Vatican Archives Register 6, fol. 72r (Innocent III's Sixth Pontifical Year)

Fourth Lateran Council c.8

[4 Comp. 5.1.4(X 5.1.24)]

Ex quibus auctoritatibus manifeste probatur, quod non solum cum subditus, verum etiam cum praelatus excedit, si per clamorem et famam ad aures superioris pervenerit, non quidem a malevolis et maledicis, sed a providis et honestis, nec semel tantum, sed saepe, quod clamor innuit et diffamatio manifestat, debet coram ecclesiae senioribus veritatem diligentius perscrutari, ut, si rei poposcerit qualitas, canonica districtio culpam feriat delinquentis, non tanquam idem sit accusator et iudex sed quasi denunciante fama vel deferente clamore officii sui debitum exsequatur.

From these authorities it is clearly shown that not only when a subject has committed some excess but also when a prelate has done so, that the matter reaches the ears of the superior through complaints and the judgments of many, not from enemies and slanderers, but from prudent and honest persons, not once only, but often.  Because the complaints suggest and slanders make manifest, the superior ought to search for the truth before the elders of the church.  If the quality of the evidence would demand it, canonical jurisdiction should be exercised over the accused, not as if the prelate were the accuser and the judge but as if the judgments of many denounce the accused and the complaints making him obligated to exercise his duties.