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Fifth Council of the Lateran

Fifth Council of the Lateran

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The Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512–1517) was the last Ecumenical council of the Catholic Church before reformation
Reformation
- Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

.

When elected pope in 1503, Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II , nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope" , born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1503 to 1513...

 (1503-1513; born Giuliano della Rovere,1443–1513), promised under oath that he would soon convoke a general council. However, as time passed the promise was not fulfilled. Consequently, certain dissatisfied cardinals, urged by Emperor Maximilian
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 and Louis XII of France
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

, convoked a council at Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 and fixed September 1, 1511, for its opening, but it was delayed until October 1. The four cardinals who met at Pisa came with proxies from three others. Several bishops and abbots were also present, as well as ambassadors from the King of France. In the last session of the Pope Julius II was suspended, and the council participants withdrew to Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

.

Julius II was quick to oppose this conciliabulum
Conciliabulum
Conciliabulum is a Latin word meaning a place of assembly. Its implication transferred to a gathering, such as a conventicle or conference....

and convoked another council by a papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 of July 18, 1511, which was to meet on 19 April 1512, in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano. The bull was not only a canonical document but polemical in content. Julius refuted the allegation by the cardinals for their Pisa "conciliabulum". He declared that his promise before his election as pope was sincere; that since he became pope he had always sought to call a council; that to prepare the council he had endeavoured to bring an end to quarrels between ruler; that subsequent wars had made calling the council inopportune. Julius then reproached the participants at Pisa for their lack of respect by calling a council without the pope who was supposed to lead. He also said that the three months of preparation for Pisa was not enough. Finally, he declared that no one should attach any significance to the statements made at Pisa.

A war of polemics was waged about the councils, pitting Cajetan
Cajetan
-People:* Thomas Cajetan, Italian cardinal and opponent of Martin Luther* Saint Cajetan , canonized saint who lived from 1480–1547* Constantino Cajetan , Italian Benedictine scholar...

, the Dominican Master General, on the papal side against the conciliarist arguments of Jacques Almain
Jacques Almain
Jacques Almain was a prominent professor of theology at the University of Paris when he died at an early age. Born in the diocese of Sens, he studied Arts at the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris. He served as Rector of the university in 1507.-Life:Beginning in 1508, Jacques Almain...

, the spokesman of the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

.

The French victory of Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 (11 April 1512) hindered the opening of the council called by Julius and it finally met on 3 May at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Participants included fifteen cardinals, the Latin patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, ten archbishops, fifty-six bishops, some abbots and generals of religious orders, the ambassadors of King Ferdinand
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

, and those of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 and of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. After Julius' death, his successor Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X , born Giovanni di Lorenzo de' Medici, was the Pope from 1513 to his death in 1521. He was the last non-priest to be elected Pope. He is known for granting indulgences for those who donated to reconstruct St. Peter's Basilica and his challenging of Martin Luther's 95 Theses...

 continued the council, and the last session was held on 16 March 1517. During the Fifth Council of the Lateran the ambassdor of the Holy Roman Emperor announced that Ferdinand has rejected the decisions made by those at Pisa and a similar announcement was made by the ambassador of the French King Louis XII.

Several decrees were published, including:
  • Inter Multiplices, a Bull published by Leo X on 4 May 1515, which sanctioned the Monti di pietà: financial institutions under strict ecclesiastical supervision which provided loans to the needy in the manner of pawn shops, and which had attracted both support and opposition from within the church since their establishment in the previous century;
  • Apostolici regiminis, on the immortality of the soul, usually believed to have been directed against Pietro Pomponazzi
    Pietro Pomponazzi
    Pietro Pomponazzi was an Italian philosopher. He is sometimes known by his Latin name, Petrus Pomponatius.-Biography:...

  • One concerning the freedom of the Church and the dignity of bishops.
  • One requiring that before a book could be printed, the local bishop had to give permission.
  • One condemning the French Pragmatic Sanction
    Pragmatic sanction
    A pragmatic sanction is a sovereign's solemn decree on a matter of primary importance and has the force of fundamental law. In the late history of the Holy Roman Empire it referred more specifically to an edict issued by the Emperor....

     which sought to prevent the papacy from extending its power.
  • The council promulgated a decree advocating war against the Turks in order to reclaim the Holy Land to be funded by the levying of taxes three years.


Little was done to put the work of the council into practice. Whether or not the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 could have been avoided if the reforms had been implemented is a matter of debate. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

's promulgation of the 95 theses occurred just seven months after the close of the Council.