Pope Honorius III (1148 – March 18, 1227), born with the name Cencio, was Pope from 1216 to 1227.
On July 18, 1216, seventeen cardinals present at the death of Innocent III assembled at Perugia (where Innocent III had died two days previously) with the purpose of electing a new Pope. The troubled state of affairs in Italy, the threatening attitude of the Tatars, and the fear of a schism induced the cardinals to agree to an election by compromise. Cardinals Ugolino of Ostia (afterwards Pope Gregory IX) and Guido of Praeneste were empowered to appoint the new Pope. Their choice fell upon Cencio Camerario, who accepted the tiara with reluctance and took the name of Honorius III. He was consecrated at Perugia on July 24, was crowned at Rome 31 August, and took possession of the Lateran 3 September 1216. The Roman people were greatly elated at the election, for Honorius III was himself a Roman and by his extreme kindness had endeared himself to the hearts of all.
Like his famous predecessor Innocent III, he set his mind on the achievement of two great things, the recovery of the Holy Land in the Fifth Crusade and a spiritual reform of the entire Church; but quite in contrast with Innocent III he sought these achievements by kindness and indulgence rather than by force and severity.
The Fifth Crusade was endorsed by the Lateran Council of 1215, and he started preparations for the crusade to begin in 1217. To procure the means necessary for this colossal undertaking, the Pope and the cardinals were to contribute the tenth part, and all other ecclesiastics the twentieth part, of their income for three years. Though the money thus collected was considerable, it was by no means sufficient for a general crusade as planned by Honorius III.
Far-reaching prospects seemed to open before him when he crowned Pierre de Courtenay (April, 1217) as Latin Emperor (1217–18) of Constantinople; but the new Emperor was captured on his eastward journey and died in confinement.