Reclaiming the Flock: Innocent Iii, the 1215 Canon and the Role of the Sacraments in Reforming the Catholic Church
Description: This thesis traces the changes in the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist from 400-1215 and posits that Innocent III’s Fourth Lateran Council solidified and clarified these sacraments from diversified practices and customs to a single Catholic orthodoxy in order to reclaim centralized papal power to the Roman Catholic Church. Tracing the history of the Catholic Church’s baptismal and Eucharistic rites encounters a number of logistical obstacles because they were not administered by means of a Western Church-prescribed ritual until the early thirteenth century, primarily because such a prescription did not exist. Even after the First Council of Nicaea where Christian doctrine was better defined, an allowable margin of license remained within Latin orthodoxy, specifically when it came to the practice and administration of the sacraments. Before the establishment of a finite canon the sacramental procedures of the Western Church relied heavily on the local bishops and monks who openly adopted their own preferential liturgies and ritual practices. This fragmentation took the power away from the Holy See in Rome and instead fostered the idea that regional practices were superior. The foundation of their varied interpretations can be traced back to a number of theologians ranging from the early second century tracts of Justin Martyr to Augustine in the late fourth century. Upon the inauguration of Pope Innocent III in 1198, however, the Church adopted a policy of zero tolerance for practices, rituals and individuals that it deemed heretical. Through a series of papal bulls that even began in the first months of Innocent’s reign, he initiated an attempt to eradicate regional inconsistencies and to create a more streamlined orthodoxy. This movement was fully realized in the year before Innocent’s death with the creation of the 1215 Canon in which Catholic Church leaders from around the world defined, explained and ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Villarreal-Thaggard, Kimberly