DAILY CATHOLIC - December 9, 1997 volume 8, no. 48
THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
The conflicts that had afflicted Pope Lucius III's predecessor continued to be a thorn in the side of Lucius, preventing him from achieving the sought-after peace he so desperately wanted. The icy relationship between the pontiff and the emperor reached a crescendo in Verona, shortly after both realized the Church must do something to stem the heresies running amok. Though the Inquisition did not come to the forefront until a few centuries later, it had its roots in the Constitutions of Verona when both emperor and Pope agreed to take the bull by the horns to defend Holy Mother Church against the heretics of that time .
Pope Lucius III: The peaceful pope in exile tries to reinforce the defense against heresy
Before Pope Alexander III had been buried, the College of Cardinals gathered to nominate the oldest and most worthy of their peers - a monk who had been inducted into the Cistercians by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and who had served six pontiffs: Cardinal Ubaldus Allucingolus, who was 71 when he was elected on September 1, 1181. Because of his age he declined, but when pressed he accepted the privilege of being the one hundred and seventy first in the line of Peter. He chose the name Pope Lucius III out of respect for the papal ruler who was on the throne at the time of his being elevated to bishop. He was a popular choice not only of the conclave, but also the German King Frederick I of Barbarossa. Even a greater endorsement had come from the martyred Saint Thomas Becket who listed only one other cardinal along with Allucingolus as "untouchable" in regards to giving in to greed and graft. Despite Frederick’s thumbs-up for Lucius III, the latter would not budge, as we shall see, in being a puppet pope and sparks would fly between the two rulers. Likewise, the terrible conflict with the Roman families that had greatly troubled his predecessor still haunted the Holy See. Lucius did all he could to bring peace with the Roman families, but would not give in to their unrealistic demands. They were not willing to compromise and set out to lay siege on the city of Tusculum outside Rome. Fearing reprisal, Lucius chose to be crowned the supreme pontiff in the city of Velletri on September 6, 1181. In fact, other than a brief stay in Rome from November 1181 to March 1182, he chose to remain at Velletri and later Verona. Seeking to aid the Tusculumians, he enlisted the military might of the former Rhineland prince and now Archbishop Christian of Mainz who was better known as the "fighting archbishop." Christian replied affirmatively but the fever of that time took a huge, fatal toll on his troops and, as he lay dying, Lucius personally heard the confession of this rogue prelate before succumbing to the deadly fever. Tusculum was lost and the Romans gained more strength as Lucius retreated to Velletri. Though he was a man of great peace, he would not compromise and that lengthened his exile outside of Rome.
Frederick, hoping to settle once and for all the matters dividing the Church and the empire, sought a conference with Lucius which was held in Verona in 1184. First on the docket was the matter of heretics and plans for a new crusade to the Holy Land. Lucius decreed that the bishops were to watch for and report all heretics and suppress heresy by force of arms, if necessary. Frederick agreed to give the bishops the power to enforce their power to shut them down. Many call this the "charter of the Inquisition" which would be put into full force a few centuries down the road. The Saracen leader in the east had been ravaging the land and both knew the importance of rallying European troops to join the crusade. Frederick thought he had the perfect answer by using his son to solidify two powerful nations who could provide the military might to defeat the Saladin, but the Holy Father was skeptical, especially since he had not sent any kind of military aid to the Pope in his fight against the Romans. Frederick, always the schemer and power-monger intended to strengthen his empire by marrying off his son Henry to Constance, daughter of Roger II of Sicily. Though he did not want to stand in the way of young love, Lucius and his curia could see the handwriting on the wall, that the Papal States would be caught in the squeeze, and so strongly objected to the marriage. This did not sit well with Frederick who openly refused any military support against the Romans whatsoever. Frederick left Verona at odds with the Pope, but Lucius would never leave - for here he remained to conduct papal affairs from this outpost and died on November 25, 1185 at the age of 75.
NEXT ISSUE: Pope Urban III: Open war with empires on all fronts
To review all past installments of this on-going series, go to Archives beginning with the inaugural A CALL TO PEACE internet issue in January 1996. volume 7, no. 1.