The Fourth Lateran Council (1215)

  • Marshall W. Baldwin
Part of the The Documentary History of Western Civilization book series (DHWC)


The Fourth Latcran Council, convoked in 1215 by Pope Innocent III, represents the medieval Church’s most determined and far-reaching effort to implement the religious renewal which had been gaining momentum since the mid-eleventh century. It met at a troubled time in the Church’s history. The Catharist heresy persisted despite the crusade which Innocent had launched in 1209. On the frontiers of Christendom the Moors had been thrust back in Spain (1212), but the diversion of the Fourth Crusade to Constantinople (1204) had not only left the Saracens in possession of the Holy Land, but had further embittered Greek Christians. Within the western Church the reforms of earlier days, further implemented by the three preceding Lateran councils, and especially by the Third under Alexander III, left much still to be done, particularly in the matter of raising the standards of the parish priests.


Thirteenth Century General Council Parish Priest Provincial Council Suitable Person 
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© Marshall W. Baldwin 1970

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  • Marshall W. Baldwin

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