Popes Innocent III & IV

(1160 - 1216)

        During the Middle Ages, Pope Innocent III transformed the institutions of European monarchy, and the papacy.    He believed it was his duty to elevate the papacy to the position of supreme monarch on earth, a feat he succeeded in accomplishing during his eighteen years as Pope.   But, "His ideal was power, of love he knew nothing" wrote one of his biographers.  By the time he died in 1216, Innocent III had stirred Europe from the depths of the feudal night by launching several Crusades in the name of Christ and the Catholic Church.  He told heathens and infidels that their refusal to admit Christian missionaries into their countries made him responsible, as the leader of Christ's earthly flock, to remedy their ignorance.  Click here for more on the Crusades

          Innocent III's legacy achieved full flower in his successor, Innocent IV.  This man, known also as the Lawyer Pope, picked up where his predecessor left off by crafting the legal tools that would allow him to enforce the papacy's authority and uphold ecclesiastical law across secular boundaries.  He did this by means of an encyclical known asQuod super his.  This empowered the pope to enforce the union of Christian civilization with that of infidel and savage races.  Once voyaging nations began discovering pagan cultures in distant lands,Quod super hisgave future popes the legal right to enslave non-Christian people who refused to submit to baptism, and to confiscate their land.  Over the centuries,Quod super hiswould morph into laws that are still with us in the secular world in the twenty-first century.  One of those laws - with a legal pedigree that links it directly to Pope Innocent IV -  is eminent domain.