period the Pope assumed unprecedented political and spiritual power over the
Christian States of Europe. This sowed the seeds of
the abuse of
authority by papal administrations in later years.
architect of this was Pope Innocent III (1198 - 1216). He was an energetic man
who believed in drastic action. He excommunicated
King John of England for meddling with church property. He also excommunicated
the Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV in Germany for disobeying his
Pope Innocent eliminated the Manichean
heretics 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 Albigenses heresy and restore Southern France to Catholic control. This
lead to the formal legitimization of
in 1233 for use against suspected heresy in Europe.
Innocent III called the Fourth Lateran Council, one of the most
important events in Church history, with 71 statements of doctrine ratified.
For the first time in church history, yearly confession was required of all
Christians, and transubstantiation became an official part of Catholic
doctrine. The Council passed a series of controversial laws, such as requiring
Jews to wear distinguishing clothing and forbidding them from holding political
office over Christians.
During this century the Scholastic
theologians nailed the coffin of the ordination of women by inventing
'plausible' reasons to explain the exclusion of women from holy orders, which
they took for granted.
Thomas Aquinas was the most
influential theologian in the Middle Ages. Most later theologians copied their
arguments from him. In Thomas time women were excluded from the ordained
ministries. Thomas had to find justification for this as a theologian. The main
reason, he decided, was womans inferior nature.
Author of the Rosarium
Super Decreto, written between 1296 and 1300 AD containing references to
Women's Emancipation 1200 - 1300
During this time some
significant changes were entered into civil codes that protected some women
from perceived injustices. Among the rules enshrined in the
(see detail on the left) specifically protect the rights of women. This was a
Some women began to assume
leading roles in their own spheres. They were forerunners of what was to come.
Dear visitor, you are welcome to use our material. However: building up and maintaining this site costs money. We are a Charity and work mainly with volunteers, but find it difficult to pay our overheads. Please, become a Friend or support us with a donation. Also, as some of you recommended to us, we are exploring how to generate income by advertising. Please, support us in this effort and send us your suggestions. John Wijngaards