canons that have to do with a Christian's belief. In one of these (canon 22) bishops are commanded to instruct their people that the outward acts of penance are of no avail with out true inward repentance. Practices of this sort are the straight road to hell. The second (canon 23) condemns a whole series of anti-Christian notions, the undercurrent that never ceased to affect medieval life. Those who hold these ideas present the appearance of great zeal for true religion, says the council, but they reject the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the baptism of infants, the priesthood, and marriage. Those who hold these heretical beliefs the state must coerce. Those who defend the heretics are excommunicated along with them.

NOTES

1. Huiusmodi namque copulationem, quam contra ecclesiasticam regulam constat esse contractam, matrimonium non esse censemus. Qui etiam ab invicem separati pro tantis excessibus condignam poenitentiam agant (canon 7). This is a repetition of a canon enacted at Pisa, 1135.

2. The earliest example of a papal reservation of a censure by statute.

3. See preceding page 196.

From: THE CHURCH IN CRISIS: A History of the General Councils: 325-1870
CHAPTER 10
Mgr. Philip Hughes


Third Lateran Council - 1179 A.D.

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canons

Introduction

By an agreement reached at Venice in 1177, the bitter conflict which had arisen about twenty years earlier between Pope Alexander III (1159-1181) and Emperor Frederick I (1152-1190) was brought to an end. For when Pope Hadrian IV had died in 1159, the cardinals elected two popes together, namely Roland of Siena, who took the name of Alexander III, and Octavian of Rome who though he was nominated by fewer cardinals, nevertheless with the support of the emperor Frederick usurped the name of Pope Victor IV. The emperor, wishing to remove everything which stood in the way of his authority in Italy, declared war upon the Italian states and especially the Roman church which after its struggle for ecclesiastical liberty for so many years, was enjoying great authority. The emperor carried on the war for a long time. A serious schism had arisen out of this conflict, and after Victor IV two antipopes were nominated in opposition to Alexander III, namely Paschal III (1164-1168) and Callistus III (1168-1178). At last, when Alexander had gained the victory, he promised the emperor at Venice that he would summon a general council.

The particular object of this council was to put an end to the schism within the church and the quarrel between the emperor and the papacy. It was summoned by Pope Alexander in 1178, "so that according to the custom of the ancient fathers, the good should be sought and confirmed by many, and that with the cooperation of the grace of the holy Spirit, by the efforts of all, there should be carried out what was required for the correction of abuses and the establishment of what was pleasing to God". The council was held at Rome in March 1179. About three hundred fathers assembled from the provinces of Europe and some from the Latin east, and a single legate from the Greek church. It began on 5 March, according to Archbishop William of Tyre, our chief authority. The bishops first heard Rufinus, bishop of Assisi, who in a highly polished address praised the Roman pontiff and the Roman church, "that church to which alone belongs the decision and power to summon a general council, to lay down new canons and cancel the old; indeed, though the fathers had summoned a solemn council many times in the past, yet the obligation and reason to do this was never more expedient than at the present".

We do not have the same reasons for doubting the ecumenical nature of this council as we have for Lateran I and II. For, the way in which the council was summoned and conducted by the pope, and the number of fathers who gathered from the whole Latin world and devoted their efforts to strengthening the unity of the church and condemning heretics, resemble rather the ancient councils than Lateran I and II and exemplify the typical council of the Middle Ages presided over by the Roman pontiff. For this reason it is not surprising that chronicles of the period frequently refer to this council as Lateran I.

Although we do not possess the acts of the council, we have evidence from chronicles and annals and especially from the canons which the fathers laid down in the final session on 19 March. Accordingly, to avoid future schisms it was first laid down that nobody was to be regarded as Roman pontiff unless he had been elected by two thirds of the cardinals (canon 1) ; all appointments by antipopes were deemed invalid (canon 2), heretics called Cathars were excommunicated and likewise were the bands of mercenaries, or rather criminals, which were causing utter destruction in some parts of Europe; it was declared, and this seems an innovation, that arms should be taken up against them (canon 27) ; it was also decided not to pass judgment about the preaching of the Waldensians. All this seems to have been directed to strengthening the unity of the church. In addition, Alexander III and the fathers, renewing the precedent of Lateran I and II, laid down several canons for the reform of the church and some concerning morals and civil affairs.

The canons of this council played a notable part in the future government of the church. They were frequently included in the collections of decretals compiled in the late 12th and early 13th century, and afterwards all were inserted into Pope Gregory IX's Decretals. Walter Holtzmann and other scholars considered that these decretal collections in fact arose from this Lateran council and its canons. Certainly the canons, unlike those of Lateran I and II and many preceding councils, appear to have been worked out by an excellent legal mind so that it is probable they were composed under the authority of Alexander III himself, who was an expert lawyer. The canons, except for those which refer to Lateran II or the council of Rheims in 1148 (see canons 2, 11, 20-22) or to Gratian's Decrees (see canons 1-4, 7, 11, 13-14, 17-18), are new and original.

The tradition of the canons has not yet been adequately examined and remains very uncertain. Many manuscript codices survive for this council (in contrast to Lateran I and II). However, they do not seem to give us the version of the canons which was confirmed by ecclesiastical authority and which Archbishop William of Tyre, with the authority of the fathers, had himself drawn up. Frequently the canons are to be found in chronicles and decretal collections. They are included in four contemporary English chronicles: those of Abbot Benedict of Peterborough, Gervase of Canterbury, William of Newburgh, and Roger of Hoveden. And in the following collections of decretals: the collection called the Appendix of the Lateran council, the collections of Bamberg, Berlin I, Canterbury I-II, Kassel, Cheltenham, Claudian, Cotton, Dertosa, Douai, Durham, Eberbach, Erlangen, Florian, Klosterneuberg, Leipzig, Oriel II, Paris I, Peterhouse, Rochester, Sangerman, and Tanner; and there are a considerable number of collections still to be examined. The canons are also contained in the book called "Rommersdorfer Briefbuch", the Cartulary of Rievaulx, and the codices Florence Ricc. 288 (Day-book), Innsbruck Univ. 90 (Gratian's Decrees), and (which seem to have been unnoticed hitherto) Vatican Regin. lat. 596, 12th century (fos. 6V-8v), and 984, 12th century (fos. 2r-7v). We can say for certain that the canons of the council were spread abroad through the whole Latin church, and were of great weight in its concerns and transactions.

The first printed edition was made by Cr2 (2, 1551, 836-843). He edited, from a manuscript now lost or unknown, the whole collection known as the Appendix of the Lateran council, which is divided into fifty parts; all 27 canons of Lateran III are in the first part. This text was copied by Su (3, 1567, 626-633) and Bn (3, 1606, 1345-1350), though Su introduced some errors. Bn who was the first to give the name "Appendix of the Lateran council" to the collection, added some variant readings and rubrics which he had found in the chronicle of Roger of Hoveden. The Roman editors (Rm 4, 1612, 27-33), using also the manuscript codex of Antonio Augustine of Tarragona, produced a more accurate text and more variant readings. Later editions, all of which we have exarnined, followed the Roman text, narnely:ER27 (1644) 439-463;LC10 (1671) 1507-1523;Hrd 6 (1714) 1673-1684; Cl 13 (1730) 416-432; Msi 22 (1778) 217-233. Boehmer, who published his edition in 1747, before Msi, is an exception. He took the canons from the Kassel collection of decretals, where the order and some readings are different. Finally Herold, in his unpublished Bonn dissertation of 1952, examined thoroughly the whole tradition and established the order of the canons; using 36 sources, he concluded there were 34 different traditions!

As things now stand, it is impossible to use all the known sources for our edition. For, these sources reveal only a limited part of the whole tradition and, what is even more important, we do not yet understand the relations between the individual traditions. Even Herold has not examined these relations sufficiently. We have therefore preferred to publish the text of a single tradition, namely that of the Appendix of the Lateran council, using Cr2 and Rm as the best text of this tradition and including the variant readings listed in Rrn. This "Appendix" is a good text, as even Herold's text (= H) shows. We have given Herold's variant readings in the critical apparatus, and we have noted in footnotes the order in which he places the 23 canons that he includes.


CANONS

1. Although clear enough decrees have been handed down by our predecessors to avoid dissension in the choice of a sovereign pontiff, nevertheless in spite of these, because through wicked and reckless ambition the church has often suffered serious division, we too, in order to avoid this evil, on the advice of our brethren and with the approval of the sacred council, have decided that some addition must be made. Therefore we decree that if by chance, through some enemy sowing tares, there cannot be full agreement among the cardinals on a successor to the papacy, and though two thirds are in agreement a third party is unwilling to agree with them or presumes to appoint someone else for itself, that person shall be held as Roman pontiff who has been chosen and received by the two thirds.

But if anyone trusting to his nomination by the third party assumes the name of bishop, since he cannot take the reality, both he and those who receive him are to incur excommunication and be deprived of all sacred order, so that viaticum be denied them, except at the hour of death, and unless they repent, let them receive the lot of Dathan and Abiron, who were swallowed up alive by the earth. Further, if anyone is chosen to the apostolic office by less than two thirds, unless in the meantime he receives a larger support, let him in no way assume it, and let him be subject to the foresaid penalty if he is unwilling humbly to refrain. However, as a result of this decree, let no prejudice arise to the canons and other ecclesiastical constitutions according to which the decision of the greater and senior {1 } part should prevail, because any doubt that can arise in them can be settled by a higher authority; whereas in the Roman church there is a special constitution, since no recourse can be had to a superior.

2. Renewing the decision taken by our predecessor of happy memory, Innocent, we decree that the ordinances made by the heresiarchs Octavian {2 } and Guido {3 }, and also by John of Struma {4 } who followed them, and by those ordained by them, are void; and furthermore that if any have received ecclesiastical dignities or benefices through the foresaid schismatics, they are to be deprived of them. Moreover alienations or seizures of ecclesiastical property, which have been made by these schismatics or by lay persons, are to lack all validity and are to return to the church without any burden to it. If anyone presumes to act against this, let him know that he is excommunicated. We decree that those who of their own accord have taken an oath to remain in schism are suspended from sacred orders and dignities.

3. Since in holy orders and ecclesiastical ministries both maturity of age, a serious character and knowledge of letters should be required, much more should these qualities be required in a bishop, who is appointed for the care of others and ought to show in himself how others should live in the house of the Lord. Therefore, lest what has been done with regard to certain persons through the needs of the time should be taken as a precedent for the future, we declare by the present decree that no one should be chosen bishop unless he has already reached the age of thirty, been born in lawful wedlock and also is shown to be worthy by his life and learning. When he has been elected and his election has been confirmed, and he has the administration of ecclesiastical property, after the time has passed for the consecration of bishops as laid down by the canons let the person to whom the benefices which he held belong, have the free disposition of them.

Further, with regard to the inferior ministries, for instance that of dean or archdeacon, and others which have the care of souls annexed, let no one at all receive them, or even the rule of parish churches, unless he has already reached his twenty-fifth year of age, and can be approved for his learning and character. When he has been nominated, if the archdeacon is not ordained deacon, and the deans (and the rest after due warning) are not ordained priests within the time fixed by the canons, let them be removed from that office and let it be conferred on another who is both able and willing to fulfill it properly; and let them not be allowed the evasion of recourse to an appeal, should they wish by an appeal to protect themselves against a transgression of the constitution.

We order that this should be observed with regard to both past and future appointments, unless it is contrary to the canons. Certainly if clerics appoint someone contrary to this rule, let them know that they are deprived of the power of election and are suspended from ecclesiastical benefices for three years. For it is right that at least the strictness of ecclesiastical discipline should restrain those who are not recalled from evil by the fear of God. But if any bishop has acted in anyone's interest contrary to this decree, or has consented to such actions, let him lose the power of conferring the foresaid offices, and let these appointments be made by the chapter, or by the metropolitan if the chapter cannot agree.

4. Since the apostle decided that he ought to support himself and those accompanying him by his own hands, so that he might remove the opportunity of preaching from false apostles and might not be burdensome to those to whom he was preaching, it is recognized that it is a very serious matter and calls for correction that some of our brethren and fellow bishops are so burdensome to their subjects in the procurations demanded that sometimes, for this reason, subjects are forced to sell church ornaments and a short hour consumes the food of many days. Therefore we decree that archbishops on their visitations of their dioceses are not to bring with them more than forty or fifty horses or other mounts, according to the differences of dioceses and ecclesiastical resources; cardinals should not exceed twenty or twenty-five, bishops are never to exceed twenty or thirty, archdeacons five or seven, and deans, as their delegates, should be satisfied with two horses.

Nor should they set out with hunting dogs and birds, but they should proceed in such a way that they are seen to be seeking not their own but the things of Jesus Christ. Let them not seek rich banquets but let them receive with thanksgiving what is duly and suitably provided {5 }. We also forbid bishops to burden their subjects with taxes and impositions. But we allow them, for the many needs which sometimes come upon them, if the cause be clear and reasonable, to ask for assistance moderated by charity. For since the apostle says children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children, it seems to be far removed from paternal affection if superiors are burdensome to their subjects, when like a shepherd they ought to cherish them in all their needs. Archdeacons or deans should not presume to impose charges or taxes on priests or clerics. Indeed, what has been said above by way of permission about the number of horses may be observed in those places where there are greater resources or revenues, but in poorer places we wish measure so to be observed that the visit of greater personages should not be a burden to the humbler, lest by such a grant those who were accustomed to use fewer horses should think that the widest powers have been granted to them.

5. If a bishop ordains someone as deacon or priest without a definite title from which he may draw the necessities of life, let the bishop provide him with what he needs until he shall assign him the suitable wages of clerical service in some church, unless it happens that the person ordained is in such a position that he can find the support of life from his own or family inheritance.

6. A most reprehensible custom has become established in certain places whereby our brethren and fellow bishops and even archdeacons have passed sentence of excommunication or suspension, without any previous admonition on those who they think will lodge an appeal. Others too, while they fear the sentence and canonical discipline of a superior, lodge an appeal without any real grounds and thus make use of a means ordained for the help of the innocent as a defence of their own wrongdoing. Therefore to prevent prelates burdening their own subjects without reason, or subjects at their will being able to escape the correction of prelates under cover of an appeal, we lay down by this present decree that prelates should not pass sentence of suspension or excommunication without a previous canonical warning, unless the fault is such that by its nature it incurs the penalty of excommunication {6 } , and that subjects should not recklessly have recourse to an appeal, contrary to ecclesiastical discipline, before the introduction of their case.

But if anyone believes that because of his own need he should make an appeal, let a proper limit be fixed for his making it, and if it happens that he fails to do so within this limit, let the bishop freely use his own authority. If in any business someone makes an appeal, but fails to appear when the defendant has arrived, let him make a proper repayment of the defendant's expenses, if he is in a position to do so; in this way, at least by fear, a person may be deterred from lightly making an appeal to the injury of another. But we wish that in religious houses especially this should be observed, namely that monks or other religious, when they are to be corrected for any fault, should not presume to appeal against the regular discipline of their superior or chapter, but they should humbly and devoutly submit to what is usefully enjoined them for their salvation.

7. Since in the body of the church everything should be treated with a spirit of charity, and what has been freely received should be freely given, it is utterly disgraceful that in certain churches trafficking is said to have a place, so that a charge is made for the enthroning of bishops, abbots or ecclesiastical persons, for the installation of priests in a church, for burials and funerals, for the blessing of weddings or for other sacraments, and that he who needs them cannot gain them unless he first makes an offering to the person who bestows them. Some think that this is permitted in the belief that long standing custom has given it the force of law. Such people, blinded by avarice, are not aware that the longer an unhappy soul is bound by crimes the graver they are.

Therefore, so that this may not be done in the future, we severely forbid that anything be demanded for the enthronement of ecclesiastical persons or the institution of priests, for burying the dead as well as for blessing marriages or for any other sacrament. But if anyone presumes to act against this, let him know that he will have his lot with Giezi {7 }, whose action he imitates by his demand of a disgraceful present. Moreover we forbid bishops, abbots or other prelates to impose upon churches new dues, increase the old or presume to appropriate to their own use part of the revenues, but let them readily preserve for their subjects those liberties which superiors wish to be preserved for themselves. If anyone acts otherwise, his action is to be held invalid.

8. Let no ecclesiastical ministries or even benefices or churches be assigned or promised to anyone before they are vacant, so that nobody may seem to wish for the death of his neighbour to whose position or benefice he believes himself to be the successor. For since we find this forbidden even in the laws of the pagans themselves, it is utterly disgraceful and calls for the punishment of God's judgment if the hope of future succession should have any place in God's church when even pagans have taken care to condemn it. But whenever ecclesiastical prebends or any offices happen to become vacant in a church, or are even now vacant, let them no longer remain unassigned and let them be conferred within six months on persons who are able to administer them worthily. If the bishop, when it concerns him, delays to make the appointment, let it be done by the chapter; but if the election belongs to the chapter and it does not make the appointment within the prescribed time, let the bishop proceed according to God's will, with the advice of religious men; or if by chance all fail to do so, let the metropolitan dispose of these matters without opposition from them and in accordance with God's will.

9. Since we ought both to plant holy religion and in every way to cherish it when planted, we shall never fulfil this better than if we take care to nourish what is right and to correct what stands in the way of the progress of truth by means of the authority entrusted to us {8 }. Now we have learnt from the strongly worded complaints of our brethren and fellow bishops that the Templars and Hospitallers, and other professed religious, exceeding the privileges granted them by the apostolic see have often disregarded episcopal authority, causing scandal to the people of God and grave danger to souls. We are told that they receive churches from the hands of lay persons; that they admit those under excommunication and interdict to the sacraments of the church and to burial; that in their churches they appoint and remove priests without the knowledge of the bishop; that when the brothers go to seek alms, and it is granted that the churches should be open on their arrival once a year and the divine services should be celebrated in them, several of them from one or more houses often go to a place under interdict and abuse the privileges granted {9 } to them by holding divine service, and then presume to bury the dead in the said churches.

On the occasion also of the brotherhoods which they establish in many places, they weaken the bishops' authority, for contrary to their decision and under cover of some privileges they seek to defend all who wish to approach and join their brotherhood. In these matters, because the faults arise not so much with the knowledge or advice of the superiors as from the indiscretion of some of the subjects, we have decreed that abuses should be removed and doubtful points settled. We absolutely forbid that these orders and all other religious should receive churches and tithes from the hands of lay persons, and we even order them to put away what they have recently received contrary to this decree. We declare that those who are excommunicated, or interdicted by name, must be avoided by them and all others according to the sentence of the bishop. In churches which do not belong to them by full right, let them present to the bishops the priests to be instituted, so that while they are answerable to the bishops for the care of the people, they may give to their own members a proper account of temporal matters.

Let them not presume to remove those priests who have been appointed without first consulting the bishops. If the Templars or Hospitallers come to a church which is under an interdict, let them be allowed to hold the services of the church only once a year and let them not bury there the bodies of the dead. With regard to the brotherhoods we declare as follows: if any do not give themselves entirely to the said brothers but decide to keep their possessions, they are in no way on this account exempt from the sentence of the bishops, but the bishops may exercise their power over them as over other parishioners whenever they are to be corrected for their faults. What has been said about the said brothers, we declare shall be observed with regard to other religious who presume to claim for themselves the rights of bishops and dare to violate their canonical decisions and the tenor of our privileges. If they do not observe this decree, let the churches in which they dare so to act be placed under an interdict, and let what they do be considered void.

10. Monks are not to be received in a monastery for money nor are they allowed money of their own. They are not to be stationed individually in towns or cities or parish churches, but they are to remain in larger communities or with some of their brethren, nor are they to await alone among people of the world the attack of their spiritual foes, since Solomon says, Woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. If anyone when demanded gives something for his reception, let him not proceed to sacred orders and let the one who has received him be punished by loss of his office. If he has money in his possession, unless it has been granted him by the abbot for a specific purpose, let him be removed from the communion of the altar, and any one who is found at his death with money in his possession {10 } is not to receive burial among his brethren and mass is not to be offered for him. We order that this is also to be observed with regard to other religious. Let the abbot who does not exercise care in such matters know that he will incur the loss of his office. Neither priories nor obediences are to be handed over to anyone for a sum of money; otherwise both giver and receiver are to be deprived of ministry in the church. Priors, when they have been appointed to conventual churches, are not to be changed except for a clear and reasonable cause, for instance if they are wastrels or live immoral lives or have committed an offence for which they clearly should be removed, or if on account of the demands of higher office they should be transferred on the advice of their brethren.

11. Clerics in holy orders, who in open concubinage keep their mistresses in their houses, should either cast them out and live continently or be deprived of ecclesiastical office and benefice. Let all who are found guilty of that unnatural vice for which the wrath of God came down upon the sons of disobedience and destroyed the five cities with fire, if they are clerics be expelled from the clergy or confined in monasteries to do penance; if they are laymen they are to incur excommunication and be completely separated from the society of the faithful. If any cleric without clear and necessary cause presumes to frequent convents of nuns, let the bishop keep him away; and if he does not stop, let him be ineligible for an ecclesiastical benefice.

12. Clerics in the subdiaconate and above and also those in minor orders, if they are supported by ecclesiastical revenues, should not presume to become advocates in legal matters before a secular judge, unless they happen to be defending their own case or that of their church, or acting on behalf of the helpless who cannot conduct their own cases. Let clerics not presume to take upon themselves the management of towns or even secular jurisdiction under princes or seculars so as to become their ministers of justice. If anyone dares to act contrary to this decree, and so contrary to the teaching of the Apostle who says, No soldier of God gets entangled in secular affairs, and acts as a man of this world, let him be deprived of ecclesiastical ministry, on the grounds that neglecting his duty as a cleric he plunges into the waves of this world to please its princes. We decree in the strictest terms that any religious who presumes to attempt any of the above-mentioned things should be punished.

13. Because some, setting no limit to their avarice, strive to obtain several ecclesiastical dignities and several parish churches contrary to the decrees of the holy canons, so that though they are scarcely able to fulfil one office sufficiently they claim the revenues of very many, we strictly forbid this for the future. Therefore when it is necessary to entrust a church or ecclesiastical ministry to anyone, the person sought for this office should be of such a kind that he is able to reside in the place and exercise his care for it himself. If the contrary is done both he who receives it is to be deprived of it, because he has received it contrary to the sacred canons, and he who gave it is to lose his power of bestowing it.

14. Because the ambition of some has now gone to such lengths that they are said to hold not two or three but six or more churches, and since they cannot devote the proper care to two, we order, through our brethren and most dear fellow bishops, that this be corrected, and with regard to this pluralism, so contrary to the canons, and which gives rise to loose conduct and instability, and causes definite danger to the souls of those who are able to serve the churches worthily, it is our wish to relieve their want by ecclesiastical benefices. Further, since some of the laity have become so bold that disregarding the authority of bishops they appoint clerics to churches and even remove them when they wish, and distribute the property and other goods of the church for the most part according to their own wishes, and even dare to burden the churches themselves and their people with taxes and impositions, we decree that those who from now on are guilty of such conduct are to be punished by anathema.

Priests or clerics who receive the charge of a church from the hands of lay persons {11 }, without the authority of their own bishop, are to be deprived of communion, and if they persist, they are to be deposed from the ecclesiastical ministry and order. We firmly decree that because some of the laity force ecclesiastics and even bishops to come before their courts, those who presume to do so in the future are to be separated from the communion of the faithful. Further we forbid lay persons, who hold tithes to the danger of their souls, to transfer them in any way {12 } to other lay persons. If anyone receives them and does not hand them over to the church, let him be deprived of christian burial.

15. Although in duties of charity we are especially under obligation to those from whom we know we have received a gift, on the contrary certain clerics, after receiving many goods from their churches, have presumed to transfer these goods to other uses. We forbid this, knowing that it is also forbidden by ancient canons. Therefore, as we wish to prevent damage to the churches, we order that such goods should remain under the control of the churches, whether the clerics die intestate or wish to bestow them upon others. Besides, since in certain places certain persons called deans are appointed for a fee and exercise episcopal jurisdiction for a sum of money, by the present decree we declare that those who in future presume to do this should be deprived of their office and the bishop shall lose the power of conferring this office.

16. Since in every church what is approved by the greater and senior {13 } part of the brethren should unhesitatingly be observed, it is a very serious and blameworthy matter that in certain churches a few persons, sometimes not so much for a good reason as for their own will, frequently prevent an election and do not allow the ecclesiastical appointment to go forward. Therefore we declare by the present decree that unless some reasonable objection is shown by the smaller and junior party, apart from an appeal, whatever is determined by the greater and senior {14 } part of the chapter should always prevail and should be put into effect. Nor let it stand in the way of our decree if someone perchance says that he is under oath to preserve the custom of his church. For this is not to be called an oath but rather perjury, which is opposed to the advantage of the church and the decrees of the holy fathers. If anyone presumes to maintain under oath such customs, which are neither supported by reason nor in accord with the sacred decrees, let him be denied the reception of the body of the Lord until he performs fit penance.

17. Since in certain places the founders of churches or their heirs abuse the power in which the church has supported them until now, and though there ought to be one superior in the church of God they nevertheless contrive to choose several without regard to subordination, and though there ought to be one rector in each church they nevertheless put forward several in order to protect their own interests; for these reasons we declare by the present decree that if the founders support several candidates, that one should be in charge of the church who is supported by greater merits and is chosen and approved by the consent of the greater number. If this cannot be done without scandal, let the bishop arrange in the manner that he sees best according to the will of God. He should also do this if the question of the right of patronage arises among several persons, and it has not been settled to whom it belongs within three {15 } months.

18. Since the church of God is bound to provide like a mother for those in want, with regard to both the things which concern the support of the body and those which lead to the progress of the soul, therefore, in order that the opportunity of learning to read and progress in study is not withdrawn from poor children who cannot be helped by the support of their parents, in every cathedral church a master is to be assigned some proper benefice so that he may teach the clerics of that church and the poor scholars. Thus the needs of the teacher are to be supplied and the way to knowledge opened for learners. In other churches and monasteries too, if anything in times past has been assigned in them for this purpose, it should be restored. Let no one demand any money for a licence to teach, or under cover of some custom seek anything from teachers, or forbid anyone to teach who is suitable and has sought a licence. Whoever presumes to act against this decree is to be deprived of ecclesiastical benefice. Indeed, it seems only right that in the church of God a person should not have the fruit of his labour if through self-seeking he strives to prevent the progress of the churches by selling the licence to teach.

19. It is recognized as a very serious matter, as regards the sin of those who do it no less than the loss of those who suffer it, that in several parts of the world the governors and officials of cities, and others too who are seen to have power, often impose on churches so many burdens and oppress them with such heavy and frequent impositions, that under them the priesthood seems to be in a worse condition than it was under Pharaoh, who had no knowledge of the divine law. He indeed, though he reduced all others to slavery, left his priests and their possessions in their ancient freedom, and provided them with support from public funds. But these others impose burdens of nearly every kind upon the churches and afflict them with so many exactions that the lamentation of Jeremiah seems to apply to them, The prince of provinces has become a tributary. For whenever they think that entrenchments or expeditions or anything else should be made, they wish that almost everything should be seized from the goods assigned to the use of churches, clerics and Christ's poor.

They even so reduce the jurisdiction and authority of bishops and other prelates that these seem to retain no power over their own subjects. But though we must in this matter grieve for the churches, we must grieve none the less for those who seem to have utterly cast aside the fear of God and respect for the ecclesiastical order. Therefore we strictly forbid them under pain of anathema to attempt such acts in future, unless the bishop and clergy see the need or advantage to be so great that they believe that where the means of the laity are insufficient, aid should be given voluntarily by the churches to relieve common needs. But if in future officials or others presume to continue such practices and after warning refuse to stop, let both them and their supporters know that they are excommunicated, and let them not be restored to the communion of the faithful unless they make due satisfaction.

20. Following the footsteps of our predecessors of happy memory, popes Innocent and Eugenius, we forbid those abominable jousts and fairs, which are commonly called tournaments, in which knights come together by agreement and rashly engage in showing off their physical prowess and daring, and which often result in human deaths and danger to souls. If any of them dies on these occasions, although forgiveness {16 } is not to be denied him when he requests it, he is to be deprived of a church burial.

21. We decree that truces are to be inviolably observed by all from after sunset on Wednesday until sunrise on Monday, and from Advent until the octave of the Epiphany, and from Septuagesima until the octave of Easter. If anyone tries to break the truce, and he does not comply after the third warning, let his bishop pronounce sentence of excommunication and communicate his decision in writing to the neighbouring bishops. Moreover, let no bishop receive into communion the excommunicated person, but rather let him confirm the sentence received in writing. If anyone presumes to infringe this, he will do so at the risk of his position. Since a threefold cord is not quickly broken, we enjoin bishops, having regard only for God and the salvation of the people, and laying aside all timidity, to furnish each other with mutual counsel and help towards firmly maintaining peace, and not to omit this duty by reason of any affection or aversion. For if anyone is found to be lukewarm in the work of God, let him incur the loss of his dignity.

22. We renew our decree that priests, monks, clerics, lay brothers, merchants and peasants, in their coming and going and their work on the land, and the animals which carry seeds to the field, should enjoy proper security, and that nobody should impose on anyone new demands for tolls, without the approval of kings and princes, or renew those already imposed or in any way increase the old. If anyone presumes to act against this decree and does not stop after warning, let him be deprived of christian society until he makes satisfaction.

23. Although the Apostles says that we should pay greater honour to our weaker members, certain ecclesiastics, seeking what is their own and not the things of Jesus Christ, do not allow lepers, who cannot dwell with the healthy or come to church with others, to have their own churches and cemeteries or to be helped by the ministry of their own priests. Since it is recognized that this is far from christian piety, we decree, in accordance with apostolic charity, that wherever so many are gathered together under a common way of life that they are able to establish a church for themselves with a cemetery and rejoice in their own priest, they should be allowed to have them without contradiction. Let them take care, however, not to harm in any way the parochial rights of established churches. For we do not wish that what is granted them on the score of piety should result in harm to others. We also declare that they should not be compelled to pay tithes for their gardens or the pasture of animals.

24. Cruel avarice has so seized the hearts of some that though they glory in the name of Christians they provide the Saracens with arms and wood for helmets, and become their equals or even their superiors in wickedness and supply them with arms and necessaries to attack Christians. There are even some who for gain act as captains or pilots in galleys or Saracen pirate vessels. Therefore we declare that such persons should be cut off from the communion of the church and be excommunicated for their wickedness, that catholic princes and civil magistrates should confiscate their possessions, and that if they are captured they should become the slaves of their captors. We order that throughout the churches of maritime cities frequent and solemn excommunication should be pronounced against them. Let those also be under excommunication who dare to rob Romans or other Christians who sail for trade or other honourable purposes. Let those also who in the vilest avarice presume to rob shipwrecked Christians, whom by the rule of faith they are bound to help, know that they are excommunicated unless they return the stolen property.

25. Nearly everywhere the crime of usury has become so firmly rooted that many, omitting other business, practise usury as if it were permitted, and in no way observe how it is forbidden in both the Old and New Testament. We therefore declare that notorious usurers should not be admitted to communion of the altar or receive christian burial if they die in this sin. Whoever receives them or gives them christian burial should be compelled to give back what he has received, and let him remain suspended from the performance of his office until he has made satisfaction according to the judgment of his own bishop.

26. Jews and Saracens are not to be allowed to have christian servants in their houses, either under pretence of nourishing their children or for service or any other reason. Let those be excommunicated who presume to live with them. We declare that the evidence of Christians is to be accepted against Jews in every case, since Jews employ their own witnesses against Christians, and that those who prefer Jews to Christians in this matter are to lie under anathema, since Jews ought to be subject to Christians and to be supported by them on grounds of humanity alone. If any by the inspiration of God are converted to the christian faith, they are in no way to be excluded from their possessions, since the condition of converts ought to be better than before their conversion. If this is not done, we enjoin on the princes and rulers of these places, under penalty of excommunication, the duty to restore fully to these converts the share of their inheritance and goods.

27. As St. Leo says, though the discipline of the church should be satisfied with the judgment of the priest and should not cause the shedding of blood, yet it is helped by the laws of catholic princes so that people often seek a salutary remedy when they fear that a corporal punishment will overtake them. For this reason, since in Gascony and the regions of Albi and Toulouse and in other places the loathsome heresy of those whom some call the Cathars, others the Patarenes, others the Publicani, and others by different names, has grown so strong that they no longer practise their wickedness in secret, as others do, but proclaim their error publicly and draw the simple and weak to join them, we declare that they and their defenders and those who receive them are under anathema, and we forbid under pain of anathema that anyone should keep or support them in their houses or lands or should trade with them. If anyone dies in this sin, then neither under cover of our privileges granted to anyone, nor for any other reason, is mass to be offered for them or are they to receive burial among Christians.

With regard to the Brabanters, Aragonese, Navarrese, Basques, Coterelli and Triaverdini {17 }, who practise such cruelty upon Christians that they respect neither churches nor monasteries, and spare neither widows, orphans, old or young nor any age or sex, but like pagans destroy and lay everything waste, we likewise decree that those who hire, keep or support them, in the districts where they rage around, should be denounced publicly on Sundays and other solemn days in the churches, that they should be subject in every way to the same sentence and penalty as the above-mentioned heretics and that they should not be received into the communion of the church, unless they abjure their pernicious society and heresy. As long as such people persist in their wickedness, let all who are bound to them by any pact know that they are free from all obligations of loyalty, homage or any obedience. On these {18 } and on all the faithful we enjoin, for the remission of sins, that they oppose this scourge with all their might and by arms protect the christian people against them. Their goods are to be confiscated and princes free to subject them to slavery.

Those who in true sorrow for their sins die in such a conflict should not doubt that they will receive forgiveness for their sins and the fruit of an eternal reward. We too trusting in the mercy of God and the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, grant to faithful Christians who take up arms against them, and who on the advice of bishops or other prelates seek to drive them out, a remission for two years of penance imposed on them, or, if their service shall be longer, we entrust it to the discretion of the bishops, to whom this task has been committed, to grant greater indulgence, according to their judgment, in proportion to the degree of their toil. We command that those who refuse to obey the exhortation of the bishops in this matter should not be allowed to receive the body and blood of the Lord.

Meanwhile we receive under the protection of the church, as we do those who visit the Lord's sepulchre, those who fired by their faith have taken upon themselves the task of driving out these heretics, and we decree that they should remain undisturbed from all disquiet both in their property and persons. If any of you presumes to molest them, he shall incur the sentence of excommunication from the bishop of the place, and let the sentence be observed by all until what has been taken away has been restored and suitable satisfaction has been made for the loss inflicted. Bishops and priests who do not resist such wrongs are to be punished by loss of their office until they gain the pardon of the apostolic see.


FOOTNOTES


Introduction and translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner.


Fourth Lateran Council - 1215 A.D.

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C O N S T I T U T I O N S

  1. Confession of Faith
  2. On the error of abbot Joachim
  3. On Heretics
  4. On the pride of the Greeks towards the Latins
  5. The dignity of the patriarchal sees
  6. On yearly provincial councils
  7. The correction of offences and the reform of morals
  8. On inquests
  9. On different rites within the same faith
  10. On appointing preachers
  11. On schoolmasters for the poor
  12. On general chapters of monks
  13. A prohibition against new religious orders
  14. Clerical incontinence
  15. Clerical gluttony and drunkeness
  16. Decorum in the dress and behaviour of clerics
  17. Dissolute prelates
  18. Clerics to dissociate from shedding-blood
  19. That profane objects may not be stored in churches
  20. Chrism and the Eucharist to be kept under lock and key
  21. On yearly confession to one's own priest, yearly communion, the confessional seal
  22. Physicians of the body to advise patients to call physicians of the soul
  23. Churches are to be without a prelate for no more than 3 months
  24. Democratic election of pastors
  25. Invalid elections
  26. Nominees for prelatures to be carefully screened
  27. Candidates for the priesthood to be carefully trained and scrutinized
  28. Who asks to resign must resign
  29. Multiple benefices require papal dispensation
  30. Penalties for bestowing ecclesiatical benefices on the unworthy
  31. Canons' sons cannot be canons where their fathers are
  32. Parish priests to have adequate incomes
  33. Renumeration for visitations to be reasonable
  34. Prelates forbidden to procure ecclesiastical services at a profit
  35. On appeal procedures
  36. On interlocutory sentences
  37. On Summons by Apostolic Letter
  38. Written records of trials to be kept
  39. On knowingly receiving stolen goods
  40. True owner is the true possessor even if not possessing the object for a year
  41. No one is to knowingly prescribe an object to the wrong party
  42. Clerics and laity are not to usurp each others rights
  43. Clerics cannot be forced to take oaths of fealty to those from whom they hold no temporalities
  44. Only clerics may dispose of church property
  45. Penalties for patrons who steal church goods or physically harm their clerics
  46. Taxes cannot be levied on the Church, but the Church can volunteer contributions for the common good
  47. On unjust excommunication
  48. Challenging an ecclesiastical judge
  49. Penalties for excommunication out of avarice
  50. Prohibition of marriage is now perpetually restricted to the fourth degree
  51. Clandestine marriages forbidden
  52. On rejecting evidence from hearsay at a matrimonial suit
  53. On those who give their fields to others to be cultivated so as to avoid tithes
  54. Tithes should be paid before taxes
  55. Tithes are to be paid on lands acquired, notwithstanding privileges
  56. A parish priest shall not lose a tithe on account of some people making a pact
  57. Interpreting the words of privileges
  58. On the same in favour of bishops
  59. Religious cannot give surety without permission of his abbot and convent
  60. Abbots not to encroach on episcopal office
  61. Religious may not receive tithes from lay hands
  62. Regarding saint's relics
  63. On simony
  64. Simony with regards to monks and nuns
  65. Simony and extortion
  66. Simony and avarice in clerics
  67. Jews and excessive Usury
  68. Jews appearing in public
  69. Jews not to hold public offices
  70. Jewish converts may not retain their old rite
  71. Crusade to recover the holy Land

Introduction

During the pontificate of Innocent III (1198-1216) there appears to have occurred much growth in the reform of the church and in its freedom from subservience to the empire as well as in the primacy of the bishop of Rome and in the summoning of ecclesiastical business to the Roman curia. Innocent himself, turning his whole mind to the things of God, strove to build up the christian community. Spiritual things, and therefore the church, were to have first place in this endeavour; so that human affairs were to be dependent upon, and to draw their justification from, such considerations.

The council may therefore be regarded as a great summary of the pontiff's work and also as his greatest initiative. He was not able, however, to bring it to completion since he died shortly afterwards (1216) . Christian disasters in the holy Land probably provided the occasion for Innocent to call the council. Thus the pontiff ordered a new crusade to be proclaimed. But he also used the crusade as an instrument of ecclesiastical administration, combined with reform of the church, namely in a fierce war against heretics which he thought would restore ecclesiastical society.

The council was summoned on 19 April 1213 to meet in November 1215. All the bishops and abbots of the church as well as priors and even (which was new) chapters of churches and of religious orders -- namely Cistercians, Premonstratensians, Hospitallers and Templars -- and the kings and civil authorities throughout Europe were invited. The bishops were explicitly asked to propose topics for discussion at the council, something which does not seem to have happened at the preceding Lateran councils. This was done by the legates who had been dispatched throughout Europe to preach the crusade. In each province only one or two bishops were allowed to remain at home; all the rest were ordered to be present. The purposes of the council were clearly set forth by Innocent himself : "to eradicate vices and to plant virtues, to correct faults and to reform morals, to remove heresies and to strengthen faith, to settle discords and to establish peace, to get rid of oppression and to foster liberty, to induce princes and christian people to come to the aid and succour of the holy Land... ". It seems that when Innocent summoned the council he wished to observe the customs of the early ecumenical councils, and indeed this fourth Lateran council was regarded as an ecumenical council by all learned and religious men of the age.

When the council began in the Lateran basilica in November 1215 there were present 404 bishops from throughout the western church, and from the Latin eastern church a large number of abbots, canons and representatives of the secular power. No Greeks were present, even those invited, except the patriarch of the Maronites and a legate of the patriarch of Alexandria. The bond with the Greek church was indeed neglected, and matters became more serious through the actions of Latin bishops living in the east or through the decrees of the council.

The council began on 11 November with the pontiff's sermon. He was especially looking for a religious outcome to the council. Soon, however secular matters and power politics came to the fore. At the second session (on 20 November) the struggle for the empire between Frederick II and Otto IV was brought before the council and gave rise to a bitter and contentious debate. This affected the nature of the council in a way that had not been foreseen and revealed a certain ineffectiveness in Innocent's plans for governing the church. Finally, the third session (on 30 November) was devoted to reading and approving the constitutions, which were proposed by the pontiff himself. The last decree dealt with preparations for a crusade -- "Jesus Christ's business" -- and fixed 1 June 1217 for its start, though this was prevented by the pontiff's death.

The seventy constitutions would seem to give proof of the council's excellent results. The work of Innocent appears clearly in them even though they were probably not directly composed by him. He regarded them as universal laws and as a summary of the jurisdiction of his pontificate. Few links with earlier councils survive, those with the third Lateran council being the only relevant ones of which we know.

Thus,

The constitutions were first edited by Cr 2 (1538) CLXv-CLXXIIv, the text of which was used in Cr 2 (1551) 946-967, Su 3 (1567) 735-756, and Bn 3/2 (1606) 1450-1465. Roman editors produced a more accurate edition (Rm 4 [1612] 43-63) , collating the common text "with manuscript codices from the Vatican". Rm was followed by Bn 3/2 (1618) 682-696 and ER 28 (1644) 154-225. LC 11/1 (1671) 142-233 provided a text "in Greek and Latin..... from a Mazarin codex" (=M) with various readings from a d'Achery codex (=A) . The Greek translation, however, which LC had thought to be contemporary, does not provide a complete text and was taken from a later codex. LC was followed by Hrd 7 (1714) 15-78, Cl 13 (1730) 927-1018, and Msi 22 (1778) 981-1068. There are many surviving manuscripts of the constitutions, as has been shown by Garcia, who is preparing a critical edition. That is to say, twenty manuscripts containing the constitutions and twelve others containing the constitutions together with commentaries; and probably there are others which are not yet known. The constitutions were taken into Compilatio IV, except 42 and [71], and into Decretalia of Gregory IX, except 42, 49 and [71]. The present edition follows the Roman edition, but all the variant readings that have so far been brought to light by scholars have been cited with {n} referring to the endnotes.


C O N S T I T U T I O N S

1. Confession of Faith

We firmly believe and simply confess that there is only one true God, eternal and immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible and ineffable, Father, Son and holy Spirit, three persons but one absolutely simple essence, substance or nature {1} . The Father is from none, the Son from the Father alone, and the holy Spirit from both equally, eternally without beginning or end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal, co-omnipotent and coeternal; one principle of all things, creator of all things invisible and visible, spiritual and corporeal; who by his almighty power at the beginning of time created from nothing both spiritual and corporeal creatures, that is to say angelic and earthly, and then created human beings composed as it were of both spirit and body in common. The devil and other demons were created by God naturally good, but they became evil by their own doing. Man, however, sinned at the prompting of the devil.

This holy Trinity, which is undivided according to its common essence but distinct according to the properties of its persons, gave the teaching of salvation to the human race through Moses and the holy prophets and his other servants, according to the most appropriate disposition of the times. Finally the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who became incarnate by the action of the whole Trinity in common and was conceived from the ever virgin Mary through the cooperation of the holy Spirit, having become true man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh, one person in two natures, showed more clearly the way of life. Although he is immortal and unable to suffer according to his divinity, he was made capable of suffering and dying according to his humanity. Indeed, having suffered and died on the wood of the cross for the salvation of the human race, he descended to the underworld, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He descended in the soul, rose in the flesh, and ascended in both. He will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, to render to every person according to his works, both to the reprobate and to the elect. All of them will rise with their own bodies, which they now wear, so as to receive according to their deserts, whether these be good or bad; for the latter perpetual punishment with the devil, for the former eternal glory with Christ.

There is indeed one universal church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice. His body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine, the bread and wine having been changed in substance, by God's power, into his body and blood, so that in order to achieve this mystery of unity we receive from God what he received from us. Nobody can effect this sacrament except a priest who has been properly ordained according to the church's keys, which Jesus Christ himself gave to the apostles and their successors. But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity -- namely Father, Son and holy Spirit -- and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the church. If someone falls into sin after having received baptism, he or she can always be restored through true penitence. For not only virgins and the continent but also married persons find favour with God by right faith and good actions and deserve to attain to eternal blessedness.

2. On the error of abbot Joachim

We therefore condemn and reprove that small book or treatise which abbot Joachim published against master Peter Lombard concerning the unity or essence of the Trinity, in which he calls Peter Lombard a heretic and a madman because he said in his Sentences, "For there is a certain supreme reality which is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, and it neither begets nor is begotten nor does it proceed". He asserts from this that Peter Lombard ascribes to God not so much a Trinity as a quaternity, that is to say three persons and a common essence as if this were a fourth person. Abbot Joachim clearly protests that there does not exist any reality which is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit-neither an essence nor a substance nor a nature -- although he concedes that the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit are one essence, one substance and one nature.

He professes, however, that such a unity is not true and proper but rather collective and analogous, in the way that many persons are said to be one people and many faithful one church, according to that saying : Of the multitude of believers there was one heart and one mind, and Whoever adheres to God is one spirit with him; again He who plants and he who waters are one, and all of us are one body in Christ; and again in the book of Kings, My people and your people are one. In support of this opinion he especially uses the saying which Christ uttered in the gospel concerning the faithful : I wish, Father, that they may be one in us, just as we are one, so that they may be made perfect in one. For, he says, Christ's faithful are not one in the sense of a single reality which is common to all. They are one only in this sense, that they form one church through the unity of the catholic faith, and finally one kingdom through a union of indissoluble charity. Thus we read in the canonical letter of John : For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father and the Word and the holy Spirit, and these three are one; and he immediately adds, And the three that bear witness on earth are the spirit, water and blood, and the three are one, according to some manuscripts.

We, however, with the approval of this sacred and universal council, believe and confess with Peter Lombard that there exists a certain supreme reality, incomprehensible and ineffable, which truly is the Father and the Son and the holy Spirit, the three persons together and each one of them separately. Therefore in God there is only a Trinity, not a quaternity, since each of the three persons is that reality -- that is to say substance, essence or divine nature-which alone is the principle of all things, besides which no other principle can be found. This reality neither begets nor is begotten nor proceeds; the Father begets, the Son is begotten and the holy Spirit proceeds. Thus there is a distinction of persons but a unity of nature. Although therefore the Father is one person, the Son another person and the holy Spirit another person, they are not different realities, but rather that which is the Father is the Son and the holy Spirit, altogether the same; thus according to the orthodox and catholic faith they are believed to be consubstantial.

For the Father, in begetting the Son from eternity, gave him his substance, as he himself testifies : What the Father gave me is greater than all. It cannot be said that the Father gave him part of his substance and kept part for himself since the Father's substance is indivisible, inasmuch as it is altogether simple. Nor can it be said that the Father transferred his substance to the Son, in the act of begetting, as if he gave it to the Son in such a way that he did not retain it for himself; for otherwise he would have ceased to be substance. It is therefore clear that in being begotten the Son received the Father's substance without it being diminished in any way, and thus the Father and the Son have the same substance. Thus the Father and the Son and also the holy Spirit proceeding from both are the same reality.

When, therefore, the Truth prays to the Father for those faithful to him, saying I wish that they may be one in us just as we are one, this word one means for the faithful a union of love in grace, and for the divine persons a unity of identity in nature, as the Truth says elsewhere, You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect {2} , as if he were to say more plainly, You must be perfect in the perfection of grace, just as your Father is perfect in the perfection that is his by nature, each in his own way. For between creator and creature there can be noted no similarity so great that a greater dissimilarity cannot be seen between them. If anyone therefore ventures to defend or approve the opinion or doctrine of the aforesaid Joachim on this matter, let him be refuted by all as a heretic. By this, however, we do not intend anything to the detriment of the monastery of Fiore, which Joachim founded, because there both the instruction is according to rule and the observance is healthy; especially since Joachim ordered all his writings to be handed over to us, to be approved or corrected according to the judgment of the apostolic see. He dictated a letter, which he signed with his own hand, in which he firmly confesses that he holds the faith held by the Roman church, which is by God's plan the mother and mistress of all the faithful.

We also reject and condemn that most perverse doctrine of the impious Amalric, whose mind the father of lies blinded to such an extent that his teaching is to be regarded as mad more than as heretical.

3.On Heretics

We excommunicate and anathematize every heresy raising itself up against this holy, orthodox and catholic faith which we have expounded above. We condemn all heretics, whatever names they may go under. They have different faces indeed but their tails are tied together inasmuch as they are alike in their pride. Let those condemned be handed over to the secular authorities present, or to their bailiffs, for due punishment. Clerics are first to be degraded from their orders. The goods of the condemned are to be confiscated, if they are lay persons, and if clerics they are to be applied to the churches from which they received their stipends. Those who are only found suspect of heresy are to be struck with the sword of anathema, unless they prove their innocence by an appropriate purgation, having regard to the reasons for suspicion and the character of the person. Let such persons be avoided by all until they have made adequate satisfaction. If they persist in the excommunication for a year, they are to be condemned as heretics.

Let secular authorities, whatever offices they may be discharging, be advised and urged and if necessary be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, if they wish to be reputed and held to be faithful, to take publicly an oath for the defence of the faith to the effect that they will seek, in so far as they can, to expel from the lands subject to their jurisdiction all heretics designated by the church in good faith. Thus whenever anyone is promoted to spiritual or temporal authority, he shall be obliged to confirm this article with an oath. If however a temporal lord, required and instructed by the church, neglects to cleanse his territory of this heretical filth, he shall be bound with the bond of excommunication by the metropolitan and other bishops of the province. If he refuses to give satisfaction within a year, this shall be reported to the supreme pontiff so that he may then declare his vassals absolved from their fealty to him and make the land available for occupation by Catholics so that these may, after they have expelled the heretics, possess it unopposed and preserve it in the purity of the faith -- saving the right of the suzerain provided that he makes no difficulty in the matter and puts no impediment in the way. The same law is to be observed no less as regards those who do not have a suzerain.

Catholics who take the cross and gird themselves up for the expulsion of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgence, and be strengthened by the same holy privilege, as is granted to those who go to the aid of the holy Land. Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics. We strictly ordain that if any such person, after he has been designated as excommunicated, refuses to render satisfaction within a year, then by the law itself he shall be branded as infamous and not be admitted to public offices or councils or to elect others to the same or to give testimony. He shall be intestable, that is he shall not have the freedom to make a will nor shall succeed to an inheritance. Moreover nobody shall be compelled to answer to him on any business whatever, but he may be compelled to answer to them. If he is a judge sentences pronounced by him shall have no force and cases may not be brought before him; if an advocate, he may not be allowed to defend anyone; if a notary, documents drawn up by him shall be worthless and condemned along with their condemned author; and in similar matters we order the same to be observed.

If however he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater be the punishment. If any refuse to avoid such persons after they have been pointed out by the church, let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction. Clerics should not, of course, give the sacraments of the church to such pestilent people nor give them a christian burial nor accept alms or offerings from them; if they do, let them be deprived of their office and not restored to it without a special indult of the apostolic see. Similarly with regulars, let them be punished with losing their privileges in the diocese in which they presume to commit such excesses.

"There are some who holding to the form of religion but denying its power (as the Apostle says) , claim for themselves the authority to preach, whereas the same Apostle says, How shall they preach unless they are sent? Let therefore all those who have been forbidden or not sent to preach, and yet dare publicly or privately to usurp the office of preaching without having received the authority of the apostolic see or the catholic bishop of the place", be bound with the bond of excommunication and, unless they repent very quickly, be punished by another suitable penalty. We add further that each archbishop or bishop, either in person or through his archdeacon or through suitable honest persons, should visit twice or at least once in the year any parish of his in which heretics are said to live. There he should compel three or more men of good repute, or even if it seems expedient the whole neighbourhood, to swear that if anyone knows of heretics there or of any persons who hold secret conventicles or who differ in their life and habits from the normal way of living of the faithful, then he will take care to point them out to the bishop.

The bishop himself should summon the accused to his presence, and they should be punished canonically if they are unable to clear themselves of the charge or if after compurgation they relapse into their former errors of faith. If however any of them with damnable obstinacy refuse to honour an oath and so will not take it, let them by this very fact be regarded as heretics. We therefore will and command and, in virtue of obedience, strictly command that bishops see carefully to the effective execution of these things throughout their dioceses, if they wish to avoid canonical penalties. If any bishop is negligent or remiss in cleansing his diocese of the ferment of heresy, then when this shows itself by unmistakeable signs he shall be deposed from his office as bishop and there shall be put in his place a suitable person who both wishes and is able to overthrow the evil of heresy.

4. On the pride of the Greeks towards the Latins

Although we would wish to cherish and honour the Greeks who in our days are returning to the obedience of the apostolic see, by preserving their customs and rites as much as we can in the Lord, nevertheless we neither want nor ought to defer to them in matters which bring danger to souls and detract from the church's honour. For, after the Greek church together with certain associates and supporters withdrew from the obedience of the apostolic see, the Greeks began to detest the Latins so much that, among other wicked things which they committed out of contempt for them, when Latin priests celebrated on their altars they would not offer sacrifice on them until they had washed them, as if the altars had been defiled thereby. The Greeks even had the temerity to rebaptize those baptized by the Latins; and some, as we are told, still do not fear to do this. Wishing therefore to remove such a great scandal from God's church, we strictly order, on the advice of this sacred council, that henceforth they do not presume to do such things but rather conform themselves like obedient sons to the holy Roman church, their mother, so that there may be one flock and one shepherd. If anyone however does dare to do such a thing, let him be struck with the sword of excommunication and be deprived of every ecclesiastical office and benefice.

5. The dignity of the patriarchal sees

Renewing the ancient privileges of the patriarchal sees, we decree, with the approval of this sacred universal synod, that after the Roman church, which through the Lord's disposition has a primacy of ordinary power over all other churches inasmuch as it is the mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful, the church of Constantinople shall have the first place, the church of Alexandria the second place, the church of Antioch the third place, and the church of Jerusalem the fourth place, each maintaining its own rank. Thus after their pontiffs have received from the Roman pontiff the pallium, which is the sign of the fullness of the pontifical office, and have taken an oath of fidelity and obedience to him they may lawfully confer the pallium on their own suffragans, receiving from them for themselves canonical profession and for the Roman church the promise of obedience. They may have a standard of the Lord's cross carried before them anywhere except in the city of Rome or wherever there is present the supreme pontiff or his legate wearing the insignia of the apostolic dignity. In all the provinces subject to their jurisdiction let appeal be made to them, when it is necessary, except for appeals made to the apostolic see, to which all must humbly defer.

6. On yearly provincial councils

As is known to have been ordained of old by the holy fathers, metropolitans should not fail to hold provincial councils each year with their suffragans in which they consider diligently and in the fear of God the correction of excesses and the reform of morals, especially among the clergy. Let them recite the canonical rules, especially those which have been laid down by this general council, so as to secure their observance, inflicting on transgressors the punishment due. In order that this may be done more effectively, let them appoint for each diocese suitable persons, that is to say prudent and honest persons, who will simply and summarily, without any jurisdiction, throughout the whole year, carefully investigate what needs correction or reform and will then faithfully report these matters to the metropolitan and suffragans and others at the next council, so that they may proceed with careful deliberation against these and other matters according to what is profitable and decent. Let them see to the observance of the things that they decree, publishing them in episcopal synods which are to be held annually in each diocese. Whoever neglects to carry out this salutary statute is to be suspended from his benefices and from the execution of his office, until his superior decides to release him.

7. The correction of offences and the reform of morals

By this inviolable constitution we decree that prelates of churches should prudently and diligently attend to the correction of their subjects' offences especially of clerics, and to the reform of morals. Otherwise the blood of such persons will be required at their hands. In order that they may be able to exercise freely this office of correction and reform, we decree that no custom or appeal can impede the execution of their decisions, unless they go beyond the form which is to be observed in such matters. The offences of canons of a cathedral church, however, which have customarily been corrected by the chapter, are to be corrected by the chapter in those churches which until now have had this custom, at the instance and on the orders of the bishop and within a suitable time-limit which the bishop will decide. If this is not done, then the bishop, mindful of God and putting an end to all opposition, is to go ahead with correcting the persons by ecclesiastical censure according as the care of souls requires, and he shall not omit to correct their other faults according as the good of souls requires, with due order however being observed in all things {3} . For the rest, if the canons stop celebrating divine services without manifest and reasonable cause, especially if this is in contempt of the bishop, then the bishop himself may celebrate in the cathedral church if he wishes, and on complaint from him, the metropolitan, as our delegate in the matter, may, when he has learned the truth, punish the persons concerned in such fashion that for fear of punishment they shall not venture such action in the future. Let prelates of churches therefore carefully see that they do not turn this salutary statute into a form of financial gain or other exaction, but rather let them carry it out assiduously and faithfully, if they wish to avoid canonical punishment, since in these matters the apostolic see, directed by the Lord, will be very vigilant.

8. On inquests

"How and in what way a prelate ought to proceed to inquire into and punish the offences of his subjects may be clearly ascertained from the authorities of the new and old Testament, from which subsequent sanctions in canon law derive", as we said distinctly some time ago and now confirm with the approval of this holy council.

"For we read in the gospel that the steward who was denounced to his lord for wasting his goods heard him say: What is this that I hear about you?

Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be my steward. And in Genesis the Lord says : I will go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me.

From these authorities it is clearly shown that not only when a subject has committed some excess but also when a prelate has done so, and the matter reaches the ears of the superior through an outcry or rumour which has come not from the malevolent and slanderous but from prudent and honest persons, and has come not only once but frequently (as the outcry suggests and the rumour proves) , then the superior ought diligently to seek out the truth before senior persons of the church.

If the seriousness of the matter demands, then the fault of the offender should be subjected to canonical punishment. However, the superior should carry out the duty of his office not as if he were the accuser and the judge but rather with the rumour providing the accusation and the outcry making the denunciation.

While this should be observed in the case of subjects, all the more carefully should it be observed in the case of prelates, who are set as a mark for the arrow.

Prelates cannot please everyone since they are bound by their office not only to convince but also to rebuke and sometimes even to suspend and to bind. Thus they frequently incur the hatred of many people and risk ambushes.

Therefore the holy fathers have wisely decreed that accusations against prelates should not be admitted readily, without careful provision being taken to shut the door not only to false but also to malicious accusations, lest with the columns being shaken the building itself collapses.

They thus wished to ensure that prelates are not accused unjustly, and yet that at the same time they take care not to sin in an arrogant manner, finding a suitable medicine for each disease : namely, a criminal accusation which entails loss of status, that is to say degradation, shall in no wise be allowed unless it is preceded by a charge in lawful form. But when someone is so notorious for his offences that an outcry goes up which can no longer be ignored without scandal or be tolerated without danger, then without the slightest hesitation let action be taken to inquire into and punish his offences, not out of hate but rather out of charity. If the offence is grave, even though not involving his degradation, let him be removed from all administration, in accordance with the saying of the gospel that the steward is to be removed from his stewardship if he cannot give a proper account of it".

The person about whom the inquiry is being made ought to be present, unless he absents himself out of contumacy. The articles of the inquiry should be shown to him so that he may be able to defend himself. The names of witnesses as well as their depositions are to be made known to him so that both what has been said and by whom will be apparent; and legitimate exceptions and responses are to be admitted, lest the suppression of names leads to the bold bringing false charges and the exclusion of exceptions leads to false depositions being made.

A prelate should therefore act the more diligently in correcting the offences of his subjects in proportion as he would be worthy of condemnation were he to leave them uncorrected. Notorious cases aside, he may proceed against them in three ways : namely, by accusation, denunciation and inquest. Let careful precaution nevertheless be taken in all cases lest serious loss is incurred for the sake of a small gain. Thus, just as a charge in lawful form ought to precede the accusation, so a charitable warning ought to precede the denunciation, and the publication of the charge ought to precede the inquest, with the principle always being observed that the form of the sentence shall accord with the rules of legal procedure. We do not think, however, that this order needs to be observed in all respects as regards regulars, who can be more easily and freely removed from their offices by their own superiors, when the case requires it.

9. On different rites within the same faith

Since in many places peoples of different languages live within the same city or diocese, having one faith but different rites and customs, we therefore strictly order bishops of such cities and dioceses to provide suitable men who will do the following in the various rites and languages : celebrate the divine services for them, administer the church's sacraments, and instruct them by word and example. We altogether forbid one and the same city or diocese to have more than one bishop, as if it were a body with several heads like a monster. But if for the aforesaid reasons urgent necessity demands it, the bishop of the place may appoint, after careful deliberation, a catholic bishop who is appropriate for the nations in question and who will be his vicar in the aforesaid matters and will be obedient and subject to him in all things. If any such person behaves otherwise, let him know that he has been struck by the sword of excommunication and if he does not return to his senses let him be deposed from every ministry in the church, with the secular arm being called in if necessary to quell such great insolence.

10. On appointing preachers

Among the various things that are conducive to the salvation of the christian people, the nourishment of God's word is recognized to be especially necessary, since just as the body is fed with material food so the soul is fed with spiritual food, according to the words, man lives not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It often happens that bishops by themselves are not sufficient to minister the word of God to the people, especially in large and scattered dioceses, whether this is because of their many occupations or bodily infirmities or because of incursions of the enemy or for other reasons-let us not say for lack of knowledge, which in bishops is to be altogether condemned and is not to be tolerated in the future. We therefore decree by this general constitution that bishops are to appoint suitable men to carry out with profit this duty of sacred preaching, men who are powerful in word and deed and who will visit with care the peoples entrusted to them in place of the bishops, since these by themselves are unable to do it, and will build them up by word and example. The bishops shall suitably furnish them with what is necessary, when they are in need of it, lest for want of necessities they are forced to abandon what they have begun. We therefore order that there be appointed in both cathedral and other conventual churches suitable men whom the bishops can have as coadjutors and cooperators not only in the office of preaching but also in hearing confessions and enjoining penances and in other matters which are conducive to the salvation of souls. If anyone neglects to do this, let him be subject to severe punishment.

11. On schoolmasters for the poor

Zeal for learning and the opportunity to make progress is denied to some through lack of means. The Lateran council therefore dutifully decreed that "in each cathedral church there should be provided a suitable benefice for a master who shall instruct without charge the clerics of the cathedral church and other poor scholars, thus at once satisfying the teacher's needs and opening up the way of knowledge to learners". This decree, however, is very little observed in many churches. We therefore confirm it and add that not only in every cathedral church but also in other churches with sufficient resources, a suitable master elected by the chapter or by the greater and sounder part of it, shall be appointed by the prelate to teach grammar and other branches of study, as far as is possible, to the clerics of those and other churches. The metropolitan church shall have a theologian to teach scripture to priests and others and especially to instruct them in matters which are recognized as pertaining to the cure of souls. The income of one prebend shall be assigned by the chapter to each master, and as much shall be assigned by the metropolitan to the theologian. The incumbent does not by this become a canon but he receives the income of one as long as he continues to teach. If the metropolitan church finds providing for two masters a burden, let it provide for the theologian in the aforesaid way but get adequate provision made for the grammarian in another church of the city or diocese.

12. On general chapters of monks

In every kingdom or province let there be held every three years, saving the right of diocesan bishops, a general chapter of those abbots, and priors who do not have abbots over them, who have not been accustomed to hold one. All should attend, unless they have a canonical impediment, at one of the monasteries which is suitable for the purpose; with this limitation, that none of them brings with him more than six mounts and eight persons. Let them invite in charity, at the start of this innovation, two neighbouring Cistercian abbots to give them appropriate advice and help, since from long practice the Cistercians are well informed about holding such chapters. The two abbots shall then coopt without opposition two suitable persons from among them. The four of them shall then preside over the whole chapter, in such a way however that none of them assumes the leadership; so that they can if necessary be changed after careful deliberation. This kind of chapter shall be held continuously over a certain number of days, according to Cistercian custom. They shall treat carefully of the reform of the order and the observance of the rule. What has been decided, with the approval of the four presiding, is to be observed inviolably by all without any excuse or contradiction or appeal. They shall also decide where the next chapter is to be held. Those attending shall lead a common life and divide out proportionately all the common expenses. If they cannot all live in the same house, let them at least live in groups in various houses.

Let religious and circumspect persons be appointed at the chapter who will make it their business to visit on our behalf all the abbeys of the kingdom or province, of both monks and nuns, according to the manner prescribed for them. Let them correct and reform what seems to need correction and reform. Thus if they know of the superior of a place who should certainly be removed from office, let them denounce the person to the bishop concerned so that he may see to his or her removal. If the bishop will not do this, let the visitors themselves refer the matter to the apostolic see for examination. We wish and command canons regular to observe this according to their order. If there emerges out of this innovation any difficulty that cannot be resolved by the aforesaid persons, let it be referred, without offence being given, to the judgment of the apostolic see; but let the other matters, about which after careful deliberation they were in agreement, be observed without breach.

Diocesan bishops, moreover, should take care to reform the monasteries under their jurisdiction, so that when the aforesaid visitors arrive they will find in them more to commend than to correct. Let them be very careful lest the said monasteries are weighed down by them with unjust burdens, for just as we wish the rights of superiors to be upheld so we do not wish to support wrongs done to subjects. Furthermore, we strictly command both diocesan bishops and those who preside at chapters to restrain by ecclesiastical censure, without appeal, advocates, patrons, lords' deputies, governors, officials, magnates, knights, and any other people, from daring to cause harm to monasteries in respect of their persons and their goods. Let them not fail to compel such persons, if by chance they do cause harm, to make satisfaction, so that almighty God may be served more freely and more peacefully.

13. A prohibition against new religious orders

Lest too great a variety of religious orders leads to grave confusion in God's church, we strictly forbid anyone henceforth to found a new religious order. Whoever wants to become a religious should enter one of the already approved orders. Likewise, whoever wishes to found a new religious house should take the rule and institutes from already approved religious orders. We forbid, moreover, anyone to attempt to have a place as a monk in more than one monastery or an abbot to preside over more than one monastery.

14. Clerical incontinence

In order that the morals and conduct of clerics may be reformed for the better, let all of them strive to live in a continent and chaste way, especially those in holy orders. Let them beware of every vice involving lust, especially that on account of which the wrath of God came down from heaven upon the sons of disobedience, so that they may be worthy to minister in the sight of almighty God with a pure heart and an unsullied body. Lest the ease of receiving pardon prove an incentive to sin, we decree that those who are caught giving way to the vice of incontinence are to be punished according to canonical sanctions, in proportion to the seriousness of their sins. We order such sanctions to be effectively and strictly observed, in order that those whom the fear of God does not hold back from evil may at least be restrained from sin by temporal punishment. Therefore anyone who has been suspended for this reason and presumes to celebrate divine services, shall not only be deprived of his ecclesiastical benefices but shall also, on account of his twofold fault, be deposed in perpetuity. Prelates who dare to support such persons in their wickedness, especially if they do it for money or for some other temporal advantage, are to be subject to like punishment. Those clerics who have not renounced the marriage bond, following the custom of their region, shall be punished even more severely if they fall into sin, since for them it is possible to make lawful use of matrimony.

15. Clerical gluttony and drunkeness

All clerics should carefully abstain from gluttony and drunkenness. They should temper the wine to themselves and themselves to the wine. Let no one be urged to drink, since drunkenness obscures the intellect and stirs up lust. Accordingly we decree that that abuse is to be entirely abolished whereby in some places drinkers bind themselves to drink equal amounts, and that man is most praised who makes the most people drunk and himself drains the deepest cups. If anyone shows himself worthy of blame in these matters, let him be suspended from his benefice or office, unless after being warned by his superior he makes suitable satisfaction. We forbid all clerics to hunt or to fowl, so let them not presume to have dogs or birds for fowling {4} .

16. Decorum in the dress and behaviour of clerics

Clerics should not practice callings or business of a secular nature, especially those that are dishonourable. They should not watch mimes, entertainers and actors. Let them avoid taverns altogether, unless by chance they are obliged by necessity on a journey. They should not play at games of chance or of dice, nor be present at such games. They should have a suitable crown and tonsure, and let them diligently apply themselves to the divine services and other good pursuits. Their outer garments should be closed and neither too short nor too long. Let them not indulge in red or green cloths, long sleeves or shoes with embroidery or pointed toes, or in bridles, saddles, breast-plates and spurs that are gilded or have other superfluous ornamentation. Let them not wear cloaks with sleeves at divine services in a church, nor even elsewhere, if they are priests or parsons, unless a justifiable fear requires a change of dress. They are not to wear buckles or belts ornamented with gold or silver, or even rings except for those whose dignity it befits to have them. All bishops should wear outer garments of linen in public and in church, unless they have been monks, in which case they should wear the monastic habit; and let them not wear their cloaks loose in public but rather fastened together behind the neck or across the chest.

17. Dissolute prelates

We regretfully relate that not only certain lesser clerics but also some prelates of churches pass almost half the night in unnecessary feasting and forbidden conversation, not to mention other things, and leaving what is left of the night for sleep, they are barely roused at the dawn chorus of the birds and pass away the entire morning in a continuous state of stupor. There are others who celebrate mass barely four times a year and, what is worse, do not bother to attend; if they happen to be present when it is being celebrated, they flee the silence of the choir and pay attention to conversations of the laity outside and so while they attend to talk that is unnecessary for them, they do not give an attentive ear to the things of God. We altogether forbid these and similar things on pain of suspension. We strictly command such persons, in virtue of obedience, to celebrate the divine office, day and night alike, as far as God allows them, with both zeal and devotion.

18. Clerics to dissociate from shedding-blood

No cleric may decree or pronounce a sentence involving the shedding of blood, or carry out a punishment involving the same, or be present when such punishment is carried out. If anyone, however, under cover of this statute, dares to inflict injury on churches or ecclesiastical persons, let him be restrained by ecclesiastical censure. A cleric may not write or dictate letters which require punishments involving the shedding of blood, in the courts of princes this responsibility should be entrusted to laymen and not to clerics. Moreover no cleric may be put in command of mercenaries or crossbowmen or suchlike men of blood; nor may a subdeacon, deacon or priest practise the art of surgery, which involves cauterizing and making incisions; nor may anyone confer a rite of blessing or consecration on a purgation by ordeal of boiling or cold water or of the red-hot iron, saving nevertheless the previously promulgated prohibitions regarding single combats and duels.

19. That profane objects may not be stored in churches

We are unwilling to tolerate the fact that certain clerics deposit in churches their own and even others' furniture, so that the churches look like lay houses rather than basilicas of God, regardless of the fact that the Lord would not allow a vessel to be carried through the temple. There are others who not only leave their churches uncared for but also leave the service vessels and ministers' vestments and altar cloths and even corporals so dirty that they at times horrify some people. Because zeal for God's house consumes us, we strictly forbid objects of this kind to be allowed into churches, unless they have to be taken in on account of enemy incursions or sudden fires or other urgent necessities, and then in such a way that when the emergency is over the objects are taken back to where they came from. We also order the aforesaid churches, vessels, corporals and vestments to be kept neat and clean. For it seems too absurd to take no notice of squalor in sacred things when it is unbecoming even in profane things.

20. Chrism and the Eucharist to be kept under lock and key

We decree that the chrism and the eucharist are to be kept locked away in a safe place in all churches, so that no audacious hand can reach them to do anything horrible or impious. If he who is responsible for their safe-keeping leaves them around carelessly, let him be suspended from office for three months; if anything unspeakable happens on account of his carelessness, let him be subject to graver punishment.

21. On yearly confession to one's own priest, yearly communion, the confessional seal

All the faithful of either sex, after they have reached the age of discernment, should individually confess all their sins in a faithful manner to their own priest at least once a year, and let them take care to do what they can to perform the penance imposed on them. Let them reverently receive the sacrament of the eucharist at least at Easter unless they think, for a good reason and on the advice of their own priest, that they should abstain from receiving it for a time. Otherwise they shall be barred from entering a church during their lifetime and they shall be denied a christian burial at death. Let this salutary decree be frequently published in churches, so that nobody may find the pretence of an excuse in the blindness of ignorance. If any persons wish, for good reasons, to confess their sins to another priest let them first ask and obtain the permission of their own priest; for otherwise the other priest will not have the power to absolve or to bind them. The priest shall be discerning and prudent, so that like a skilled doctor he may pour wine and oil over the wounds of the injured one. Let him carefully inquire about the circumstances of both the sinner and the sin, so that he may prudently discern what sort of advice he ought to give and what remedy to apply, using various means to heal the sick person. Let him take the utmost care, however, not to betray the sinner at all by word or sign or in any other way. If the priest needs wise advice, let him seek it cautiously without any mention of the person concerned. For if anyone presumes to reveal a sin disclosed to him in confession, we decree that he is not only to be deposed from his priestly office but also to be confined to a strict monastery to do perpetual penance.

22. Physicians of the body to advise patients to call physicians of the soul

As sickness of the body may sometimes be the result of sin -- as the Lord said to the sick man whom he had cured, Go and sin no more, lest something worse befall you -- so we by this present decree order and strictly command physicians of the body, when they are called to the sick, to warn and persuade them first of all to call in physicians of the soul so that after their spiritual health has been seen to they may respond better to medicine for their bodies, for when the cause ceases so does the effect. This among other things has occasioned this decree, namely that some people on their sickbed, when they are advised by physicians to arrange for the health of their souls, fall into despair and so the more readily incur the danger of death. If any physician transgresses this our constitution, after it has been published by the local prelates, he shall be barred from entering a church until he has made suitable satisfaction for a transgression of this kind. Moreover, since the soul is much more precious than the body, we forbid any physician, under pain of anathema, to prescribe anything for the bodily health of a sick person that may endanger his soul.

23. Churches are to be without a prelate for no more than 3 months

Lest a rapacious wolf attack the Lord's flock for want of a shepherd, or lest a widowed church suffer grave injury to its good, we decree, desiring to counteract the danger to souls in this matter and to provide protection for the churches, that a cathedral church or a church of the regular clergy is not to remain without a prelate for more than three months. If the election has not been held within this time, provided there is no just impediment, then those who ought to have made the election are to lose the power to elect for that time and it is to devolve upon the person who is recognized as the immediate superior. The person upon whom the power has devolved, mindful of the Lord, shall not delay beyond three months in canonically providing the widowed church, with the advice of his chapter and of other prudent men, with a suitable person from the same church, or from another if a worthy candidate cannot be found in the former, if he wishes to avoid canonical penalty.

24. Democratic election of pastors

On account of the various forms of elections which some try to invent, there arise many difficulties and great dangers for the bereaved churches. We therefore decree that at the holding of an election, when all are present who ought to, want to and conveniently can take part, three trustworthy persons shall be chosen from the college who will diligently find out, in confidence and individually, the opinions of everybody. After they have committed the result to writing, they shall together quickly announce it. There shall be no further appeal, so that after a scrutiny that person shall be elected upon whom all or the greater or sounder part of the chapter agree. Or else the power of electing shall be committed to some suitable persons who, acting on behalf of everybody, shall provide the bereaved church with a pastor. Otherwise the election made shall not be valid, unless perchance it was made by all together as if by divine inspiration and without flaw. Those who attempt to make an election contrary to the aforesaid forms shall be deprived of the power of electing on that occasion. We absolutely forbid anyone to appoint a proxy in the matter of an election, unless he is absent from the place where he ought to receive the summons and is detained from coming by a lawful impediment. He shall take an oath about this, if necessary, and then he may commit his representation to one of the college, if he so wishes. We also condemn clandestine elections and order that as soon as an election has taken place it should be solemnly published.

25. Invalid elections

Whoever presumes to consent to his being elected through abuse of the secular power, against canonical freedom, both forfeits the benefit of being elected and becomes ineligible, and he cannot be elected to any dignity without a dispensation. Those who venture to take part in elections of this kind, which we declare to be invalid by the law itself, shall be suspended from their offices and benefices for three years and during that time shall be deprived of the power to elect.

26. Nominees for prelatures to be carefully screened

There is nothing more harmful to God's church than for unworthy prelates to be entrusted with the government of souls. Wishing therefore to provide the necessary remedy for this disease, we decree by this irrevocable constitution that when anyone has been entrusted with the government of souls, then he who holds the right to confirm him should diligently examine both the process of the election and the character of the person elected, so that when everything is in order he may confirm him. For, if confirmation was granted in advance when everything was not in order, then not only would the person improperly promoted have to be rejected but also the author of the improper promotion would have to be punished. We decree that the latter shall be punished in the following way : if his negligence has been proved, especially if he has approved a man of insufficient learning or dishonest life or unlawful age, he shall not only lose the power of confirming the person's first successor but shall also, lest by any chance he escapes punishment, be suspended from receiving the fruits of his own benefice until it is right for him to be granted a pardon. If he is convicted of having erred intentionally in the matter, then he is to be subject to graver punishment.

Bishops too, if they wish to avoid canonical punishment, should take care to promote to holy orders and to ecclesiastical dignities men who will be able to discharge worthily the office entrusted to them. Those who are immediately subject to the Roman pontiff shall, to obtain confirmation of their office, present themselves personally to him, if this can conveniently be done, or send suitable persons through whom a careful inquiry can be made about the process of the election and the persons elected. In this way, on the strength of the pontiff's informed judgment, they may finally enter into the fullness of their office, when there is no impediment in canon law. For a time, however, those who are in very distant parts, namely outside Italy, if they were elected peaceably, may by dispensation, on account of the needs and benefit of the churches, administer in things spiritual and temporal, but in such a way that they alienate nothing whatever of the church's goods. They may receive the customary consecration or blessing.

27. Candidates for the priesthood to be carefully trained and scrutinized

To guide souls is a supreme art. We therefore strictly order bishops carefully to prepare those who are to be promoted to the priesthood and to instruct them, either by themselves or through other suitable persons, in the divine services and the sacraments of the church, so that they may be able to celebrate them correctly. But if they presume henceforth to ordain the ignorant and unformed, which can indeed easily be detected, we decree that both the ordainers and those ordained are to be subject to severe punishment. For it is preferable, especially in the ordination of priests, to have a few good ministers than many bad ones, for if a blind man leads another blind man, both will fall into the pit.

28. Who asks to resign must resign

Certain persons insistently ask for permission to resign and obtain it, but then do not resign. Since in such a request to resign they would seem to have in mind either the good of the churches over which they preside or their own well-being, neither of which do we wish to be impeded either by the arguments of any people seeking their own interests or even by a certain fickleness, we therefore decree that such persons are to be compelled to resign.

29. Multiple benefices require papal dispensation

With much foresight it was forbidden in the Lateran council for anyone to receive several ecclesiastical dignities and several parish churches, contrary to the regulations of the sacred canons, on pain of both the recipient losing what he had received and the conferrer being deprived of the power to confer. On account of the presumption and covetousness of certain persons, however, none or little fruit is resulting from this statute. We therefore, desiring to remedy the situation more clearly and expressly, ordain by this present decree that whoever receives any benefice with the cure of souls attached, if he was already in possession of such a benefice, shall be deprived by the law itself of the benefice held first, and if perchance he tries to retain this he shall also be deprived of the second benefice. Moreover, the person who has the right to confer the first benefice may freely bestow it, after the recipient has obtained a second benefice, on someone who seems to deserve it. If he delays in conferring it beyond three months, however, then not only is the collation to devolve upon another person, according to the statute of the Lateran council, but also he shall be compelled to assign to the use of the church belonging to the benefice as much of his own income as is established as having been received from the benefice while it was vacant. We decree that the same is to be observed with regard to parsonages adding that nobody shall presume to hold several dignities or parsonages in the same church even if they do not have the cure of souls. As for exalted and lettered persons, however, who should be honoured with greater benefices, it is possible for them to be dispensed by the apostolic see, when reason demands it.

30. Penalties for bestowing ecclesiatical benefices on the unworthy

It is very serious and absurd that prelates of churches, when they can promote suitable men to ecclesiastical benefices, are not afraid to choose unworthy men who lack both learning and honesty of behaviour and who follow the urgings of the flesh rather than the judgment of reason. Nobody of a sound mind is ignorant of how much damage to churches arises from this. Wishing therefore to remedy this ill, we order that they pass over unworthy persons and appoint suitable persons who are willing and able to offer a pleasing service to God and to the churches, and that careful inquiry be made about this each year at the provincial council. Therefore he who has been found guilty after a first and second correction is to be suspended from conferring benefices by the provincial council, and a prudent and honest person is to be appointed at the same council to make up for the suspended person's failure in this matter. The same is to be observed with regard to chapters who offend in these matters. The offence of a metropolitan, however, shall be left by the council to be reported to the judgment of the superior. In order that this salutary provision may have fuller effect, a sentence of suspension of this kind may not be relaxed at all without the authority of the Roman pontiff or of the appropriate patriarch, so that in this too the four patriarchal sees shall be specially honoured.

31. Canons' sons cannot be canons where their fathers are

In order to abolish a very bad practice that has grown up in many churches, we strictly forbid the sons of canons, especially if they are illegitimate, to become canons in the secular churches in which their fathers hold office. If the contrary is attempted, we declare it to be invalid. Those who attempt to make such persons canons are to be suspended from their benefices.

32. Parish priests to have adequate incomes

There has grown up in certain parts a vicious custom which should be eradicated, namely that patrons of parish churches and certain other people claim the incomes from the churches wholly for themselves and leave to the priests, for the appointed services, such a small portion that they cannot live fittingly on it. For in some regions, as we have learnt for certain, parish priests receive for their sustenance only a quarter of a quarter, that is to say a sixteenth, of the tithes. Whence it comes about in these regions that almost no parish priest can be found who is even moderately learned. As the mouth of the ox should not be muzzled when it is treading out the grain, and he who serves at the altar should live from it, we therefore decree that, notwithstanding any custom of a bishop or a patron or anyone else, a sufficient portion is to be assigned to the priest. He who has a parish church is to serve it not through a vicar but in person, in the due form which the care of that church requires, unless by chance the parish church is annexed to a prebend or a dignity. In that case we allow that he who has such a prebend or dignity should make it his business, since he must serve in the greater church, to have a suitable and permanent vicar canonically instituted in the parish church; and the latter is to have, as has been said, a fitting portion from the revenues of the church. Otherwise let him know that by the authority of this decree he is deprived of the parish church, which is freely to be conferred on someone else who is willing and able to do what has been said. We utterly forbid anyone to dare deceitfully to confer a pension on another person, as it were as a benefice, from the revenues of a church which has to maintain its own priest.

33. Renumeration for visitations to be reasonable

Procurations which are due, by reason of a visitation, to bishops, archdeacons or any other persons, as well as to legates or nuncios of the apostolic see, should by no means be exacted, without a clear and necessary reason, unless the visitations were carried out in person, and then let them observe the moderation in transport and retinue laid down in the Lateran council. We add the following moderation with regard to legates and nuncios of the apostolic see : that when it is necessary for them to stay in any place, and in order that the said place may not be burdened too much on their behalf, they may receive moderate procurations from other churches and persons that have not yet been burdened with procurations of their own, on condition that the number of procurations does-not exceed the number of days in the stay; and when any of the churches or persons have not sufficient means of their own, two or more of them may be combined into one. Those who exercise the office of visitation, moreover, shall not seek their own interests but rather those of Jesus Christ, by devoting themselves to preaching and exhortation, to correction and reformation, so that they may bring back fruit which does not perish. He who dares to do the contrary shall both restore what he has received and pay a like amount in compensation to the church which he has thus burdened.

34. Prelates forbidden to procure ecclesiastical services at a profit

Many prelates, in order to meet the cost of a procuration or some service to a legate or some other person, extort from their subjects more than they pay out, and in trying to extract a profit from their losses they look for booty rather than help in their subjects. We forbid this to happen in the future. If by chance anyone does attempt it, he shall restore what he has extorted and be compelled to give the same amount to the poor. The superior to whom a complaint about this has been submitted shall suffer canonical punishment if he is negligent in executing this statute.

35. On appeal procedures

In order that due honour may be given to judges and consideration be shown to litigants in the matter of trouble and expenses, we decree that when somebody sues an adversary before the competent judge, he shall not appeal to a superior judge before judgment has been given, without a reasonable cause; but rather let him proceed with his suit before the lower judge, without it being possible for him to obstruct by saying that he sent a messenger to a superior judge or even procured letters from him before they were assigned to the delegated judge. When, however, he thinks that he has reasonable cause for appealing and has stated the probable grounds of the appeal before the same judge, such namely that if they were proved they would be reckoned legitimate, the superior judge shall examine the appeal. If the latter thinks the appeal is unreasonable, he shall send the appellant back to the lower judge and sentence him to pay the costs of the other party; otherwise he shall go ahead, saving however the canons about major cases being referred to the apostolic see.

36. On interlocutory sentences

Since the effect ceases when the cause ceases, we decree that if an ordinary judge or a judge delegate has pronounced a comminatory or an interlocutory sentence which would prejudice one of the litigants if its execution was ordered, and then acting on good advice refrains from putting it into effect, he shall proceed freely in hearing the case, notwithstanding any appeal made against such a comminatory or interlocutory sentence, provided he is not open to suspicion for some other legitimate reason. This is so that the process is not held up for frivolous reasons.

37. On Summons by Apostolic Letter

Some people, abusing the favour of the apostolic see, try to obtain letters from it summoning people to distant judges, so that the defendant, wearied by the labour and expense of the action, is forced to give in or to buy off the importunate bringer of the action. A trial should not open the way to injustices that are forbidden by respect for the law. We therefore decree that nobody may be summoned by apostolic letters to a trial that is more than two days' journey outside his diocese, unless the letters were procured with the agreement of both parties or expressly mention this constitution. There are other people who, turning to a new kind of trade, in order to revive complaints that are dormant or to introduce new questions, make up suits for which they procure letters from the apostolic see without authorization from their superiors. They then offer the letters for sale either to the defendant, in return for his not being vexed with trouble and expense on account of them, or to the plaintiff, in order that by means of them he may wear out his adversary with undue distress. Lawsuits should be limited rather than encouraged. We therefore decree by this general constitution that if anyone henceforth presumes to seek apostolic letters on any matter without a special mandate from his superior, then the letters are invalid and he is to be punished as a forger, unless by chance persons are involved for whom a mandate should not in law be demanded.

38. Written records of trials to be kept

An innocent litigant can never prove the truth of his denial of a false assertion made by an unjust judge, since a denial by the nature of things does not constitute a direct proof. We therefore decree, lest falsehood prejudice truth or wickedness prevail over justice, that in both ordinary and extraordinary trials the judge shall always employ either a public official, if he can find one, or two suitable men to write down faithfully all the judicial acts -- that is to say the citations, adjournments, objections and exceptions, petitions and replies, interrogations, confessions, depositions of witnesses, productions of documents, interlocutions {5} , appeals, renunciations, final decisions and the other things that ought to be written down in the correct order -- stating the places, times and persons. Everything thus written down shall be given to the parties in question, but the originals shall remain with the scribes, so that if a dispute arises over how the judge conducted the case, the truth can be established from the originals. With this measure being applied, such deference will be paid to honest and prudent judges that justice for the innocent will not be harmed by imprudent and wicked judges. A judge who neglects to observe this constitution shall, if some difficulty arises from his negligence, be punished as he deserves by a superior judge; nor shall presumption be made in favour of his handling of the case except insofar as it accords with the legal documents.

39. On knowingly receiving stolen goods

It often happens, when a person has been unjustly robbed and the object has been transferred by the robber to a third party, that he is not helped by an action of restitution against the new possessor because he has lost the advantage of possession, and he loses in effect the right of ownership on account of the difficulty of proving his case. We therefore decree, notwithstanding the force of civil law, that if anyone henceforth knowingly receives such a thing, then the one robbed shall be favoured by his being awarded restitution against the one in possession. For the latter as it were succeeds the robber in his vice, inasmuch as there is not much difference, especially as regards danger to the soul, between unjustly hanging on to another's property and seizing it.

40. True owner is the true possessor even if not possessing the object for a year

It sometimes happens that when possession of something is awarded to the plaintiff in a suit, on account of the contumacy of the other party, yet because of force or fraud over the thing he is unable to obtain custody of it within a year, or having gained it he loses it. Thus the defendant profits from his own wickedness, because in the opinion of many the plaintiff does not qualify as the true possessor at the end of a year. Lest therefore a contumacious party is in a better position than an obedient one, we decree, in the name of canonical equity, that in the aforesaid case the plaintiff shall be established as the true possessor after the year has elapsed. Furthermore, we issue a general prohibition against promising to abide by the decision of a layman in spiritual matters, since it is not fitting for a layman to arbitrate in such matters.

41. No one is to knowingly prescribe an object to the wrong party

Since whatever does not proceed from faith is sin, and since in general any constitution or custom which cannot be observed without mortal sin is to be disregarded, we therefore define by this synodal judgment that no prescription, whether canonical or civil, is valid without good faith. It is therefore necessary that the person who prescribes should at no stage be aware that the object belongs to someone else.

42. Clerics and laity are not to usurp each others rights

Just as we desire lay people not to usurp the rights of clerics, so we ought to wish clerics not to lay claim to the rights of the laity. We therefore forbid every cleric henceforth to extend his jurisdiction, under pretext of ecclesiastical freedom, to the prejudice of secular justice. Rather, let him be satisfied with the written constitutions and customs hitherto approved, so that the things of Caesar may be rendered unto Caesar, and the things of God may be rendered unto God by a right distribution.

43. Clerics cannot be forced to take oaths of fealty to those from whom they hold no temporalities

Certain laymen try to encroach too far upon divine right when they force ecclesiastics who do not hold any temporalities from them to take oaths of fealty to them. Since a servant stands or falls with his Lord, according to the Apostle, we therefore forbid, on the authority of this sacred council, that such clerics be forced to take an oath of this kind to secular persons.

44. Only clerics may dispose of church property

Lay people, however devout, have no power to dispose of church property. Their lot is to obey, not to be in command. We therefore grieve that charity is growing cold in some of them so that they are not afraid to attack through their ordinances, or rather their fabrications, the immunity of ecclesiastical freedom, which has in the past been protected with many privileges not only by holy fathers but also by secular princes. They do this not only by alienating fiefs and other possessions of the church and by usurping jurisdictions but also by illegally laying hands on mortuaries and other things which are seen to belong to spiritual justice. We wish to ensure the immunity of churches in these matters and to provide against such great injuries. We therefore decree, with the approval of this sacred council, that ordinances of this kind and claims to fiefs or other goods of the church, made by way of a decree of the lay power, without the proper consent of ecclesiastical persons, are invalid since they can be said to be not laws but rather acts of destitution or destruction and usurpations of jurisdiction. Those who dare to do these things are to be restrained by ecclesiastical censure.

45. Penalties for patrons who steal church goods or physically harm their clerics

Patrons of churches, lords' deputies and advocates have displayed such arrogance in some provinces that they not only introduce difficulties and evil designs when vacant churches ought to be provided with suitable pastors, but they also presume to dispose of the possessions and other goods of the church as they like and, what is dreadful to relate, they are not afraid to set about killing prelates. What was devised for protection should not be twisted into a means of repression. We therefore expressly forbid patrons, advocates and lords' deputies henceforth to appropriate more in the aforesaid matters than is permitted in law. If they dare to do the contrary, let them be curbed with the most severe canonical penalties. We decree, moreover, with the approval of this sacred council, that if patrons or advocates or feudatories or lords' deputies or other persons with benefices venture with unspeakable daring to kill or to mutilate, personally or through others, the rector of any church or other cleric of that church, then the patron shall lose completely his right of patronage, the advocate his advocation, the feudatory his fief, the lord's deputy his deputyship and the beneficed person his benefice. And lest the punishment be remembered for less time than the crime, nothing of the aforesaid shall descend to their heirs, and their posterity to the fourth generation shall in nowise be admitted into a college of clerics or to hold the honour of any prelacy in a religious house, except when out of mercy they are dispensed to do so.

46. Taxes cannot be levied on the Church, but the Church can volunteer contributions for the common good

The Lateran council, wishing to provide for the immunity of the church against officials and governors of cities and other persons who seek to oppress churches and churchmen with tallages and taxes and other exactions, forbade such presumption under pain of anathema. It ordered transgressors and their supporters to be excommunicated until they made adequate satisfaction. If at some time, however, a bishop together with his clergy foresee so great a need or advantage that they consider, without any compulsion, that subsidies should be given by the churches, for the common good or the common need, when the resources of the laity are not sufficient, then the above-mentioned laymen may receive them humbly and devoutly and with thanks. On account of the imprudence of some, however, the Roman pontiff, whose business it is to provide for the common good, should be consulted beforehand. We add, moreover, since the malice of some against God's church has not abated, that the ordinances and sentences promulgated by such excommunicated persons, or on their orders, are to be deemed null and void and shall never be valid. Since fraud and deceit should not protect anyone, let nobody be deceived by false error to endure an anathema during his term of government as though he is not obliged to make satisfaction afterwards. For we decree that both he who has refused to make satisfaction and his successor, if he does not make satisfaction within a month, is to remain bound by ecclesiastical censure until he makes suitable satisfaction, since he who succeeds to a post also succeeds to its responsibilities.

47. On unjust excommunication

With the approval of this sacred council, we forbid anyone to promulgate a sentence of excommunication on anyone, unless an adequate warning has been given beforehand in the presence of suitable persons, who can if necessary testify to the warning. If anyone dares to do the contrary, even if the sentence of excommunication is just, let him know that he is forbidden to enter a church for one month and he is to be punished with another penalty if this seems expedient. Let him carefully avoid proceeding to excommunicate anyone without manifest and reasonable cause. If he does so proceed and, on being humbly requested, does not take care to revoke the process without imposing punishment, then the injured person may lodge a complaint of unjust excommunication with a superior judge. The latter shall then send the person back to the judge who excommunicated him, if this can be done without the danger of a delay, with orders that he is to be absolved within a suitable period of time. If the danger of delay cannot be avoided, the task of absolving him shall be carried out by the superior judge, either in person or through someone else, as seems expedient, after he has obtained adequate guarantees.

Whenever it is established that the judge pronounced an unjust excommunication, he shall be condemned to make compensation for damages to the one excommunicated, and be nonetheless punished in another way at the discretion of the superior judge if the nature of the fault calls for it, since it is not a trivial fault to inflict so great a punishment on an innocent person -- unless by chance he erred for reasons that are credible -- especially if the person is of praiseworthy repute. But if nothing reasonable is proved against the sentence of excommunication by the one making the complaint, then the complainant shall be condemned in punishment, for the unreasonable trouble caused by his complaint, to make compensation or in some other way according to the discretion of the superior judge, unless by chance his error was based on something that is credible and so excuses him; and he shall moreover be compelled upon a pledge to make satisfaction in the matter for which he was justly excommunicated, or else he shall be subject again to the former sentence which is to be inviolably observed until full satisfaction has been made.

If the judge, however, recognizes his error and is prepared to revoke the sentence, but the person on whom it was passed appeals, for fear that the judge might revoke it without making satisfaction, then the appeal shall not be admitted unless the error is such that it may deserve to be questioned. Then the judge, after he has given sufficient security that he will appear in court before the person to whom the appeal had been made or one delegated by him, shall absolve the excommunicated person and thus shall not be subject to the prescribed punishment. Let the judge altogether beware, if he wishes to avoid strict canonical punishment, lest out of a perverse intention to harm someone he pretends to have made an error.

48. Challenging an ecclesiastical judge

Since a special prohibition has been made against anyone presuming to promulgate a sentence of excommunication against someone without adequate warning being given beforehand, we therefore wish to provide against the person warned being able, by means of a fraudulent objection or appeal, to escape examination by the one issuing the warning. We therefore decree that if the person alleges he holds the judge suspect, let him bring before the same judge an action of just suspicion; and he himself in agreement with his adversary (or with the judge, if he happens not to have an adversary) shall together choose arbiters or, if by chance they are unable to reach agreement together, he shall choose one arbiter and the other another, to take cognisance of the action of suspicion. If these cannot agree on a judgment they shall call in a third person so that what two of them decide upon shall have binding force. Let them know that they are bound to carry this out faithfully, in accordance with the command strictly enjoined by us in virtue of obedience and under the attestation of the divine judgment. If the action of suspicion is not proved in law before them within a suitable time, the judge shall exercise his jurisdiction; if the action is proved, then with the consent of the objector the challenged judge shall commit the matter to a suitable person or shall refer it to a superior judge so that he may conduct the matter as it should be conducted.

As for the person who has been warned but then hastens to make an appeal, if his offence is made manifest in law by the evidence of the case or by his own confession or in some other way, then provocation of this kind is not to be tolerated, since the remedy of an appeal was not established to defend wickedness but to protect innocence. If there is some doubt about his offence, then the appellant shall, lest he impedes the judge's action by the subterfuge of a frivolous appeal, set before the same judge the credible reason for his appeal, such namely that if it was proved it would be considered legitimate. Then if he has an adversary, let him proceed with his appeal within the time laid down by the same judge according to the distances, times and nature of the business involved. If he does not prosecute his appeal, the judge himself shall proceed notwithstanding the appeal. If the adversary does not appear when the judge is proceeding in virtue of his office, then once the reason for the appeal has been verified before the superior judge the latter shall exercise his jurisdiction. If the appellant fails to get the reason for his appeal verified, he shall be sent back to the judge from whom it has been established that he appealed maliciously. We do not wish the above two constitutions to be extended to regulars, who have their own special observances. '

49. Penalties for excommunication out of avarice

We absolutely forbid, under threat of the divine judgment, anyone to dare to bind anyone with the bond of excommunication, or to absolve anyone so bound, out of avarice. We forbid this especially in those regions where by custom an excommunicated person is punished by a money penalty when he is absolved. We decree that when it has been established that a sentence of excommunication was unjust, the excommunicator shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure to restore the money thus extorted, and shall pay as much again to his victim for the injury unless he was deceived by an understandable error. If perchance he is unable to pay, he shall be punished in some other way.

50. Prohibition of marriage is now perpetually restricted to the fourth degree

It should not be judged reprehensible if human decrees are sometimes changed according to changing circumstances, especially when urgent necessity or evident advantage demands it, since God himself changed in the new Testament some of the things which he had commanded in the old Testament. Since the prohibitions against contracting marriage in the second and third degree of affinity, and against uniting the offspring of a second marriage with the kindred of the first husband, often lead to difficulty and sometimes endanger souls, we therefore, in order that when the prohibition ceases the effect may also cease, revoke with the approval of this sacred council the constitutions published on this subject and we decree, by this present constitution, that henceforth contracting parties connected in these ways may freely be joined together. Moreover the prohibition against marriage shall not in future go beyond the fourth degree of consanguinity and of affinity, since the prohibition cannot now generally be observed to further degrees without grave harm. The number four agrees well with the prohibition concerning bodily union about which the Apostle says, that the husband does not rule over his body, but the wife does; and the wife does not rule over her body, but the husband does; for there are four humours in the body, which is composed of the four elements. Although the prohibition of marriage is now restricted to the fourth degree, we wish the prohibition to be perpetual, notwithstanding earlier decrees on this subject issued either by others or by us. If any persons dare to marry contrary to this prohibition, they shall not be protected by length of years, since the passage of time does not diminish sin but increases it, and the longer that faults hold the unfortunate soul in bondage the graver they are.

51. Clandestine marriages forbidden

Since the prohibition against marriage in the three remotest degrees has been revoked, we wish it to be strictly observed in the other degrees. Following in the footsteps of our predecessors, we altogether forbid clandestine marriages and we forbid any priest to presume to be present at such a marriage. Extending the special custom of certain regions to other regions generally, we decree that when marriages are to be contracted they shall be publicly announced in the churches by priests, with a suitable time being fixed beforehand within which whoever wishes and is able to may adduce a lawful impediment. The priests themselves shall also investigate whether there is any impediment. When there appears a credible reason why the marriage should not be contracted, the contract shall be expressly forbidden until there has been established from clear documents what ought to be done in the matter. If any persons presume to enter into clandestine marriages of this kind, or forbidden marriages within a prohibited degree, even if done in ignorance, the offspring of the union shall be deemed illegitimate and shall have no help from their parents' ignorance, since the parents in contracting the marriage could be considered as not devoid of knowledge, or even as affecters of ignorance.

Likewise the offspring shall be deemed illegitimate if both parents know of a legitimate impediment and yet dare to contract a marriage in the presence of the church, contrary to every prohibition. Moreover the parish priest who refuses to forbid such unions, or even any member of the regular clergy who dares to attend them, shall be suspended from office for three years and shall be punished even more severely if the nature of the fault requires it. Those who presume to be united in this way, even if it is within a permitted degree, are to be given a suitable penance. Anybody who maliciously proposes an impediment, to prevent a legitimate marriage, will not escape the church's vengeance.

52. On rejecting evidence from hearsay at a matrimonial suit

It was at one time decided out of a certain necessity, but contrary to the normal practice, that hearsay evidence should be valid in reckoning the degrees of consanguinity and affinity, because on account of the shortness of human life witnesses would not be able to testify from first-hand knowledge in a reckoning as far as the seventh degree. However, because we have learned from many examples and definite proofs that many dangers to lawful marriages have arisen from this, we have decided that in future witnesses from hearsay shall not be accepted in this matter, since the prohibition does not now exceed the fourth degree, unless there are persons of weight who are trustworthy and who learnt from their elders, before the case was begun, the things that they testify : not indeed from one such person since one would not suffice even if he or she were alive, but from two at least, and not from persons who are of bad repute and suspect but from those who are trustworthy and above every objection, since it would appear rather absurd to admit in evidence those whose actions would be rejected.

Nor should there be admitted in evidence one person who has learnt what he testifies from several, or persons of bad repute who have learnt what they testify from persons of good repute, as though they were more than one and suitable witnesses, since even according to the normal practice of courts the assertion of one witness does not suffice, even if he is a person resplendent with authority, and since legal actions are forbidden to persons of bad repute. The witnesses shall affirm on oath that in bearing witness in the case they are not acting from hatred or fear or love or for advantage; they shall designate the persons by their exact names or by pointing out or by sufficient description, and shall distinguish by a clear reckoning every degree of relationship on either side; and they shall include in their oath the statement that it was from their ancestors that they received what they are testifying and that they believe it to be true. They shall still not suffice unless they declare on oath that they have known that the persons who stand in at least one of the aforesaid degrees of relationship, regard each other as blood-relations. For it is preferable to leave alone some people who have been united contrary to human decrees than to separate, contrary to the Lord's decrees, persons who have been joined together legitimately.

53. On those who give their fields to others to be cultivated so as to avoid tithes

In some regions there are intermingled certain peoples who by custom, in accordance with their own rites, do not pay tithes, even though they are counted as christians. Some landlords assign their lands to them so that these lords may obtain greater revenues, by cheating the churches of the tithes. Wishing therefore to provide for the security of churches in these matters, we decree that when lords make over their lands to such persons in this way for cultivation, the lords must pay the tithes to the churches in full and without objection, and if necessary they shall be compelled to do so by ecclesiastical censure. Such tithes are indeed to be paid of necessity, inasmuch as they are owed in virtue of divine law or of approved local custom.

54. Tithes should be paid before taxes

It is not within human power that the seed should answer to the sower since, according to the saying of the Apostle, Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but rather he who gives the growth, namely God, who himself brings forth much fruit from the dead seed. Now, some people from excess of greed strive to cheat over tithes, deducting from crops and first-fruits the rents and dues, which meanwhile escape the payment of tithes. Since the Lord has reserved tithes unto himself as a sign of his universal lordship, by a certain special title as it were, we decree, wishing to prevent injury to churches and danger to souls, that in virtue of this general lordship the payment of tithes shall precede the exaction of dues and rents, or at least those who receive untithed rents and dues shall be forced by ecclesiastical censure, seeing that a thing carries with it its burden, to tithe them for the churches to which by right they are due.

55. Tithes are to be paid on lands acquired, notwithstanding privileges

Recently abbots of the Cistercian order, assembled in a general chapter, wisely decreed at our instance that the brethren of the order shall not in future buy possessions from which tithes are due to churches, unless by chance it is for founding new monasteries; and that if such possessions were given to them by the pious devotion of the faithful, or were bought for founding new monasteries, they would assign them for cultivation to other people, who would pay the tithes to the churches, lest the churches be further burdened on account of the Cistercians' privileges. We therefore decree that on lands assigned to others and on future acquisitions, even if they cultivate them with their own hands or at their own expense, they shall pay tithes to the churches which previously received the tithes from the lands, unless they decide to compound in another way with the churches. Since we consider this decree to be acceptable and right, we wish it to be extended to other regulars who enjoy similar privileges, and we order prelates of churches to be readier and more effectual in affording them full justice with regard to those who wrong them and to take pains to maintain their privileges more carefully and completely.

56. A parish priest shall not lose a tithe on account of some people making a pact

Many regulars, as we have learnt, and sometimes secular clerics, when letting houses or granting fiefs, add a pact, to the prejudice of the parish churches, to the effect that the tenants and vassals shall pay tithes to them and shall choose to be buried in their ground. We utterly reject pacts of this kind, since they are rooted in avarice, and we declare that whatever is received through them shall be returned to the parish churches.

57. Interpreting the words of privileges

In order that privileges which the Roman church has granted to certain religious may remain unimpaired, we have decided that certain things in them must be clarified lest through their not being well understood they lead to abuse, on account of which they could deservedly be revoked. For, a person deserves to lose a privilege if he abuses the power entrusted to him. The apostolic see has rightly granted an indult to certain regulars to the effect that ecclesiastical burial should not be refused to deceased members of their fraternity if the churches to which they belong happen to be under an interdict as regards divine services, unless the persons were excommunicated or interdicted by name, and that they may carry off for burial to their own churches their confraters whom prelates of churches will not allow to be buried in their own churches, unless the confraters have been excommunicated or interdicted by name.

However, we understand this to refer to confraters who have changed their secular dress and have been consecrated to the order while still alive, or who in their lifetime have given their property to them while retaining for themselves as long as they live the usufruct of it. Only such persons may be buried at the non-interdicted churches of these regulars and of others in which they have chosen to be buried. For if it were understood of any persons joining their fraternity for the annual payment of two or three pennies, ecclesiastical discipline would be loosened and brought into contempt. Even the latter may, however, obtain a certain remission granted to them by the apostolic see. It has also been granted to such regulars that if any of their brethren, whom they have sent to establish fraternities or to receive taxes, comes to a city or a castle or a village which is under an interdict as regards divine services, then churches may be opened once in the year at their "joyous entry" so that the divine services may be celebrated there, after excommunicated persons have been excluded.

We wish this to be understood as meaning that in a given city, castle or town one church only shall be opened for the brethren of a particular order, as mentioned above, once in the year. For although it was said in the plural that churches may be opened at their "joyous entry", this on a true understanding refers not to each individual church of a given place but rather to the churches of the aforesaid places taken together. Otherwise if they visited all the churches of a given place in this way, the sentence of interdict would be brought into too much contempt. Those who dare to usurp anything for themselves contrary to the above declarations shall be subjected to severe punishment.

58. On the same in favour of bishops

We wish to extend to bishops, in favour of the episcopal office, the indult which has already been given to certain religious. We therefore grant that when a country is under a general interdict, the bishops may sometimes celebrate the divine services, behind closed doors and in a lowered voice, without the ringing of bells, after excommunicated and interdicted persons have been excluded, unless this has been expressly forbidden to them. We grant this, however, to those bishops who have not given any cause for the interdict, lest they use guile or fraud of any sort and so turn a good thing into a damaging loss.

59. Religious cannot give surety without permission of his abbot and convent

We wish and order to be extended to all religious what has already been forbidden by the apostolic see to some of them : namely that no religious, without the permission of his abbot and the majority of his chapter, may stand surety for someone or accept a loan from another beyond a sum fixed by the common opinion. Otherwise the convent shall not be held responsible in any way for his actions, unless perchance the matter has clearly redounded to the benefit of his house. Anyone who presumes to act contrary to this statute shall be severely disciplined.

60. Abbots not to encroach on episcopal office

From the complaints which have reached us from bishops in various parts of the world, we have come to know of serious and great excesses of certain abbots who, not content with the boundaries of their own authority, stretch out their hands to things belonging to the episcopal dignity : hearing matrimonial cases, enjoining public penances, even granting letters of indulgences and like presumptions. It sometimes happens from this that episcopal authority is cheapened in the eyes of many. Wishing therefore to provide for both the dignity of bishops and the well-being of abbots in these matters, we strictly forbid by this present decree any abbot to reach out for such things, if he wishes to avoid danger for himself, unless by chance any of them can defend himself by a special concession or some other legitimate reason in respect of such things.

61. Religious may not receive tithes from lay hands

It was forbidden at the Lateran council, as is known, for any regulars to dare to receive churches or tithes from lay hands without the bishop's consent, or in any way to admit to the divine services those under excommunication or those interdicted by name. We now forbid it even more strongly and will take care to see that offenders are punished with condign penalties. We decree, nevertheless that in churches which do not belong to them by full right the regulars shall, in accordance with the statutes of that council, present to the bishop the priests who are to be instituted, for examination by him about the care of the people; but as for the priests' ability in temporal matters, the regulars shall furnish the proof unto themselves. Let them not dare to remove those who have been instituted without consulting the bishop. We add, indeed, that they should take care to present those who are either noted for their way of life or recommended by prelates on probable grounds.

62. Regarding saint's relics

The christian religion is frequently disparaged because certain people put saints' relics up for sale and display them indiscriminately. In order that it may not be disparaged in the future, we ordain by this present decree that henceforth ancient relics shall not be displayed outside a reliquary or be put up for sale. As for newly discovered relics, let no one presume to venerate them publicly unless they have previously been approved by the authority of the Roman pontiff. Prelates, moreover, should not in future allow those who come to their churches, in order to venerate, to be deceived by lying stories or false documents, as has commonly happened in many places on account of the desire for profit. We also forbid the recognition of alms-collectors, some of whom deceive other people by proposing various errors in their preaching, unless they show authentic letters from the apostolic see or from the diocesan bishop. Even then they shall not be permitted to put before the people anything beyond what is contained in the letters.

We have thought it good to show the form of letter which the apostolic see generally grants to alms-collectors, in order that diocesan bishops may follow it in their own letters. It is this : "Since, as the Apostle says, we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive according to what we have done in the body, whether it be good or bad, it behooves us to prepare for the day of the final harvest with works of mercy and to sow on earth, with a view to eternity, that which, with God returning it with multiplied fruit, we ought to collect in heaven; keeping a firm hope and confidence, since he who sows sparingly reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully unto eternal life. Since the resources of a hospital may not suffice for the support of the brethren and the needy who flock to it, we admonish and exhort all of you in the Lord, and enjoin upon you for the remission of your sins, to give pious alms and grateful charitable assistance to them, from the goods that God has bestowed upon you; so that their need may be cared for through your help, and you may reach eternal happiness through these and other good things which you may have done under God's inspiration. "

Let those who are sent to seek alms be modest and discreet, and let them not stay in taverns or other unsuitable places or incur useless or excessive expenses, being careful above all not to wear the garb of false religion. Moreover, because the keys of the church are brought into contempt and satisfaction through penance loses its force through indiscriminate and excessive indulgences, which certain prelates of churches do not fear to grant, we therefore decree that when a basilica is dedicated, the indulgence shall not be for more than one year, whether it is dedicated by one bishop or by more than one, and for the anniversary of the dedication the remission of penances imposed is not to exceed forty days. We order that the letters of indulgence, which are granted for various reasons at different times, are to fix this number of days, since the Roman pontiff himself, who possesses the plenitude of power, is accustomed to observe this moderation in such things.

63. On simony

As we have certainly learnt, shameful and wicked exactions and extortions are levied in many places and by many persons, who are like the sellers of doves in the temple, for the consecration of bishops, the blessing of abbots and the ordination of clerics. There is fixed how much is to be paid for this or that and for yet another thing. Some even strive to defend this disgrace and wickedness on the grounds of long-established custom, thereby heaping up for themselves still further damnation. Wishing therefore to abolish so great an abuse, we altogether reject such a custom which should rather be termed a corruption. We firmly decree that nobody shall dare to demand or extort anything under any pretext for the conferring of such things or for their having been conferred. Otherwise both he who receives and he who gives such an absolutely condemned payment shall be condemned with Gehazi and Simon.

64. Simony with regards to monks and nuns

The disease of simony has infected many nuns to such an extent that they admit scarcely any as sisters without a payment, wishing to cover this vice with the pretext of poverty. We utterly forbid this to happen in the future. We decree that whoever commits such wickedness in the future, both the one admitting and the one admitted, whether she be a subject or in authority, shall be expelled from her convent without hope of reinstatement, and be cast into a house of stricter observance to do perpetual penance. As regards those who were admitted in this way before this synodal statute, we have decided to provide that they be moved from the convents which they wrongly entered, and be placed in other houses of the same order. If perchance they are too numerous to be conveniently placed elsewhere, they may be admitted afresh to the same convent, by dispensation, after the prioress and lesser officials have been changed, lest they roam around in the world to the danger of their souls. We order the same to be observed with regard to monks and other religious. Indeed, lest such persons be able to excuse themselves on the grounds of simplicity or ignorance, we order diocesan bishops to have this decree published throughout their dioceses every year.

65. Simony and extortion

We have heard that certain bishops, on the death of rectors of churches, put these churches under an interdict and do not allow anyone to be instituted to them until they have been paid a certain sum of money. Moreover, when a knight or a cleric enters a religious house or chooses to be buried with religious, the bishops raise difficulties and obstacles until they receive something in the way of a present, even when the person has left nothing to the religious house. Since we should abstain not only from evil itself but also from every appearance of evil, as the Apostle says, we altogether forbid exactions of this kind. Any offender shall restore double the amount exacted, and this is to be faithfully used for the benefit of the places harmed by the exactions.

66. Simony and avarice in clerics

It has frequently been reported to the apostolic see that certain clerics demand and extort payments for funeral rites for the dead, the blessing of those marrying, and the like; and if it happens that their greed is not satisfied, they deceitfully set up false impediments. On the other hand some lay people, stirred by a ferment of heretical wickedness, strive to infringe a praiseworthy custom of holy church, introduced by the pious devotion of the faithful, under the pretext of canonical scruples. We therefore both forbid wicked exactions to be made in these matters and order pious customs to be observed, ordaining that the church's sacraments are to be given freely but also that those who maliciously try to change a praiseworthy custom are to be restrained, when the truth is known, by the bishop of the place.

67. Jews and excessive Usury

The more the christian religion is restrained from usurious practices, so much the more does the perfidy of the Jews grow in these matters, so that within a short time they are exhausting the resources of Christians. Wishing therefore to see that Christians are not savagely oppressed by Jews in this matter, we ordain by this synodal decree that if Jews in future, on any pretext, extort oppressive and excessive interest from Christians, then they are to be removed from contact with Christians until they have made adequate satisfaction for the immoderate burden. Christians too, if need be, shall be compelled by ecclesiastical censure, without the possibility of an appeal, to abstain from commerce with them. We enjoin upon princes not to be hostile to Christians on this account, but rather to be zealous in restraining Jews from so great oppression. We decree, under the same penalty, that Jews shall be compelled to make satisfaction to churches for tithes and offerings due to the churches, which the churches were accustomed to receive from Christians for houses and other possessions, before they passed by whatever title to the Jews, so that the churches may thus be preserved from loss.

68. Jews appearing in public

A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress -- seeing moreover that this was enjoined upon them by Moses himself, as we read. They shall not appear in public at all on the days of lamentation and on passion Sunday; because some of them on such days, as we have heard, do not blush to parade in very ornate dress and are not afraid to mock Christians who are presenting a memorial of the most sacred passion and are displaying signs of grief. What we most strictly forbid however, is that they dare in any way to break out in derision of the Redeemer. We order secular princes to restrain with condign punishment those who do so presume, lest they dare to blaspheme in any way him who was crucified for us, since we ought not to ignore insults against him who blotted out our wrongdoings.

69. Jews not to hold public offices

It would be too absurd for a blasphemer of Christ to exercise power over Christians. We therefore renew in this canon, on account of the boldness of the offenders, what the council of Toledo providently decreed in this matter : we forbid Jews to be appointed to public offices, since under cover of them they are very hostile to Christians. If, however, anyone does commit such an office to them let him, after an admonition, be curbed by the provincial council, which we order to be held annually, by means of an appropriate sanction. Any official so appointed shall be denied commerce with Christians in business and in other matters until he has converted to the use of poor Christians, in accordance with the directions of the diocesan bishop, whatever he has obtained from Christians by reason of his office so acquired, and he shall surrender with shame the office which he irreverently assumed. We extend the same thing to pagans.

70. Jewish converts may not retain their old rite

Certain people who have come voluntarily to the waters of sacred baptism, as we learnt, do not wholly cast off the old person in order to put on the new more perfectly. For, in keeping remnants of their former rite, they upset the decorum of the christian religion by such a mixing. Since it is written, cursed is he who enters the land by two paths, and a garment that is woven from linen and wool together should not be put on, we therefore decree that such people shall be wholly prevented by the prelates of churches from observing their old rite, so that those who freely offered themselves to the christian religion may be kept to its observance by a salutary and necessary coercion. For it is a lesser evil not to know the Lord's way than to go back on it after having known it.

71. Crusade to recover the holy Land

It is our ardent desire to liberate the holy Land from infidel hands. We therefore declare, with the approval of this sacred council and on the advice of prudent men who are fully aware of the circumstances of time and place, that crusaders are to make themselves ready so that all who have arranged to go by sea shall assemble in the kingdom of Sicily on 1 June after next : some as necessary and fitting at Brindisi and others at Messina and places neighbouring it on either side, where we too have arranged to be in person at that time, God willing, so that with our advice and help the christian army may be in good order to set out with divine and apostolic blessing. Those who have decided to go by land should also take care to be ready by the same date. They shall notify us meanwhile so that we may grant them a suitable legate a latere for advice and help. Priests and other clerics who will be in the christian army, both those under authority and prelates, shall diligently devote themselves to prayer and exhortation, teaching the crusaders by word and example to have the fear and love of God always before their eyes, so that they say or do nothing that might offend the divine majesty. If they ever fall into sin, let them quickly rise up again through true penitence.

Let them be humble in heart and in body, keeping to moderation both in food and in dress, avoiding altogether dissensions and rivalries, and putting aside entirely any bitterness or envy, so that thus armed with spiritual and material weapons they may the more fearlessly fight against the enemies of the faith, relying not on their own power but rather trusting in the strength of God. We grant to these clerics that they may receive the fruits of their benefices in full for three years, as if they were resident in the churches, and if necessary they may leave them in pledge for the same time.

To prevent this holy proposal being impeded or delayed, we strictly order all prelates of churches, each in his own locality, diligently to warn and induce those who have abandoned the cross to resume it, and them and others who have taken up the cross, and those who may still do so, to carry out their vows to the Lord. And if necessary they shall compel them to do this without any backsliding, by sentences of excommunication against their persons and of interdict on their lands, excepting only those persons who find themselves faced with an impediment of such a kind that their vow deservedly ought to be commuted or deferred in accordance with the directives of the apostolic see.

In order that nothing connected with this business of Jesus Christ be omitted, we will and order patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and others who have the care of souls to preach the cross zealously to those entrusted to them. Let them beseech kings, dukes, princes, margraves, counts, barons and other magnates, as well as the communities of cities, vills and towns -- in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit, the one, only, true and eternal God -- that those who do not go in person to the aid of the holy Land should contribute, according to their means, an appropriate number of fighting men together with their necessary expenses for three years, for the remission of their sins in accordance with what has already been explained in general letters and will be explained below for still greater assurance. We wish to share in this remission not only those who contribute ships of their own but also those who are zealous enough to build them for this purpose. To those who refuse, if there happen to be any who are so ungrateful to our lord God, we firmly declare in the name of the apostle that they should know that they will have to answer to us for this on the last day of final judgment before the fearful judge.

Let them consider beforehand, however with what conscience and with what security it was that they were able to confess before the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, to whom the Father gave all things into his hands, if in this business, which is as it were peculiarly his, they refuse to serve him who was crucified for sinners, by whose beneficence they are sustained and indeed by whose blood they have been redeemed.

Lest we appear to be laying on men's shoulders heavy and unbearable burdens which we are not willing to lighten, like those who say yes but do nothing behold we, from what we have been able to save over and above necessities and moderate expenses, grant and give thirty thousand pounds to this work, besides the shipping which we are giving to the crusaders of Rome and neighbouring districts. We will assign for this purpose, moreover, three thousand marks of silver, which we have left over from the alms of certain of the faithful, the rest having been faithfully distributed for the needs and benefit of the aforesaid Land by the hands of the abbot patriarch of Jerusalem, of happy memory, and of the masters of the Temple and of the Hospital. We wish, however, that other prelates of churches and all clerics may participate and share both in the merit and in the reward. We therefore decree, with the general approval of the council, that all clerics, both those under authority and prelates, shall give a twentieth of their ecclesiastical revenues for three years to the aid of the holy Land, by means of the persons appointed by the apostolic see for this purpose; the only exceptions being certain religious who are rightly to be exempted from this taxation and likewise those persons who have taken or will take the cross and so will go in person. We and our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, shall pay a full tenth.

Let all know, moreover, that they are obliged to observe this faithfully under pain of excommunication, so that those who knowingly deceive in this matter shall incur the sentence of excommunication. Because it is right that those who persevere in the service of the heavenly ruler should in all justice enjoy special privilege, and because the day of departure is somewhat more than a year ahead, crusaders shall therefore be. exempt from taxes or levies and other burdens. We take their persons and goods under the protection of St Peter and ourself once they have taken up the cross. We ordain that they are to be protected by archbishops, bishops and all prelates of the church, and that protectors of their own are to be specially appointed for this purpose, so that their goods are to remain intact and undisturbed until they are known for certain to be dead or to have returned. If anyone dares to act contrary to this, let him be curbed by ecclesiastical censure.

If any of those setting out are bound by oath to pay interest, we ordain that their creditors shall be compelled by the same punishment to release them from their oath and to desist from exacting the interest; if any of the creditors does force them to pay the interest, we command that he be forced by similar punishment to restore it. We order that Jews be compelled by the secular power to remit interest, and that until they do so all intercourse shall be denied them by all Christ's faithful under pain of excommunication. Secular princes shall provide a suitable deferral for those who cannot now pay their debts to Jews, so that after they have undertaken the journey and until there is certain knowledge of their death or of their return, they shall not incur the inconvenience of paying interest. The Jews shall be compelled to add to the capital, after they have deducted their necessary expenses, the revenues which they are meanwhile receiving from property held by them on security. For, such a benefit seems to entail not much loss, inasmuch as it postpones the repayment but does not cancel the debt. Prelates of churches who are negligent in showing justice to crusaders and their families should know that they will be severely punished.

Furthermore, since corsairs and pirates greatly impede help for the holy Land, by capturing and plundering those who are travelling to and from it, we bind with the bond of excommunication everyone who helps or supports them. We forbid anyone, under threat of anathema, knowingly to communicate with them by contracting to buy or to sell; and we order rulers of cities and their territories to restrain and curb such persons from this iniquity. Otherwise, since to be unwilling to disquiet evildoers is none other than to encourage them, and since he who fails to oppose a manifest crime is not without a touch of secret complicity, it is our wish and command that prelates of churches exercise ecclesiastical severity against their persons and lands. We excommunicate and anathematize, moreover, those false and impious Christians who, in opposition to Christ and the christian people, convey arms to the Saracens and iron and timber for their galleys.

We decree that those who sell them galleys or ships, and those who act as pilots in pirate Saracen ships, or give them any advice or help by way of machines or anything else, to the detriment of the holy Land, are to be punished with deprivation of their possessions and are to become the slaves of those who capture them. We order this sentence to be renewed on Sundays and feast-days in all maritime towns; and the bosom of the church is not to be opened to such persons unless they send in aid of the holy Land the whole of the damnable wealth which they received and the same amount of their own, so that they are punished in proportion to their offence. If perchance they do not pay, they are to be punished in other ways in order that through their punishment others may be deterred from venturing upon similar rash actions. In addition, we prohibit and on pain of anathema forbid all Christians, for four years, to send or take their ships across to the lands of the Saracens who dwell in the east, so that by this a greater supply of shipping may be made ready for those wanting to cross over to help the holy Land, and so that the aforesaid Saracens may be deprived of the not inconsiderable help which they have been accustomed to receiving from this.

Although tournaments have been forbidden in a general way on pain of a fixed penalty at various councils, we strictly forbid them to be held for three years, under pain of excommunication, because the business of the crusade is much hindered by them at this present time. Because it is of the utmost necessity for the carrying out of this business that rulers of the christian people keep peace with each other, we therefore ordain, on the advice of this holy general synod, that peace be generally kept in the whole christian world for at least four years, so that those in conflict shall be brought by the prelates of churches to conclude a definitive peace or to observe inviolably a firm truce. Those who refuse to comply shall be most strictly compelled to do so by an excommunication against their persons and an interdict on their lands, unless their wrongdoing is so great that they ought not to enjoy peace. If it happens that they make light of the church's censure, they may deservedly fear that the secular power will be invoked by ecclesiastical authority against them as disturbers of the business of him who was crucified.

We therefore, trusting in the mercy of almighty God and in the authority of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, do grant, by the power of binding and loosing that God has conferred upon us, albeit unworthy, unto all those who undertake this work in person and at their own expense, full pardon for their sins about which they are heartily contrite and have spoken in confession, and we promise them an increase of eternal life at the recompensing of the just; also to those who do not go there in person but send suitable men at their own expense, according to their means and status, and likewise to those who go in person but at others' expense, we grant full pardon for their sins. We wish and grant to share in this remission, according to the quality of their help and the intensity of their devotion, all who shall contribute suitably from their goods to the aid of the said Land or who give useful advice and help. Finally, this general synod imparts the benefit of its blessings to all who piously set out on this common enterprise in order that it may contribute worthily to their salvation.


ENDNOTES
  1. three persons ... nature omitted in Cr.
  2. as if ... perfect omitted in Cr.
  3. and he ... things omitted in A.M.
  4. We forbid ... fowling omitted in Cr M.
  5. confessions ... interlocutions omitted in Cr.

  • Cr = P.Crabbe, Concilia omnia, tam generalia, quam particularia ..., 2 vols. Cologne 1538; 3 vols. ibid 1551
  • M = the Mazarin codex used by P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta concilia ad regiam editionem exacta quae nunc quarta parte prodit auctior studio Philippi Labbei et Gabrielis Cossartii ..., 17 vols. Paris 1671-72
  • A = the d'Achery codex used by Labbe and Cossart
    Introduction and translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner

    Fifth Lateran Council 1512-17 A.D.

    Advanced Information

    INTRODUCTION

    This council was summoned by pope Julius II by the bull Sacrosanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, issued at Rome on 18 July 1511, after several schismatic cardinals, officially supported by Louis XII, king of France, had assembled a quasi-council at Pisa. Twice postponed, the council held its first session in full solemnity at Rome in the Lateran residence on 10 May 1512, at which session an elaborate address on the evils of the church was made by Giles of Viterbo, general of the order of Augustinian hermits.

    There were twelve sessions. The first five of them, held during Julius II's pontificate, dealt primarily with the condemnation and rejection of the quasi-council of Pisa, and with the revoking and annulment of the French "Pragmatic Sanction". After the election of pope Leo X in March 1513, the council had three objectives: first, achieving a general peace between christian rulers; second, church reform; and third, the defence of the faith and the rooting out of heresy. The seven sessions after Leo's election gave approval to a number of constitutions, among which are to be noted the condemnation of the teaching of the philosopher Pomponazzi (session 8), and the approval of the agreement completed outside the council between pope Leo X and king Francis I of France (session 11).

    All the decrees of this council, at which the pope presided in person, are in the form of bulls. At the beginning of them are added the words "with the approval of the sacred council", and at the end "in public session solemnly held in the Lateran basilica". The fathers confirmed all the decrees by their votes. If anyone wished to reject a proposal, he made his dissenting opinion known verbally, or briefly in writing. The result was that the matters proposed, after various debates, were sometimes altered.

    The decisions on the reform of the curia produced almost no effect because of the timidity and inadequacy of the recommendations, especially since the papacy showed slight inclination to carry the matter through. On the other hand, the council totally suppressed the Pisan schism. It is clear that bishops were never present in great numbers at the council, and that prelates who lived outside Italy were notably absent to such an extent that there has been frequent dispute about whether the council was ecumenical.

    The decrees and other acts of the council were first published in Rome shortly after the council ended, namely on 31 July 1521 by cardinal Antonio del Monte, acting on the orders of pope Leo X. The title of this edition is: SA. Lateranense concilium novissimum sub Iulio II et Leone X celebratum (= Lc). It was subsequently used in various conciliar collections from Cr2 3 (1551) 3-192 to Msi 32 (1802) 649-1002. We have followed this edition of 1521 and have taken the headings of the constitutions from the summary which precedes it.

    SESSION 1 held on 10 May 1512

    [The bull convoking the council, Sacrosancta Romanae Ecclesiae, and the bulls postponing it, Inscrutabilis and Romanus pontifex, are read out1{Msi 32, 681-690}. Masses are ordered to be celebrated, and prayers to be offered, to beg God's assistance; various arrangements are to be observed in the council and decrees are set out; advocates, procurators, notaries, guards and vote-scrutineers are chosen; assigners of places, and the location of places in their due order, are established.]

    SESSION 2 held on 17 May 1512

    [The quasi-council of Pisa is condemned, and everything done at it is declared null and void. The Lateran council and whatever has been rightly done at it are confirmed]

    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. We intend, with the help of the most High, to proceed with the holding of this sacred Lateran council which has now begun for the praise of God, the peace of the whole church, the union of the faithful the overthrow of heresies and schisms, the reform of morals, and the campaign against the dangerous enemies of the faith, so that the mouths of all schismatics and enemies of peace, those howling dogs, may be silenced and Christians may be able to keep themselves unstained from such pernicious and poisonous contagion.

    Accordingly, in this second session lawfully assembled in the holy Spirit, after mature deliberation held by us with our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, by the advice and unanimous consent of the same brothers from sure knowledge and by the fullness of apostolic power, we confirm approve and renew, with the approval of the sacred council, the rejections condemnations, revocations, quashings, invalidations and annulments of the summoning, convoking and public utterances of that schismatical assembly, the vaunted quasi-council of Pisa, with its aim of rending and hampering the union of the aforesaid church, and of the citations, warnings, decrees, pardons, sentences, acts, legacies, creations, obediences, withdrawals, enjoined censures and applications issuing from it, and of the transfer of the said quasi-council to the cities of Milan or Vercellae or any other place, and of each and all of the acts and decisions of the said quasi-council, that have been expressed in our various letters completed and issued in due order, especially those issued under the dates of 18 July in the eighth year of our pontificate, and of 3 December and 13 April in the ninth year of our pontificate.

    Likewise we confirm, approve and renew with the approval of the sacred council, the letters themselves along with their decrees, declarations, prohibitions, commands, exhortations, warnings, applications of ecclesiastical interdicts, and other sentences, censures and penalties, whether by canonical sanctions or by our own act, especially those in the letter summoning this sacred universal council, and each and all of the other clauses contained in the said letters, the meanings of which we wish to be considered as expressed as if they were inserted herein word for word, even though, as being definite and valid, they require no other confirmation or approval for a more extensive guarantee and demonstration of the truth. We wish, decree and ordain that they be observed without alteration, and we make good each and all of the defects in them, should there be any.

    We condemn and reject the aforesaid quasi-council and its transfer, and each and every thing done by it, and also those taking part in it or giving support, approval or consent, directly or indirectly, to whatever extent and in whatever manner, from the day of the summoning of the quasi-council until the present day, whether the things have already been done or are to be done in the future, even if they are or have been such that special, specific, definite and separate mention should be made about them, since we consider their meaning and characteristics as clearly expressed. We condemn and reject it like other counterfeit councils which diverge from the truth and whose acts have been condemned and rejected by the law and sacred canons. We proclaim these things to be null, void and empty, as indeed they are, to be or to have been of no force or Importance; and, so far as is necessary, we declare them void, invalid and null, and we wish them to be considered as void, invalid and null.

    We decree and declare, with the approval of this same sacred council, that this sacred ecumenical council, justly, reasonably, and for true and lawful purposes duly and rightly summoned, has begun to be celebrated, and that each and every thing which has been and shall be done and executed in it, will be just, reasonable, settled and valid, and that it possesses and holds the same strength, power, authority and stability which other general councils approved by the sacred canons, especially the Lateran council, possess and hold.

    Moreover, in the arrangement of the seasons, as the summer heats approach, in order to take account of the convenience and health of the prelates, and so that those may be awaited who live beyond the mountains and across the sea and who have hitherto been unable to come to this sacred council, and for other just and reasonable causes known to and approved by the said sacred council, we are summoning the third session of this same council to take place on 3 November next, with the said council likewise giving approval. And to each and every prelate and to others present at the same council, we grant and concede the freedom and permission to withdraw from the Roman curia and to stay wherever they wish, so long as they are present at the aforesaid Lateran council on the said 3 November, any clearly legitimate hindrance having been removed, subject to the infliction of the penalties indicated in the letter summoning the council and in canonical punishments against those failing to attend to councils, the said sacred council also approving. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however . . .2{2 At this session, on account of the arrival of the bishop of Gurk, representative of the most serene emperor, a postponement of the third session was made until 3 November.}

    SESSION 3 held on 3 December 1512

    [Each and all of the measures sponsored by the schismatic cardinals are rejected]

    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. To the praise and glory of him whose works are perfect, we are continuing the sacred council of the Lateran, lawfully assembled by favour of the holy Spirit, in this third session. We had summoned this session on another occasion, during the second session, for the third day of the following November. Later, by the advice and unanimous agreement of our venerable brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, for reasons then stated and for other lawful causes, we postponed it and summoned it to be held today, with the same sacred council giving approval to both the postponement and the summons for the said reasons which were known to it. This was after the happy and favourable adherence to, and union with, this most holy Lateran council on the part of our most dear son in Christ, Maximilian, ever revered emperor-elect of the Romans

    We condemn, reject and detest, with the approval of this same sacred council, each and every thing done by those sons of damnation, Bernard Carvajal, Guillaume Briconnet, Rene de Prie, and Frederick of San Severino, formerly cardinals, and their supporters, adherents, accomplices and disciples -- who are schismatics and heretics and have worked madly to their own and others' ruin, aiming to split asunder the unity of holy mother church at the quasi-council held at Pisa, Milan, Lyons and elsewhere -- whatever the things were in number and kind that have been enacted, carried out, done, written, published or ordained up to the present day, including the imposition of taxes carried out by them throughout the kingdom of France, or shall be done in the future. Even though they are indeed null, useless and void and have already been condemned and rejected by us with the approval of the aforesaid sacred council, we nevertheless retain this present condemnation and rejection for the sake of greater precaution. We wish the meaning and characteristics of the things done, or to be done, to be considered as expressed herein word for word and not just by general clauses. We decree and declare them to be and to have been null, without purpose and void, of no force, efficacy, effect or importance.

    We renew our letter dated 13 August 1512, at St Peter's, Rome, in the ninth year of our pontificate, by which, on the advice of the Dominicans, on account of the support, favours, sustenance and help notoriously provided to schismatics and heretics in the promotion of the said condemned and rejected quasicouncil of Pisa, by the king of France and not a few other prelates, officials, nobles and barons of the kingdom of France, we placed under ecclesiastical interdict the kingdom of France and particularly Lyons, excepting the duchy of Brittany, and we forbade the customary fairs of Lyons to be held in that city and we transferred them to the city of Geneva. We also renew the decrees, declarations, prohibitions and every clause contained in the letter, the said sacred council likewise having full information about them and giving its approval. As stated, we subject the aforesaid kingdom and its cities, lands, towns and any other territories to this interdict, and we transfer the fairs from Lyons to the said city of Geneva.

    In order that this sacred Lateran council may be brought to a fruitful and beneficial conclusion, and that the many other serious matters due for treatment and discussion in the council may proceed to the praise of almighty God and the exaltation of the universal church, we declare, with the full approval of the said sacred council, that the fourth session of the continuing celebration of the council shall be held on the tenth day of the present month of December. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however...

    SESSION 4 held on 10 December 1512

    [The Pragmatic is revoked and the acts of the quasi-council of Pisa regarding the same are annulled1{Before this constitution, in the same session, there was also read out: A warning against the Pragmatic and its supporters}

    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Giving close attention by paternal and earnest consideration to the safety of the flock entrusted to us from above, to the reform of morals and the defence of the church's liberty, and to the peace and development of the catholic faith, we approve and renew, with the approval of this holy council, for the praise and glory of almighty God and the undivided Trinity, the letter recently issued by us, of which the same council is aware, by which we made a general reform of the Roman curia's officials and of their imposts. We ordered the letter to be made public by certain persons, who were afterwards designated, for the benefit of the faithful, and in accordance with our wishes. We now order it to be made public in detail by the said designated persons together with other prelates from various nations who are present in the aforesaid council and are to be appointed. Everything that can pervert human judgment is to cease, as is right and fitting. We order, moreover, that the declarations are to be referred to us in other sessions of this sacred council and are to be approved by the same council, in order that they may be duly carried out.

    Moreover, for considerable periods of time there has been great disparagement of the apostolic see and of the head, the liberty and the authority of the holy Roman universal church, as well as a limitation of the sacred canons, by a number of prelates of the French nation and by noble laymen and others supporting them, especially under pretext of a certain sanction which they call the Pragmatic{2 This Pragmatic Sanction had been promulgated by king Charles VII of France at Bourges on 7 July 1438, with the aim of removing abuses in the church, see DThC 12/2 (1935) 2780-2786, DDrC 7 (1958) 109-113, and NCE 11 (1967) 662-663}. We do not wish to endure further a thing so pernicious and offensive to God, a clear cheapening of and damage to the said church. For it is only in those regions that the sanction, carried out by those lacking all lawful power for that end and without the authority of popes or legitimate general councils, has been introduced and observed by way of an abuse. It must be rightly, along with its contents, be declared null and void and be repealed. Louis XI, king of France, of distinguished memory, repealed this sanction, as is clearly contained in his letters patent already made.

    Therefore, with the approval of the same council, we commit to the meetings of our venerable brothers, cardinals of the aforesaid church, and of other prelates, which are to be held in the upper room of the Lateran, insofar as this is necessary, the business of the declaration and abrogation which we are to make, as well as the report that is to be made to us and the same sacred council concerning the matters discussed in the first and other sessions, insofar as this can conveniently be done. We determine and decree that the prelates of France, chapters of churches and monasteries, and laymen favouring them, of whatever rank they may be, even royal, who approve or falsely use the said sanction, together with each and every other person thinking, either individually or in a group, that this sanction is to his advantage, be warned and cited, within a definite adequate term to be established, by a public edict -- which is to be fixed on the doors of the churches of Milan, Asti and Pavia, since a safe approach to France is not available -- that they are to appear before us and the aforesaid council and declare the reasons why the said sanction and its corrupting effect and misuse in matters concerning the authority, dignity and unity of the Roman church and the apostolic see, and the violation of sacred canons and of ecclesiastical freedom, ought not to be declared and judged null and void and be abrogated, and why those so warned and cited should not be restrained and held as if they had been warned and cited in person.

    Moreover, with regard to each and all provisions and collations of ecclesiastical benefices, confirmations of elections and petitions, grants of concessions, mandates and indults, of whatever kind, concerning both favours and matters of justice or both together, of whatever sense they may be -- which things we wish to be regarded as clearly stated in the present letter -- which were made by the synagogue or quasi-council of Pisa and its schismatic adherents, lacking all authority and merit, though they are indeed null and void, yet, for greater caution, we decree, with the approval of the said sacred council, that they are null and of no effect, force or importance; and that each individual, of whatever rank, status, grade, nobility, order or condition, to whom they were granted, or to whose convenience, advantage or honour they pertain, are to give up their fruits, incomes and profits, or to arrange for this to be done, and they are bound to restore both these things and their benefices and to give up the other aforesaid concessions, and that unless they have really and completely given up the benefices themselves and the other things granted to them, within two months from the date of this present letter, they are automatically deprived of the other ecclesiastical benefices which they hold by lawful title.

    Moreover, we apply whatever has been or shall be obtained in the way of fruits, rents and profits of this kind, and money-taxes imposed by the said quasi-council, to the campaign which is to be conducted against the infidels.

    In order that the declaration of reform, and of the nullity of the said sanction, as well as other business may be carried out in due season, and so that the prelates who are still to come to this sacred council (we have received news that some have already set out on their journey to attend) may be able to arrive without inconvenience, we declare, with the approval of the council, that the fifth session shall be held on 16 February, which will be Wednesday after the first Sunday of the coming Lent. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ...

    SESSION 5 held on 16 February 1513

    [Bull renewing and confirming the Constitution against not committing the evil of simony when electing the Roman pontiff]

    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. The supreme maker of things, the creator of heaven and earth, has willed by his ineffable providence that the Roman pontiff preside over the christian people in the chair of pastoral supremacy, so that he may govern the holy, Roman, universal church in sincerity of heart and deeds and may strive after the progress of all the faithful. We therefore regard it as suitable and salutary that, in the election of the said pontiff, in order that the faithful may look upon him as a mirror of purity and honesty, all stain and every trace of simony shall be absent, that men shall be raised up for this burdensome office who, having embarked in the appropriate manner and order in a due, right and canonical way, may undertake the steering of the barque of Peter and may be, once established in so lofty a dignity, a support for right and good people and a terror for evil people; that by their example, the rest of the faithful may receive instruction on good behaviour and be directed in the way of salvation, that the things which have been determined and established by us for this, in accordance with the magnitude and seriousness of the case, may be approved and renewed by the sacred general council; and that the things so approved and renewed may be communicated, so that the more frequently they are upheld by the said authority, the more strongly they shall endure and the more resolutely they shall be observed and defended against the manifold attacks of the devil.

    Formerly, indeed, for great and urgent reasons, as a result of important and mature discussion and deliberation with men of great learning and authority, including cardinals of the Roman church, excellent and very experienced persons, a document on the following lines was issued by us.

    Inserted constitution

    Julius, bishop, servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting record. From a consideration that the detestable crime of simony is forbidden by both divine and human law, particularly in spiritual matters, and that it is especially heinous and destructive for the whole church in the election of the Roman pontiff, the vicar of our lord Jesus Christ, we therefore, placed by God in charge of the government of the same universal church, despite being of little merit, desire, so far as we are able with God's help, to take effective measures for the future with regard to the aforesaid things, as we are bound to, in accordance with the necessity of such an important matter and the greatness of the danger. With the advice and unanimous consent of our brothers, cardinals of the holy Roman church, by means of this our constitution which will have permanent validity, we establish, ordain, decree and define, by apostolic authority and the fulness of our power, that if it happens (which may God avert in his mercy and goodness towards all), after God has released us or our successors from the government of the universal church, that by the efforts of the enemy of the human race and following the urge of ambition or greed, the election of the Roman pontiff is made or effected by the person who is elected, or by one or several members of the college of cardinals, giving their votes in a manner that in any way involves simony being committed

    -- by the gift, promise or receipt of money, goods of any sort, castles, offices, benefices, promises or obligations -- by the person elected or by one or several other persons, in any manner or form whatsoever, even if the election resulted in a majority of two-thirds or in the unanimous choice of all the cardinals, or even in a spontaneous agreement on the part of all, without a scrutiny being made, then not only is this election or choice itself null, and does not bestow on the person elected or chosen in this fashion any right of either spiritual or temporal administration, but also there can be alleged and presented, against the person elected or chosen in this manner, by any one of the cardinals who has taken part in the election, the charge of simony, as a true and unquestionable heresy, so that the one elected is not regarded by anyone as the Roman pontiff.

    A further consequence is that the person elected in this manner is automatically deprived, without the need of any other declaration, of his cardinal's rank and of all other honours whatsoever as well as of cathedral churches, even metropolitan and patriarchical ones, monasteries, dignities and all other benefices and pensions of whatever kind which he was then holding by title or in commendam or otherwise; and that the elected person is to be regarded as, and is in fact, not a follower of the apostles but an apostate and, like Simon, a magicianl and a heresiarch, and perpetually debarred from each and all of the above-mentioned things. A simoniacal election of this kind is never at any time to be made valid by a subsequent enthronement or the passage of time, or even by the act of adoration or obedience of all the cardinals.

    It shall be lawful for each and all of the cardinals, even those who consented to the simoniacal election or promotion, even after the enthronement and adoration or obedience, as well as for all the clergy and the Roman people, together with those serving as prefects, castellans, captains and other officials at the Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome and any other strongholds of the Roman church, notwithstanding any submission or oath or pledge given, to withdraw without penalty and at any time from obedience and loyalty to the person so elected even if he has been enthroned (while they themselves, notwithstanding this, remain fully committed to the faith of the Roman church and to obedience towards a future Roman pontiff entering office in accordance with the canons) and to avoid him as a magician, a heathen, a publican and a heresiarch. To discomfort him still further, if he uses the pretext of the election to interfere in the government of the universal church, the cardinals who wish to oppose the aforesaid election can ask for the help of the secular arm against him.

    Those who break off obedience to him are not to be subject to any penalties and censures for the said separation, as though they were tearing the Lord's garment . However, the cardinals who elected him by simoniacal means are to be dealt with without further declaration as deprived of their orders as well as of their titles and honour as cardinals and of any patriarchal, archiepiscopal, episcopal or other prelacies, dignities and benefices which at that time they held by title or in commendam, or in which or to which they now have some claim, unless they totally and effectively abandon him and unite themselves without pretence or trickery to the other cardinals who did not consent to this simony, within eight days after they receive the request from the other cardinals, in person if this shall be possible or otherwise by a public announcement. Then, if they have joined themselves in full union with the said other cardinals, they shall immediately stand reintegrated, restored, rehabilitated and re-established in their former state, honours and dignities, even of the cardinalate, and in the churches and benefices which they had charge of or held, and shall stand absolved from the stain of simony and from any ecclesiastical censures and penalties.

    Intermediaries, brokers and bankers, whether clerical or lay, of whatever rank, quality or order they may have been, even patriarchal or archiepiscopal or episcopal, or enjoying other secular, worldly or ecclesiastical status, including spokesmen or envoys of any kings and princes, who had part in this simoniacal election, are by that very fact deprived of all their churches, benefices, prelacies and fiefs, and any other honours and possessions. They are debarred from anything of that kind and from making or benefiting from a will, and their property, like that of those condemned for treason, is immediately confiscated and allotted to the treasury of the apostolic see. if the aforesaid criminals are ecclesiastics or otherwise subjects of the Roman church. If they are not subjects of the Roman church, their goods and fiefs in regions under secular control are immediately allotted to the treasury of the secular ruler in whose territory the property is located; in such a way, however, that if within three months from the day on which it was known that they had committed simony, or had part in it, the rulers have not in fact allotted the said goods to their own treasury, then the goods are from that date considered as allotted to the treasury of the Roman church, and are immediately so considered without the need for any further pronouncement to the same effect.

    Also not binding and invalid, and ineffectual for taking action, are promises and pledges or solemn engagements made at any time for that purpose, even if prior to the election in question and even if made in any way through persons other than the cardinals, with some strange solemnity and form, including those made under oath or conditionally or dependent upon the outcome, or in the form of agreed bonds under whatever inducement, whether it be a deposit, loan, exchange, acknowledged receipt, gift, pledge, sale, exchange or any other kind of contract, even in the fuller form of the apostolic camera. Nobody can be bound or under pressure by the strength of these in a court of justice or elsewhere, and all may lawfully withdraw from them without penalty or any fear or stigma of perjury.

    Moreover, cardinals who have been involved in such a simoniacal election, and have abandoned the person thus elected, may join with the other cardinals, even those who consented to the simoniacal election but later joined with the cardinals who did not commit the said simony, if the latter are willing to join with them. If these cardinals are not willing, they may freely and canonically proceed without them in another place to the election of another pope without waiting for another formal declaration to the effect that the election was simoniacal, though there always remains in force our same current constitution. They may announce and call together a general council in a suitable place as they shall judge expedient, notwithstanding constitutions and apostolic orders, especially that of pope Alexander III, of happy memory, which begins Licet de evitanda discordia, and those of other Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, including those issued in general councils, and any other things to the contrary that Impose restraint.

    Finally, each and every one of the cardinals of the holy Roman church in office at the time, and their sacred college, are under pain of immediate excommunication, which they automatically incur and from which they cannot be absolved except by the canonically elected Roman pontiff, except when in immediate danger of death, not to dare, during a vacancy in the apostolic see, to contravene the aforesaid, or to legislate, dispose or ordain or to act or attempt anything in any way, under whatever alleged pretext or excuse, contrary to the aforesaid things or to any one of them. From this moment we decree it to be invalid and worthless if there should happen to be, by anyone knowingly or unknowingly, even by us, an attack on these or any one of the foregoing regulations. So that the meaning of this our present constitution, decree, statute, regulation and limitation may be brought to the notice of everyone, it is our will that our present letter be affixed to the doors of the basilica of the prince of the apostles and of the chancellery and in a corner of the Campo dei Fiori, and that no other formality for the publication of this letter be required or expected, but the aforesaid public display suffices for its solemn publication and perpetual force. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however . . Given at Rome at St Peter's on 14 January 1505/6, in the third year of our pontificate.

    [. . .] As we ponder how heavy is the burden and how damaging the loss to the vicars of Christ on earth that counterfeit elections would be, and how great the hurt they could bring to the christian religion, especially in these very difficult times when the whole christian religion is being disturbed in a variety of ways, we wish to set obstacles to the tricks and traps of Satan and to human presumption and ambition, so far as it is permitted to us, so that the aforesaid letter shall be better observed the more clearly it is established that it has been approved and renewed by the mature and healthy discussion of the said sacred council, by which it has been decreed and ordained, though it does not need any other approval for its permanence and validity. For a more ample safeguard, and to remove all excuse for guile and malice on the part of evil thinkers and those striving to overthrow so sound a constitution, with a view to the letter being observed with greater determination and being more difficult to remove, to the extent that it is defended by the approval of so many of the fathers, we therefore, with the approval of this Lateran council and with the authority and fullness of power stated above, confirm and renew the said letter together with every statute, regulation, decree, definition, penalty, restraint, and all the other and individual clauses contained in it;

    we order it to be maintained and observed without change or breach and to preserve the authority of an unchanging firmness; and we decree and declare that cardinals, mediators, spokesmen, envoys and others listed in the said letter are and shall be bound to the observance of the said letter and of each and every point expressed in it, under pain of the censures and penalties and other things contained in it, in accordance with its meaning and form; notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, as well as all those things which we wished not to prevent in the said letter, and other things of any kind to the contrary. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however . . .{1 At this session other measures against the Pragmatic Sanction were also recorded, especially Julius II's constitution Inter alia (Msi 32, 772-773).}

    SESSION 6 held on 27 April 1513

    [Safeconduct for those who wish and ought to come to the council, for their coming, residence, exchange of views and return journey]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. By the supreme ordinance of the omnipotent who governs the things of heaven and of earth by his providence, we preside over his holy and universal church, though we are unworthy. Instructed by the saving and most holy teaching of the doctor of the gentiles, we direct our chief attention, among the many anxieties from which we unceasingly suffer distress, towards those things in particular by means of which unending unity and unsullied charity may abide in the church; the flock committed to us may go forward along the right courses towards the way of salvation, and the name of Christians and the sign of the most sacred cross, in which the faithful have been saved, may be more widely spread, after the infidels have been expelled with the help of God's right hand.

    Indeed, after the holding of five sessions of the sacred general Lateran council, pope Julius II of happy memory, our predecessor, by the advice and agreement of our venerable brothers the cardinals of the holy Roman church, of whose number we then were, in a praiseworthy and lawful manner and for sound reasons, guided by the holy Spirit, summoned the sixth session of the council to take place on the eleventh day of this month. But after he had been taken from our midst, we postponed the sixth session until today, with the advice and consent of our said brothers, for reasons which were then expressed and for other reasons influencing the attitude of us and of our said brothers. But since there had always been an inner determination within us, while we were of lesser rank, to see the general council being celebrated (as a principal means of cultivating the Lord's field), now that we have been raised to the highest point of the apostolate, considering that a duty which results from the office of pastoral care enjoined on us has coincided with our honourable and beneficial wish, we have undertaken this matter with a more earnest desire and complete readiness of mind.

    Consequently, with the approval of the same sacred Lateran council we approve the postponement which we made and the council itself, until the aims for which it was summoned have been completed, in particular that a general and settled peace may be arranged between christian princes and rulers after the violence of wars has been stilled and armed conflict set aside. We intend to apply and direct all our efforts to this peace, with untiring care and leaving nothing untried for so salutary a good. We declare that it is and shall be our unchangeable attitude and intention that, after those things which affect the praise of God and the exaltation of the aforesaid church and the harmony of Christ's faithful have been achieved, the holy and necessary campaign against the enemies of the catholic faith may be carried out and may achieve (with the favour of the most High) a triumphant outcome.

    In order, however, that those who ought to attend so very useful a council may not be held back in any way from coming, we hereby grant and concede, with the approval of the said sacred council, to each and every one of those summoned to the council by the said Julius, our predecessor, or who ought to take part, by right or custom, in the meetings of general councils, especially those of the French nation, and to those schismatics and others who are coming to the said Lateran council by common or special right, on account of a declaration or apostolic letter of our predecessors or of the apostolic see (except, of course, those under prohibition), and to the attendants and associates of those who come, of whatever status, rank, condition or nobility they may be, ecclesiastical or secular, for themselves and all their belongings, a free,

    guaranteed and fully comprehensive safeconduct, for coming by land or sea through the states, territories and places that are subject to the said Roman church, to this Lateran council in Rome, and of residing in the city and freely exchanging views, and of leaving it as often as they wish, with complete, unrestricted and total security and with a true and unchallengeable papal guarantee, notwithstanding any impositions of ecclesiastical or secular censures and penalties which may have been promulgated in general against them, for whatever reasons, by law or by the aforesaid see, under any forms of words or clauses, and which they may in general have incurred. By our letters we shall encourage, warn, and request each and every christian king, prince and ruler that, out of reverence for almighty God and the apostolic see, they are not to molest or cause to be molested directly or indirectly, in any way in their persons or goods, those on their way to this sacred Lateran council, but they are to allow them to come in freedom, security and peace.

    In addition, for the carrying out of the celebration of this council, we declare that the seventh session shall be held on 23 May next. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however...

    SESSION 7 held on 17 June 1513

    The constitution Meditatio cordis nostri1 {Msi 32, 815-818}, postponing the eighth session to 16 November, is read out and approved.]

    SESSION 8 held on 19 December 1513

    [Condemnation of every proposition contrary to the truth of the enlightened christian faith]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. The burden of apostolic government ever drives us on so that, for the weaknesses of souls requiring to be healed, of which the almighty Creator from on high has willed us to have the care, and for those ills in particular which are now seen to be pressing most urgently on the faithful, we may exercise, like the Samaritan in the gospel, the task of healing with oil and wine, lest that rebuke of Jeremiah may be cast at us: Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Consequently, since in our days (which we endure with sorrow) the sower of cockle, the ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to scatter and multiply in the Lord's field some extremely pernicious errors, which have always been rejected by the faithful, especially on the nature of the rational soul, with the claim that it is mortal, or only one among all human beings, and since some, playing the philosopher without due care, assert that this proposition is true at least according to philosophy, it is our desire to apply suitable remedies against this infection and, with the approval of the sacred council, we condemn and reject all those who insist that the intellectual soul is mortal, or that it is only one among all human beings, and those who suggest doubts on this topic.

    For the soul not only truly exists of itself and essentially as the form of the human body, as is said in the canon of our predecessor of happy memory, pope Clement V, promulgated in the general council of Vienne, but it is also immortal; and further, for the enormous number of bodies into which it is infused individually, it can and ought to be and is multiplied. This is clearly established from the gospel when the Lord says, They cannot kill the soul; and in another place, Whoever hates his life in this world, will keep it for eternal life and when he promises eternal rewards and eternal punishments to those who will be judged according to the merits of their life; otherwise, the incarnation and other mysteries of Christ would be of no benefit to us, nor would resurrection be something to look forward to, and the saints and the just would be (as the Apostle says) the most miserable of all people.

    And since truth cannot contradict truth, we define that every statement contrary to the enlightened truth of the faith is totally false and we strictly forbid teaching otherwise to be permitted. We decree that all those who cling to erroneous statements of this kind, thus sowing heresies which are wholly condemned, should be avoided in every way and punished as detestable and odious heretics and infidels who are undermining the catholic faith. Moreover we strictly enjoin on each and every philosopher who teaches publicly in the universities or elsewhere, that when they explain or address to their audience the principles or conclusions of philosophers, where these are known to deviate from the true faith -- as in the assertion of the soul's mortality or of there being only one soul or of the eternity of the world and other topics of this kind -- they are obliged to devote their every effort to clarify for their listeners the truth of the christian religion, to teach it by convincing arguments, so far as this is possible, and to apply themselves to the full extent of their energies to refuting and disposing of the philosophers' opposing arguments, since all the solutions are available.

    But it does not suffice occasionally to clip the roots of the brambles, if the ground is not dug deeply so as to check them beginning again to multiply, and if there are not removed their seeds and root causes from which they grow so easily. That is why, since the prolonged study of human philosophy -- which God has made empty and foolish, as the Apostle says, when that study lacks the flavouring of divine wisdom and the light of revealed truth -- sometimes leads to error rather than to the discovery of the truth, we ordain and rule by this salutary constitution, in order to suppress all occasions of falling into error with respect to the matters referred to above, that from this time onwards none of those in sacred orders, whether religious or seculars or others so committed, when they follow courses in universities or other public institutions, may devote themselves to the study of philosophy or poetry for longer than five years after the study of grammar and dialectic, without their giving some time to the study of theology or pontifical law. Once these five years are past, if someone wishes to sweat over such studies, he may do so only if at the same time, or in some other way, he actively devotes himself to theology or the sacred canons; so that the Lord's priests may find the means, in these holy and useful occupations, for cleansing and healing the infected sources of philosophy and poetry.

    We command, in virtue of holy obedience, that these canons are to be published each year, at the beginning of the course, by the local ordinaries and rectors of universities where institutes of general studies flourish. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however...

    [On arranging peace between christian princes and on bringing back the Bohemians who reject the faith]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. We are continuing the sacred Lateran council for the praise of the almighty and undivided Trinity and for the glory of him whose place we represent on earth, who develops peace and harmony in his high heavens, and who, on his departure from this world, left peace as a lawful inheritance to his disciples. For, in the previous seventh session, the council was confronting, among other matters, the threatening and very obvious danger from the infidels and the spilling of christian blood, which even then was being poured out because of our blatant faults. The quarrels between christian kings and princes and peoples must also be removed. and we were being compelled to seek with all our strength for peace between them. This was the reason for having to arrange one of the more important meetings of the said council: so that peace should follow and be maintained as unbroken and leading to its due fulfilment, especially in these times when the power of the infidels is recognised to have grown to a remarkable extent. Therefore, with the approval of the same council, we have arranged and decided to send to the aforesaid kings, princes and rulers alert legates and envoys of peace, who are outstanding in learning, experience and goodness, with a view to negotiating and arranging peace.

    And, in order that these men may lay aside their arms, we have called upon their spokesmen who are present at the council, insofar as we were able to do with God's help, to devote all their energy and strength, out of reverence for the apostolic see and the union of the faithful, to giving notice of these matters to their kings, princes and rulers. These are invited, in our name, to negotiate and listen with good will and honour to the apostolic legates themselves, and to act in favour of our just and holy desires which are to be set before them by these messengers.

    We were persuading ourself that they will do this, in order that our legates may be able to take up the task of the embassy as quickly as possible and manfully complete the undertaking, and so that, by the favour of the Father of lights (from whom comes every best gift) peace can be negotiated and arranged and, once this has been settled, the holy and necessary expedition against the frenzy of the infidels, panting to have their fill of christian blood, can take place and be brought to a favourable conclusion for the safety and peace of the whole of Christianity. After this we were hoping from the depths of our heart, because of our pastoral office, for peace and union within the whole christian people and in particular among the same kings, rulers and princes from whose discord it was feared that prolonged and serious damage could daily affect the christian state. A hope began to rise that the christian state would be cared for in a useful and salutary way by this peace and unity, because of the authority of these men. We dispatched our messengers and letters to the aforesaid kings, princes and rulers -- at that time in disunion with each other -- for them to be exhorted, requested and warned. We omitted nothing (so far as lay in our power) to arrange and produce by our every effort that, once discord and disagreement of any kind had been removed, they would wish eventually to return, in complete agreement, grace and love, to universal peace, harmony and union. In this way, further losses would not be inflicted on Christians from the hands of the savage ruler of the Turks or from other infidels, but there would be a rallying of forces to crush the terrible fury and the boastful endeavours of those peoples.

    In that situation, as we strive with all thought, care, effort and zeal for everything to be brought to the desired end, and with confidence in the gift of God, we have decreed that legates with a special mission from us -- who will be cardinals of the holy Roman church and who are soon to be named by us, on the advice of our brothers, in our secret consistory -- shall be appointed and sent with authority and with the necessary and appropriate faculties, as messengers of peace, for the arranging, negotiating and settling of this universal peace among Christians, for the embarking upon an expedition against the infidels, with the approval of this sacred council, and for inducing the said kings, out of generosity of soul befitting their rank and out of devotion towards the catholic faith, to move with ready and eager minds towards the holy tasks of both peace and the expedition, for the total and perfect protection, defence and safety of the entire christian state.

    In addition, since very great offence is given to God from the prolonged and manifold heresy of the Bohemians, and scandal is caused to the christian people, the charge of bringing back these people to the light and harmony of the true faith has been wholly entrusted by us for the immediate future to our dear son, Thomas of Esztergom, cardinal-priest of the title of St Martin in the Hills, as legate of ourself and the apostolic see to Hungary and Bohemia. We exhort these people in the Lord not to neglect to dispatch some of their spokesmen, with an adequate mandate, either to us and this sacred Lateran council or to the same Thomas, cardinal-legate, who will be nearer to them. The purpose will be to exchange views with regard to an appropriate remedy by which they may recognise the errors to which they have long been in thrall and may be led back, with God's guidance, to the true practice of religion and into the bosom of holy mother church. With the approval of the sacred council, by the tenor of the present letter, we grant and bestow on them, by the faith of a pontiff, a public guarantee and a free safe-conduct as to their coming, going, remaining for as long as the negotiation of the aforesaid matters shall last, and afterwards for departing and returning to their own territories; and we shall consent to their wishes so far as we can under God.

    So that this sacred Lateran council may be brought to the completion of the fruitful benefit desired, since many other serious subjects remain to be discussed and debated for the praise of God and the triumph of his church, we declare with the approval of the sacred council, that the ninth session of the continuing celebration of this sacred Lateran council shall be held on 5 April 1514, in the first year of our pontificate, which will be Wednesday after Passion Sunday. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however...

    [Bull on reform]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Placed by the gift of divine grace at the supreme point of the apostolic hierarchy, we thought nothing was more in keeping with our official duty than to survey, with zeal and care, everything which could pertain to the protection, soundness and extension of the catholic flock entrusted to us. To this purpose we have applied all the force of our activity and the strength of our mind and talent. Our predecessor of happy memory, pope Julius II, since he was concerned about the well-being of the faithful and anxious to protect it, had summoned the ecumenical Lateran council for many other reasons indeed, but also because a constant complaint was being pressed concerning the officials of the Roman curia. For these reasons there were appointed a number of committees composed of his venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, of whose number we were then, and also of prelates, to investigate carefully into these complaints. In order that those attached to the curia and others approaching it for favours would not in the meantime be tormented by the excessive burden of expenses and that, at the same time, the ill-repute by which the said officials were deeply disturbed might be appeased by a speedy remedy, he issued a bull of reform by which they were bound anew, under a heavy penalty, to keep the legal terms of their offices. Because death intervened, he was unable to legislate in particular about the excesses or to complete the council.

    We, as the successor of the concern no less than of the office, right at the beginning of our pontificate, did not delay to resume the synod, to promote peace between christian princes and no less, since it is our intention to complete a universal reform, to strengthen by new aids what was first provided by our predecessor concerning the curial offices, and to follow this through with the expanded committees. For no more pressing anxiety weighs on us than that the thorns and brambles be pulled up from the Lord's field, and if there is anything hindering its cultivation, it is to be removed root and branch. Therefore, after a careful report had been received from the committees, with notice of what was being side-tracked by which persons, we restored to the norm whatever had deviated either from a sound and praiseworthy custom or from a long-standing institution.

    We gathered these together into one bull of reform published on this matter with the approval of the sacred council;{This bull Pastoralis officii was published on 13 Dec. 1513, but it was never submitted to a vote of the fathers} and we appointed to execute it those who would insist on the decisions being kept. With the approval of this sacred council, we order this to be observed without alteration and without deceit by the officials themselves as well as by others, according as it affects each, under penalty of immediate excommunication from which they can only be absolved by the Roman pontiff (except in immediate danger of death), in such a way that, in addition to this and other penalties stated in detail in the bull, those acting against it are automatically suspended for six months from the office in which they committed the fault. And if they have failed for a second time in the same office, they are deprived for ever because they have contaminated the office itself. After they have been brought back to good conduct by means of our constitution, and the general damage has been checked and removed, we shall proceed to the remaining stages of the reform.

    If the Almighty in his mercy allows us to settle peace among the christian leaders, we shall press on not only to destroy completely the bad seeds, but also to expand the territories of Christ, and, supported by these achievements, we shall go forward, with God favouring his own purposes, to the most holy expedition against the infidels, the desire for which is deeply fixed in our heart .

    Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however...

    SESSION 9 held on 5 May 1514

    [The pope urges christian rulers to make peace among themselves so that an expedition against the enemies of the christian faith may be possible]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. After we had been called by divine dispensation to the care and rule of the universal church, even though we are unworthy of so great a responsibility, we began from the highest point of the apostolate, as from the top of Mount Sion, to turn our immediate gaze and direct our mind to the things that seem to be of primary importance for the salvation, peace and extension of the church itself. When we focused all our care, thought and zeal in this direction, like an experienced and watchful shepherd, we found nothing more serious or dangerous to the christian state and more opposed to our holy desire than the fierce madness of armed conflicts. For, as a result of them, Italy has been almost wiped out by internecine slaughter, cities and territories have been disfigured, partly overturned and partly levelled, provinces and kingdoms have been stricken, and people cease not to act with madness and to welter in christian blood. Hence we have judged that nothing should be given more importance, consideration and attention than the quelling of these wars and the re-ordering of ecclesiastical discipline in accordance with resources and circumstances, so that with God appeased by a change of life, after quarrels have been set aside, we may be able to bring together and gather into one the Lord's flock entrusted to our care, and to encourage and arouse this flock more readily, in a union of peace and harmony, as by a very strong binding force, against the common enemies of the christian faith who are now threatening it .

    This our intense desire for this campaign against the evil and implacable enemies of the cross of Christ is indeed so implanted in our heart that we determined to continue and follow up the sacred Lateran council -- which was summoned and begun by our predecessor of happy memory, Julius II, and interrupted by his death -- for that special reason, as is clear from all the different sessions held by us in the same council. Thus, with the christian princes or their spokesmen assembled at the same council, and prelates from different parts of the world coming to it, once peace between these christian princes had been settled and (as is right) the noxious brambles of heresies had been first uprooted from the Lord's field, then the things necessary for the campaign against the same enemies, and what concerns the glory and triumph of the orthodox faith, and various other matters, could be happily decided upon by the timely advice and agreement of all.

    Although many distinguished men, outstanding in every branch of learning, came from different parts of Europe to this council, which had been solemnly summoned and duly proclaimed, many also, legitimately hindered, sent their instructions in official form. However, because of the difficulties from wars and circumstances as a result of which many territories have been blocked by hostile arms for a long time, the resources and large numbers which we desired could not be assembled. Moreover, that we have not as yet sent the specially appointed legates to kings and princes to promote union and peace between the same rulers -- something that perhaps seems necessary to many and that we too think is especially opportune -- cannot be attributed to us. The reason, of course, why we refrained from doing so is this: nearly all the princes made it known by letters and messages to us, that the sending of legates was not at all necessary or expedient.

    Nevertheless, we sent men of discretion and proved loyalty, endowed with the rank of bishop, as our envoys to those very princes who were undertaking serious armed activity among themselves and, as far as could be guessed, rather bitter wars. It has come about, especially by the action of these envoys, that truces have been agreed between some of the princes and the rest are thought to be on the point of giving their consent. Therefore we shall not put off sending the special legates, as we decided in the last session, whenever this is necessary and profitable for the setting up of a stable and lasting peace among them, and as we previously proposed. In the meantime, we shall not cease to act and reflect on what is relevant to the situation, with the spokesmen of the same princes who are negotiating with us, and to press on and exhort them and their princes to this action by means of our envoys and letters.

    Oh that the almighty and merciful God would assist from on high our plans for peace and our constant thoughts, would regard the faithful people with more benevolent and favourable eyes and, for the sake of common safety and peace and for the suppression of the haughty madness of the wicked enemies of the christian name, would give a propitious hearing to their devout prayers ! By our apostolic authority, we enjoin on each and every primate, patriarch and archbishop, on chapters of cathedral and collegiate churches, both secular and those belonging to any of the religious orders, on colleges and convents, on leaders of peoples, deans, rectors of churches and others who have charge of souls, and on preachers, alms-collectors and those who expound the word of God to the people, and we order in virtue of holy obedience, that within the celebration of masses, during the time that the word of God is being set before the people or outside that time, and in prayers which they will say in chapter or as convents, or at some other time in any kind of gathering, they are to keep the following special collects for the peace of Christians and for the confounding of the infidels respectively: O God, from whom holy desires, and, O God, in whose hands are all power and authority over kingdoms, look to the help of Christians.

    And they are no less to enjoin on members of their dioceses and on any other persons of either sex, whether ecclesiastical or secular, over whom they have authority by reason of a prelature or any other ecclesiastical position of authority, and to encourage in the Lord those to whom God's word is proposed on their own or another's responsibility, that they should pour forth in private devout prayers to God himself and to his most glorious mother, in the Lord's prayer and the Hail Mary, for the peace of Christians (as mentioned above) and for the complete destruction of the infidels.

    Further, whoever of those mentioned above think that, by influence or favour with secular princes of any rank, distinction or dignity, or with their advisers, associates, attendants or officials, or with the magistrates, rectors and lieutenants of cities, towns, universities or any secular institutions, or with other persons of either sex, ecclesiastical or secular, they can take steps towards a universal or particular peace between princes, rulers and christian peoples, and towards the campaign against the infidels, let them use strong encouragement and lead them on to this peace and the campaign. By the tender mercy of our God and the merit of the passion of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, we exhort all of them with all possible emotion of our heart, and we counsel them by the authority of the pastoral office which we exercise, to lay aside private and public enmities and to turn to embracing the endeavour for peace and deciding on the aforesaid campaign.

    We strictly forbid each and every prelate, prince or individual, whether ecclesiastical or secular, of whatever state, rank, dignity, pre-eminence or condition they may be, under threat of the divine judgment, to presume to introduce in any way, directly or indirectly, openly or secretly, any obstacle to the said peace which is to be negotiated by us or by our agents, whether legates or envoys of the apostolic see endowed (as said before) with the episcopal rank, for the defence of the christian state of the faithful. Those who, in working towards this peace, think that there is involved something of a private or a public nature that is of importance to their princes, cities or states, the care for whom or which pertains to them because of some office or public function should, as far as it will be possible in the Lord, with due moderation and calm take control of the matter inasmuch as it involves support and goodwill towards the coming peace.

    Indeed, those who wish to rouse the faithful by Christ's spiritual gifts, when these are duly contrite and absolved, and to pour out devout prayers for obtaining peace and for deciding on the expedition, so that the said peace and the campaign against the said enemies of the christian faith may be brought about and be secured from God himself, will devote worthwhile and well-considered efforts as often as they do this. These prayers, offered with devotion, should take place in masses, sermons and other divine services, in collegial, conventual and other public or communal prayers, and among princes, advisers, officials, governors and other persons named above who seem to have some influence in making or arranging the peace and in deciding (as said before) on the campaign against the enemies of the unconquered cross.

    Trusting in the mercy of God and the authority of his blessed apostles Peter and Paul, we grant remission of one hundred days of imposed penances to those who, individually and in private, offer prayers to obtain the foregoing from God; seven times each day if they do it so often or, if fewer, as often as they shall do it; until the universal peace -- which is receiving our constant attention -between princes and peoples at present in armed dispute has been established, and the campaign against the infidels has been decreed with our approval. We lay an obligation on our venerable brothers, primates, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, to whom the present letter or copies of it, accurately printed either in Rome or elsewhere, shall come under official seals, to have it published with all possible speed in their provinces and dioceses, and to give firm instructions for its due execution.

    In the meantime, with the approval of the sacred council, we have decreed, as we proposed and desired with all our heart, the ecclesiastical reform of our curia and of our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, and of others dwelling in Rome, and many other necessary things, which will be contained in our other letters due for publication in this same session. It was Julius, our predecessor, who summoned to this council all those who were accustomed to attend councils. He gave them a comprehensive safe-conduct so that they could make the journey and arrive safely and unharmed. However, many prelates who ought to have come have so far not arrived, perhaps because of the obstacles already stated. In our desire to go ahead with the more serious business due in the next session, we appeal to in the Lord, and we ask and counsel by the tender mercy of the same, prelates, kings, dukes, marquises, counts and others who usually come or send someone to a general council, but who have not yet provided spokesmen or legitimate instructions, to decide with all possible speed either to come in person or to send chosen and competent envoys, with valid instructions, to this sacred Lateran council which is so beneficial to the christian state.

    With regard to those venerable brethren, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and prelates - especially those bound under oath to visit the place of the apostles Peter and Paul at certain fixed times, and to attend in person general councils which have been summoned, including those under that obligation at the time of their promotion -- whose obstinacy as being non-attenders at various sessions became a matter of frequent accusation by the sponsor of the same council, there is to be found in solemn form both a petition for proceedings against them and a statement of the censures and penalties incurred. This is notwithstanding any privileges, concessions and indults that were granted confirmed or renewed by us or our said predecessors in favour of them and their churches, monasteries and benefices. These we annul and invalidate through our certain knowledge and fullness of power, considering them to be fully stated here. We impose in virtue of holy obedience, and we strictly command under the penalties of excommunication and perjury and others derived from law or custom, and in particular from the letter which summoned and proclaimed the said Lateran council and was promulgated by our predecessor, Julius himself that they must attend in person the said Lateran council and remain in Rome until it has reached its conclusion and been terminated by our authority, unless they are prevented by some legitimate excuse. And if (as we said) they have somehow been prevented, they are to send their suitably qualified representatives with a full mandate on the matters that will have to be treated, dealt with and advised upon.

    In order to remove completely all excuse and leave no pretext of any impediment to anyone who is obliged to attend, in addition to the public guarantee which was clearly granted at the summoning of this council to all coming to it we give, concede and grant, acting on the advice and power mentioned above with the same council's approval, to each and all who have been accustomed to be present at the meetings of general councils and are coming to the present Lateran council, as well as to members of their personal staff, of whatever status rank, order and condition or nobility they may be, ecclesiastical and secular, a free, safe and secure safe-conduct and, by apostolic authority in the meaning of the present letter, full protection in all its aspects, for themselves and for all their possessions of any kind as they pass through cities, territories and places, by sea and land, which are subject to the said Roman church, for the journey to the Lateran council in Rome, for remaining in the city of freedom, for exchanging views according to their opinions, for departing therefrom as often as they may wish and also after four months from the conclusion and dispersal of the said council; and we promise to give readily other safe-conducts and guarantees to those desiring to have them. Each and all of these visitors we shall deal with and welcome with kindness and charity.

    Under the threat of the divine majesty and of our displeasure, and of the penalties against those impeding the holding of councils, particularly the said Lateran council, which are contained and set down in law or in the letter of the aforesaid summons of our predecessor, we are instructing each and all secular princes, of whatever exalted rank they may be, including imperial, royal, queenly, ducal or any other, the governors of cities, and citizens governing or ruling their states, to grant to the prelates and others coming to the said Lateran council a free permission and licence, a safe-conduct for coming and returning, and a free and unharmed transit through the dominions, lands and property of theirs through which the said persons must pass together with their equipment, possessions and horses; all exceptions and excuses being completely set aside and without force.

    In addition we order and command, under pain of our displeasure and of other penalties which can be inflicted at our will, each and all of our people who bear arms, both infantry and cavalry, their commanders and captains, the castellans of our fortresses, the legates, governors, rulers, lieutenants, authorities, officials and vassals of the cities and territories that are subject to the said Roman church, and any others of whatever rank, status, condition or distinction they may be, to give permission, and to be responsible for the giving of permission, to those coming to the Lateran council, to pass through in freedom, safety and security, to stay, and to return, so that such a holy, praiseworthy and very necessary council may not be frustrated for any reason or pretext, and that those coming to it may be able to live in peace and calm and without restraint and to say and develop under the same conditions the things which concern the honour of almighty God and the standing of the whole church.

    This we enjoin notwithstanding any constitutions, apostolic ordinances, imperial laws or municipal statutes and customs (even those reinforced by oath and apostolic confirmation or by any other authority) which could modify in any respect or impede in any way the said safe-conduct and guarantee, even if the constitutions etc. were of such a kind that an individual, precise, clear and distinct form of speech, or some other clearly stated expression, should be employed regarding them, and not just general clauses which only imply the matter, for we consider the significance of all the above things to be clearly stated by the present letter, as if they had been included word for word. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however . . .

    [Bull on reform of the curia]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. It is eminently fitting for the Roman pontiff to carry out the duty of a provident shepherd, in order to care for and keep safe the Lord's flock entrusted to him by God, since, by the will of the supreme ordinance by which the things of heaven and of earth are arranged by ineffable providence, he acts on the lofty throne of St Peter as vicar on earth of Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. When we notice, out of solicitude for our said pastoral office, that church discipline and the pattern of a sound and upright life are worsening, disappearing and going further astray from the right path throughout almost all the ranks of Christ's faithful, with a disregard for law and with exemption from punishment, as a result of the troubles of the times and the malice of human beings, it must be feared that, unless checked by a well-guided improvement, there will be a daily falling into a variety of faults under the security of sin and soon, with the appearance of public scandals, a complete breakdown.

    We desire, then, as far as it is permitted to us from on high, to check the evils from becoming too strong, to restore a great many things to their earlier observance of the sacred canons, to create with God's help an improvement in keeping with the established practice of the holy fathers, and to give -- with the approval of the sacred Lateran council initiated for that reason, among others, by our predecessor of happy memory, pope Julius II, and continued by us -healthy guidance to all these matters.

    In order to make a start, we take up the points which for the present seem more appropriate and which, having often been neglected during particular generations, have brought great loss to the christian religion and produced very great scandals in the church of God. We have therefore decided to begin with preferment to ecclesiastical dignities. Our predecessor of devout memory, pope Alexander III, also in a Lateran council, decreed that age, a serious character and knowledge of letters are to be carefully examined in the preferment of individuals to bishoprics and abbacies. Moreover, nothing impedes the church of God more than when unworthy prelates are accepted for the government of churches.

    Therefore, in the preferment of prelates, the Roman pontiffs must give much attention to the matter, especially because they will have to give an account to God at the last judgment about those given preferment by them to churches and monasteries. Consequently, we rule and establish that henceforward, in accordance with the constitution of the aforesaid Alexander III, for vacant churches and monasteries of patriarchal, metropolitan and cathedral status, the person provided is to be of mature age, learning and serious character, as said above, and the provision is not to be made at someone's urging, by means of recommendation, direction or enforcement, or in any other way, unless it has seemed right to act differently on the grounds of advantage to the churches, prudence, nobility, uprightness, experience, lengthy contact with the curia (together with adequate learning), or service to the apostolic see. We wish the same to be observed regarding the persons elected and chosen in elections and choices that have customarily been admitted by the apostolic see. But if the question arises of providing for churches and monasteries of this kind with persons of less than thirty years of age, there can be no dispensation for them to be in charge of churches before their twenty-seventh year of age or of monasteries before their twenty-second year.

    Indeed, so that suitable persons may be advanced with greater exactness and care, we rule that the cardinal to whom the reporting on an election, appointment or provision to a church or monastery has been entrusted, ought, before he gives an account in the sacred consistory (as the custom is) of his carrying out of such an examination or report assigned to him, to make his report known to one of the older cardinals of each grade, personally in the actual consistory, or, if there was no consistory on the day appointed for him to give his account, then by means of his secretary or some other member of his personal staff, and the three older cardinals in question are bound to communicate the report as soon as possible to the other cardinals of their grade. The said cardinal making the report shall personally examine the business of the election, administration, appointment or promotion in summary and extra-judicial fashion. If any have spoken against it, he is obliged to call, after the objectors have been summoned, competent, responsible and trustworthy witnesses and, if it should be necessary or appropriate, others by virtue of office.

    He is bound to bring with him to the consistory, on the day the report has to be made, the stages and decisions of the report together with the statements of the witnesses, and he shall not give his report in any form until the person to be promoted, if he is at the curia, shall have first visited the majority of the cardinals in order that they may be able to learn at first hand, insofar as it is relevant to his character, what they shall soon learn from the report of their colleague. Moreover, the person promoted is obliged, by longstanding practice and laudable custom, to visit as soon as possible the same cardinals who are then in the curia. This practice and praiseworthy custom, indeed, we renew and command to be kept without change.

    Since it is right to maintain episcopal dignity unharmed, and for it to be protected from indiscriminate exposure to the attacks of wicked persons and to the false charges of accusers, we decree that no bishop or abbot may be deprived of his rank when anyone urges a charge or presses demands (unless the opportunity for a legitimate defence is afforded to him), even if the charges have been widely known and, after the parties have been attentively heard, the case has been fully proved; nor may any prelate be transferred against his will, except for other just and efficacious reasons and causes, in accordance with the terms and decree of the council of Constance.

    Also, as a result of commendams for monasteries, the monasteries themselves (as experience, a practical mistress, has quite often taught) are seriously damaged in spiritual and temporal matters because their buildings fall into decay, partly through the negligence of the commendatories and partly through greed or lack of interest, divine worship is gradually reduced, and matter for contempt is generally offered especially to secular persons, not without a lessening of the standing of the apostolic see, from which commendams of this kind originate. In order that sounder measures may be taken to secure these monasteries from damage, we will and decree that when vacancies occur through the death of the abbot in charge, they cannot be given in commendam to anyone by any agreement unless it seems right to us to decide otherwise, in accordance with the actual circumstances and with the advice of our brothers, so as to protect the authority of the apostolic see and to oppose the evil designs of those attacking it .

    But let such monasteries be provided with competent persons, in keeping with the above-mentioned constitution, so that suitable abbots will have charge of them (as is fitting). Such monasteries may be given in commendam, when the original commendam no longer exists on account of the resignation or death of the commendatory, only to cardinals and to qualified and well-deserving persons; and in such a way that the commendatories of the monasteries, whatever their dignity, honour and high rank may be, even if they enjoy the status and dignity of a cardinal, are obliged, if they have meals in private, apart from the common table, to assign a quarter of their board for the renewal of the fabric, or for the purchase or repair of furnishings, clothings and adornment, or for the maintenance or sustenance of the poor, as the greater need demands or suggests .

    If, however, they share board completely, a third part of all the resources of the said monastery committed to the commendatory must be assigned, after all other imposts have been deducted, to the above-mentioned burdens and to the sustenance of the monks. Moreover, letters which are drawn up regarding such commendams to monasteries ought to contain a clause specifically stating this. If they are drawn up in some other form, they are of no worth or value .

    Since it is fitting for such churches to be provided for without any loss of revenues, in such a way that both the honour of those in charge and the need of the churches and buildings are considered, we decree and rule that pensions may never be reserved from the incomes of these churches except on account of a resignation or for some other reason which has been considered credible and honourable in our secret consistory.

    We also rule that henceforth parochial churches, major and principal dignities and other ecclesiastical benefices whose rents, revenues and produce by ordinary reckoning do not amount to an annual value of two hundred golden ducats of the treasury, and also hospitals, leperhouses and hostels of any importance which have been set up for the use and provisioning of the poor, shall not be given in commendam to cardinals of the holy Roman church, or conferred on them by any other title, unless they have become vacant by the death of a member of their household. In the latter case they can be given in commendam to cardinals, but these are bound to dispose of them within six months for the benefit of such persons as are suitable and in good relations with them. We do not wish, however, to prejudge the cardinals further with respect to benefices to which they may have a reserve claim .

    We also ordain that members of churches, monasteries or military orders may not be detached or separated from their head -- which is absurd -- without legitimate and reasonable cause. Perpetual unions, apart from cases permitted by law or on some reasonable grounds, are not permitted at all. Dispensations for more than two incompatible benefices are not to be granted, except for great and pressing reasons or to qualified persons according to the form of common law . We set a limit of two years on persons of whatever rank who obtain more than four parish churches and their perpetual vicarages, or major and principal dignities, even if by way of union or commendam for life. They are bound to release the rest, only four being retained in the meantime. Such benefices, due for release, can be resigned into the hands of the ordinaries so that they may be provided with persons nominated by them; notwithstanding any reservations, even those of a general nature or resulting from the quality of the persons resigning. Once the period of two years is past, all the benefices that have not been disposed of may be reckoned as vacant and may freely be applied for as vacant. Those who hold on to them incur the penalties of the constitution Execrabilis of our memorable predecessor, pope John XXII. We also rule that special reservations of any benefice are in no way to be granted at the urging of anyone .

    On cardinals

    Since the cardinals of the holy Roman church take precedence in honour and dignity over all the other members of the church after the sovereign pontiff, it is proper and right that they be distinguished beyond all others by the purity of their life and the excellence of their virtues. On that account, we not only exhort and advise them but also decree and order that henceforth each of the cardinals following the teaching of the Apostle, so live a sober, chaste and godly life that he shines out before people as one who abstains not merely from evil but from every appearance of evil . In the first place, let him honour God by his works . Let all of them be vigilant, constant at the divine office and the celebration of masses, and maintain their chapels in a worthy place, as they were wont to do .

    Their house and establishment, table and furniture, should not attract blame by display or splendour or superfluous equipment or in any other way, so as to avoid any fostering of sin or excess, but, as is right, let them deserve to be called mirrors of moderation and frugality. Therefore, let them find satisfaction in what contributes to priestly modesty; let them act with kindness and respect both in public and in private, towards prelates and other distinguished persons who come to the Roman curia; and let them undertake with grace and generosity the business committed to them by ourself and our successors .

    Moreover, let them not employ bishops or prelates in demeaning tasks in their houses, so that those who have been appointed to give direction to others and who have been clad in a sacred character, will not lower themselves to menial chores and generally bring about a lack of respect for the pastoral office . Consequently, let them treat with honour as brothers, and as befits their state of life, those whom they have or will have in their houses. Since the cardinals assist the Roman pontiff, the common father of all Christians, it is very improper for them to be patrons of or special pleaders for individuals. We have therefore decided, lest they adopt partiality of any kind, that they are not to set up as promoters or defenders of princes or communities or of any other persons against anyone, except to the extent that justice and equity demands and the dignity and rank of such people requires. Rather, separated from all private interest, let them be available and engage with all diligence in calming and settling any disputes. Let them promote with due piety the maintenance of the just business of princes and all other persons, especially the poor and religious, and let them offer help in accordance with their resources and their official responsibility to those who are oppressed and unjustly burdened .

    They are to visit at least once a year -- in person if they have been present in the curia, and by a suitable deputy if they have been absent -- the places of their titular basilica. They are, with due care, to keep themselves informed about the clergy and people of the churches subject to their basilica; they are to keep under review the divine worship and the properties of the said churches; above all, let them examine with care the lives of the clergy and their parishioners, and with a father's affection encourage one and all to live an upright and honourable life . For the development of divine worship and the salvation of his own soul, each cardinal should give to his basilica during his lifetime, or bequeath at the time of his death, a sufficient amount for the suitable sustenance there of one priest; or, if the basilica needs repairs or some other form of aid, let him leave or donate as much as he may in conscience decide. It is entirely unfitting to pass over persons related to them by blood or by marriage, especially if they are deserving and need help. To come to their assistance is just and praiseworthy. But we do not consider that it is appropriate to heap on them a great number of benefices or church revenues, with the result that an uncontrolled generosity in these matters may bring wrong to others and may cause scandal. Consequently we have determined that they are not to squander thoughtlessly the goods of the churches, but are to apply them in works of devotion and piety, for which great and rich returns have been assigned and ordained by the holy fathers .

    It is also our wish that they take care, without making any excuse, of the churches entrusted to them in commendam, whether these be cathedrals, abbeys, priories, or any other eeclesiastical benefices that they take measures, with all personal effect, to see that the cathedrals are duly served by the appointment of worthy and competent vicars or suffragans, according to what has been customary, with an appropriate and adequate salary; and that they provide for the other churches and monasteries held by them in commendam with the right number of clerics or chaplains, whether religious or monks, for the adequate and praiseworthy service of God. Let them also maintain in proper condition the buildings, properties and rights of any kind, and repair what has crumbled, in accordance with the duty of good prelates and commendatories . We also judge that the said cardinals are to use great discretion and careful foresight with regard to the number of their personal attendants and horses lest by having a greater number than their resources, situation and dignity permit, they can be accused of the vice of over-display and extravagance. Let them not be accounted greedy and squalid on the grounds that they enjoy great and plentiful revenues and yet offer sustenance to very few; for the house of a cardinal ought to be an open lodging, a harbour and refuge for upright and learned persons, especially men, for nobles who are now poor and for honourable persons. Hence let them be prudent about the manner and quantity of what has to be kept, and carefully check the character of their personal attendants, lest they themselves incur from the vices of others the shameful stain of dishonour and provide real opportunities for contradictions and false accusations .

    Since very special provision must be made that our deeds be approved not only before God, whom we ought to please in the first place, but also before peoplel so that we can offer to others an example to be imitated, we ordain that every cardinal show himself an excellent ruler and overseer of his house and personal staff, with regard to both what is open for all to see and what lies hidden within . Therefore let each of them have the priests and deacons clad in respectable garments, and make careful provision that no one in his household who holds a benefice of any type, or is in holy orders, wears multi-coloured clothes or a garment that has little connection with ecclesiastical status. Those in the priesthood, therefore, ought to wear clothes of colours which are not forbidden to clerics by law and are of at least ankle length. Those who hold high office in cathedrals, canons of the said cathedrals those holding the chief posts in colleges, and chaplains of cardinals when celebrating masses, are obliged to wear a head-covering in public. Shield-bearers are permitted garments somewhat shorter than ankle-length. Grooms, because they are generally moving about and perform a somewhat burdensome service, can use shorter and more suitable garments, even if they happen to be clerics, so long as they are not ordained priests; but in such a way that they do not cast aside decency and they so conduct themselves that their behaviour is in keeping with their position in the church . Other clerics are to do everything with due proportion and restraint. Both clerics holding benefices and those in holy orders are not to pay special attention to their hair and beards, nor to possess mules or horses with trappings and ornaments of velvet or silk, but for articles of this kind let them use ordinary cloth or leather .

    If anyone of the aforesaid staff acts otherwise, or wears such forbidden garments after three months from the announcement of the present regulations, despite being given a legitimate warning, he incurs excommunication. If he has not corrected himself within a further three months, he is understood to be suspended from receiving the fruits of the benefices which he holds. And if he remains fixed in this obstinacy for another six months, after a similar legal warning, he is to be deprived of all the benefices which he holds, and he is to be considered as so deprived. The benefices thus made vacant may be freely sought from the apostolic see. We wish each and every one of these arrangements to apply to the households of ourself and any future Roman pontiffs, and likewise to all other beneficed clerics or persons in holy orders, even those in the curia . There is one single exception: the said attendants of ourself and future Roman pontiffs may wear red garments, in keeping with what is proper and usual for the papal dignity .

    Since the care of the most important business is the special concern of cardinals, it is for them to use their ability to know which regions have been infected by heresies, errors and superstitions opposed to the true orthodox faith; where the ecclesiastical discipline of the Lord's commandments is lacking; and which kings and princes or peoples are being troubled, or fear to be troubled, by wars. Cardinals shall apply themselves to obtain information on these and similar matters and make a report to us or the current Roman pontiff so that, by earnest effort, opportune and saving remedies for such evils and afflictions can be thought out. Since by frequent, almost daily, experience it is known that many evils quite often occur to provinces and cities on account of the absence of their own officially appointed legates, and various scandals are springing up which are not without disadvantages to the apostolic see, we decree and ordain that cardinals who are in charge of provinces or cities, under the title of legates, may not administer them through lieutenants or officials, but they are obliged to be present in person for the greater part of the time, and to rule and govern them with all vigilance. Those who now hold the title of legate, or will hold it for a time, are obliged to go to their provinces -- within three months from the date of the present proclamation if the provinces are in Italy, and within five months if they are outside Italy -- and to reside there for the greater part of the time, unless, by a command from us or our successors, they are held back in the Roman curia for some business of greater moment or are sent to other places as needs demand. In the latter cases, let them have in the said provinces and cities vice-legates, auditors, lieutenants and the other usual officials with due arrangements and salaries. Anyone who does not observe each and all of the above regulations is to be deprived of all the emoluments of his post as legate. These regulations were formulated and established long ago with this object: that the ready presence of the legates would be beneficial to the peoples; not that, being free from toils and cares, under cover of being the legate, they would fix their attention only on profit .

    Since the duty of a cardinal is primarily concerned with regular assistance to the Roman pontiff and the business matters of the apostolic see, we have decided that all cardinals shall reside at the Roman curia, and those who are absent are to return within six months if they are in Italy, or within a year from the day of promulgation of this present constitution if they are outside Italy. If they do not they are to lose the fruits of their benefices and the emoluments of all their offices; and they lose completely, as long as they arc absent, all privileges granted in general and in particular to cardinals. Those cardinals are excepted, however, who happen to be absent by reason of a duty imposed by the apostolic see, or of a command or permission from the Roman pontiff, or from reasonable fear or any other motive which justifiably excuses, or for health reasons . Moreover, the privileges, indults and immunities granted to the said cardinals and contained or declared in our bull under the date of our coronation1{Bull Licat Romani pontificis,9 April 1513; see Regesta Leonis X no. 14} remain in full force. We have also decided that the funeral expenses of cardinals, when all costs are included, ought not to exceed the total of 1,500 florins, unless the previous arrangement of the executors -- after just grounds and reasons have been set out -- has reckoned that more should be spent. The funeral rites and formal mourning are to be on the first and ninth days; within the octave, however, masses may be celebrated as usual .

    Out of reverence towards the apostolic see, for the advantage and honour of the pontiff and the cardinals, in order that the possibility of scandals which could come to light may be removed and a greater freedom of votes in the holy senate may exist, and that, as is right, it may be lawful for each cardinal to say freely and without penalty whatever he feels before God and his own conscience, we lay down that no cardinal may reveal in writing or by word or in any other way, under pain of being a perjurer and disobedient, the votes that were given in the consistory, or whatever was done or said there which could result in hatred or scandal or prejudice with regard to anyone, or whenever silence on any point beyond the foregoing has been specially and clearly enjoined by ourself or the Roman pontiff of the time. If anyone acts to the contrary he incurs, as well as the punishments stated, immediate excommunication from which, except in immediate danger of death, he can only be absolved by ourself or the Roman pontiff of the time, and with a declaration of the reason .

    Reforms of the curia and of other things

    Since every generation inclines to evil from its youth, and for it to grow accustomed from tender years towards good is the result of work and purpose we rule and order that those in charge of schools, and those who teach young children and youths, ought not only to instruct them in grammar, rhetoric and similar subjects but also to teach those matters which concern religion, such as God's commandments, the articles of the faith, sacred hymns and psalms, and the lives of the saints. On feast days they should limit themselves to teaching what has reference to religion and good habits, and they are obliged to instruct, encourage and compel their pupils in these matters insofar as they can. Thus, let them attend churches not only for masses, but also to listen to vespers and the divine offices, and let them encourage the hearing of instructions and sermons . Let them not teach anything to their pupils that is contrary to good morals or may lead to a lack of reverence .

    To wipe out the curse of blasphemy, which has increased beyond measure towards a supreme contempt for the divine name and for the saints, we rule and ordain that whoever curses God openly and publicly and, by insulting and offensive language, has expressly blasphemed our lord Jesus Christ or the glorious virgin Mary, his mother, if he has held a public office or jurisdiction, he is to lose three months' emoluments of his said office for the first and second offence, and if he has committed the fault a third time, he is automatically deprived of his post. If he is a cleric or a priest, he is to be punished further as follows for being found guilty of such a fault: for the first time he blasphemed, he is to lose the fruits of whatever benefices he held for one year; for the second time he offended and was convicted, he is to be deprived of his benefice if he held only one, and if he held several then he is to be compelled to lose the one that his ordinary decides upon; if he is charged and convicted for a third time, he is automatically deprived of all the benefices and dignities that he holds, he is rendered incapable of holding them any longer, and they can be freely asked for and allotted to others. A lay person who blasphemes, if he is a noble, is to be fined a penalty of twenty-five ducats; for the second offence the fine is fifty ducats, which are to be applied to the fabric of the basilica of the prince of the apostles in Rome; for other offences he is to be punished as set out below; for a third fault, however, he is to lose his noble status. If he is of no rank and a plebian, he is to be cast into prison. If he has been caught committing blasphemy in public more than twice, he is to be compelled to stand for a whole day in front of the entrance of the principal church, wearing a hood signifying his infamy; but if he has fallen several times into the same fault, he is to be condemned to permanent imprisonment or to the galleys, at the decision of the appointed judge. In the forum of conscience, however, nobody guilty of blasphemy can be absolved without a heavy penance imposed by the decision of a strict confessor . We wish those who blaspheme against the other saints to be punished somewhat more lightly, at the decision of a judge who will take account of individuals .

    We also decree that secular judges who have not taken action against such convicted blasphemers and have not imposed rightful penalties on them, insofar as they are able to, are to be subjected to the same penalties as if they had been involved in the said crime. But those who have exercised care and severity in their examinations and punishments, will gain for each occasion an indulgence of ten years and may keep a third of the fine imposed. Any persons who have heard the blasphemer are obliged to rebuke him sharply in words, if it should happen that this can be done without danger to themselves, and they are obliged to report the same or bring it to the knowledge of an ecclesiastical or secular judge within three days. But if several persons have at the same time heard the said blasphemer committing the fault, each one is obliged to make an accusation against him, unless perhaps they all agree that one will perform the task for all . We urge and counsel in the Lord all the said persons, in virtue of holy obedience, that they command and ensure, for the reverence and honour of the divine name, that all the foregoing are kept and very exactly carried out in their lordships and lands. Thus they will have from God himself an abundant reward for such a good and pious deed, and they too will obtain from the apostolic see an indulgence of ten years, and a third of the fine by which the blasphemer is punished, as often as they have taken the trouble to have such a crime punished . It is likewise our will that this indulgence and the remaining third of the fine imposed be granted and assigned to the person reporting the name of the blasphemer. Moreover, other penalties set down in the sacred canons against such blasphemers remain in force .

    In order that clerics, especially, may live in continence and chastity according to canonical legislation, we rule that offenders be severely punished as the canons lay down. If anyone, lay or cleric, has been found guilty of a charge on account of which the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, let him be punished by the penalties respectively imposed by the sacred canons or by civil law. Those involved in concubinage, whether they be lay or cleric, are to be punished by the penalties of the same canons. Concubinage is not to be allowed by the tolerance of superiors, or as an evil custom of a great number of sinners, which should rather be called a corruption, or under any other excuse; but let those involved be punished severely in accordance with the judgment of the law .

    Moreover, for the good and peaceful government of cities and all places subject to the Roman church, we renew the constitutions published some time ago by Giles, the well-remembered bishop of Sabina, and we enjoin and command that they be kept without alteration .

    So that the stain and disease of abominable simony may be driven out for ever not only from the Roman curia but also from all christian rule, we renew the constitutions issued by our predecessors, also in sacred councils, against simoniacs of this kind, and we prescribe that they be observed unaltered. We wish the penalties they contain to be regarded as clearly stated and included herein, and the offenders to be punished by our authority .

    We rule and order that anyone who holds a benefice with or without the care of souls, if he has not recited the divine office after six months from the date of his obtaining the benefice, and any legitimate impediment has come to an end may not receive the revenues of his benefices, on account of his omission and the length of time, but he is bound to spend them, as being unjustly received, on the fabric of the benefices or on alms to the poor. If he obstinately remains in such negligence beyond the said period, after a legitimate warning has been given, let him be deprived of the benefice, since it is for the sake of the office that the benefice is granted. He is to be understood as neglecting the office, so that he can be deprived of his benefice, if he fails to recite it at least twice during fifteen days . However, in addition to what has just been said, he will be obliged to offer to God an explanation for the said omission. The penalty on those holding several benefices may be repeated as often as they are proved to act contrary to these obligations .

    The full disposal and administration of the revenues of cathedral and metropolitan churches, monasteries and any other ecclesiastical benefices belong exclusively to us and the Roman pontiff of the time, and to those who legally and canonically hold churches, monasteries and benefices of this kind. Secular princes ought in no way to interpose themselves in the said churches, monasteries and benefices, since all divine law also forbids it. For these reasons we rule and command that the fruits and revenues of churches, monasteries and benefices ought not to be sequestrated, held or detained in any way by any secular rulers, even if they be the emperor, kings, queens, republics or other powers, or by their officials, or by judges, even ecclesiastical ones, or by any other persons public or private, acting at the command of the said emperor, kings, queens princes, republics or powers. Those who hold such churches, monasteries and benefices ought not to be impeded -- under the pretext of the restoration of the fabric (unless permission is expressly given by the Roman pontiff of the time) or of alms-giving or under any other guise or pretence -- so that they cannot freely and without restriction, as before, dispose of the fruits and revenues.

    If there have been sequestrations, seizures or retentions, then restoration of the fruits and revenues must be made totally, freely, and without exception or delay, to the prelates to whom they pertain by right and by law. If they have been scattered and can nowhere be found, it is our will, supported by the penalty of excommunication or ecclesiastical interdict to be automatically incurred by the lands and domain of the ruler, that, after a just estimate has been made about them, the said prelates receive satisfaction through those who carried out the said sequestrations, applications or dispersals or who gave orders for them to be carried out; and further, that their goods and the goods of those subject to them, wherever these may be found, may be seized and held if, after being warned, they refuse to obey. Those who act in a contrary manner do so under pain of both the penalties mentioned above and those of deprivation of the fiefs and privileges which they have obtained for a time from us and from the Roman or other churches, and of those issued against violators and oppressors of ecclesiastical liberties, including those in extraordinary and other constitutions, even if they are unknown and perhaps not now in actual use. We renew all these penalties as stated and included herein, we decree and declare that they have perpetual force- and we will and order that sentence, judgment and interpretation are to be given according to them by all judges, even cardinals of the holy Roman church, with all power of judging and declaring otherwise being removed and taken away from them .

    Since no power over ecclesiastical persons is granted to lay people by either divine or human law, we renew the constitution of pope Boniface VIII, our predecessor of happy memory, which begins Felicis, and that of pope Clement V which begins Si quis suadente, and also any other apostolic ordinance, however issued, in favour of ecclesiastical freedom and against its violators . Moreover, the penalties against those who dare to do such things, contained in the bull In coena Domini3, are to remain in force. It has similarly been forbidden in the Lateran and general councils, under penalty of excommunication, for kings, princes, dukes, counts, barons, republics and any other authorities exercising control over kingdoms, provinces, cities and territories, to impose and exact money contributions, tithes and other similar imposts on or from clerics, prelates and any other persons of the church, or even to receive them from those who freely offer them and give their consent. Those who openly or covertly provide help, favour or advice in the aforesaid matters automatically incur the penalty of immediate excommunication; and states, communities and universities which are at fault in any way on this point are by this very fact to be subject to ecclesiastical interdict.

    Prelates also, who have given consent to the foregoing without the clear permission of the Roman pontiff, automatically incur the penalty of excommunication and removal from office. For these reasons we decree and ordain that henceforth those who attempt such things, even if (as mentioned) they are qualified, in addition to the aforesaid penalties which we renew and wish them to incur by the very fact of their contravention, are to be regarded as incapable of all legal acts and as intestable .

    Sorcery, by means of enchantments, divinations, superstitions and the invoking of demons, is prohibited by both civil laws and the sanctions of the sacred canons. We rule, decree and ordain that clerics who are found guilty of these things are to be branded with disgrace at the judgment of superiors. If they do not desist, they are to be demoted, forced into a monastery for a period of time that is to be fixed by the will of the superior, and deprived of their benefices and ecclesiastical offices. Lay men and women, however, are to be subject to excommunication and the other penalties of both civil and canon law. All false Christians and those with evil sentiments towards the faith, of whatever race or nation they may be, as well as heretics and those stained with some taint of heresy, or Judaizers, are to be totally excluded from the company of Christ's faithful and expelled from any position, especially from the Roman curia, and punished with an appropriate penalty. For these reasons we rule that proceedings are to be taken against them, with careful enquiry everywhere and particularly in the said curia, by means of judges appointed by us, and that those accused and rightly convicted of these offences are to be punished with fitting penalties; and we wish that those who have relapsed are to be dealt with without any hope of pardon or forgiveness .

    Since these constitutions and ordinances which we are now establishing concern life, morals and ecclesiastical discipline, it is fitting that our own and other officials, both those in the Roman curia and those everywhere else, should be models of and bound to them, and it is our will and decision that they be held to their observance by an inviolable bond. Lest these constitutions seem at any point to detract from other censures and penalties imposed by ancient laws and constitutions against those acting otherwise, even though they have been thought out and issued as a development, we further declare that nothing whatever has been taken away from common law or from other decrees of Roman pontiffs by these regulations and ordinances. Indeed, if any parts of them have lost their force through the evil corruption of times, places and people, or through abuse, or for any other unapprovable reason, we here and now renew and confirm them and order them to be observed without alteration . We decree and declare that these our well-pondered constitutions are to be of binding force from two months after publication, and we strictly forbid anyone to presume to make glosses or commentaries or interpretations on them without special permission from us or the apostolic see. Anyone who rashly dares to oppose this, incurs the penalty of immediate excommunication by this very act . Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however.. .

    SESSION 10 held on 4 May 1515

    [On the reform of credit organisations (Montes pietatis)]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. We ought to give first place in our pastoral office, among our many anxious cares, to ensuring that what is healthy, praiseworthy, in keeping with the christian faith, and in harmony with good customs may be not only clarified in our time but also made known to future generations, and that what could offer matter for scandal be totally cut down, wholly uprooted and nowhere permitted to spread, while at the same time permitting those seeds to be planted in the Lord's field and in the vineyard of the Lord of hosts which can spiritually feed the minds of the faithful, once the cockle has been uprooted and the wild olive cut down. Indeed, we have learnt that among some of our dear sons who were masters in theology and doctors of civil and canon law, there has recently broken out again a particular controversy, not without scandal and disquiet for ordinary people, with regard to the relief of the poor by means of loans made to them by public authorities. They are popularly called credit organisations and have been set up in many cities of Italy by the magistrates of the cities and by other Christians, to assist by this kind of loan the lack of resources among the poor lest they be swallowed up by the greed of usurers They have been praised and encouraged by holy men, preachers of God's word, and approved and confirmed also by a number of our predecessors as popes, to the effect that the said credit organisations are not out of harmony with christian dogma, even though there is controversy and different opinions regarding the question .

    Some of these masters and doctors say that the credit organisations are unlawful. After a fixed period of time has passed, they say, those attached to these organisations demand from the poor to whom they make a loan so much per pound in addition to the capital sum. For this reason they cannot avoid the crime of usury or injustice, that is to say a clearly defined evil, since our Lord, according to Luke the evangelist, has bound us by a clear command that we ought not to expect any addition to the capital sum when we grant a loan. For, that is the real meaning of usury: when, from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense or any risk. The same masters and doctors add that in these credit organisations neither commutative nor distributive justice is observed, even though contracts of this kind, if they are to be duly approved, ought not to go beyond the bounds of justice. They endeavour to prove this on the grounds that the expenses of the maintenance of these organisations, which ought to be paid by many persons (as they say), are extracted only from the poor to whom a loan is made; and at the same time certain other persons are given more than their necessary and moderate expenses (as they seem to imply), not without an appearance of evil and an encouragement to wrongdoing .

    But many other masters and doctors say the opposite and, both in writing and in speech, unite in speaking in many of the schools in Italy in defence of so great a benefit and one so necessary to the state, on the grounds that nothing is being sought nor hoped for from the loan as such. Nevertheless, they argue, for the compensation of the organisations -- that is, to defray the expenses of those employed and of all the things necessarily pertaining to the upkeep of the said organisations -- they may lawfully ask and receive, in addition to the capital, a moderate and necessary sum from those deriving benefit from the loan, provided that no profit is made therefrom. This is in virtue of the rule of law that the person who experiences benefit ought also to meet the charge, especially when there is added the support of the apostolic authority. They point out that this opinion was approved by our predecessors of happy memory, the Roman pontiffs Paul II, Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII, Alexander VI and Julius II, as well as by saints and persons devoted to God and held in high esteem for their holiness, and has been preached in sermons about the gospel truth .

    We wish to make suitable arrangements on this question (in accord with what we have received from on high). We commend the zeal for justice displayed by the former group, which desires to prevent the opening up of the chasm of usury, as well as the love of piety and truth shown by the latter group, which wishes to aid the poor, and indeed the earnestness of both sides. Since, therefore, this whole question appears to concern the peace and tranquility of the whole christian state, we declare and define, with the approval of the sacred council, that the above-mentioned credit organisations, established by states and hitherto approved and confirmed by the authority of the apostolic see, do not introduce any kind of evil or provide any incentive to sin if they receive, in addition to the capital, a moderate sum for their expenses and by way of compensation, provided it is intended exclusively to defray the expenses of those employed and of other things pertaining (as mentioned) to the upkeep of the organisations, and provided that no profit is made therefrom. They ought not, indeed, to be condemned in any way. Rather, such a type of lending is meritorious and should be praised and approved. It certainly should not be considered as usurious; it is lawful to preach the piety and mercy of such organisations to the people, including the indulgences granted for this purpose by the holy apostolic see; and in the future, with the approval of the apostolic see, other similar credit organisations can be established. It would, however, be much more perfect and more holy if such credit organisations were completely gratuitous: that is, if those establishing them provided definite sums with which would be paid, if not the total expenses, then at least half the wages of those employed by the organisations, with the result that the debt of the poor would be lightened thereby. We therefore decree that Christ's faithful ought to be prompted, by a grant of substantial indulgences, to give aid to the poor by providing the sums of which we have spoken, m order to meet the costs of the organisations .

    It is our will that all religious as well as ecclesiastical and secular persons who henceforth dare to preach or argue otherwise by word or in writing, contrary to the sense of the present declaration and sanction, incur the punishment of immediate excommunication, notwithstanding any kind of privilege, things said above, constitutions and orders of the apostolic see, and anything else to the contrary .

    [Bull against exempt persons, in which are included some points regarding ecclesiastical liberty and episcopal dignity]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Presiding over the government of the universal church (the Lord so disposing), we readily aim to secure the advantages of subjects, in conformity with the obligation of our pastoral office. In order to preserve the church's freedom, to remove scandals, to establish harmony, and to foster peace between prelates of churches and those subject to them, we apply the effort of apostolic care in proportion as experience shows that disagreement between such groups will be harmful. Thus we are glad to regulate the indults and privileges granted to the same subjects by both our predecessors and the apostolic see, at the expense of the prelates concerned, in such a way scandals do not arise from them, or material be provided to anyone for fostering ill-will, or ecclesiastical persons be somehow drawn away from the benefit of obedience as well as from perseverance in the divine service .

    Recently, indeed, a trustworthy report has reached our ears that canons of patriarchal, metropolitan, cathedral and collegiate churches and other secular clerics are making too many claims, on account of which they give rise to considerable ill-report concerning themselves, have an injurious effect on others from their claims of exemption and freedom obtained from the apostolic see, evade the corrections and regulations of the ordinaries, and shun their courts and judgments. Some of them, in the hope of gaining freedom from punishment for their deviations by the privilege of exemption, do not fear to commit offences which they would certainly have never committed if they did not believe that they were protected by their exemption. The result is that, on account of the brashness of those trusting that they will obtain freedom from punishment for their offences, because of the privilege of exemption, they commit outrages on many occasions as a result of which the church is very much maligned and serious scandals arise, especially when those responsible for correcting and punishing them fail to do so. In our wish to provide the necessary remedy lest, on the above pretext, their faults remain unpunished, we rule, with the approval of the sacred council, that henceforth those to whom the correction and punishment of exempt persons has been committed by the apostolic see, are to attend carefully to these duties and diligently to carry out the obligations of the office entrusted to them. As soon as it is legally clear to them that exempt persons have been at fault, they are to punish them in such a way that they are restrained from their acts of arrogance by fear of a penalty and so that others, frightened by their example, will rightly shrink from committing similar faults .

    If they are neglectful in this matter, the diocesan and other local ordinaries are to warn such persons, who have the responsibility for correcting those who are exempt, that they should punish such exempt persons who have committed faults and are guilty and should censure them within a suitable time, which is to be determined by the judgment of those giving the warning. The warning is to be given in person (if the resources and standing of the person giving it make this possible), or otherwise, if there should be no clearly recognised judge in the region of the exempt persons, they are to warn those whom they consider to be responsible for the above by means of a public edict, which is to be fixed to the doors of the cathedrals or other churches where such judges of exempt persons may happen to reside, or if there are no judges of the exempt persons there, then where the exempt persons have committed the faults. If those who have received the warning are negligent in this matter, and do not trouble or have refused to carry it out, then, so that they may be penalised for their fault, they are to be deprived of hearing the inquiry for that time and are henceforth not to be involved in any way in such inquiries. Then the diocesan and other local ordinaries can proceed, on our authority, either to an inquiry or by means of an accusation, excluding the use of torture, against such offending and criminous persons and may personally examine the witnesses.

    They shall see that the process itself -- regarding which, by reason of the solemnity of the law, we forbid anything to be alleged or said except on account of an omitted citation (provided the offence has been correctly proved elsewhere) -- is held, closed and sealed by them and quickly despatched to the apostolic see, either by themselves or by another messenger, so as to be carefully examined by the apostolic see, either by the Roman pontiff or by someone else to whom he shall commit the matter; at the expense of the offending exempt persons, including the expenses incurred in the process itself, which expenses the ordinaries can compel the persons who have been investigated and charged to pay. And those found worthy of blame, either to the extent of being condemned or on account of there being sufficient evidence to justify recourse to torture so that the truth might be extracted, are to be returned to the diocesans or ordinaries so that these may lawfully proceed further, on our authority, in the inquiry or the accusation and may terminate the case according to what is just .

    Notaries of the apostolic see, whose office is known to have been instituted by pope Clement I of happy memory at the beginnings of the primitive church, for the purpose of investigating and recording the acts of saints, and who have been elevated to the office of protonotary and wear an official garment and a rochet, together with other officials who are attached to us and to the said see, when they are actually engaged in their duties, are exempt from all jurisdiction of ordinaries in both civil and criminal matters. Other notaries, however, not wearing the dress of the protonotariate, unless they have adopted it within three months after the publication of this present document, both themselves and others due to be elevated to the office in the future who do not regularly wear the official dress and a rochet, as well as other officials, our own and those of the said see, when not actually engaged in their duties, are to be subject to the jurisdiction of the said diocesans and ordinaries in both criminal and civil cases which involve sums not exceeding twenty-five golden ducats of the treasury.

    But in civil cases involving sums exceeding such an amount, they are to enjoy full exemption and to be totally excluded from the jurisdiction of the said diocesans and ordinaries. We also judge it worthy and appropriate that among the personal staff of cardinals of the holy Roman church, only those shall enjoy the privilege of exemption who belong to the household staff and are regular sharers of its board, or have been sent by the same cardinals to carry out their personal business, or perhaps are absent for a time from the Roman curia to refresh themselves. But for others, even when they are registered as belonging to the personal staff, the privilege of staff membership in no way entitles them to be outside the control of their diocesans and ordinaries .

    By the constitution published at the council of Vienne which begins Attendentes, there was given to the aforesaid diocesans full faculties to visit once a year the convents of nuns, in their dioceses, that are immediately subject to the apostolic see. We renew this constitution and we prescribe and command that it be strictly kept, notwithstanding any exemptions and privileges. By the foregoing, moreover, the same diocesans and ordinaries are not to be prejudiced by cases in which jurisdiction over exempt persons has been granted by law. Rather, we define that henceforth exemptions granted for a time without reasonable cause, and without any citation of those involved, are of no force or value .

    Since order in the church is confused if the jurisdiction of each person is not preserved, we rule and ordain, in an effort to support the jurisdiction of ordinaries (so far as we can with God's favour), to impose more quickly an end to lawsuits, and to restrict the immoderate expenses of litigants, that individual cases, spiritual, civil and mixed, involving in any way an ecclesiastical forum and concerned with benefices -- provided that the actual benefices have not been under a general reservation and the incomes, rents and produce of the individual benefices do not surpass in value, by common reckoning, twenty-four golden ducats of the treasury -- shall in the first instance be examined and settled outside the Roman curia and before the local ordinaries. Thus, nobody may appeal prior to a definitive sentence, nor may an appeal (if made) be in any way admitted, except from an interlocutory judgment which may have the force of a definitive sentence, or by way of a complaint which in no way concerns the main business.

    For, redress cannot be obtained from a definitive sentence by means of an appeal, unless one of the litigants does not dare to go to law before the ordinary because of a genuine fear of his adversary's power, or for some other acceptable and honourable reason which must be at least partially proved otherwise than by his personal oath. In these exceptional cases, the appeal can be begun, investigated and concluded in the Roman curia, even in the first instance . In other cases, the appeals and the commissions of these and other such suits, and whatever follows from them, shall henceforth be of no force or value. The judges and conservators appointed by the apostolic see, if they are not graduates in either civil or canon law, are obliged, on being asked by the parties concerned or by one of them, to take an assessor who is not under suspicion with the parties and to judge the case according to his report .

    We have learnt, by many and frequent reports, that very many churches and the bishops presiding over them, on both sides of the Alps, are being troubled and disturbed in their jurisdictions, rights and lordships by esquires, princes and nobles. These, under colour of a right of patronage which they pretend to hold in ecclesiastical benefices, without the support of any apostolic privileges, or of collations or letters from the ordinaries, or even of any pretence of a title, presume to confer benefices not only on clerics but also on layfolk; to punish at their own whim priests and clerics who are at fault; to remove, purloin and usurp in an arbitrary way, either directly or by ordering others, the tithes of everything on which they are obliged by law to pay, as well as tithes belonging to cathedrals, and other things which pertain to diocesan law and jurisdiction and are the exclusive concern of bishops; to forbid such tithes and any fruits to be taken out of their cities, lands and territories; to seize and unjustly hold fiefs, possessions and lands; to induce and compel, by threats, terror and other indirect means, the granting to them of fiefs and goods of churches and the conferring of ecclesiastical benefices on persons nominated by them; and not only to permit but even expressly to command very many other losses, damages and injuries to be inflicted on the aforesaid clerics and churches and their prelates .

    We take thought, then, that no power has been granted to lay people over clerics and ecclesiastics, or over property belonging to the church, and that it is right and just that laws should be made against those who refuse to observe this . We also consider how much such actions detract, with disastrous results which must be condemned, not only from the honour of ourself and the apostolic see but also from the peaceful and prosperous condition of churchmen. We desire too, to restrain from thoughtless acts of rashness, not so much by new penalties as by a renewed fear of existing ones that should be applied, those whom the rewards of virtues do not induce to observe laws.

    We therefore renew each and all of the constitutions hitherto issued regarding the payment of tithes; against violators and seizers of churches; against fire-raisers and pillagers of fields; against those seizing and holding cardinals of the holy Roman church, our venerable brother bishops and other persons of the church, both secular and regular, and unlawfully taking over in any way their jurisdiction and rights, or disturbing or molesting them in the exercise of their jurisdiction, or presumptuously forcing them to confer ecclesiastical benefices on persons named by them, or to dispose of them in some other way at their arbitrary choice, or to grant or otherwise sell fiefs and goods of the church in perpetual tenure, against making regulations in conflict with ecclesiastical liberty; against providing help, advice and support for the above practices.

    Since these acts are not merely opposed to law but are also in the highest degree insulting and contrary to ecclesiastical liberty, we therefore, in order that we may be able to give an honest account to God of the office entrusted to us, earnestly urge in the Lord, by fatherly sentiments and counsels, the emperor, kings, princes, dukes, marquises, counts, barons, and others of whatever other nobility, pre-eminence, sovereignty, power, excellence or dignity they may be, and we command them by virtue of holy obedience, to observe the foregoing constitutions and to make them inviolably observed by their subjects, notwithstanding any customs whatever to the contrary, if they wish to avoid the divine displeasure and the fitting reaction of the apostolic see. We decree that appointments made in the above-mentioned way to the said benefices are null and void, and those making use of them are rendered incapable of obtaining other ecclesiastical benefices until they have been dispensed in the matter by the apostolic see .

    We have also been carefully reflecting that, after Christ's ascension into heaven, the apostles assigned bishops to each city and diocese, and the holy Roman church became established throughout the world by inviting these same bishops to a role of responsibility, and by gradually sharing the burdens by means of patriarchs, primates, archbishops and bishops; and that it has also been laid down by the sacred canons that provincial councils and episcopal synods ought to be established by such persons for the correction of morals, the settlement and limiting of controversies, and the observance of God's commandments, in order that corruptions may be corrected and those neglecting to do these things may be subjected to canonical penalties. In our desire that these canons be faithfully observed, since it is right for us to be interested in what concerns the christian state, we place a strict obligation on the said patriarchs, primates, archbishops and bishops, in order that they may be able to render to God a worthy account of the office entrusted to them, that they order the canons, councils and synods to be observed inviolably, notwithstanding any privilege whatsoever. Besides, we order that henceforth a provincial council is to be held every three years, and we decree that even exempt persons are to attend them, notwithstanding any privelege or custom to the contrary. Those who are negligent in these matters are to know that they will incur penalties contained in the same canons .

    In order that respect for the papal dignity might be preserved, it was determined by the constitution issued at the council of Vienne, which begins In plerisque that no persons, especially no religious, may be provided to cathedral churches which are deprived of temporal goods, without which spiritual things cannot exist for long, and which lack both clergy and christian people. We renew this constitution, and we will and command that it must be observed inviolably unless we shall judge otherwise for some just reason to be approved in our secret consistory .

    We decree that anything attempted against the foregoing, or any part thereof, is null and void, notwithstanding any constitution or privilege to the contrary . Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however.. .

    [On printing books]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Among the anxieties resting on our shoulders we come back with constant thought to how we can bring back to the path of truth those going astray, and gain them for God (by his grace working in us) . This is what we truly seek after with eagerness; to this we unremittingly direct our mind's desires; and over this we watch with anxious earnestness .

    It is certainly possible to obtain without difficulty some learning by reading books. The skill of book-printing has been invented, or rather improved and perfected, with God's assistance, particularly in our time. Without doubt it has brought many benefits to men and women since, at small expense, it is possible to possess a great number of books. These permit minds to devote themselves very readily to scholarly studies. Thus there can easily result, particularly among Catholics, men competent in all kinds of languages; and we desire to see in the Roman church, in good supply, men of this type who are capable of instructing even unbelievers in the holy commandments, and of gathering them for their salvation into the body of the faithful by the teaching of the christian faith . Complaints from many persons, however, have reached our ears and those of the apostolic see. In fact, some printers have the boldness to print and sell to the public, in different parts of the world, books -- some translated into Latin from Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldean as well as some issued directly in Latin or a vernacular language -- containing errors opposed to the faith as well as pernicious views contrary to the christian religion and to the reputation of prominent persons of rank. The readers are not edified. Indeed, they lapse into very great errors not only in the realm of faith but also in that of life and morals . This has often given rise to various scandals, as experience has taught, and there is daily the fear that even greater scandals are developing .

    That is why, to prevent what has been a healthy discovery for the glory of God, the advance of the faith, and the propagation of good skills, from being misused for the opposite purposes and becoming an obstacle to the salvation of Christians, we have judged that our care must be exercised over the printing of books, precisely so that thorns do not grow up with the good seed or poisons become mixed with medicines. It is our desire to provide a suitable remedy for this danger, with the approval of this sacred council, so that the business of book-printing may go ahead with greater satisfaction the more that there is employed in the future, with greater zeal and prudence, a more attentive supervision. We therefore establish and ordain that henceforth, for all future time, no one may dare to print or have printed any book or other writing of whatever kind in Rome or in any other cities and dioceses, without the book or writings having first been closely examined, at Rome by our vicar and the master of the sacred palace, in other cities and dioceses by the bishop or some other person who knows about the printing of books and writings of this kind and who has been delegated to this office by the bishop in question, and also by the inquisitor of heresy for the city or diocese where the said printing is to take place, and unless the books or writings have been approved by a warrant signed in their own hand, which must be given, under pain of excommunication, freely and without delay .

    In addition to the printed books being seized and publicly burnt, payment of a hundred ducats to the fabric of the basilica of the prince of the apostles in Rome, without hope of relief, and suspension for a whole year from the possibility of engaging in printing, there is to be imposed upon anyone presuming to act otherwise the sentence of excommunication. Finally, if the offender's contumacy increases, he is to be punished with all the sanctions of the law, by his bishop or by our vicar, in such a way that others will have no incentive to try to follow his example. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however.. .

    [On setting a date for those acknowledging the Pragmatic Sanction]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Among other matters to be carried through in this sacred council, we especially desire to make known and proclaim what must be decided and announced concerning the sanction called the Pragmatic, which was issued by a number of leaders of the French nation, both clerics and laymen as well as nobles and others supporting them. This is in accordance with the wishes of our predecessor pope Julius II, of happy memory, who summoned this council. The prelates and other clergy and the aforesaid laity have been summoned on several occasions to appear before both our said predecessor, Julius, and ourself; and their obstinacy has quite often been alleged or been the subject of accusations in the said council. It was subsequently alleged on behalf of the prelates, clerics and laymen, including nobles, and their said supporters, who were legitimately summoned (as just stated) for this purpose, that there was no route which would allow them to travel in safety to the said council. In order that they may not be able to make this excuse, we have taken measures for a comprehensive safe-conduct to be granted and conveyed to them by the Genoans, through whose territory they can travel in safety to the Roman curia, so that they may be able to bring forward the views which they may wish to present in defence of this Pragmatic Sanction .

    To prevent them being able to bring up some further point against what has been set out and to claim a legitimate ignorance, and in order that their obstinacy may be overcome, we once again, with the approval of the sacred council, give notice and warning, regarding a final and definitive dead-line, to the clergy and laity, including nobles, prelates and their supporters, and to colleges of clerics and of seculars, that they must lawfully assemble (putting aside every excuse and delaying action) before I October next. We are extending the dead-line, for the aforesaid reasons and in order to remove all excuses, to the said I October, by way of a final postponement; and we grant and assign this anew. Once the dead-line has passed, however, proceedings will go forward at the next session to other matters and to the conclusion of the said business, even by means of a definitive sentence, notwithstanding their obstinacy and refusal to appear. This next eleventh session we summon for these and many other useful matters. with the approval of the sacred council, for 14 December after the next feast day of St Lucy. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however .. .

    SESSION 11 held on 19 December 1516

    [On how to preach]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Under the protection of the supreme majesty by whose ineffable providence things in heaven and on earth are guided, as we carry out the office of watchman over the Lord's flock committed to us, insofar as this is granted to our weakness, we reflect within ourselves in great depth that, among many other important matters, the office of preaching is also our concern. Preaching is of the first importance, very necessary and of great effect and utility in the church, so long as it is being exercised rightly, from genuine charity towards God and our neighbour, and according to the precepts and examples of the holy fathers, who contributed a great deal to the church by publicly professing such things at the time of the establishment and propagation of the faith . For, our redeemer first did and taught, and by his command and example, the college of twelve apostles -- the heavens alike proclaiming the glory of the true God through all the earth -- led back from darkness the whole human race, which was held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin, and guided it to the light of eternal salvation. The apostles and then their successors propagated far and wide and rooted deeply the word itself through all the earth and unto the ends of the world. Therefore those who are now carrying this burden ought to remember and frequently reflect that they in turn, with respect to this office of preaching, are entering into and maintaining that succession of the author and founder of this office, Jesus Christ our most holy redeemer, of Peter and Paul, and of the other apostles and disciples of the Lord .

    We have learnt from trustworthy sources that some preachers in our times (we record this with sorrow) do not attend to the fact that they are carrying out the office of those we have named, of the holy doctors of the church and of others professing sacred theology, who, ever standing by Christians and confronting false prophets striving to overturn the faith, have shown that the church militant remains unimpaired by her very nature; and that they ought to adopt only what the people who flock to their sermons will find useful, by means of reflection and practical application, for rooting out vices, praising virtues and saving the souls of the faithful. Reliable report has it, rather, that they are preaching many and various things contrary to the teachings and examples which we have mentioned, sometimes with scandal to the people. This fact influences our attitude very deeply when we reflect within ourself that these preachers, unmindful of their duty, are striving in their sermons not for the benefit of the hearers but rather for their own self-display. They flatter the idle ears of some people who seem to have already reached a state that would make true the words of the Apostle writing to Timothy: For, a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths .

    These preachers make no attempt whatever to lead back the deceived and empty minds of such people to the path of right and truth. Indeed, they involve them in even greater errors. Without any reverence for the testimony of canon law, indeed contrary to canonical censures, twisting the sense of scripture in many places, often giving it rash and false interpretations, they preach what is false; they threaten, describe and assert to be present, totally unsupported by legitimate proofs and merely following their own private interpretation, various terrors, menaces and many other evils, which they say are about to arrive and are already growing; they very often introduce to their congregations certain futile and worthless ideas and other matters of this nature; and, what is more appalling, they dare to claim that they possess this information from the light of eternity and by the guidance and grace of the holy Spirit .

    When these preachers spread this medley of fraud and error, backed by the false testimony of alleged miracles, the congregations whom they ought to be carefully instructing in the gospel message, and retaining and preserving in the true faith, are withdrawn by their sermons from the teaching and commands of the universal church. When they turn aside from the official sacred teachings, which they ought particularly to follow, they separate and move far from salvation those who listen to them. For, as a result of these and similar activities, the less educated people, as being more exposed to deceit, are very easily led into manifold errors, as they wander from the path of salvation and from obedience to the Roman church. Gregory, therefore, who was outstanding in this task, moved by the warmth of his charity, gave a strong exhortation and warning to preachers that, when about to speak, they approach the people with prudence and caution lest, caught up in the enthusiasm of their oratory, they entangle the hearts of their hearers with verbal errors as if with nooses, and while perhaps they wish to appear wise, in their delusion they foolishly tear asunder the sinews of the hoped-for virtue. For, the meaning of words is often lost when the hearts of the audience are bruised by too urgent and careless forms of speech .

    Indeed, in no other way do these preachers cause greater harm and scandal to the less educated than when they preach on what should be left unspoken or when they introduce error by teaching what is false and useless. Since such things are known to be totally opposed to this holy and divinely instituted religion, as being novelties and foreign to it, it is surely just for them to be examined seriously and carefully, lest they cause scandal for the christian people and ruin for the souls of their authors and of others. We therefore desire, in accord with the word of the prophet, Who makes harmony dwell in the house, to restore that uniformity which has lost esteem, and to preserve such as remains, insofar as we can with God's help, in the holy church of God, which by divine providence we preside over and which is indeed one, preaches and worships one God and firmly and sincerely professes one faith.

    We wish that those who preach the word of God to the people be such that God's church suffers no scandal from their preaching. If they are amenable to correction, let them abstain in future from these matters into which they have recently ventured. For it is clear that, in addition to the points which we have mentioned, a number of them are no longer preaching the way of the Lord in virtue and are not expounding the gospel, as is their duty, but rather invented miracles, new and false prophecies and other frivolities hardly distinguishable from old wives' tales. Such things give rise to great scandal since no account is taken of devotion and authority and of its condemnations and rejections. There are those who make attempts to impress and win support by bawling everywhere, not sparing even those who are honoured with pontifical rank and other prelates of the church, to whom they should rather be showing honour and reverence. They attack their persons and their state of life, boldly and without discrimination, and commit other acts of this kind. Our aim is that so dangerous and contagious an evil and so mortal a disease may be thoroughly wiped out and that its consequences may be so completely swept away that not even its memory remains .

    We decree and ordain, with the approval of the sacred council, that nobody -whether a secular cleric or a member of any of the mendicant orders or someone with the right to preach by law or custom or privilege or otherwise -- may be admitted to carry out this office unless he has first been examined with due care by his superior, which is a responsibility that we lay on the superior's conscience, and unless he is found to be fit and suitable for the task by his upright behaviour, age, doctrine, honesty, prudence and exemplary life. Wherever he goes to preach, he must provide a guarantee to the bishop and other local ordinaries concerning his examination and competence, by means of the original or other letters from the person who examined and approved him. We command all who undertake this task of preaching, or will later undertake it, to preach and expound the gospel truth and holy scripture in accordance with the exposition, interpretation and commentaries that the church or long use has approved and has accepted for teaching until now, and will accept in the future, without any addition contrary to its true meaning or in conflict with it.

    They are always to insist on the meanings which are in harmony with the words of sacred scripture and with the interpretations, properly and wisely understood, of the doctors mentioned above. They are in no way to presume to preach or declare a fixed time for future evils, the coming of antichrist or the precise day of judgment; for Truth says, it is not for us to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. Let it be known that those who have hitherto dared to declare such things are liars, and that because of them not a little authority has been taken away from those who preach the truth .

    We are placing a restriction on each and all of the said clerics, secular and regular and others, of whatever status, rank or order, who undertake this task. In their public sermons they are not to keep on predicting some future events as based on the sacred writings, nor presume to declare that they know them from the holy Spirit or from divine revelation, nor that strange and empty predictions are matters which must be firmly asserted or held in some other way. Rather, at the command of the divine word, let them expound and proclaim the gospel to every creature, rejecting vices and commending virtues. Fostering everywhere the peace and mutual love so much commended by our Redeemer, let them not rend the seamless garment of Christ and let them refrain from any scandalous detraction of bishops, prelates and other superiors and of their state of life. Yet these they rebuke and hurt before people generally, including the laity, not only heedlessly and extravagantly but also by open and plain reproof, with the names of the evildoers sometimes being stated by them .

    Finally, we decree that the constitution of pope Clement of happy memory beginning Religiosi, which we renew and approve by this present decree, must be observed by preachers without alteration, so that, preaching in these terms for the people's advantage and winning them for the Lord, they may deserve to gain interest on the talent received from him and to win his grace and glory. But if the Lord reveals to certain of them, by some inspiration, some future events in the church of God, as he promises by the prophet Amos and as the apostle Paul, the chief of preachers, says, Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, we have no wish for them to be counted with the other group of story-tellers and liars or to be otherwise hindered. For, as Ambrose bears witness, the grace of the Spirit himself is being extinguished if fervour in those beginning to speak is quietened by contradiction. In that case, a wrong is certainly done to the holy Spirit.

    The matter is important inasmuch as credence must not be easily given to every spirit and, as the Apostle states, the spirits have to be tested to see whether they come from God. It is therefore our will that as from now, by common law, alleged inspirations of this kind, before they are published, or preached to the people, are to be understood as reserved for examination by the apostolic see. If it is impossible to do this without danger of delay, or some pressing need suggests other action, then, keeping the same arrangement, notice is to be given to the local ordinary so that, after he has summoned three or four knowledgeable and serious men and carefully examined the matter with them, they may grant permission if this seems to them to be appropriate. We lay the responsibility for this decision on their consciences .

    If any persons dare to carry through anything contrary to any of the above, it is our will that, in addition to the punishments set down against such persons by law, they incur the penalty of excommunication from which, except at the imminent approach of death, they can be absolved only by the Roman pontiff . In order that others may not be urged on by their example to try similar acts, we decree that the office of preaching is forbidden to such persons for ever; notwithstanding constitutions, ordinances, privileges, indults and apostolic letters for religious orders and the aforesaid persons, including those mentioned in Mare magnum, even if perchance they have been approved, renewed or even granted anew by us, none of which in this matter do we wish to support at any point in their favour. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however.. .

    [Bull containing agreements between the pope and the most christian king of France, on the Pragmatic]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. In accord with the dispensation of the divine mercy by which kings reign and princes rule, established as we are despite our lack of merit in the lofty watch-tower of the apostolate and set over nations and kingdoms, we ponder how permanent force and effect may be given to the things which have been granted, carried out, established, ordained, decreed and done by our praiseworthy and prudent arrangement, in union with our venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, for the wholesome and peaceful government of kingdoms and for the peace and justice of peoples, especially with regard to rulers who are well-deserving of the catholic faith, the christian state and the apostolic see. Nevertheless, we sometimes add the force of our renewed approval to such things, with the approval of the sacred council, so that these things may persist with greater steadiness in an undamaged state the more often they are strengthened by our authority as well as by the protection of a general council. We readily supply effective care for the preservation of such things in order that the kings and peoples of the kingdoms in question, full of gladness in the Lord because of such concessions, privileges, statutes and regulations, may rest together in the sweetness of peace, quiet and delight and may persevere more fervently in their accustomed devotion to the same see .

    Recently, in order that the church, our spouse, might be kept in a holy union and use might be made by Christ's faithful of the sacred canons issued by Roman pontiffs and general councils, we ordained and decreed, with the unanimous advice and consent of our said brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church certain constitutions that had been treated with our dearly beloved son in Christ, Francis, the most christian king of France, while we were at Bologna with our curia, and which were to take the place of the Pragmatic Sanction and the things contained in it for the sake of peace and harmony in the kingdom of France and for the general and public advantage of the kingdom. These constitutions were carefully examined by our said brothers, agreed upon with the said king on their advice, and accepted by a legitimate procurator of the king. Their contents are contained rather fully in our letter which follows, Primitiva illa ecclesia . . . {Msi 32, 948-963, Raccolta di concordati su materie ecclesiastiche tra la Santa Sede e le autorita civili, edited by A. Mercati. I Rome. 1954. 233-25}

    The letter has been published chiefly in order that continuing charity and unbroken peace may abide in the mystical body, the church, and that any dissenting members may be re-grafted into the body in a convenient way. The letter will be better observed according as it is more clearly established that it has been approved and renewed by us, after mature and healthy consideration, with the approval of the said Lateran council. Although there is no need of another approval for the validity and reality of the same letter, however, to provide an ampler surety so that observance may be firmer and abolition more difficult, greater strength will be given to it by the approval of so many fathers.

    Therefore, with the approval of the sacred Lateran council, by apostolic authority and fullness of power, we approve and renew, and order to be observed and maintained in their totality and without change, the said letter together with each and every statute, ordinance, decree, explanation, agreement, compact, promise, wish, penalty, restraint and clause contained in it; especially the clause by which it was our will that if the said king of France does not approve and ratify the aforesaid letter, and each and every thing contained in it, within six months from the date of this present letter, and does not arrange for the contents to be read, published, sworn to and registered, like all other royal constitutions in his kingdom and in all other places and lordships of the said kingdom, for all future time without limit, by all the prelates and other ecclesiastical persons and courts of parlements, and if he does not convey to us, within the said six months, letters patent or authentic written documents concerning each and all of the aforesaid matters about the acceptance, reading, publication, oath and registration referred to, or does not deliver them to our nuncio attached to the king, in order to be passed on by him to us, and does not subsequently arrange for the letter to be read each year and effectively observed without alteration exactly as other binding constitutions and ordinances of the king of France have to be observed, then the letter itself and whatever follows from it are null and void and of no force or value .

    We decree and declare that the enduring effect only continues in the event of the said ratification and approval, and not otherwise or in any other way, and that all who are included in the said letter, regarding the observance of the actual letter and of each and every thing set down in it, are bound and obliged by the censures and penalties and other things contained in it, in accordance with the meaning and form of the same letter. This is notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances, all those things which we did not wish to oppose in the and any other things of any kind to the contrary. Let nobody If anyone however.. .

    [On the abrogation of the Pragmatic Sanction]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. The eternal Father, who will never abandon his flock up to the close of the age, so loved obedience, as the Apostle testifies, that to make expiation for the sin of disobedience of the first parent, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death. Moreover, when he was about to depart from the world to the Father, he established Peter and his successors as his own representatives on the firmness of a rock. It is necessary to obey them as the book of the Kings testifies, so that whoever does not obey, incurs death . As we read in another place, the person who abandons the teaching of the Roman pontiff cannot be within the church; for, on the authority of Augustine and Gregory, obedience alone is the mother and protector of all virtues, it alone possessing the reward of faith. Therefore, on the teaching of the same Peter, we ought to be careful that what has been introduced in due season and for sound reasons by our predecessors the Roman pontiffs, especially in sacred councils, for the defence of obedience of this kind, of ecclesiastical authority and freedom, and of the apostolic see, should be duly discharged by our effort, devotion and diligence and be brought to the desired conclusion. The souls of the simple, of whom we shall have to render an account to God, are to be freed from the deceits and snares of the prince of darkness.

    Indeed, our predecessor of happy memory, pope Julius II, summoned the sacred Lateran council for lawful reasons which were then made clear, on the advice and with the consent of his venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, among whom we were then numbered. Together with the same sacred Lateran council, he pondered on the fact that the corruption of the kingdom of France at Bourges, which they call the Pragmatic Sanction, had been strong in the past and was still vigorous, resulting in very great danger and scandal to souls, and a loss and cheapening of respect for the apostolic see. He therefore entrusted discussion of the Pragmatic Sanction to specifically named cardinals and to the prelates of a certain congregation .

    Although the aforesaid sanction should clearly be subject to nullity on many counts, and was supporting and preserving open schism, and therefore it could have been declared to be essentially of no effect, null and invalid, without the need for any preceding formal citation, yet, from a great sense of caution, our same predecessor Julius, by a public edict -- which was to be fixed to the church doors of Milan, Asti and Pavia, since there was then no safe access to France -gave warning and summoned the prelates of France, the chapters of churches and monasteries, the parlements and the layfolk supporting them and making use of the said sanction, and each and all of the rest who were thinking that there was some advantage for them in the foregoing individually or collectively, to appear before him and the said council within a fixed period, which was then clearly stated, and to declare the reasons why the aforesaid sanction, and its corruptive and abusive effect in matters touching on the authority of the Roman church and the sacred canons, and on the violation of ecclesiastical liberty should not be declared null and invalid. During the lifetime of the said Julius our predecessor, various obstacles made it impossible to implement the summons or to discuss fully the business of the abrogation, as had been his intention .

    After his death, however, the summons, in full lawful form, was again brought forward by the promoter of the sacred council, the procurator fiscal. Those summoned and not presenting themselves were accused of obstinacy and the request was made for matters to be taken further. At the time we, who have been brought to the highest peak of the apostolate by the favour of the divine mercy after duly considering the whole situation, gave no response to the request, for definite reasons. Later, when a variety of impediments were being alleged by the said persons who had been warned and summoned, as to why they had been unable to present themselves at the appointed time (as stated above), we postponed, several times at several sessions, with the approval of the sacred council the date fixed by the said summons and warning to later dates, which have now long gone past, so that all occasion for just excuse and complaint might be taken away from them .

    Although all obstacles have been removed and all dead-lines have passed nevertheless the aforesaid persons, despite being warned and summoned, have not appeared before us and the said council, nor taken any steps to appear, in order to bring forward a reason why the said sanction should not be declared null. There is therefore no longer room for any excuse. They can justly be regarded as obstinate; as indeed, by the demands of justice, we reckoned them to be. We are therefore thinking seriously about this Pragmatic Sanction, or rather corruption, as has been stated, which was issued at the time of the schism by those who did not have the necessary power, and which is not at all in accord with the rest of the christian state or with God's holy church. It was revoked, made void and abolished by the most christian king of France, Louis XI, of distinguished memory. It damages and lessens the authority, liberty and dignity of the apostolic see.

    It completely removes the power of the Roman pontiff to provide both cardinals of the holy Roman church, who work earnestly on behalf of the universal church, and learned men, with churches, monasteries and other benefices, in accordance with the demands of their status, even though such persons are numerous in the curia and it is by their counsel that the authority and power of the apostolic see, the Roman pontiff and the whole church is kept safe and its affairs guided and promoted into a prosperous state. Thus it offers excuses to church prelates of the aforesaid faction for breaking and violating the sacred nerve of obedience to ecclesiastical discipline and for setting up opposition against us and the apostolic see, their mother, and it opens the way for them to attempt such things. Clearly it is subject to nullity and is to be supported by no prop except of a temporary nature, or rather, of a kind of tolerance.

    Our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, for all their high hopes expressed in their own days, may have seemed to have tolerated this corruption and abuse, not being able to confront it completely either because of the evil nature of the times or because they were providing for it in some other way. We remember, however, that almost seventy years have passed since the publication of this sanction of Bourges, and that no council has been lawfully held within this time except the present Lateran council. Since we have been placed in this council by the Lord's disposition, we therefore judge and resolve, with Augustine as our witness, that we cannot refrain or desist from the eradication and total annulment of the same vile sanction if we are to avoid disgrace to ourself and to the many fathers assembled in the present council as well as to avoid danger to our own soul and those of the above-mentioned persons using it .

    Just as pope Leo I, our predecessor of holy memory, whose footsteps we readily follow insofar as we can, gave orders and brought to pass that the measures which had been rashly carried out at the second synod of Ephesus, contrary to justice and the catholic faith, were later revoked at the council of Chalcedon, for the sake of the constancy of the same faith, so we too judge that we cannot, or ought not to, withdraw from or abandon the revocation of so evil a sanction and its contents if we are to preserve our own honour, and that of the church, with a safe conscience. The fact that the sanction and its contents were published at the council of Basel and, at the instance of the same council, were received and recognised by the meeting at Bourges, ought not to influence us since all those happenings after the transfer of the same council of Basel took place -- the transfer being made by pope Eugenius IV, our predecessor of happy memory -- have remained the deeds of the quasi-council, or rather the conventicle, of Basel.

    For, especially after that transfer, it did not deserve to be called a council any more and therefore its acts could not have any force. For it is clearly established that only the contemporary Roman pontiff, as holding authority over all councils, has the full right and power to summon, transfer and dissolve councils. This we know not only from the witness of holy scripture, the statements of holy fathers and our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, and the decisions of the sacred canons, but also from the declarations of the same councils. Some of this evidence we have decided to repeat, and some to pass over in silence as being sufficiently well known .

    Thus we read that the synod of Alexandria, at which Athanasius was present, wrote to Felix, bishop of Rome, that the council of Nicaea had decided that councils ought not to be celebrated without the authority of the Roman pontiff . Pope Leo I transferred the second council of Ephesus to Chalcedon. Pope Martin V authorised his presidents at the council of Siena to transfer the council with no mention being made of the council's consent. The greatest respect was shown to our predecessors as Roman pontiffs: to Celestine by the first synod of Ephesus; to the said Leo by the synod of Chalcedon; to Agatho by the sixth synod; to Hadrian by the seventh synod; and to Nicholas and Hadrian by the eighth synod, of Constantinople. These councils submitted with reverence and humility to the instructions and commands of the same pontiffs which had been composed and issued by them in the sacred councils. Moreover, pope Damasus and the other bishops assembled at Rome, writing to the bishops at Illyricum about the council at Rimini, pointed out that the number of bishops assembled at Rimini counted for nothing since it was known that the Roman pontiff, whose decrees were to be preferred before all others, had not given his consent to their meeting.

    It appears that pope Leo I said the same when writing to all the bishops of Sicily. It was customary for the fathers of the ancient councils humbly to ask for and obtain a warrant and approbation from the Roman pontiff in order to corroborate the matters dealt with in their councils . This is clear from the synods and their acts held at Nicaea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, the sixth synod at Constantinople, the seventh at Nicaea, the Roman synod under Symmachus and the synods in Haimar's book. We would certainly be without these recent troubles if the fathers at Bourges and Basel had followed this laudable custom, which it is known that the fathers at Constance also finally adopted .

    We desire this matter to be brought to its proper conclusion. We are proceeding on the strength of the many citations issued by us and our said predecessor Julius, and of the other things mentioned above which are so notorious that they cannot be hidden by any excuses or evasions, as well as in virtue of our pastoral office.

    We are supplying for each and every defect, both of law and of fact, if perchance any happen to exist in the above. We judge and declare, from our certain knowledge and from the fullness of apostolic power, with the approval of the same sacred council, by the contents of the present document, that the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction or corruption, and its approbations however issued, and each and every decree, chapter, statute, constitution or ordinance that is included, or even inserted, in any way in the same and has been published by others, as well as the customs, expressions and uses, or rather abuses, in any way resulting from it and observed until the present, have been and are of no force or value. In addition, for a more extensive safeguard, we revoke, make void, abrogate, quash, annul and condemn that same sanction or corruption of Bourges and its approval, whether expressed or tacit, as said above, as well as each and every thing of whatever nature included or even inserted in it, and we judge, declare and will them to be considered as of no effect, revoked, made void, abrogated, quashed, annulled and condemned.

    Moreover, since subjection to the Roman pontiff is necessary for salvation for all Christ's faithful, as we are taught by the testimony of both sacred scripture and the holy fathers, and as is declared by the constitution of pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, also our predecessor, which begins Unam sanctam, we therefore, with the approval of the present sacred council, for the salvation of the souls of the same faithful, for the supreme authority of the Roman pontiff and of this holy see, and for the unity and power of the church, his spouse, renew and give our approval to that constitution, but without prejudice to the declaration of pope Clement V of holy memory, which begins Meruit .

    In virtue of holy obedience and under the penalties and censures to be declared below, we forbid each and all of Christ's faithful, both laity and secular clergy, and regulars of whatever order including mendicants, and other persons without restriction, of no matter what status, rank or condition they may be, including cardinals of the holy Roman church, patriarchs, primates, archbishops, bishops, and any others distinguished by ecclesiastical or worldly or any other honour, and each and all other prelates, clerics, chapters, secular convents, regulars of the aforesaid orders, including abbots and priors of monasteries, dukes, counts, princes, barons, parlements, royal officials, judges, advocates, notaries and scribes, both ecclesiastical and secular, and any other regular or secular ecclesiastics in any high office, as said above, who are now or shall be living in the said kingdom of France and the Dauphine and wherever the said Pragmatic has been in force directly or indirectly, silently or openly, to presume to make use of the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction, or rather corruption, in any way or for any reason, by keeping silence or by clear speech, directly or indirectly, or by any other excuse or clever evasion, in any judicial or extrajudicial acts, or even to appeal to it or make judgments on its terms,

    or to quash, by themselves or through another or others, any judicial or extra-judicial acts on the grounds of the general meaning of the said sanction or of parts of it, and they may not permit or order these things to be done by means of others. They are not to keep the aforesaid Pragmatic Sanction, or sections or decrees contained in it, in their own houses or in other public or private places. Indeed, they are to destroy it, or have it destroyed, in archives, including royal and capitular ones, and in the above-mentioned places within six months from the date of this present letter .

    The penalties to be incurred, automatically and without the need for any further declaration, for each and all of the aforesaid persons, if they act to the contrary (though may they not!), are immediate major excommunication, the incapacity for all and singular legal acts of any kind, being branded as infamous, and the penalties expressed in the law of treason; in addition for the aforesaid ecclesiastical and religious persons, the loss of all patriarchal, metropolitan and other cathedral churches, of all monasteries, priories and convents, and of all secular dignities and ecclesiastical benefices, as well as the inability to hold them in the future; and in addition for secular persons, the loss of any fiefs held for any reason from the Roman or some other church, and the inability to hold them in the future. They cannot be absolved from these penalties by any faculty or by clauses contained in privileges regarding the hearing of confessions, no matter by what persons or verbal formulae they may have been granted. Except when at the point of death, they can only be absolved by the Roman pontiff acting canonically or by someone else having a faculty from him specifically for that purpose .

    By the knowledge, power and statements mentioned above we expressly and specifically repeal anything to the contrary. This is notwithstanding anything mentioned above as well as constitutions, ordinances, decrees and statutes, however they may have been published and granted, and frequently renewed, repeated, confirmed and approved, as enduring in their force, by apostolic or any other authority, even conciliar authority and even by our certain knowledge and fullness of apostolic power, the tenor of all of which we regard as sufficiently expressed and included, for the purposes of the above, as if they had been inserted herein word for word; notwithstanding if the apostolic see has granted to any communities and universities, and any individual persons mentioned above, even if they are the aforesaid cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, marquises and dukes, or any others, whether individually or communally, that they cannot be interdicted, suspended, excommunicated, deprived or incapacitated by apostolic letters which do not make full and express mention, word for word, of the indult in question; and notwithstanding any other general or special privileges, indulgences and apostolic letters, of whatever tenor they may be, by means of which, because they are not expressed or included in whole in the present letter, the effect of the above might be impeded or deferred in any way, since special mention of their contents is to be regarded as included, word for word, in this our letter. Let nobody therefore .. . If anyone however .. .

    [On religious and their privileges]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. We consider and diligently ponder the hardworking and anxious zeal, and the unending labours for the glory of the divine name, for the triumph of the catholic faith and the preservation of the church's unity, and for the training and salvation of the souls of the faithful, which are carried on by bishops and their superiors, who have been placed by the apostolic see at the head of their churches in different parts of the world, as well as by the friars of the different orders, especially the mendicant orders, who are engaged without respite or rest. So great is the satisfaction that has reached our heart, as a result of their fruitful labours in the Lord's vineyard and their opportune and praiseworthy actions, that we are devoting every effort to encourage the things which we know to contribute to the preservation of peace and quiet among them. We are conscious that the bishops have become partners in our anxiety . Ambrose bears witness that their distinction and greatness have no possible equal. We also know that religious have done much in the field of the Lord for the defence and advance of the christian religion and that they have produced and are daily producing abundant fruit. Consequently all of the faithful are aware that the good works of these bishops and religious have enabled the true faith to make progress and to spread everywhere throughout the world .

    These men have likewise not hesitated on innumerable occasions, with much dedication and competence, to destroy the schisms in God's church, to bring unity to that church and to undergo innumerable pains so that the same church might gain the quiet of peace. Therefore it is just that we direct our efforts so to unite them to one another by the bond of peace and by a fraternal unity and charity that, linked in unity of doctrine and actions, they may foster more abundant fruits in God's church. The exercise of spiritual rights, which concern the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of Christ's faithful, has been entrusted to bishops and their superiors in their respective dioceses, since they have been chosen to be sharers of our burden, as we have already said, and since dioceses with defined boundaries have been assigned to each of the bishops. We truly desire, then, that these spiritual rights be exercised by the bishops, and that the right of freely exercising them be truly, as far as possible, kept intact for them.

    If our predecessors as Roman pontiffs and the apostolic see have granted any such spiritual rights to the said mendicant friars to the harm of the bishops we consider that such concessions made to religious ought in future to be limited, so that the friars themselves will be supported in all charity by the said bishops rather than be troubled and disturbed. For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith. That is why it is fitting that, belonging to the one same body, they also have the one same will; and just as the brethren are united by the bond of mutual charity, so it is not fitting that they arouse among themselves injustice and hurt, since the Saviour says, My commandment is that you love one another as I have loved you .

    We wish to preserve charity and mutual goodwill among bishops, their superiors, prelates and friars, as well as to promote divine worship and the peace and tranquillity of the universal church. We know this can be done only if each preserves as far as possible his own jurisdiction. We have therefore decided and decreed, with the approval of the sacred council, that the said bishops, their superiors and other prelates may visit the parish churches which legitimately belong to the same friars by reason of their residences, with regard to what concerns the care of the parishioners and the preservation and administration of the sacraments, without however the exceptional trouble and expense of official visitors. They may punish those responsible for the churches and failing in this matter: if they are religious, then in accordance with the rules of their order within the precincts of the religious house, if they are secular priests or friars who hold benefices of this kind, then they may freely punish them as being subject to their jurisdiction. Both prelates and secular priests who are not excommunicated may celebrate masses out of devotion in the churches of the said religious houses, if they wish to do so, and the friars themselves ought to welcome them. Friars who are invited by the same prelates to take part in solemn processions ought to agree, provided the suburban friary in question is not more than a mile away from the city .

    The friars' superiors are bound to specify and present in person to the same prelates the friars whom they have chosen to hear for a time the confessions of the prelate's subjects, if the prelates ask for them to be specified and presented to them; if not, then to their vicars; with the condition that they are not bound to go to prelates who are more than two days' journey away. The friars in question may be examined by the same bishops and prelates, at least regarding the sufficiency of their learning and their other skills relative to this sacrament. If they are accepted, or if the refusal is unjust, then, in accordance with the constitution Omnis utriusque sexus, let them be considered as accepted at least as regards confession, and they can even hear the confessions of strangers. They have no power, however, to absolve layfolk and secular clergy from manimposed penalties. They may not administer the eucharist and extreme unction and the church's other sacraments to those whose confessions they have heard, including the sick and the dying, who say that their own priest has refused to give the sacraments to them, unless the refusal was made without a just reason and this is proved by the testimony of neighbours or by an investigation carried out before a pubic notary.

    They have no authority to administer these sacraments to persons requesting their ministrations except during a period of actual service to them. Temporary agreements and contracts between friars and prelates or curates are valid unless they are rejected by the next general or provincial chapter and the rejection is duly communicated by the chapter. Friars may not enter parishes bearing a cross in order to carry out the funerals of those who have chosen to be buried at the churches of their houses or institutions, unless the parish priest, having received due notice and a request, does not refuse, and in that case without prejudice to himself and the ordinary; or unless there is an ancient custom on this point with the friars, which is currently in force and is mutually agreed upon. Those who wish to be buried in the habit of the said friars, but who live in their own houses and not in enclosure, are free to choose a burial place for themselves in their last wills .

    Friars due to be promoted to orders are to be examined by the ordinaries on grammar and their competence. Provided they answer adequately, they ought to be readily admitted by the ordinaries. They may not, however, be ordained in their churches or houses or other places by anyone except the diocesan bishop or his deputy (the latter is to be asked with due reverence), unless the bishop refuses on insufficient grounds or is absent from his diocese. They should not ask for the consecration of a church or an altar, or the blessing of a cemetery, from another bishop; and they may not arrange for the first stone of a church being built for them to be laid by a strange bishop, unless the ordinary refuses without any just reason after he has been asked two or three times with due reverence and urgency. Friars may not bless a bride and bridegroom without the consent of those in charge of the parish. In order to render to the mother church the honour due to her, friars and secular clerics may not ring the bells of their churches on Holy Saturday before those of the cathedral or mother church have been rung, even if they are supported on this point by a privilege of the apostolic see. Those acting otherwise incur a penalty of one hundred ducats.

    They are to publish and observe in the churches of their own houses the censures which are imposed promulgated and solemnly published by the ordinaries in the mother churches of cities as well as in the collegiate and parish churches of castles and towns, when they are asked to do this by the same ordinaries. To provide more fruitfully for the salvation of the souls of Christ's faithful of both sexes, they are obliged to advise and encourage those whose confessions they have heard for a time, no matter of what standing or status they may be, that they are bound in conscience to pay tithes, or a portion of their goods or produce, in those places where such tithes or dues are customarily paid; and they are obliged to refuse absolution to those who will not pay them. They are bound, moreover, to include this in their public preaching and exhortations to the people when they are asked to do so .

    The conservators assigned for a time to the same friars by the apostolic see ought to be outstanding in learning and good reputation and of established ecclesiastical rank. They cannot oblige to appear before them anyone living more than two days' journey away, notwithstanding any privileges granted to the conservators at other times. Excommunicated persons wishing to enter a mendicant order cannot be absolved when the interests of a third party are involved, unless satisfaction has previously been made. Procurators, business agents and workers in the service of the said friars are subject to sentences of excommunication which have been promulgated, if they have given cause for them or have offered help, favour or advice to the guilty. Brothers and sisters of the third order, and those known as the cloaked ones, the girdled ones and the devotees, and others no matter how named, living in their own homes, can choose whatever place of burial they wish.

    They are bound, however, to receive the eucharist at Easter as well as extreme unction and the other sacraments of the church, with the exception of the sacrament of penance, from their own priest . They are obliged to undertake the tasks incumbent upon the laity, and they can be brought before lay judges in a secular court. To avoid the cheapening of ecclesiastical censures, and sentences of interdict being regarded as of little importance, members of the said third orders are in no way to be admitted to hear divine services in the churches of their orders during a period of interdict, if they have given grounds for the interdict or encouraged or supported those grounds, or if they have in any way offered help, counsel or favour to the guilty . But those living in an official group, or dwelling with the enclosed, and women who are leading a life of virginity, celibacy or chaste widowhood under an expressed vow and with a habit, ought to enjoy the privileges of the order of which they are tertiaries .

    We wish and decree that each and all of the above norms are to be extended to and observed by, all other religious of other orders. In matters not mentioned above, the rights of the said bishops and friars and other religious are to be maintained. We do not wish to prejudice these rights in any way by the above statements, or to introduce anything new. This is notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances; statutes and customs of the said orders which have been strengthened by oath, apostolic confirmation or any other form of reinforcement; and privileges, indults and apostolic letters which have been granted to the same orders and are contrary to what has been set down above or to any part of it, even what was included in Mare magnum. If there is required a mention or other statement that is special, specific, clear, distinctive, word for word, and not by general clauses, regarding these things and their meaning, or if some other carefully chosen form should be used, in order that they might be abrogated, then we consider their meaning to be sufficiently expressed and included in this present letter, we expressly and specially abrogate anything to the contrary, and we decree as null and void anything that is knowingly or unknowingly attempted to the contrary in these matters by any person acting on any authority .

    We warn the friars, in virtue of holy obedience, to revere bishops with fitting honour and due respect, out of the reverence owed to us and the apostolic see, since they act as deputies in place of the holy apostles. As for bishops, we urge and appeal by the tender mercy of our God that, while attending to the friars with well-disposed affection, treating them with kindness and encouraging them, they present themselves to them as in no sense difficult or hard or peevish, but rather as easy, mild, well-disposed and liberal in loving generosity, and that in all the above-mentioned matters they welcome them with ready kindness as co-workers in the Lord's vineyard and as sharers in their labours, and that they guard and defend their rights with all charity, so that both bishops and friars, whose works as burning lamps set on a hilltop ought to provide light to all Christ's faithful, may move forward from strength to strength for the glory of God, the triumph of the catholic faith and the salvation of peoples, and in consequence deserve to obtain from the Lord, the most generous recompenser of all good deeds, the reward of eternal life. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however . . .

    SESSION 12 held on 16 March 1517

    [Against those attacking the houses of cardinals]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. Certain audacious persons disdain to show the appropriate deference to the cardinals of the holy Roman church, who are the chief pillars of the catholic church. They do not fear to lay violent hands, with impious boldness, on their possessions and properties. Their uncontrolled desire warns and induces us to strengthen, increase and extend -- in accordance with the character of the times and with what we perceive in the Lord to be soundly in keeping with so distinguished an office in God's church -- those measures which, by wise planning, were established by our predecessors for the safe-guarding of the high office of the said cardinals, in order that the boldness of these people may be restrained before it extends even further. Indeed, there has recently grown up in Rome a damnable abuse and lack of restraint in wrongdoing.

    Thus, while there is a vacancy in the apostolic see, and the election of a future Roman pontiff is actually being discussed by the cardinals in conclave, if some rumour leaks out, even if false, that one of the cardinals has been elected as pontiff, the mob attacks his house with arms and contends by force with his servant-guards, while he is still in the conclave, over the despoiling of his house . If an entry is forced by breaking down the doors or digging under the wall, the mob rushes in to plunder all the goods that are there, unless a defence is made by armed guards. Sometimes there are some who are so audacious and headstrong that they do not fear even on other occasions to attack the houses of cardinals in a hostile fashion and with arms, under the guise of general brawling, and to strike and wound while they are there, as a result of which there is considerable loss to the honour of the cardinalate, by which the most holy church militant is fully adorned as by a purple garment, contempt for the cardinals is aroused, and occasion is given for murders and other scandals .

    We wish to suppress audacious tendencies of this kind by fitting punishments . We therefore renew by this letter, with the approval of the sacred council and by our apostolic authority, the published constitutions of our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, Honorius III and Boniface VIII of happy memory, against those pursuing any cardinal of the said church in a hostile manner, those assisting such persons by their presence, counsel or support, or knowingly harbouring or defending them, and those attacking their houses or dwellings, as said above, and their descendants and property. We decree that these constitutions must be observed everywhere without alteration for all future times. We also extend these same constitutions, with each and every censure and penalty contained in them, to each and every living person of whatever status, condition and distinction, who attacks with an armed band the home of any of the said cardinals, both at the time of the said conclave, even if the cardinal in question has been elected pope, and at other times and for any reasons, and who seizes anything in the house with violence like an enemy or wounds anyone of those dwelling there, and also their associates and those who have given orders for it to be done, or have given personal approval to the deed or have provided counsel and support to the attackers in the above matters and have defended them. This is notwithstanding apostolic constitutions and ordinances and other measures of whatever kind to the contrary. Let nobody therefore . . . If anyone however . . .

    [Constitution imposing taxes and closing the council]

    Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the council, for an everlasting record. We have been set over nations and kingdoms, as the prophet declared, although our merits are unequal to this. We are suitably carrying out the duty of our office when we renew again that reform of the whole church and its affairs which we have accomplished with profit; when we plan to apply suitable remedies for the unchallenged observance of the reform and to make provision for cathedrals and metropolitan churches so that they may no longer be without their pastors; and when we supervise these remedies with ever-present attention and untiring efforts, by means of which we may be able to render the Lord's flock, which has been entrusted to our care, acceptable and submissive in the sight of the divine majesty. Our aim is also to crush the Turks and other infidels standing firm in the eastern and southern regions. They treat the way of true light and salvation with complete contempt and totally unyielding blindness; they attack the life-giving cross on which our Saviour willed to accept death so that by dying he might destroy death, and by the ineffable mystery of his most holy life he might restore life; and they make themselves hateful enemies of God and most bitter persecutors of the christian religion. Strengthened by defences not only spiritual but also temporal, we may be able, under God's guidance and favour, to oppose the bitter and frequent sallies by which, in wild rage, they move savagely amidst christian blood .

    Indeed, pope Julius II, our predecessor of happy memory, acting in union with the holy Spirit, in a laudable and legitimate manner, for sound reasons, with the advice and consent of his venerable brothers, the cardinals of the holy Roman church, of whom we were then one, summoned the sacred Lateran council. He held five sessions and summoned a sixth. He then passed from the human scene. We were then raised to the summit of the highest apostolate by the favour of the divine mercy. We had always had a heartfelt desire, even at lesser meetings, to see a general council being celebrated as a very important development in the Lord's field. We realised that an obligation had been added to our honourable and useful desire as a result of the duty of pastoral care now laid upon us. We therefore undertook this matter with a more burning commitment and a total readiness of mind. We gave approval in the said sixth session, with the advice and consent of our said brother cardinals and with the approval of the same sacred Lateran council, to the postponement of the council to a fixed date, which was then clearly stated, for reasons made clear from the situation and for others affecting our own and the minds of our said brother cardinals. The council was to continue towards the completion of the objectives for which it had been summoned; and especially that, once the terrible conflicts between christian princes and rulers were settled and weapons of war set aside, a universal and lasting peace could be established. Leaving nothing untried, we intended to use all our efforts to bring about this peace and to conclude it, as if it were a good of supreme advantage.

    We also declared that it is and shall be part of our unchangeable thought and intention that, once the matters concerning the praise of God and the exaltation of the aforesaid church have been completed, the holy and most necessary expedition against the enemies of the catholic faith shall take place and a successful triumph over them be accomplished with the aid of the most High. In order that those under an obligation to attend this most useful council might not be held back in any way from coming to it, and so that they might be unable to proffer any excuse, we provided and granted, with the approval of the said Lateran council, to each and all of those summoned to the celebration of the council by our predecessor Julius, and to their attendants, a safe-conduct while they were travelling to and staying in Rome for the purposes of the said Lateran council. We urged kings and princes, out of reverence for the apostolic see, not to molest those coming here but to permit them to travel in safety .

    We summoned the seventh session. We wanted nothing more than that those useful and necessary matters on account of which the said Lateran council had been summoned might be brought to their conclusion. We therefore set up three special committees of cardinals and other prelates to listen to and discuss matters of this kind and other conciliar business, and we ordered them to report to the council on what they had heard and discussed. One of the committees had the special task of establishing a universal peace between christian kings and princes, which was one of the chief reasons for the said council coming together, and of rooting out the schism; the second had the special task of general reform, including the reform of the curia; and the third had the special task of examining and abrogating the Pragmatic Sanction and of dealing with matters concerning the true faith. Each committee carefully examined many useful and necessary topics and accurately reported to us about them. The subjects discussed and investigated by them were completed and concluded by us, with God's favour and the approval of the sacred council, in the remaining five sessions of the council which we held.

    We then knew beyond all doubt that God himself, the giver of gifts, had favoured our devout desires and those tending to the common good, out of his exceeding goodness and mercy, and that he had granted to us what we had planned in our own mind and for which we had greatly laboured namely that once the matters on account of which the council had been summoned had been concluded in conformity with the council's aims, the council itself could be closed and discharged .

    The emperor-elect Maximilian, our dear son in Christ, in the time of our said predecessor Julius, and king Louis of France, of happy memory, in our own time, as well as other kings and princes adhered to the Lateran council, lawfully assembled in the holy Spirit, to the greatest satisfaction of everyone. The quasi-council at Pisa, which had been summoned by certain persons without the necessary authority and had been condemned by the same Julius who preceded us, was treated by them as condemned in accordance with the decision of the said Julius. The schism which had begun to grow from this was ended (although it is c ear that so long as the situation continued, it brought very many injures to prelates and others of Christ's faithful at various times, as well as to other general councils held until this time). There was peace for the whole church and a resulting union.

    The moral habits of churchmen as well as of secular and other persons were reformed, insofar as this seemed appropriate, and several matters concerning the true faith were defined. Several other matters, after being carefully examined and debated in the three committees of cardinals and prelates mentioned above, were considered with care and skill in the said council and a final decision was reached. Finally, it was reported to us on several occasions, through the cardinals and prelates of the three committees, that no topics remained for debate and discussion by them, and that over several months nothing at all new had been brought before them by anyone. The bishops who had been invited to share with us the responsibility for the support and care of the Lord's flock, as well as other prelates, had remained in Rome rather a long time beyond the normal usage of sacred councils, with inconvenience and loss to themselves and to their churches .

    Therefore there seemed to remain, of all the above things which we and the said committees so much desired to be completed in the council, only peace between kings and princes and a harmony of minds. Our attitude in favour of this, and our striving with every effort for its accomplishment, can be made abundantly clear to all who read our letters. God himself, who is the supreme light and truth of all things, knows how we never ceased to beg and implore of him, by many prayers and constant appeals, that he would deign of his mercy to influence the christian flock -- which he has entrusted to our care, despite our lack of merits -- to enter upon a stable and enduring peace, now that this same flock has been roused by the warmth of mutual charity. We have earnestly urged this in the Lord, whose cause is principally in question, upon kings and princes, by means of persuasive reasons, through the nuncios whom we keep at the court of the emperor-elect Maximilian and with the aforesaid kings and princes, and through letters; especially if they wish to provide and take measures, as is right, on behalf of the christian religion and the catholic faith, which have been brought into serious danger and risk by the recently extended power of the ruler of the Turks.

    We have learnt from the letters of the same nuncios, kings and princes that our appeals have been of such great power and efficacy with the said kings and princes, and have influenced their hearts and minds to such an extent, that the peace so long desired by us for the good of the whole christian state has been almost concluded in intention, and the hope is that if anything remains it will soon be resolved (by God's favour). Our heart exults in our Lord Jesus Christ as we ponder over this in our mind and spirit. We give thanks for this to him, the giver of all graces, because he has guided these persons to the harmony we had longed for. We think that all Christ's faithful should offer to God thanks and those signs of joy which are customary on such occasions, and that God be asked that the peace achieved may endure .

    It only remains, therefore, for the holy and very necessary campaign to be undertaken against the fury of the infidels thirsting for christian blood, and for all the measures decided upon as powerful safeguards in the eleven sessions, held partly by us and partly by our predecessor Julius, to be approved and renewed and ordered to be observed unchallenged. Accordingly, after mature deliberation on these matters with our brothers and other prelates, we approve and renew by apostolic authority, with the approval of the sacred council, all and each of the acts and decisions of the said eleven sessions, and the letters published above together with all the clauses contained in them -- apart from certain excepted matters which we judge should be conceded to specified persons for the sake of the peace and unity of the universal church -- as well as the business carried out by the committees. We decree and order that they are to be observed without alteration for ever, and that those carrying them out are to see that they and their contents are observed, namely: in the Roman curia, the current governor of our mother city and our vicar as well as the auditor general of the apostolic camera, who have the power to oblige and compel persons subject to them; and outside the Roman curia, we depute for this purpose each and all local ordinaries. We forbid each and all of Christ's faithful, under penalty of immediate excommunication, to presume to interpret or gloss what has been produced and carried out in the present council without our permission and that of the apostolic see .

    We decree, with the approval of the sacred council, that the said campaign against the infidels is to be undertaken and carried through. Zeal for the faith prompts us to this. It has been so often proposed and promised by us and our predecessor Julius in the sessions referred to, when the business of the council was being explained. On several occasions it was communicated to, and discussed with, spokesmen at our court representing kings and princes. Pope Nicholas V, our predecessor of pious memory, summoned a general expedition against the infidels after the disastrous fall of Constantinople in order to crush their fury and to avenge the wounds of Christ. Callistus III and Pius II, of happy memory our predecessors as Roman pontiffs, urged on by zeal for the faith, followed in the same path with skill and energy. During a subsequent period of three years, we imitated them by means of an authorisation from ourselves and our said brothers for imposing and exacting a tithe on the revenues of churches, monasteries and other benefices throughout the world and for doing each and every other thing that is necessary and customary in a campaign of this kind. We continually pour forth holy, humble and earnest prayers to almighty God that the campaign may have a happy outcome.

    We order the same to be done by all Christ's faithful of either sex. We exhort Maximilian, the emperor-elect, and kings, princes and christian rulers, whose courage God bids us to rouse, beseeching them by the tender mercy of our God, Jesus Christ, and appealing to them by his fearful judgment to remember that they shall have to render an account of their defence and preservation -- even by giving their lives -- of the church itself, which has been redeemed by Christ's blood, and to rise up in strength and power for the defence of the christian faith, as is incumbent on them as a personal and necessary duty, with all mutual hatred being set aside and quarrels and conflicts among themselves being committed to everlasting oblivion. At this time of such great need, let them offer with eagerness their ready assistance in keeping with their resources. We urge with paternal affection and ask them that, at least during the campaign, out of reverence for almighty God and for the apostolic see, they assure the unbroken observance of the peace into which they have entered, so that such an important good, which we hope and desire will be obtained with the help of the Lord's right hand, may not be impeded by some interruption from discord and dissension .

    In order that prelates and others at the present council, which has lasted for nearly five years, may not be further wearied by their labours and expenses and so that they may be able to visit and bring encouragement to their churches, and for other reasonable and just causes, we bring the present council to a close and we discharge it with the Lord's blessing. With the approval of the same sacred council, we grant permission to each and all who are present at the council to return to their own countries. In order that they may be able to go back with ever increasing joy and strengthened with spiritual gifts, we impart to them and to all their attendants a plenary remission and indulgence for all their sins, once in their lifetime and again at the hour of death. Let nobody therefore ... If anyone however ...


    Introduction and translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner

    Also, see:
    Ecumenical Church Councils


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