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Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume II: The later Crusades, 1189-1311

V: The Fourth Crusade,   pp. 152-185 PDF (11.7 MB)

Page 156

Innocent III kept writing letters: to the archbishops and high clergy of
the west to spur them to greater efforts; to the patriarch and clergy of
the kingdom of Jerusalem, explaining why the crusade had been delayed; and
to the princes of "Outremer" to urge them to compose their quarrels
and make ready to participate in the coming war on the "infidel".
Finally, at the very end of the year, he took a bold and unprecedented step.
This was nothing less than an attempt, announced in another circular letter
to the archbishops, to finance the crusade by a levy on the incomes of the
clergy.<8> The pope announced that he and the cardinals and clergy
of Rome had assessed themselves in the amount of a tenth of their revenues
for the next year for the expenses of the crusade. Now by his apostolic authority
he commanded all the clergy of both orders to contribute a fortieth of their
revenues for the following year to the same cause. Exception was made in
the case of certain religious orders, like the Carthusians, Cistercians,
and Premonstratensians, who were to contribute only a fiftieth.<9>
Each archbishop was to call together the bishops of his province in council,
and transmit to them the papal command. Each bishop in turn was to summon
the clergy of his diocese, and order them to make a true return of one fortieth
of their annual revenues, see that the money was collected and deposited
in a secure place, and report to the papal court the amount collected. The
archbishops were authorized to use some of the money to help pay the expenses
of indigent crusaders. In addition the pope commanded that a chest be placed
in every parish church to receive the gifts of the faithful, who were to
be exhorted in sermons every Sunday to make such contributions, with the
promise of papal indulgence in proportion to the amount of their alms. 
 Innocent recognized the exceptional character of the levy, and assured the
clergy that it would not be used as a precedent for establishing a papal
tax on their incomes. Nevertheless, the measure seems to have met pretty
generally with at least passive resistance. More than a year later, Innocent
had to write to the clergy of France reproaching them for their laxity. He
reminded them that they had voluntarily promised his legate, at the Council
of Dijon, to 
 8 See the letter sent to archbishop Ludolph of Magdeburg, dated December
31, 1199 (Innocent III, Epp., an. II, no. 270 [FL, CCXIV, col. 828]). Roger
of Hoveden, Chronica (Rolls Series, LI), IV, 108, quotes the letter sent
to England. Potthast, Regesta pontificum Romanorum, I, no. 914, lists a copy
sent to the archbishop of Ragusa (Dubrovnik). 
 9 On the general question of papal taxation for the crusades, see below,
chapter X, pp. 347-358. See also M. Villey, La Croisade, essai sur la formation
d'un theorie juridique (Paris, 1942), pp. 135 ff., and in general A. Gottlob,
Die papstlichen Kreuzzugssteuern des 13. Jahrhunderts (Heiligenstadt, 1892).

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