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Council of Constance, 1414-1418

In 1414, at the time of the scandal of three men all claiming to be the one true pope, the bishops at Constance solemnly proclaimed that an ecumenical council is superior to the pope in matters of faith and governance:

“This synod declares that it has immediate power from Christ, which every state and dignity, even if it be the papal dignity, must obey in what concerns faith, the eradication of schism. . . and the reformation of the church.”

In the document Frequens, 1417, it stated:

“By a perpetual edict, we establish, enact, decree, and ordain that henceforth general councils shall be held . . . from ten years to ten years for ever.”

Also in 1417, in Sacrosancta it declared;

“This holy synod. . . ordains, defines, enacts, decrees, and declares . . . that. . . it holds power directly from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state of dignity he be, even papal, is obliged to obey it in those things which belong to the faith. . . and to the general reform of the said church of God in head and in members.”


For a new vision, see: Authority in the Catholic Church



Wijngaards Institute for Catholic ResearchThis website is maintained by the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research.

The Institute is known for issuing academic reports and statements on relevant issues in the Church. These have included scholars' declarations on the need of collegiality in the exercise of church authority, on the ethics of using contraceptives in marriage and the urgency of re-instating the sacramental diaconate of women.

Visit also our websites:Women Deacons, The Body is Sacred and Mystery and Beyond.

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