Today in Catholic History – Second Lateran Council

On 4 April 1139, Pope Innocent II opened the Second Lateran Council and the tenth ecumenical council.

Almost a thousand attended the council which gathered to remedy the effects of the schism of anti-pope Anacletus II.  At the council, with his own hands Pope Innocent would strip the symbols of episcopal authority of those who had been ordained bishops by Anacletus.

The council condemned the heresies of Arnold of Brescia and Peter of Bruys.   Arnold of Brescia had argued that the Church should imitate the apostles and renounce ownership of property.  His ideas would later be influential amongst the Spiritual Franciscans.  Peter of Bruys denied the value of the Old Testament and the writings of the Church Fathers.  He also denied infant baptism and the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the flesh.

The council also addressed other issues such as forbidding bishops and priests to wear clothing likely to cause scandal or was overly extravagant; forbidding priests from marrying – indeed the faithful were not to attend Masses said by married priests;  prohibiting nuns from praying the Divine Office with monks; and forbidding any joust which might be life threatening.

The Second Lateran Council


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