Innocent III

Pope Innocent III (1198 - 1216 A.D.) He was the most powerful of all the Popes. Claimed to be "Vicar of God," and "Supreme Sovereign over the Church and the World." Claimed the authority to depose kings, and that "All things in earth, heaven, and hell are subject to the Vicar of Christ."

He brought the church into supreme control of the state. The kings of Germany, France, England, and almost all of Europe obeyed his will. He ordered 2 crusades, decreed transubstantiation, and auricular confession. Declared that a Pope "can never in any way depart from the catholic faith," Papal Infallibility, condemned the Magna Charta, forbade the reading of the Bible in the vernacular (native language), ordered the extermination of heretics. Instituted the Inquisition. More blood was shed under his authority than in any other period in church history except in the Papacy's effort to crush the Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries.