Lateran Councils

views updated May 14 2018


The Lateran basilica was from early times the particular cathedral of the bishop of Rome; and from 313, in the reign of Emperor constantine i the great, the Lateran palace provided a meeting place for many councils convened by papal authority. Among these, although the councils held in 649, 769, 823, 1059, 1102, 1105, 1110, 1112, and 1116 have a notable place in conciliar history, it is the meetings of 1123, 1139, 1179, 1215, and 1512 to 1517 that are of outstanding importance. They are traditionally known as the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Lateran Councils respectively, and have ecumenical status in the Western Church [see councils, general (ecumenical)].

First (1123). The First Lateran (9th ecumenical) Council was convoked by Pope callistus ii in December 1122, and sat from c. March 18 to April 6, 1123. Its historical context was the settlement of the investiture struggle by the Concordat of worms on Sept. 23, 1122, and the instrumenta of Worms were read and ratified at the Council. About 300 archbishops and bishops and perhaps 600 abbots from the Western Church were present. No record of the Council's deliberations has survived; but 22 (or, by some reckonings, 25) canons were promulgated, and various particular affairs were transacted, such as the canonization of conrad of constance (d. 976), the granting of the pallium to Archbishop Adalbero of Bremen-Hamburg, and the ventilation of the Canterbury and york dispute over primacy in England. The canons themselves mostly restated earlier rulings (notably those of the Council of Reims in 1119), and ranged from general principles applicable to the whole Church to matters of immediate or regional interest, many of them being later subsumed into the Decretum of gratian. They dealt principally with ordinations, offices, and spiritual ministrations; with clerks; and with the protection of churches, property, persons, and places. More precisely, they may be classified according to their definitions on the following topics: simoniacal ordinations (1), appointments to ecclesiastical offices (2), ordinations by the antipope Gregory VIII (6), episcopal control of the granting of the cure of souls (7), communion of clerks with excommunicates (9), the consecration of uncanonically elected bishops (10), spiritual ministrations by monks (17), appointment of parish priests by the bishop (18), monastic subjection to the bishop (19), cohabitation of clerks with women (3), clerical concubinage and marriage (21); safeguards for church property (4), protection of church offeringsespecially of certain Roman churches (14), protection of church goods (20), alienation of church property by intruders (22), protection of Benevento in the papal patrimony (8) and of the Porticians in the Leonine City (12), indulgences for Crusaders and protection for their families (11), protection of pilgrims and merchants (16), the Truce of God (13), the laws of consanguinity (5), and false coining (15). The work of the Council was therefore the confirmation of peace in Christian society, the establishment of order and discipline within the Church, and the eradication of abuse. It holds a significant place in the history of the Church reform that had originated in the previous century (see gregorian reform).

Second (1139). The double election of Pope innocent ii and Anacletus II (see pierleoni) in 1130 inaugurated a period of schism that ended only with the latter's death in 1138. To affirm the recovered unity of the Church and also to deal with doctrinal and disciplinary problems, Innocent convened a plenary synod in the Lateran during April 1139. This Second Lateran (10th ecumenical) Council was attended by a large and widely representative assembly of between 500 and 1,000 archbishops, bishops, and abbots, including some from the East. The opening address by the Pope announced the deposition of the adherents of his former rival, the excommunication of Roger II of Sicily, and the condemnation of the heretical followers of peter of bruys and arnold of brescia. The Council promulgated 30 canons and dealt with, among other matters, the canonization of Sturmi, first abbot of Fulda. The canons repeated a large number of definitions from the Council of Reims (1131), which itself had been influenced by that of Clermont-Ferrand (1130); and most of them were later included in

Gratian's Decretum. Continuing the work of First Lateran, this legislation marks a consolidation of the reform program dating from the previous century, its canons dealing with doctrine and authority, the rights of bishops, clerks, religious, churches, and other related topics. In particular, the Council defined on the following questions: annulment of many elections by the antipope and his adherents (30); sanctions against those condemning the Eucharist, infant baptism, the priesthood, and marriage (23); prohibition of payment for Confirmation, Extreme Unction, and burials (24); the nonreception of excommunicates by bishops (3); the nonspoliation of the property of dead bishops and clerks (5); the consultation of monks and canons regular in episcopal elections (28); clerical dress and behavior (4); married clerks and those with concubines (6); marriage after solemn vows of chastity (78); the prohibition of study of civil law and medicine by religious (9); protection of clerks, monks, pilgrims, merchants, and others (11); priests' sons and the service of the altar (21); nuns failing to live by their rules (26) or chanting in choir with monks or canons regular (27); the protection of clerks from violence (25: Si quis suadente ); simony (12); lay ownership of churches or tithes (10), inherited benefices (16); lay grants of benefices (25); the Truce of God (12); the prohibition of usury (13); tournaments (14); cross bows and archery (29), incendiarism (1820); and false penitence (22).

Third (1179). Like the Council of 1139, the Third Lateran (11th ecumenical) Council followed the ending of a long period of schism that in this instance had begun with the contested election of Pope alexander iii in 1159, was maintained through a series of three antipopes supported by the Emperor frederick i barbarossa, and was effectively ended with the papal-imperial agreement at Venice in 1177. A surviving list of the Council's participants, the first of its kind, records the attendance of about 300 bishops and numerous abbots. Regional representation

was impressively wide, including, besides Italian prelates, those from France, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, Dalmatia, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, and the Crusaders' States. In addition there were envoys from many Christian rulers. The Council sessions were held on March 5, 14, and 19, 1179, and 27 canons were promulgated. The Council, both for its circumstances and its achievements, occupies an important place in the history of Canon Law: it was the first ecumenical council in the period of ius novum, and was presided over by the first of the great canonist popes, Alexander III, the former Rolando Bandinelli. The canons of the Council were widely disseminated and were promptly taken into the new collections of decretals, from which they passed into Compilatio prima (see quinque compilationes antiquae) and finally into the official Canon Law in the Gregorian Decretales (see corpus iuris canonici) of 1234. The opening canon (Licet de vitanda ) embodied a ruling of permanent historical importance in that it required a two-thirds majority of the cardinals in all future papal elections (see popes, election of); the second annulled the ordinations of the antipopes Victor IV, Paschal II, and Callistus III. The remaining canons dealt mainly with disciplinary matters concerning clerks and with abuses and sanctions. The principal topics can be grouped as follows: the canonical age requirement for bishops and other officials (3); the necessity of a title before ordination (5); benefice collation (8); occupations forbidden to clerks (12); majority decisions in ecclesiastical communities (16); prohibition of more than one rector in a single church (17); the provision of cathedral schools with free instruction (18); clerical and church immunities (19); appellate jurisdiction (6); injunctions against excessive procurations (4); simony (7); pluralism (13); and clerical vices (11); regulations concerning the templars, hospitallers (9) and cistercians (10), and provision of religious services for lepers (23); tournaments (12); the Truce of God (21); and protection for clerks, monks, pilgrims, merchants and others (22); sanctions against those cooperating with Saracens and pirates (24), against usurers (25), Jews and Saracens (26), Cathari, Brabançons, and other mercenaries (27). The Council therefore marked a further important stage in the development of papal legislative authority and of Church reform, and prepared the way for the still more important legislation of Pope Innocent III in the Council of 1215.

Fourth (1215). The Fourth Lateran (12th ecumenical) Council marks the high point of medieval papal legislation and is sometimes called "the Great Lateran Council" or simply "the Great Council." It is generally considered the most important council before the Council of trent.

Background and Sessions. Projected for many years by Pope innocent iii, but delayed by the numerous vexatious problems with which the Pope was confronted, the Council was formally announced in a bull of April 19, 1213. "In accordance with the practice of the ancient fathers," archbishops and bishops from all parts of the Church, in East and West, were invited, together with the heads of religious orders and clerical communities and Christian secular rulers. Many letters of invitation are recorded in the papal registers. Great care and preparation were devoted to securing the widest possible representation at the Council and to ensuring its success. When at last the Council assembled in November 1215, there were present more than 400 archbishops and bishops, of whom about 70 were either primates or archbishops, including the Latin patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem, together with the delegates of those of Alexandria and Antioch. The bishops came from every part of the Western Church, including Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia. Also present were more than 800 abbots and priors, as well as the envoys of Emperor frederick ii and the Latin Emperor of Constantinople; of the kings of France, England, Aragon, Sicily, Hungary, Cyprus, and Jerusalem; of princes, magnates, cities, and communes. There were, however, no representatives from the Greek Church in the East, though these were invited. The Council was opened on November 11 with a solemn address by the Pope on the text Desiderio desideravi hoc Pascha manducare vobiscum ante patiar (Lk 22.15). Immediately after the Pope, the patriarch of Jerusalem spoke on the misfortunes of the Holy Land. The bishop of Agde spoke next on the problem of the albigenses in the south of France. The choice of these two speakers suggested the major problems with which the Council was concerned.

In addition to the inaugural session, further meetings were held on November 20 and 30, and many questions were debated both at and between the sessions. Two problems in particular engaged the Council's attention: the promotion of a new Crusade following the unsatisfactory outcome of the Fourth crusade of 1204 and the recrudescence of heresy. The Council sought the establishment of peace and unity throughout Christendom as a prerequisite for the new Crusade (a four-year peace was imposed on Christian peoples and the bishops were commanded to reconcile all enemies) and fixed the starting date at June 1, 1217; the obligation of preaching and supporting the Crusade was enjoined on all prelates and Christian rulers, protection and privileges were decreed for the crusaders, and a three-year impost of one-fortieth of their income was laid on the clergy. But Innocent's hopes were destined to be unfulfilled in this matter; with his death on June 16, 1216, the necessary unity and interest were soon dissipated. As for the problem of heresy, the doctrines of the cathari (or Albigenses) and, to a lesser extent, those of the waldenses were condemned, though neither sect was specifically named in the official decrees. Of particular importance in this context were the conciliar definitions touching on the Cathari, including a solemn statement of orthodox faith, later incorporated in the Gregorian Decretales of 1234 as the opening text. Procedural rules were drawn up for the repression of heresy, and crusading privileges were extended to those taking part in the campaigns against the heretics. In addition, the position of those schismatic Greeks reunited with the apostolic see was the subject of an important decree (4). The Council was concerned also with many other spiritual and political questions: the general state of the Church, touching on dogmatic, disciplinary, and juristic questions; the moral well-being of the Church in its clergy, religious, and laity. Matters of political or regional interest dealt with at the Council included the confirmation of Frederick II as emperor of the West; the granting of the conquered part of the county of Toulouse to Simon de Montfort l'Amaury in recognition of his role against the Albigenses; the confirmation of the Pope's earlier rejection of magna carta, which was judged by Innocent to have been extorted by the magnates from King john and therefore invalid; the confirmation of Archbishop stephen langton's suspension; the jurisdictional claims of the primate of Toledo; and many other disputes and problems within the provinces of the Western Church. A proposal that the central machinery of papal administration should in future be supported financially by regular payments from the Church as a whole was opposed by a majority and therefore frustrated: this action is an indication of a measure of consultation and consent in the Council's deliberations.

Canons. The Council promulgated 70 canons (or capitula ) and one crusading decree. The canons were soon after incorporated in Compilatio quarta (of the Quinque Compilationes antiquae ), together with decretals from the closing years of Innocent's pontificate, and later passed with very few exceptions into the Decretales of 1234. Certain canons established dogmatic definitions and sacramental obligations that have remained in force to the present day: the opening canon (Firmiter credimus ) included the profession of Catholic faith mentioned above, and is especially important for its definitive Eucharistic doctrine of transubstantiation; the second canon condemned the teachings of joachim of fiore and amalric of bÈne, and the third dealt with heretics, their protectors and episcopal inquisition; the fifth asserted the order of patriarchal precedence after the Roman see to be: Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; the 21st canon (Omnis utriusque sexus ) bound all Christians of the age of reason to receive annually the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. For their spiritual and canonical importance the greater number of the canons can be classified according to several main themes: the Sacraments and spiritual ministrations; Church order, organization, and reform; ecclesiastical benefices and property; and judicial, procedural, and penal questions. As for the Sacraments and spiritual ministrations, the Council legislated on all the Sacraments except Confirmation: annual confession and Communion (21); Extreme Unction (20) and the care of the dying, with the obligation of doctors to consider the spiritual needs of their patients (22); episcopal elections (2425); episcopal responsibility for worthy appointments and the requisite qualities of character and learning for priests and holders of benefices (2627, 30); abuses in connection with the celebration of the Mass and divine services (17); the nonprofanation of churches (19); and marriage questions (5051), including the reduction of the prohibited degrees of consanguinity from seven to four (52). For the promotion of Church order, organization, and reform, the Council pronounced on bishops and, among other matters, their powers of excommunication (47) and absolution (49), exactions and procurations (65, 3334) and the nonprolongation of episcopal vacancies (23); on clerks in regard to their benefices, tonsure, behavior, and neglect of spiritual duties (1418), their nonparticipation in secular administration and relations with feudal superiors (43, 45); and the provision for cathedral schools with free instruction (11); repeating the legislation of the 1179 Council; on monks and religious, enjoining that no new orders be founded (13) and that triennial general chapters be held in each ecclesiastical province for houses not so organized already (12: In singulis regnis ), on tithe exemptions and payments (56), on privileges enjoyed during interdict (58), and other questions (cf. 5960, 64). Relating to ecclesiastical benefices and church property, the Council dealt with the resignation of benefices (28); the abuse of pluralism (29); the canonical requirements for collation to benefices (30); the nonhereditability of benefices and the prohibition of the illegitimate sons of canons succeeding to their fathers' churches (31); incomes, taxes, imposts, procurations, and so forth (3234); vicarages (32); prohibition of lay alienation of church property (44); regulations for the exposition of relics; and curbing the abuses of indulgences (62). Judicial, procedural, and penal matters were inevitably a concern of the great jurist Pope, and were regulated by canons on the procedure for the inquiry into and punishment of offenses, while stressing the need of prudence (9); the prohibition of the blessing of hot water and hot iron for judicial ordeals (18); the safeguarding of the rights of clerks from lay usurpation and the prohibition of clerks from involvement in secular justice (42); on courts of justice and appellate procedure (48); the prohibition of lay persons from being appointed arbitrators in spiritual matters (40); consideration of objections raised against judges (48); and penalties for all forms of simony, relating to consecrations, ordinations, the reception of religious, for raising interdict, and undue exactions for burials and marriages, with the reminder that lay persons were to pay their accustomed dues (6366).

The closing "chapters" of the Council dealt specifically with the Jews and their place in Christian society: no Christian was to have commerce with usurious Jews (67); both Jews and Saracens were to wear a distinctive dress to mark them off from Christians, and Jews were forbidden to appear in public in Holy Week to avoid risk of insult to Christians at that time (68); they might exercise no public function involving power over Christians (69); and Jews willingly seeking baptism were first to abandon their own rites (70). This legislation against the Jews, which in part continued and restated Alexander's work in the Third Lateran Council, must be seen in the context of contemporary society and in the special circumstances of the Council's preoccupation with the misfortunes of the Holy Land and a new Crusade.

The Great Lateran Council, whose canons were for the first time promulgated in the name of the Pope, is aptly considered a culminating point in the history of medieval papal legislation and leadership of Christendom, with its concern for all problems of the universal Church and every class of person in the Societas Christiana.

Fifth (151217). The First Lateran to the Council of vienne, conciliarism found its expression in the Councils of pisa, constance, and basel. The reemergence of papal monarchical authority after Basel did not, however, entail the eclipse of conciliar ambitions: an attempt to reopen the Council of Basel in 1482 was a failure, but academic interest in the conciliar doctrines survived and secular princes at times employed the threat of a council to bring pressure to bear on the pope. It was in the midst of the conflict between the French King Louis XII and Pope julius ii, and because of Julius's failure to implement his promise to convene a council, that a group of disaffected cardinals meeting in Milan summoned a council to convene in Pisa, with the support of the French King and Emperor Maximilian. The council assembled (a month late) on Nov. 1, 1511, in the presence of four cardinals, the proxies of three others, two archbishops, 14 bishops, five abbots, procurators of three French universities, canonists, and theologians. Sessions one to three (1511) were held in Pisa where the decrees of Constance and Basel were reissued, sessions four to eight (151112) in Milan where Julius II was suspended from office, and sessions nine and ten (1512) in Asti and Lyon respectively where the council asserted its legitimacy.

It was in response to this conciliabulum of Pisa, known also as the Council of Pisa II, that Julius II convoked the Fifth Lateran (18th ecumenical) Council for April 19, 1512. The Council was announced in the bull Sacrosanctae Romanae ecclesiae of July 18, 1511, which condemned the projected council of the schismatic cardinals and justified the Pope's own delays. As a result of the French victory at Ravenna on April 11, 1512, the Council opened later than intended, on May 3, 1512. The ecumenical status of the Fifth Lateran Council has been questioned through the centuries, but is at present generally accepted. According to the count of the master of ceremonies, the inaugural session was attended by 16 cardinals and 83 mitred prelates. Later, following the death of Julius II and the reconciliation of his successor with the French, the number attending the Council rose to 23 or 24 cardinals and 122 prelates at the eighth session, on Dec. 19, 1513.

The Council was conceived within the framework of the great papal assemblies of the Middle Ages, and was held in Rome under papal presidency. Its decrees were issued as papal bulls or constitutions having conciliar approval. In addition to condemning the work of the conciliabulum of Pisa, the Council was concerned to condemn the pragmatic sanction of Bourges. There were 12 sessions in all, the final one being on March 16, 1517. The death of Julius II had intervened on Feb. 21, 1513, and the succession of Pope leo x had facilitated French adherence to the Council, as mentioned above. The first five sessions (May 10, 1512 to Feb. 16, 1513) dealt primarily with Pisa II and the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, the Emperor repudiating the actions of Pisa II at the third session. The fifth session declared papal elections would be null if they were tainted with simony (Cum tam divino ). Under Leo X, three commissions were set up to deal with general peace, Church reform, the preservation of the faith, and the extinction of schism. The eighth and ninth sessions (Dec. 19, 1513, and May 5, 1514) registered respectively the disavowal of Pisa II by the ambassadors of Louis XII and a document testifying to the submission of the French bishops. The eighth session confirmed an earlier papal bull regulating the Curia's taxation system (In apostolici culminis ) and included a dogmatic definition on the individuality of the human soul, against the teachings of Pietro pomponazzi; the ninth session pronounced on reforms touching the choice of bishops, monasteries held in trust by secular clergy, pluralities, ecclesiastical dress, blasphemy, and clerical immunity (Supernae dispositionis ). Three important measures of the 10th session (May 4, 1515) dealt with montes pietatis (pawn shops) to aid the poor, episcopal liberties and dignities, and the pre-publication censorship of printed books; the 11th session (Dec. 19, 1516) was concerned with preaching, exemptions of religious, abrogation of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, and approval of the Concordat of Bologna. The concluding session (March 16, 1517) decided for a Crusade against the Turks and the imposition of a three-year tax on all benefices.

The deliberations and enactments of the Council testify to an awareness of the principal abuses in the Church and a concern on the part of some Church leaders for reform. Several measures were well designed to deal with these problems, but there proved to be little zeal in making them effective, and the Church was soon confronted with protestations far more perilous.

Bibliography: General. g. tangl, Die Teilnehmer an den allgemeinen Konzilien des Mittelalters (Weimar 1922). h. e. feine, Kirchliche Rechtsgeschichte, v. 1, Die katholische Kirche (4th ed. Cologne 1964). h. jedin, Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, tr. e. graf (New York 1960). p. hughes, The Church in Crisis (New York 1961). g. le bras et al., Histoire du droit et des institutions de l'Église en Occident, v. 7 L'Âge classique (11401378): Sources et théorie du droit (Paris 1965). r. foreville, "Procédure et débats dans les conciles médiévaux de Latran (11231215)," Revue historique de droit français et éranger, 42 (1964) 12223; Histoire des conciles oecuméniques, v. 6 Latran I, II, III, et Latran IV (Paris 1966). m. mollat, Les conciles Latran I a Latran IV (Louvain 1974). First Council. j. d. mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 31 v. (Florence-Venice 175798); reprinted and continued by l. petit and j. b. martin 53v. in 60 (Paris 18891927; repr. Graz 1960) 21:277304. c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, tr. and continued by h. leclercq, 10 v. in 19 (Paris 190738) 1:63044. a. fliche and v. martin, eds., Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours (Paris 1935) 8:39195. f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15v. (Paris 190350) 8.2:262837. r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, ed. r. naz, 7 v. (Paris 193365) 6:34445. r. bÄumer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahnner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 6:81516. Second Council. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 21:52546. Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, 5.1:72138. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours,9.1:13739. f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique,8.2:263744. r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, 6:34647. r. bÄumer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 6:816. Third Council. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 22:209467. Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, 5.2:10861112. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, 9.2:15674. m. pacaut, Alexandre III (Paris 1956) passim. f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique,8.2:264452. r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, 6:34749. r. bÄumer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 6:816. Fourth Council. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 22:9531086. Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, 5.2:131698. a. luchaire, Innocent III, 6 v. (Paris 190608). Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, 10:194211. s. kuttner, Repertorium der Kanonistik (Rome 1937) (Studi et Testi 71) 36971. s. kuttner, "Johannes Teutonicus, das vierte Laterankonzil und die Compilatio quarta," Miscellanea Giovanni Mercanti (Rome 1946) v. 5 (Studi et Testi 125;1946) 60834. h. tillmann, Papst Innocenz III (Bonn 1954). a. garcÍa y garcÍa, "El Concilio IV de Letrán (1215) y sus comentarios," Traditio, 14 (1958) 484502. f. m. powicke and c. r. cheney, eds., Councils and Synods, 2.1 (Oxford 1964) 4749. f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 8.2:265267. r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, 6:34953. r. bÄumer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 6:81617. s. kuttner and a. garcÍa y garcÍa, "A New Eye-witness Account of the Fourth Lateran Council," Traditio, 20 (1964) 11578. f. robb, "The Fourth Lateran Council's Definition of Trinitarian Orthodoxy," Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 48 (1997): 2243. c. small, "The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215: A Turning Point in the History of Medieval Europe," Religious Studies and Theology, 11 (May-September 1991): 6678. Fifth Council. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio, 32:6491002. Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, 8.1:339375, 396548. Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, 15:16465, 18789. h. jedin, History of the Council of Trent, tr. e. graf, v. 12 (St. Louis 195760), v. 3 (in prep); Geschichte des Konzils von Trient, 2 v. (Freiburg 194957; v.1, 2d ed. 1951) f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 8.2:266786. r. naz, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, 6:35356. r. bÄumer, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, 6:81718. n. h. minnich, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger (3d ed. Freiburg 1993) 6:67071; The Fifth Lateran Council (15121517) (Aldershot, Hampshire 1993). o. de la brosse, in Latran V et Trente, Historie des conciles oecuméniques, 10 (Paris 1975), 13114, 39798, 41133. p. b. t. bilianiuk, The Fifth Lateran Council (15121517) and the Eastern Churches (Toronto 1975).

[c. duggan/

n. h. minnich]

Lateran Councils

views updated May 29 2018

Lateran Councils Five ecumenical councils of the Western Church, held in the Lateran Palace, Rome. The first (1123) confirmed the Concordat of Worms of 1122. The second (1139) condemned simony and the marriage of the clergy. The third (1179) decreed that the Pope was to be elected by a two-thirds majority of the College of Cardinals. The fourth (1215) defined the doctrine of the Eucharist, officially using the term ‘transubstantiation’. The fifth (1512–17) introduced minor reforms in the wake of the Reformation.

Lateran Councils

views updated May 18 2018

Lateran Councils. A series of councils of the Roman Catholic Church held at the Lateran Palace in Rome from the 7th to the 18th cents. Five are considered ecumenical, of which the most important was the Fourth (1215), with a definition of the eucharist in which the word ‘transubstantiate’ was used for the first time, and annual confession for all Christians was prescribed.