Franciscan adjunct professor delivers first of 3 lectures on Fourth Lateran Council


The “Great Council of Christendom” occurred 800 years ago at the peak of the Middle Ages, and it remains a blind spot, said Dr. Andrew W. Jones on Oct. 20, regarding his findings and his hope to bring attention to this council.

In his talk, “The Liturgical Cosmos,” delivered in the Gentile Gallery, Jones, a Franciscan University adjunct professor of ecclesiology, said that the council, also known as the Fourth Lateran Council, brought together 400 bishops, 71 archbishops and patriarchs, 800 abbots and thousands of lesser clergy and lay people. Jones proposed that the medieval worldview is enshrined in the canons and decrees of this council.

“It’s a notion of a society of the baptized that encompasses all their lives, in which is rooted ultimately in a scriptural, liturgical and sacramental worldview,” he said.

“At Lateran four we see the church government, the church sanctifying and defending a baptized people and really attempting to build a society of faith, hope and charity and believing it could do so. Lateran four shows us Christianity at its most optimistic,” said Jones.

He continued, “Lateran four is the council of a world that understood itself through the Scripture(s) and the liturgy. History, politics, economics, cosmology … all such structures were ultimately built on a liturgical foundation. This world is also the world of Scripture. Scripture is understood liturgically, and liturgy was living out in Scripture. They were inseparable and provided the very framework through which reality was understood and action was taken. So this is the vision I’m going to try and share with you … over the course of the next two weeks.”

Jones called this vision the four senses of Scripture or the four senses of reality. He said that Pope Innocent III, who called and presided over the Fourth Lateran Council, referred to them as the four theological understandings.

Jones said that it is these understandings, as well as the reforms that the Fourth Lateran Council enacted and how the council impacts the church through the ages that are going to be the subject of the coming lectures. These talks will be Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

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