Lateran Councils

Lateran Councils a general name for the ecclesiastical councils that have been convened in the Lateran Church at Rome, but especially five great councils held there, and regarded by the Roman Catholics as oecumenical, viz. those of the years 1123, 1139, 1179, 1215, and 1512-17. We have room to notice the most important only of all these councils, and that with reference to their principal enactments and historical connections.

I. The council of 649, under Martin I, condemned the Monothelitic doctrine, or that of one will in the person of Christ. This view was developed as a continuation of the Monophysite controversy. The Council of Chalcedon, in 451, had affirmed the existence of two natures in Christ in one person, against the Antiochians, the Nestorians, and Eutychians. This determination of the council did not obtain final supremacy in the Greek and Latin churches till after the time of Justinian, and the conflict with it was continued under various forms. From the Council of Chalcedon till that of Frankfort, in 793, the Church councils especially sought to maintain the twofoldness of the nature of Christ asserted at Chalcedon, with less regard to the unity, which was at the same time established. An early source for the rise of Monothelitism appeared in the writings of Pseudo- Dionysius the Areopagite, which, originating probably in the 4th century, obtained for many centuries thereafter great credit in the Church. A Neo- Platonic mysticism in these writings seeks to mediate between the prevalent Church doctrine and Monophysitism (or the doctrine of one nature in Christ). The Areopagite is not an outspoken Monophysite, and yet, with him, the human in Christ is only a form of the divine, and there is in all the acts of Christ but one mode of operation, the theandric energy (μία θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια). This expression became a favorite one with all the Monophysite opponents of the Chalcedonian decisions.

The Monothelitic controversy proper extends from 623 to 680, at which latter date the Synod of Constantinople gave the most precise definition of two wills in the two natures of Christ. The earlier stage of the controversy, extending to the year 638, concerns rather the question of one or two energies or modes of working in the acts of Christ. The emperor Heraclius, on occasion of his reconquering the Eastern provinces from the Persians in the year 622, and there coming in contact with certain Monophysite bishops, conceived the idea of reconciling them to the Church by authorizing the expression in reference to the acts of Christ which was used by Dionysius — the μία θεανδρικὴ ἐνέργεια. Sergius, patriarch of Constantinople, being consulted, admitted the propriety of the expression as one sanctioned by the fathers, and recommended it to Cyrus, bishop of Phasis, who, being soon made bishop of Alexandria, set up a compromise for the Monophysites with the Council of Chalcedon on nine points. Sophronius, a monk of Alexandria, seriously objected to the course taken by Sergius. and, on being made bishop of Jerusalem, became so strong an opponent that Sergius called to his aid the influence of Honorius, bishop of Rome, who expressed himself in favor of the view rather of one will than of one operation, but advised that controversy be avoided. It is unquestionably the fact that the expressed views of Honorius, though a pope, were subsequently condemned in council. By occasion of the more decided opposition of Sophronius, the emperor Heraclius, under advice of Sergius, issued his edict, the Ecthesis, in the year 638, in which he forbade the use of either expression, "one mode of working" or "two modes of working," in a controversial way, but especially prohibited the latter, since it is evident that Christ can have but one will, the human being subordinate to the divine. This was distinct Monothelitism. A powerful opponent of this view was the monk Maximus, whose writings had a controlling influence with the Lateran Council. He asserts that for the work of redemption a completeness in the two natures of Christ is necessary; there must be a complete human will. The Logos, indeed, works all through the human working and willing. There is a theandric energy in his own sense. It is rather as a τρόπος ἀντιδόσεως, or what was subsequently called the communicatio idiomatum. Maximus worked with great zeal against Monothelitism in Rome and Africa, sending out thence tracts on the subject into the East. Sophronius still carried on the controversy, as also, with him, Stephen, bishop of Doria, his pupil. After the death of Honorius in 638, the bishops of Rome were decidedly opposed to Monothelitism, and Martin I, who had zealously contended against the view while representative of the Roman Church at Constantinople, became, when made pope in 649, the chief pillar of the contrary opinion. Advocates of the view enunciated in the Ecthesis of Heraclius were Theodore, bishop of Phasan, and Pyrrhus of Constantinople. In 648 the emperor Constans II, under the influence of the patriarch Paul, issued his Tespe (τύπος πίστεως), which, though not so decidedly Monothelitic as the Ecthesis, condemns, under threat of the severest penalties, any further controversy upon this subject. Without consulting the emperor, Martin I now convoked this first Lateran Council, in which he presided over about 104 bishops from Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. The pope sought to obtain generally recognition for the council, and it was finally everywhere received with the five oecumenical councils. Five sessions were held; the writings of the prominent Monothelites were examined and condemned; pope Martin explained the proper meaning of Dionysius's term "theandric operation," stating that it was designed to signify two operations of one person; the

Ecthesis of Heraclius and Type of Constans were condemned; and the judgment of the council pronounced in twenty canons, which anathematize all who do not confess in our Lord Jesus Christ two wills and two operations.

II. The councils of 1105, 1112, and 1116, under Pascal II, concern the contest about investitures between the pope and the emperor, which was brought to a close in the Council of 1123, called and presided over by Calixtus II. This body consisted of 300 bishops and 600 abbots, all of the Latin Church. The investiture (q.v.) contest, which began as early as 1054, when, by mutual decrees of excommunication, the breach between the Eastern and Western churches was made final, arose from the claim made by the German emperors to an inheritance of rights exercised by the Greek emperors concerning the appointment of candidates to ecclesiastical offices, and their investiture with the right to hold Church property as subjects of the empire. Under the new German empire, from Otho the Great to Henry IV, 936-1056, the popes themselves were confirmed in their seat by the emperor. Henry III obtained from the Council of Sutry, which was held near Rome, in the midst of his own army, in 1046, the power of nominating the popes, without intervention of clergy or people. The influence of Hildebrand was now felt an influence which he had begun to exert from the time of Leo IX, in 1048, and which secured from Nicolas II, 1060, a decree transferring the election of popes to a conclave of cardinals. Hildebrand, as Gregory VII, maintained a celebrated contest with Henry IV, to whom, in 1075, he forbade all power of investiture, excommunicating the emperor the next year, and causing him to do penance at Canossa. With his victorious campaign in Italy, 1080-83, Henry drove the pope into exile at Salerno, where he soon after died. H»i immediate successors, however, were such as he had designated for the post, and were the inheritors of his doctrines and plans for the supremacy of the Church. Urban II sent forth an encyclical declaring his adhesion to the principles of Gregory — the Dictastus Gregorii; and Pascal II (1099- 1118), who had been one of Gregory's cardinals, showed more zeal than firmness in the same course. In the Lateran Council under the pope, 1105, an oath of obedience to the pope was taken by the clergy, and a promise rendered to affirm whatever he and the Church in council should affirm. The count De Meulan and his confederates were excommunicated for having encouraged the king of England in his conduct concerning investitures. Henry V, who, in the rebellion against his father, was encouraged by Pascal, would nevertheless yield nothing on becoming emperor, 1105, in the matter of investitures, his example being followed in this respect by England and France. Henry marched into Italy and imprisoned the pope in 1111, forcing from him the concession of rendering back to the emperor the fiefs of the bishops on condition that there should be no imperial interference with the elections. For his weakness in this and in other points the pope was bitterly reproached, and the council of 1112 revoked all these concessions and excommunicated the emperor. Notwithstanding the rebellion of his German subjects, Henry collected an army and invaded Italy anew in 1116. The council convoked the same year thereupon renewed the revocation of the concessions Pascal had formerly made, and anathematized the emperor. At last. the German people, weary of the conflict between State and Church, brought about a peaceful compromise in the concordat at the imperial Diet of Worms, 1122. The principles of this concordat were adopted by the council of 1123. The terms of the compact are as follows: "The emperor surrenders to God, to St. Peter and Paul, and to the Catholic Church, all right of investiture by king and staff. He grants that elections and ordinations in all churches shall take place freely in accordance with ecclesiastical laws. The pope agrees that the election of German prelates shall be had in the presence of the emperor, provided it is without violence or simony. In case any election is disputed, the emperor shall render assistance to the legal party, with the advice of the archbishop and the bishops. The person elected is invested with the imperial fief by the royal scepter pledged for the execution of everything required by law. Whoever is consecrated shall also receive in like manner his investiture from other parts of the empire within six months" (Hase, Church History, page 200; Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. 3:181 sq.). The pope here made considerable concessions in form, but actually, through his influence, obtained all power at the elections. The council of 1123 also renewed the grant of indulgences promulgated by Urban II in promotion of the first crusade in 1095, and decreed the celibacy of the clergy. Twenty-two canons of discipline were established.

III. The council of 1139, under Innocent II, condemned the and-pope Anacletus II, with his adherents. and deposed all who had received office under him. On the same day with the installation of Innocent II, in 1130, Peter of Leon, a cardinal, and grandson of a rich Jewish banker, had been proclaimed pope, as Anacletus II, by a majority of the cardinals. Innocent took refuge in France, where he was supported by the king. His cause was warmly espoused by Bernard of Clairvaux, through whose influence chiefly Innocent recovered his position in Italy, and marched into Rome triumphantly with Lothaire II in 1136. Anacletus died in 1138, and a successor was chosen by his party only with the purpose of making peace. Roger of Sicily had supported Anacletus, and was on this account condemned in the council of 1139, though the origin of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies belongs to the same year, Roger having taken Innocent prisoner, and having compelled the pope to bestow upon him the investiture of this kingdom. At this council Arnold of Brescia was also condemned. This was a young clergyman of the city of Brescia, a disciple of Abelard, who, inspired by the free philosophical spirit of his master, devoted himself to the promotion of practical reform in Church and State. A marked spirit of political independence was manifesting itself about this time in Lombardy, as an inheritance from the old Roman municipalities established there. The popes, from the days of Leo IX, had themselves inspired movements of ecclesiastical reform. Pascal II had admitted that the secular power of the bishops interfered with their spiritual duties. Bernard, though a zealous opponent of Arnold, yet writes as follows in his Contemplations on the Papacy: "Who can mention the place where one of the apostles ever held a trial, decided disputes about boundaries, or portioned out lands?" "I read that the apostles stood before judgment seats, not sat on them." Arnold preached with great zeal against the political power and wealth of the clergy. The Church ought rather to rejoice, he said, in an apostolic poverty. He was driven successively from Italy, France, and Switzerland, but in 1139 was recalled to Rome by the populace, who sought to revive the sovereignty of the state, established a senate, limited the pope to the exercise of spiritual power and the possession of voluntary offerings, and invited the German emperor to make Rome his capital. Arnold and his "politicians" at Rome thus gave pope Innocent and his immediate successors — Lucius II, Eugenius III, and Adrian IV — more trouble than any political movements elsewhere. This condemnation at the council did not effectually diminish his power. When, however, Adrian, in 1154, put the city of Rome under ban, and prohibited all public worship, Arnold was abandoned by the senate, sacrificed by Frederick I, and hung at Rome in 1155, his body being burned and thrown into the Tiber. Among the canons of the council, the twenty-third condemns the heresy of the Manichaeans, as the followers of Peter de Bruis were called. This heresy was attributed to the early Waldensians in France and elsewhere, arising partly from their ascetic mode of life. About 1000 prelates were present at this council; thirty canons of discipline were published, and among them reaffirmations of former canons against simony, marriage, and concubinage in the clergy.

IV. The council of 1179, under Alexander III, numbering 280, mostly Latin bishops, was called to correct certain abuses which had arisen during the long schism just brought to a close by the peace of Venice, 1177. Until near the end of the 12th century the popes were hard pressed by the Hohenstauffen emperors. It is the contest of Ghibelline and Guelph. Frederick I had taken umbrage at the use of the term "beneficium" in a letter addressed to him by Adrian IV about the rudeness of German knights to pilgrims visiting Rome, as if the pope meant to imply that the imperial authority had been conferred by him. The emperor marched into Italy, and other letters were interchanged between him and the pope, when, upon the death of Adrian in 1159, the two parties-the hierarchic and the moderate among the cardinals chose two opposing popes, viz. Alexander III and Victor IV. The emperor's council, called at Pavia in 1160, recognized the latter. Pascal III and Calixtus III followed at the imperial dictation, with but little influence. Alexander, from his refuge in France, enjoyed great popularity. He had on his side the Lombard league. The cause of Frederick was defended by the lawyers of Bologna, who ascribed to him unlimited power, to the prejudice of the people. Defeated at Legnano in 1176, the emperor subscribed, at the dictation of Alexander, the peace of Venice, the provisions of which were based on the Concordat of Worms. The first and most important of the twenty-seven canons established by this council, which were mostly disciplinary, provides that henceforth "the election of the popes shall be confined to the college of cardinals, and two thirds of the votes shall be required to make a lawful election, instead of a majority only, as heretofore." It was by this council also that the "errors and impieties" of the Waldenses and Albigenses were declared heretical. At the unimportant council of 1167, pope Alexander excommunicated Frederick I.

V. The council of 1215, under Innocent III, was the most important of all the Lateran Councils. It is usually styled the Fourth Lateran. It continued in session from November 11 to November 30, having present 71 archbishops, 412 bishops, 800 abbots, the patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, and the legates of other patriarchs and crowned heads. The pope opened the assembly with a sermon upon St. Lu 22:15, relating to the recovery of the Holy Land and the reformation of the Church. The remarkable power of Innocent III is displayed in his influence over this council, which was submissive to all his wishes, and received the seventy canons proposed by him. The papal prerogatives attained their greatest height in Innocent, whose pontificate extended from 1198 to 1216. The bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, directed against Philip the Fair in 1302, marks the limit from which the power of the popes evidently declined. Innocent III — a man of great personal power, of marked ability as a writer and orator, bold, crafty, and ever watchful of affairs — had his eye on all that transpired through his legates. The chief objects which his pontificate sought were "the strengthening of the States of the Church, separation of the Two Sicilies from all dependence on the German empire, the liberation of Italy from all foreign control, the exercise of guardianship over the confederacy of its states, the liberation of the Oriental Church, the extermination of heretics, and the exercise of ecclesiastical discipline" (Hase, Church Hist. page 207). Hitherto England, Germany, and France had constituted a balance of power against the pope, but under Innocent the two former, as well as Italy, submitted to the claims of the pseudo- Isidorean decretals. France was early laid under interdict (1200) on account of Philip Augustus's repudiation of Ingeburge and the French bishops' approval of the act, while John of England was deprived of his realm, to receive it back (in 1213) only as a fief of Rome. Deciding at first for Otho IV, the Guelph, against the Hohenstauffen Philip, in Germany, Innocent subsequently secured from the council the recognition of Frederick II, vainly seeking in this his German policy to free Italy entirely from the power of the emperor. The famous seventy constitutions of Innocent, if not discussed conciliariter by the bishops, or passed with every form of enactment, were nevertheless regarded as the canons of the council, so recognized by the Council of Trent and by Church authorities of the intervening age, and they have constituted a fundamental law for many well-known practices of the Romish Church. The first of these canons asserts the Catholic faith in the unity of God against all Manichaean sects. It also, for the first time, makes the doctrine of transubstantiation, in the use of this express term, an article of faith. "The body and blood of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the altar are truly contained under the species of bread and wine, the bread being, by the divine omnipotence, transubstantiated into his body, and the wine into his blood." The second canon condemns the treatise of Joachim, the prophet of Calabria, which he wrote against Peter Lombard on the subject of the Trinity. The third canon is of great importance, furnishing the basis for the crusade against the Albigenses, and for all severities of a like character on the part of the Romish Church. It "anathematizes all heretics who hold anything in opposition to the preceding exposition of faith, and enjoins that, after condemnation, they shall be delivered over to the secular arm; also excommunicates all who receive, protect, or maintain heretics, and threatens with deposition all bishops who do not use their utmost endeavors to clear their dioceses of them" (Landon, Manual of Councils, page 295). The fourth canon invites the Greeks to unite with and submit themselves to the Romish Church. The fifth canon regulates the order of precedence of the patriarchs: I. Rome; 2. Constantinople; 3. Alexandria; 4. Antioch; 5. Jerusalem; and permits these several patriarchs to give the pall to the archbishops of their dependencies, exacting from themselves a profession of faith, and of obedience to the Roman see, when they receive the pall from the pope. The sixth to the twentieth, inclusive, are of minor importance (see Landon, Manual of Councils, page 296). The twenty-first canon enjoins "all the faithful of both sexes, having arrived at years of discretion, to confess all their sins at least once a year to their proper priest, and to communicate at Easter." This is the first canon known which orders sacramental confession generally, and may have been occasioned by the teachings of the Waldenses, that neither confession nor satisfaction was necessary in order to obtain remission of sin. From the words with which it commences, it is known as the canon "Omnis utriusque sexus," and was solemnly reaffirmed by the Council of Trent. The canons (given completely by Landon, Man. of Councils, page 293 sq.) in general constitute a body of full and severe disciplinary enactments. This council reaffirmed and extended the Truce of God on plenary indulgence which had been previously proclaimed in behalf of the Eastern Crusades, and fixed the time, June 1, and place, Sicily, as a rendezvous for another crusade.

This council also confirmed Simon de Montfort in possession of lands which the Crusaders had obtained by papal confiscation from the Waldenses, and decreed the entire extirpation of the heresy. The Waldenses or Albigenses in the south of France were the followers of Peter Waldo, a wealthy citizen of Lyons, who, from religious principle, adopted a life of poverty. His followers were also called Leonistae and "Poor men of Lyons." They were allied in their sentiments to the Vaudois of the Piedmontese valleys, with whom they became united for mutual defense. They protested against these points in the doctrine of the Romish Church:

1. Transubstantiation. 2. The sacraments of confirmation, confession, and marriage. 3. The invocation of saints. 4. The worship of images. 5. The temporal power of the clergy.

A crusade had been instituted against them by the papal power in 1178. Innocent sought to win them over and make monks of them by establishing in 1201 the order of "Poor Catholics." Unsuccessful in this, he confiscated their lands to the feudal lords, and established an inquisition among them under the direction of Dominic, which was formally sanctioned by the present council. The warfare against them, incited and directed by the monks of Citeaux, was allowed by Philip Augustus. Count Raymond of Toulouse espoused the cause of his persecuted vassals. The papal legate, Peter of Castelnau, sent to convert the Waldenses, was murdered by Raymond, whose dominions were thereupon assaulted in 1209 by a fiercer crusade of so-called "Christian Pilgrims," led on by Simon de Montfort and Arnold, the abbot of Citeaux. The count of Toulouse submitted, but a bloody warfare was prosecuted against Raymond Roger, viscount of Beziers and Albi, and subsequently 200 towns and castles within the boundaries of the two counts were granted to the successful Simon de Montfort. A rebellion, however, against his power deprived him of all; but Raymond of Toulouse, who appeared at the council of 1215, obtained no favor, and his territory was declared to be alienated from him forever.

VI. The council of 1512-1517, under Julius II and Leo X, was convened for the reformation of abuses, for the condemnation of the Council of Pisa, and attained its most important result in the abolition of the Pragmatic Sanction. France, under Louis XII, had obtained great military successes in Italy by the League of Cambray, formed in 1509 against Venice. In the interests of France, and by the friendship of some of the cardinals, Louis XII summoned a Church council at Pisa, Nov. 1511, which in 1512 was moved to Milan, but was entirely fruitless of results, being dissolved by the presence of the pope's army. Julius II, though at first jealous of Venice, had nevertheless, aroused by the successes of the French general, formed the Holy Alliance with Venice, Spain, England, and Switzerland, and nows, at the head of his army, drove the French beyond the Alps, and himself summoned a council at the Lateran May 10, 1512. This council extended over twelve sessions, until March 1517. The bishop of Guerk had actively promoted the summoning of the council, and attended as representative of the German emperor. All the acts of the Council of Pisa were at once annulled. Julius having died in February 1513, Leo X presided over the sixth session. At the eighth session, in December 1513, Louis XII, through his ambassador, declared his adhesion to this Council of the Lateran. At the eleventh session, in December 1516, the bull was read which, in place of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438), wherein France accepted the decisions of the Basle council in so far as they were consistent with the liberties of the Gallican Church, substituted the Concordat agreed upon this year, 1516, between Leo X and Francis I. 'Through hope of increasing his power in Italy, Francis largely sacrificed the liberties of the Church. Several of the articles of the Pragmatic were retained, but most of them were altered or abolished. The first article was entirely contrary to the Pragmatic, which had re-established the right of election, while the Concordat declares that the chapters of the cathedrals in France shall no longer proceed to elect the bishop in case of vacancy, but that the king shall name a proper person, whom the pope shall nominate to the vacant see. The Concordat, on account especially of this provision, met with great opposition in the Parliament, universities, and the Church at Paris. It was a great advance of the papacy against the liberties of France (compare Janus, Pope and Council, § 28 and 29). Neither this council nor the other four, viz. those of 1123, 1139, 1179, and 1215, styled oecumenical by the Romish Church, can be properly regarded as such.

Some writers mention as the sixth Lateran the council convened by pope Benedict XIII on the bull Unigenitus, SEE JANSEXIUS, and for the purpose of general reform in the Church (compare Klemm, Cone. a Bened. XIII, in Lat. habiti praembreve examenz (1729); Walch, De concil. Lat. a Bened. XIII (Lips. 1726). For a detailed account of the council at the Lateran opened Dec. 8, 1869, SEE OECUMIENICAL COUNCIL, and the article INFALLIBILITY SEE INFALLIBILITY in volume 4, See Landon, Manual of Councils, p. 287-303; Mansi, Concil. 6:75; 10:741, 767, 806, 891, 999, 1503; 11:117; 14:1-346; Gieseler, Ch. Hist. 1:368; 2:131, 184,195, 388; Milman, Latin Christianity, 3:297, 298 sq., 434; 4:146, 175 sq., 236; 5:211 sq.; Cunningham, Hist. Theol. 1:417 sq.; Ranke, Hist. of the Papacy, 1:351; 2:206.

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