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Any of five ecumenical councils of the Roman Catholic church held in the Lateran Palace in Rome. The First Lateran Council (1123), held during the papacy of Calixtus II, reiterated decrees of earlier ecumenical councils (condemning simony, forbidding clergymen to marry, etc.). The Second Lateran Council (1139) was called by Innocent II to end the schism created by the election of a rival pope. The Third Lateran Council (1179), held during the papacy of Alexander III, established a two-thirds majority of the College of Cardinals as a requirement for papal election and condemned the heresies of the Cathari. Innocent III called the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) in an effort to reform the church; its decrees obliged Catholics to make a yearly confession, sanctioned the doctrine of transubstantiation, and made preparations for a new Crusade. The Fifth Lateran Council (1512–17), convoked by Julius II, affirmed the immortality of the soul and restored peace among warring Christian rulers.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Lateran Council, visit Britannica.com.
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