Collection of church law from the 9th century, containing some forged documents. They are also called the Decretals of Pseudo-Isidore because they were issued under the name St. Isidore of Sevilla. The collection was intended to protect the rights of diocesan bishops against encroachment by their metropolitan superiors and to protect the clergy from lay interference. The decretals also emphasized the authority of the pope at the expense of that of the archbishops. They consist of laws, papal letters, and decrees of councils—some genuine but many (including the famous Donation of Constantine) forgeries. Widely accepted by the end of the 10th century, the collection was not proved a hoax until the 17th century.
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