Fifth Council of the Lateran  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

When elected pope, Julius II (1443-1513) promised under oath that he would soon convoke a general council. However, as time progressed the promise was not fulfilled. Consequently, certain dissatisfied cardinals, urged by Emperor Maximilian and Louis XII of France, convoked a council at Pisa and fixed September 1, 1511, for its opening, but it was delayed until October 1. The four cardinals who met at Pisa came with proxies from three others. Several bishops and abbots were also present, as well as ambassadors from the King of France. In the last session of the Pope Julius II was suspended, and the council participants withdrew to Lyon.

Julius II was quick to oppose this conciliabulum and convoked another council by a papal bull of July 18, 1511, which was to meet on 19 April, 1512, in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (the Fifth Council of the Lateran). The bull was not only a canonical document but polemical in content. Julius refuted the allegation by the cardinals for their Pisa "conciliabulum". He declared that his promise before his election as pope was sincere; that since he became pope he had always sought to call a council; that to prepare the council he had endeavoured to bring an end to quarrels between ruler; that subsequent wars had made calling the council inopportune. Julius then reproached the participants at Pisa for their lack of respect by calling a council without the pope who was supposed to lead. He also said that the three months of preparation for Pisa was not enough. Finally, he declared that no one should attach any significance to the statements made at Pisa.

A war of polemics was waged about the councils, pitting Cajetan, the Dominican Master General, on the papal side against the conciliarist arguments of Jacques Almain, the spokesman of the University of Paris.

The French victory of Ravenna (11 April, 1512) hindered the opening of the council called by Julius and it finally met on May 3 at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Participants included fifteen cardinals, the Latin patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, ten archbishops, fifty-six bishops, some abbots and generals of religious orders, the ambassadors of King Ferdinand, and those of Venice and of Florence. After Julius' death, his successor Pope Leo X continued the council, and the last session was held on 16 March, 1517. During the Fifth Council of the Lateran the ambassdor of the Holy Roman Emperor announced that Ferdinand has rejected the decisions made by those at Pisa and a similar announcement was made by the ambassador of the French King Louis XII.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fifth Council of the Lateran" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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