Pope Innocent III is one of the greatest popes of the middle ages. He was born in the year 1160 or 1161 and died on June 16th, 1216.
He was a learned theologian and a great jurist, in fact one of the greatest of his time. When he was elected pope he was only thirty seven years old.
He was very zealous in protecting the true faith and he opposed heresy strongly and energetic.
In his time the Albigenses have become very numerous and aggressive. They started to spread their heresy by force. The pope sent some missionaries to preach the true faith and to clear out some controverted topics of the Catholic Religion. After one of these missionaries were killed, the pope decided to confront the people who killed the missionary.
This pope was the one who convoked the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215. This was the most important council of the Middle Ages. This Council issued seventy reformatory decrees. It was in one of these decrees that the term transubstantiation received its first ecclesiastical sanction.
It was also during his reign that the orders of st. Dominic and st. Francis of Assissi have been founded. He recognized in these two saints two mighty adversaries of the vices of luxury and indolence which had infected many of the clergy and part of the laity.
He died in Perugia, when he was traveling through Italy during the crusade ordered in the Lateran Council I have mentioned before.
He left behind various written works, under which an exposition of the “Fourfold Marriage Bond”, being :
This work is completely based on passages he took from the Holy Scripture.
Our Pope was the pope who restored the papal power in Rome. He succeeded because Italy was tired of being ruled by unending German adventurers.
He died on June 16th, 1216 in Perugia.