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The Second Council of the Lateran is believed to have been the Tenth Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics. It was held by Pope Innocent II in April 1139, and was attended by close to a thousand clerics. Its immediate task was to neutralise the after-effects of the schism, which had arisen after the death of Pope Honorius II in February 1130 and the setting up of Petris Leonis as the antipope Anacletus II.

Tenth ecumenical council

After the death of Honorius II Petrus Leonis, under the name of Anacletus II, was a rival to Innocent II. In 1135, Innocent II held a council at Pisa, which confirmed his authority and condemned Anacletus. Anacletus's death in 1138 helped largely to solve the tension between rival factions. Nevertheless, Innocent decided to call the tenth ecumenical council.

The Council assembled at the Lateran Palacemarker and nearly a thousand prelates attended. In his opening statement Innocent deposed those who had been ordained and instituted by Anacletus or any of his adherents. King Roger II of Sicily was excommunicated for maintaining what was thought to be a schismatic attitude. The council also condemned the teachings of the Petrobrusians and the Henricians, the followers of Peter of Bruys and Arnold of Brescia. Finally, the council drew up measures for the amendment of ecclesiastical morals and discipline which the council fathers considered had grown lax. Many of the canons relating to these matters were mostly a restating of the decrees of the Council of Reims and the Council of Clermont.

Important canons

The most important results of the council included:
  • Canon 4: Injunction to bishops and ecclesiastics not to cause scandal by wearing ostentacious clothes but to dress modestly.

  • Canons 6, 7, 11: Repeated the First Lateran Council's condemnation of marriage and concubinage among priests, deacons, subdeacons, monks, and nuns.

  • Canon 10: Excommunicated laity who failed to pay the tithes due the bishops,

  • Canon 12 Fixed the periods and the duration of the Truce of God.

  • Canon 14: Prohibition, under pain of deprivation of Christian burial, of jousts and tournaments which endangered life.

  • Canon 20: Kings and princes were ordered to dispense justice in consultation with the bishops.

  • Canon 25: Forbade any cleric to accept a benefice from a layman.

  • Canon 27: Nuns were prohibited from singing the Divine Office in the same choir with monks.

  • Canon 28: No church was to be left vacant more than three years from the death of the bishop; secular canons who excluded from episcopal election regular canons or monks were condemned.

The council also may have banned the use of crossbows against Christians, although the authenticity, interpretation and translation of this source is contested.

Another decision confirmed the right of religious houses of a diocese to participate in the election of the diocese's bishop.


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