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V Lateran Council
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Leo, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred council, for an everlasting record. By the supreme ordinance of the omnipotent who governs the things of heaven and of earth by his providence, we preside over his holy and universal church, though we are unworthy. Instructed by the saving and most holy teaching of the doctor of the gentiles, we direct our chief attention, among the many anxieties from which we unceasingly suffer distress, towards those things in particular by means of which unending unity and unsullied charity may abide in the church; the flock committed to us may go forward along the right courses towards the way of salvation, and the name of Christians and the sign of the most sacred cross, in which the faithful have been saved, may be more widely spread, after the infidels have been expelled with the help of God's right hand.
Indeed, after the holding of five sessions of the sacred general Lateran council, pope Julius II of happy memory, our predecessor, by the advice and agreement of our venerable brothers the cardinals of the holy Roman church, of whose number we then were, in a praiseworthy and lawful manner and for sound reasons, guided by the holy Spirit, summoned the sixth session of the council to take place on the eleventh day of this month. But after he had been taken from our midst, we postponed the sixth session until today, with the advice and consent of our said brothers, for reasons which were then expressed and for other reasons influencing the attitude of us and of our said brothers. But since there had always been an inner determination within us, while we were of lesser rank, to see the general council being celebrated (as a principal means of cultivating the Lord's field), now that we have been raised to the highest point of the apostolate, considering that a duty which results from the office of pastoral care enjoined on us has coincided with our honourable and beneficial wish, we have undertaken this matter with a more earnest desire and complete readiness of mind. Consequently, with the approval of the same sacred Lateran council we approve the postponement which we made and the council itself, until the aims for which it was summoned have been completed, in particular that a general and settled peace may be arranged between christian princes and rulers after the violence of wars has been stilled and armed conflict set aside. We intend to apply and direct all our efforts to this peace, with untiring care and leaving nothing untried for so salutary a good. We declare that it is and shall be our unchangeable attitude and intention that, after those things which affect the praise of God and the exaltation of the aforesaid church and the harmony of Christ's faithful have been achieved, the holy and necessary campaign against the enemies of the catholic faith may be carried out and may achieve (with the favour of the most High) a triumphant outcome.
In order, however, that those who ought to attend so very useful a council may not be held back in any way from coming, we hereby grant and concede, with the approval of the said sacred council, to each and every one of those summoned to the council by the said Julius, our predecessor, or who ought to take part, by right or custom, in the meetings of general councils, especially those of the French nation, and to those schismatics and others who are coming to the said Lateran council by common or special right, on account of a declaration or apostolic letter of our predecessors or of the apostolic see (except, of course, those under prohibition), and to the attendants and associates of those who come, of whatever status, rank, condition or nobility they may be, ecclesiastical or secular, for themselves and all their belongings, a free, guaranteed and fully comprehensive safeconduct, for coming by land or sea through the states, territories and places that are subject to the said Roman church, to this Lateran council in Rome, and of residing in the city and freely exchanging views, and of leaving it as often as they wish, with complete, unrestricted and total security and with a true and unchallengeable papal guarantee, notwithstanding any impositions of ecclesiastical or secular censures and penalties which may have been promulgated in general against them, for whatever reasons, by law or by the aforesaid see, under any forms of words or clauses, and which they may in general have incurred. By our letters we shall encourage, warn, and request each and every christian king, prince and ruler that, out of reverence for almighty God and the apostolic see, they are not to molest or cause to be molested directly or indirectly, in any way in their persons or goods, those on their way to this sacred Lateran council, but they are to allow them to come in freedom, security and peace.
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