The Decrees of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512–17): Their Legitimacy, Origins, Contents, and Implementation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Decrees of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512–17)

Their Legitimacy, Origins, Contents, and Implementation, 1st Edition

By Nelson H. Minnich


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The Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17), whose 500th anniversary is being commemorated, has left a legacy little studied by scholars. The council’s status as an ecumenical council was questioned by its opponents and its decrees ignored, resisted, or only slowly implemented. This new collection of articles by Nelson H. Minnich examines: what is an ecumenical council, the reasons Lateran V qualifies as such, the roles the popes played in it, the council as a theater for demonstrating papal power, what was proposed as its agenda, what decrees were issued, and to what extent they were implemented. The decrees that receive special attention are those: affirming the legitimacy of the credit organizations known as montes pietatis that charged management fees, imposing prepublication censorship on printed works, abrogating the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438), reining in the privileges of mendicant friars, and closing the council while imposing a crusade tithe. These decrees were gradually implemented and Carlo Borromeo incorporated some of the Lateran reform decrees into his conciliar legislation that was taken up by other bishops. Lateran V did leave a lasting legacy and Leo X considered the council one of his great achievements. The volume includes four studies not previously published in English.

Table of Contents

Preface; What is an Ecumenical Council? The 16th-century teachings of the theologian Roberto Bellarmino and the Canonist Domenico Giacobazzi; The legitimacy of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17); The Fifth Lateran Council as a theatre for demonstrating papal power; Julius II and Leo X as presidents of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517); Session IX: origins of decree Supernae dispositionis arbitrio (1514) - The Reform Proposals (1513) of Stefano Taleazzi for the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17); Session X: decree Inter multiplices on credit organization (1515) - The decree Inter multiplices of Lateran V on Montes pietatis; Session X: decree Inter sollicitudines on preventive censorship (1515) - The Fifth Lateran Council and preventive censorship of printed books; Session XI: decree Pastor Aeternus on papal control of councils (1516) - Luther, Cajetan, and Pastor Aeternus (1516) of Lateran V on conciliar authority; Session XI: decree Dum intra mentis arcana on religious and their privileges - Egidio Antonini da Viterbo, the reform of religious orders, and the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517); Session XII: Decree Constituti iuxta verbum on closing the council - The closing of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17); The implementation of Lateran V by the Milanese councils of San Carlo Borromeo; Leo X: success or failure; Index.

About the Author

Nelson H. Minnich is Professor in the Department of History, The Catholic University of America, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
RELIGION / History