What did Pope Innocent III do?


Innocent III came from a line of popes. Himself a "nephew" of Pope Clement III, Innocent III had a "nephew" who would one day become pope as Gregory IX. (Gregory's own "nephew" would one day become Pope Alexander IV).

The Inquisition, called the "Holy Office," was instituted by Pope Innocent III, and perfected under the second following Pope, Gregory IX. He extended the system of indulgences, offering them to all those who helped the crusade with money or advice.

Innocent III condemned the Magna Carta, because it limited the absolute power of monarchs and, by extension, of the papacy.

Innocent stated that a monk who had persuaded his mistress to have an abortion was not guilty of murder as long as the foetus had not yet been animated. (Animation took place 40 days after conception for a boy, 80 for a girl). Roman Canon law maintained the distinction between a fetus animatus and a fetus inanimatus until 1869 when it was suddenly abandoned.

The general council of the Church, summoned by Pope Innocent III in 1215, for the first time officially articulated the doctrine of transubstantiation which declared that the bread and wine of the Eucharist were miraculously changed into the body and blood of Christ at the moment of consecration in the Mass.

Innocent is regarded by Roman Catholics as one of the greatest popes of the Middle Ages, and by others as one of the most harmful men ever to have lived. It has ben said that both claims have merit, and both may well be true.