The Deeds of Pope Innocent III

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His theological training shaped his thought and his language for the rest of his life and provided a foundation for his outlook and his policies.

The Deeds of Pope Innocent III

After Paris Lothar studied in Bologna , whose university was the preeminent one for the study of canon and civil law. Although he may have pursued law for more than two or three years the chronology of his life at this time is uncertain , it did not become the discipline that shaped his worldview or his vision of the papacy. The first was enormously popular in the Middle Ages, and the others demonstrate that he was a competent, if not gifted, theologian. All three tracts demonstrate his ability to use the Bible to understand Christian institutions in creative and original ways.

They also reveal that his experience in Paris shaped his worldview more than his stay in Bologna. Lothar probably entered clerical orders in Rome while he was a young boy.

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Sergius and Bacchus in December or January He worked in the papal curia during the s but neither received important commissions nor held significant positions. In spite of his youth and lack of administrative experience, the cardinals quickly elected Lothar pope on the same day that the aged pope Celestine III died January 8, He was given or took the name Innocent III, was ordained a priest on February 21, , and was consecrated as bishop of Rome the next day, on the feast day of St.

Innocent undoubtedly chose the day of his consecration carefully. He wrote many sermons after he became pope, several of which commemorated the feast day of his consecration. At the beginning of his pontificate, Innocent faced several serious problems. The German princes were divided over the succession, southern Italy was in political shambles, and the Christian states in the Holy Land were in the hands of the Muslims. In the second half of the 12th century, heresy had become a grave problem in southern France.

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Papal authority in the city of Rome and over the Papal States had disintegrated, and the papal curia needed reform. Innocent faced all these problems simultaneously. In one of his first letters, Innocent ordered King Philip Augustus of France to take back his wife, whom the king had abandoned. With this mandate Innocent signaled his intention to extend papal jurisdiction and authority into the marital affairs of Christian princes. From the beginning of his pontificate, Innocent also sought to establish papal temporal authority over Rome and the Papal States.

Immediately after his consecration, he received homage from the leaders of the Roman nobility. Earlier popes had confined their claims of sovereignty over the Papal States Patrimony of St. Peter to the area immediately around Rome, but Innocent used the power vacuum created by the death of the emperor to make much more expansive claims.

He systematically sent papal legates to the cities of central Italy to secure their loyalty. Within a remarkably short time, not only nearby cities but also some as far away as Ancona , Assisi, Perugia , and Spoleto had declared their allegiance to the pope. By October 30, , Innocent sent a letter to the rectors of those cities that had submitted to papal lordship. In it he fashioned a striking image of papal authority that he would repeat throughout his pontificate. Papal authority was represented by the Sun, and the Moon signified the power of lay princes.

Both powers were established by God, he explained, but, just as the Moon received its splendour from the Sun, royal power acquired its greatness and dignity from papal authority. He established a much larger papal territory than any of his predecessors had controlled, and, from his pontificate on, the pope functioned as an important secular prince in central Italy.

Innocent understood the dangers of a pope exercising secular power, however. In the Gesta , his biographer commented that the more Innocent wished to free himself from secular affairs, the greater they burdened him. On August 15, , he sent letters to the kings and bishops of Christendom, imploring them to take up the cross and launch a new Crusade. He promised Crusaders a new papal indulgence , took them under papal protection, and imposed a tax on the clergy to help pay for the expedition.

The Venetians built a fleet to transport a large army, but the French and German contingents were only one-third of their projected size and could not fulfill their contractual obligations to pay the Venetians for transport. The result was a disaster for the papacy and for the Byzantine Empire. The Venetians persuaded the army to divert the Crusade to Constantinople because they wanted to depose one emperor and replace him with another. Outraged, Innocent excommunicated the Venetians, but he could not thwart their plans. The fleet arrived in Constantinople, and after a siege the city fell into Latin hands April 12, Innocent accepted the result, mistakenly believing that the conquest of Constantinople would reunite the Latin and Greek churches.

Instead, the Latins ruled over a truncated empire until and irrevocably weakened it. After the Greeks regained control of the Byzantine Empire and church, they rejected papal authority, and the two churches have remained divided. The Dialogue is in three parts. Part 1 which we refer to as "1 Dial. The dissident Franciscans were accusing John XXII of teaching heresy and of having become a heretic, and the pope referred to their leader, Michael of Cesena, as "this heretic". So what is heresy, what is a heretic, and what is the proper way of dealing with heresy and heretics?

And who can become a heretic?

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On this last question Ockham argues or perhaps we should say that the Master reports that some people argue that any member of the Church e. But Christ will be with the Church always, in the sense that he will not allow every member of the Church to fall into heresy at once there will always be someone, perhaps not in any official position, who will defend Catholic truth. Thus Ockham rejects doctrines of papal and conciliar infallibility , but holds that the whole Church is infallible in the sense that not every member will fall into heresy at the same time.

Holding an heretical belief is not enough to make a person a heretic; in addition, he or she must hold the heretical belief "pertinaciously". Simplifying somewhat, pertinacity is a disposition not to change your mind even if someone shows you that your opinion is inconsistent with the Catholic faith; the opposite of pertinacity is readiness to be corrected.

The Deeds of Pope Innocent III: James M. Powell: -

To decide whether people are heretics it is therefore necessary, generally, to enter into discussion with them to show them that their opinion is heretical and give them a chance to change their mind. Sometimes, however, discussion is not necessary; for example, if a pope holds an heretical belief and tries to impose it on the Church as Catholic truth, pertinacity on his part can be assumed: if he is trying to impose this belief he is clearly not ready to accept correction. A pope who maintains some heretical opinion without trying to impose it is not a heretic, but a pope who tries to impose an heretical opinion is a heretic.

How should Catholics act if critics accuse the pope of being a heretic? The accusers should be given a chance to prove their accusation and they should be protected against the pope's wrath until they have had that chance. All this implies--and Ockham repeatedly underscores the point--that a pope's orthodoxy is as much open to scrutiny as that of any ordinary Christian, and a pope is not entitled to use the power of his office to evade such scrutiny.

If the pope is in fact a heretic, he is already automatically excommunicated and by right has lost all spiritual and administrative authority, though he may still reign as pope de facto. There was no recognised procedure for trying a pope accused of heresy, but Ockham maintained that it was possible to find or improvise some forum to consider the evidence and reach a decision. Once it has been duly decided that the pope is a heretic, he must be removed from the papal office that he has already lost by right. Ockham's conservatism does not allow for a pell-mell procedure of impeachment and dismissal.

His is a society with defined "estates" and "ranks". It is for cardinals, bishops, and other prelates to begin the process against a heretic pope, but if for whatever reason e. Justice must prevail at all costs, and no ruler's authority is sufficiently powerful to evade or subvert this requirement. Hence if Church and lay authorities fail to act, it might be up to ordinary members of the Church--Friars Minor, labourers, peasants, women--to save the Church from a pope who has become a heretic by resisting in whatever way they can. It is of enormous length exceeding the Work of Ninety Days by a considerable margin , and is the only segment of the Dialogue he seems to have completed in its entirety.

Part 2 of the Dialogue which we refer to as "2 Dial. It is not in dialogue form.

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It seems to be two short "assertive" works which someone probably not Ockham has inserted in place of a Part 2 that was either never written or lost. Its purpose is to show that John XXII held heretical doctrines concerning the Beatific Vision, attempted to impose them, and was therefore pertinacious and a heretic. This new issue had arisen in late and early , as the result of some sermons where John had questioned the traditional view on this matter.

Part 3 is divided into two "tracts". Ockham had in fact planned to compose as many as six additional "tracts" in this Part, outlining the deeds of all major participants in the conflict, himself included. None of these have yet come to light, if they were ever written. Tract 1 On the power of the pope and clergy , which which we refer to as "3. Tract 1, Books 1 and 2, discuss the constitution of the Church. What power does the pope have in the Church? The Master presents objections to the doctrine that the pope has "fullness of power" in the sense that he can do anything not against morality or against positive divine law i.

Should the government of the Church be monarchical the papacy , or should it be aristocratic or representative? Can the Christian community change its form of government -- at least temporarily, to meet the circumstances of the time? What qualities are needed in the head of the Church? If there is no one who has these qualities, should a pope be elected nevertheless?

Books 3 and 4 seem to be at least in part a reaction to the views of Marsilius of Padua. Marsilius was also a refugee living in Munich at Ludwig's court. In his Defensor Pacis Marsilius argued that the hierarchy of the Church is a purely human institution which the ruler of Christendom who is the "Roman Emperor", not the pope can change; thus the Emperor could abolish the papacy or change its powers. To the argument that Christ made Peter head of the Apostles and therefore implicitly established the headship of Peter's successors, the bishops of Rome the popes , Marsilius replied that Christ gave Peter no more power than he gave to the other Apostles and that Peter never went to Rome. Marsilius attributed infallibility not to the pope, but to general councils of the Church to be called by the Emperor.

At the beginning of Book 3 the Student raises the question whether Christ made Peter head of the Church? Most of book 3 is about the sources from which the answers to this and other theological questions are to be drawn, and the question whether a general council of the Church is infallible.

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Book 4 discusses whether Peter was head of the Church. Most of the tract's remaining program as outlined in Book 1, chapter 1, was apparently never carried out. Tract 2 is about the rights of the Roman Empire. According to the upholders of its rights, the Empire was the Roman Empire of Caesar Augustus, transferred by Constantine from Rome to Constantinople and then transferred to Germany.

The "Roman Emperor" was elected for life by the German electoral princes; generally he travelled to Rome to be crowned by the Pope and then returned to Germany. The Emperors' attempts to exercise power in Rome and other parts of Italy were strongly resisted.

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