Between God and Man

Between God and Man

Pope Innocent III
Corinne J. Vause
Frank C. Gardiner
Foreword by James M. Powell
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 165
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt284xsh
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  • Book Info
    Between God and Man
    Book Description:

    The sermons presented in this rich collection cast a clearer light on Innocent's concept of what his duties were as priest and bishop.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1615-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-xii)
    James M. Powell

    The study of the role of preaching is central to an understanding of the nature of the church.¹ The New Testament makes clear that preaching occupied an important place in the creation of the church. While there are numerous mentions and even summaries of preaching in the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles, the liturgical and sacramental aspect of the church received much less attention in these sources. Yet it was precisely this sacramental and liturgical church that emerged most clearly in the fourth century, after the grant of toleration by the Emperor Constantine. For a long...

  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. xiii-xxxii)

    “Among the many ministries that belong to the pastoral office, the virtue of holy preaching is the most excellent.”¹ Thus the brilliant and controversial Pope Innocent III proclaimed what he believed to be the highest priority among his duties as chief shepherd of Christendom. Considering the vast scope of his papal accomplishments, his work as a preacher may seem less significant than his more secular concerns. Yet, the great number of sermons he did indeed write and deliver during his intensely active and often contentious career, is testimony to the value he placed on his vocation as a preacher. Before...

  5. PROLOGUE. LETTER TO ARNALD
    (pp. 1-6)

    This letter from Innocent III to the Abbot of Cîteaux was sent to that monastery with a collection of the Pope’s sermons at the request of his chaplain Nicholas, a Cistercian monk. The letter is always included as a Prologue to Innocent’s sermon collections,¹ and is an important papal document in its own right. It is the first instruction on preaching known to have been written by a pope since the Pastoral Care of Gregory the Great, six centuries before. Included here, as Prologue to the De diversis sermons, its practical homiletical advice intensifies the meta-pastoral tone of the sermons...

  6. SERMON ONE. IN COUNCIL OF PRIESTS
    (pp. 7-15)

    The opening words of this sermon, addressed to the assembled clergy of a Roman synod, clearly illustrate Innocent III’s concept of priesthood: the image of the priest as intercessor, interposed between God and mankind by the power and duties of his office. Then, drawing the parallel between the Aaronide priesthood and that of the Catholic Church, Innocent applies Levitical norms to the lives and actions of the clergy. The result is a practical, step-by-step plan to repair the damage done to both the priesthood and to the Christian community by those clergy who neglect their priestly duties.

    The synods at...

  7. SERMON TWO. ON THE CONSECRATION OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
    (pp. 16-27)

    Innocent III composed this sermon for the occasion of his consecration as Bishop of Rome, February 12, 1198, the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch, six weeks after his election as Pope.¹ The Gospel reading for the feast day included the “Tu es Petrus” account of Peter’s being chosen by Christ as head of his church, an appropriate text for a papal sermon. However, the newly consecrated Pope, ignoring the Petrine passage, took as the pericope for his inaugural sermon the parable of the “faithful and prudent servant,” a text from the consecration ceremony that had just occurred. In...

  8. SERMON THREE. ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY
    (pp. 28-40)

    Behind the altar, in the apse of the old Basilica of St. Peter was a mosaic portraying Innocent III as the bridegroom of the Roman church. This stylized picture placed that marriage at the center of salvation history. In the forefront of the picture is Christ, the Lamb of God as described in Revelation 5:9. On one side of Christ, Innocent III, barefoot and wearing a crown, stands facing his bride, the church, who is portrayed as a beautiful woman. At the edges of the picture are the two cities, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, scenes of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection....

  9. SERMON FOUR. ON THE CONSECRATION OF PONTIFFS
    (pp. 41-50)

    In what he himself calls a “terrifying and irrefutable” argument, Innocent III presents the thesis for this sermon in an unusual form, a scholastically framed syllogism. This gives his message an abrupt and exigent introduction, similar in force to the rigorous injunction in the pericope of Sermon One. As that sermon called the clergy to a metanoia from laxness to self-sacrifice, so this sermon challenges them to the work for which they were “constituted” at their ordinations, to live out their duty to be the “salt of the earth.” The phrase “salt of the earth” has become a commonplace saying...

  10. SERMON SIX. CONVENING THE FOURTH GENERAL COUNCIL OF THE LATERAN
    (pp. 51-63)

    The Fourth Lateran Council was convened by Pope Innocent III on November 11, 1215. To initiate this great pastoral reform council, he had appropriately chosen a holy day of obligation, the feast of Martin of Tours, a saint highly admired as the “priest of priests,” the first bishop-confessor canonized by the western church. For centuries St. Martin had been given the same veneration as the apostles. References to this council often note that it was convened on his feast day. The council opened in the Basilica of St. John (the Baptist) Lateran, the Pope’s own church, the administrative center of...

  11. SERMON SEVEN. IN SYNOD
    (pp. 64-77)

    Once again addressing his clergy in synod, Innocent now unfolds his ascetical theology of Holy Orders within the powerful historic and poetic setting of Psalm Sixty-seven (LXX numeration). Even today this remains “widely admitted as textually and exegetically the most difficult and obscure of all the psalms.”¹ Medieval exegetes recognized lexical, grammatical, and syntactical problems within the text, but were able to accommodate them within their interpretation of all the psalms as prophetic of Christ as the centripetal point who gives meaning to sacred history by drawing all things to himself.² Historically Psalm Sixty-seven is a triumphant celebration of victories:...

  12. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 78-80)

    In the letter he wrote to his friend Arnald as a prologue to a collection of his sermons, Innocent III said that preaching is the “gate to Paradise.” Poetically at least, this was to be true for him. A century after Innocent’s death, Dante Alighieri, who righteously condemned more than one pope to the torments of his “Inferno,” allowed Innocent’s name a place in his “Paradiso.”¹ Dante’s inclusion of this Pope’s name among the citizens of Paradise seems to be based purely on the authorization for preaching that St. Francis of Assisi received from Innocent, a pope whose reputation rests...

  13. ENDNOTES
    (pp. 81-116)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 117-124)
  15. INDEX OF MODERN AUTHORS
    (pp. 125-126)
  16. SCRIPTURAL INDEX
    (pp. 127-132)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 133-133)