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Pope Honorius III : biography

1148 - 18 March 1227

Pope Honorius III ( ; 1148 – 18 March 1227), previously known as Cencio Savelli, was the head of the Catholic Church from 18 July 1216 to his death in 1227.

Early work

He was born in Rome as son of Aimerico. He was a member of the Roman Savelli family.

For a time he was canon at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, then he became Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in January 1188 and Cardinal Deacon of Santa Lucia in Silice on 20 February 1193. Under Pope Clement III and Pope Celestine III he was treasurer of the Roman Church, notably compiling the Liber Censuum, and served as acting Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church from 1194 until 1198.

In 1197 he became tutor of the future Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who had been given as ward to Pope Innocent III by the Empress-widow Constance of Sicily.

Innocent III raised him to the rank of a Cardinal Priest in 1200, by which he obtained the Titulus of Ss. Ioannis et Pauli. He was dismissed as Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church in 1198, but about the same time he assumed the post of Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals.

Election as Pope

Giotto.]] On 18 July 1216, seventeen cardinals present at the death of Innocent III assembled at Perugia (where Innocent III had died two days previously) with the purpose of electing a new Pope. The troubled state of affairs in Italy, the threatening attitude of the Tatars, and the fear of a schism induced the cardinals to agree to an election by compromise. Cardinals Ugolino of Ostia (afterwards Pope Gregory IX) and Guido of Praeneste were empowered to appoint the new Pope. Their choice fell upon Cencio Camerario, who accepted the tiara with reluctance and took the name of Honorius III. He was consecrated at Perugia on 24 July and was crowned at Rome on 31 August. He took possession of the Lateran on 3 September 1216. The Roman people were greatly elated at the election, for Honorius III was himself a Roman and by his extreme kindness had endeared himself to the hearts of all.

Like his famous predecessor Innocent III, he set his mind on the achievement of two great goals: the recovery of the Holy Land in the Fifth Crusade and a spiritual reform of the entire Church. But in contrast with Innocent III, he sought these achievements by kindness and indulgence rather than by force and severity.

Writings

Honorius III acquired some fame as an author. The most important of his writings is the Liber censuum Romanae ecclesiae, which is the most valuable source for the medieval position of the Church in regard to property and also serves in part as a continuation of the Liber Pontificalis. It comprises a list of the revenues of the Apostolic See, a record of donations received, privileges granted, and contracts made with cities and rulers. It was begun under Pope Clement III and completed in 1192 under Pope Celestine III. The original manuscript of the Liber Censuum is still in existence (Vaticanus latinus 8486).

Honorius III also wrote a biography of Celestine III; a biography of Gregory VII; an "Ordo Romanus", which is a sort of ceremonial containing the rites of the Church for various occasions; and thirty-four sermons.

Honorius is also purported to be the author of a grimoire. "In this text called The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, he supposedly discusses the value of occult knowledge in the Church, and how by summoning or raising demonic entities, one could learn to control them. The supposed author uses his faith in God and mixes with it the teachings of King Solomon; it contains invocations of demonic entities for every day of the week. He talked about the priest needing to fast for a certain amount of time and the sacrifice of animals in order to help with the binding of evil spirits." Boyd, Katie (2009) p. 100, "Devils and Demonology in the 21st Century", Shiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA. All this would be in contrast, however, with the pope's insistence on bishops knowing Catholic theology and as being contrary to the Catholic teaching on witchcraft or sorcery as also seen in both the Old and New Testaments and early Church councils (Catholic Encyclopedia, article "Witchcraft").

Living octopus

Living octopus

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