Death of Pope Innocent III, Called for Fourth & Fifth Crusades

Death of Pope Innocent III, Called for Fourth & Fifth Crusades

Pope Innocent III
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Pope Innocent III dies. Born Lotario dei Conti di Segni, Pope Innocent III called the Fourth Crusade in 1198 to reinforce the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople against attacking Turks. In the end, though, the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople, looted its treasures, and installed a Latin Patriarch.

In 1215 he tried again and proclaimed the Fifth Crusade, but this time he attempted to get individual Christians to take up the cause — he didn't want European monarchs to lead it because of the disastrous results of the last Crusade.

The same year he declared the Magna Carta invalid and a heresy. This was related to the fact that he did not see himself merely as a spiritual leader, but also as a temporal ruler. Pope Innocent III envisioned a true papal monarchy where the pope served not simply as the Vicar of Christ but also as king with bishops serving under his direct control. Innocent declared the Catholic Church to be a genuine state, and thus heresy became a crime against the state which could be punished accordingly — both for the spiritual good of the individual as well as the preservation of the Church.

Pope Innocent III eliminated the Manicheans in the Papal States and then turned his eyes towards France, where the Albigenses were growing in numbers and strength. Innocent called for a crusade against them in 1208 and sent Simon of Montfort to lead a campaign to eliminate the Cathar heresy and restore Southern France to Catholic control. This leads to the formal legitimization of the Inquisition in 1233 for use against suspected heresy in Europe.

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