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)]

Sources of Canon 8

Biblical Justifications

"Qualiter et quando debeat praelatus procedere ad inquirendum et puniendum subditorum excessus, ex auctoritatibus veteris et novi testamenti colligitur evidenter, ex quibus postea processerunt canonicae sanctiones," sicut olim aperte distinximus, et nunc sacri approbatione concilii confirmamus.

"How and in what way a prelate ought to proceed to investigate and punish the offences of his subjects may be clearly ascertained from the authorities of the new and old Testament, from which subsequent sanctions in canon law derive", as we said distinctly some time ago and now confirm with the approval of this holy council.

Legitur enim in evangelio, quod villicus ille, qui diffamatus erat apud dominum suum, quasi dissipasset bona ipsius, audivit ab illo : "Quid hoc audio de te? Redde rationem villicationis tuae, iam enim non poteris amplius villicare [Luke 16:1]." Et in Genesi Dominus ait : "Descendam et videbo, utrum clamorem, qui venit ad me, opere compleverint [Genesis 18:21]."

For we read in the Gospel that the steward who was denounced to his lord for wasting his goods heard him say: "What is this that I hear about you?  Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be my steward." And in Genesis the Lord says: "I will go down and see whether they have  done the deeds that I have heard from many sources."

Translation based on Norman P. Tanner, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils (Washington, D.C. 1990) 1.237-239