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Western Schism
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{{short description|Split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417}}{{For|the East–West Schism of 1054|East–West Schism}}{{Expand French|date=December 2018}}File:Western schism 1378-1417.svg|thumb|300px|Map showing support for Avignon (red) and Rome (blue) during the Western Schism; this breakdown is accurate until the Council of PisaCouncil of PisaThe Western Schism, also called Papal Schism, Great Occidental Schism and Schism of 1378, was a split within the Catholic Church lasting from 1378 to 1417WEB,weblink Western Schism, britannica.com, December 2014, in which two, by 1410 three, men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope, and each excommunicated one another. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance (1414–1418). For a time these rival claims to the papal throne damaged the reputation of the office. Johannes Fried (2015), "Chapter 7: The Long Century of Papal Schisms", in: The Middle Ages. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 167-237.The affair is sometimes referred to as the Great Schism, although this term is typically reserved for the more enduring East–West Schism of 1054 between the Western Churches answering to the See of Rome and the Orthodox Churches of the East.

Origin

The schism in the Western Roman Church resulted from the return of the papacy to Rome by Gregory XI on January 17, 1377.J.N.D. Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of the Popes, p. 227. The Avignon Papacy had developed a reputation for corruption that estranged major parts of Western Christendom. This reputation can be attributed to perceptions of predominant French influence, and to the papal curia's efforts to extend its powers of patronage and increase its revenues.{{citation needed|date=September 2019}}Pope Gregory announced his intention to return to Avignon, just after the Easter celebrations of 1378.Ferdinand Gregorovius (1906), Annie Hamilton (ed.), History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages Vol. VI, Part II (London: George Bell 1906), p. 490-491. This was at the entreaty of his relatives, his friends, and nearly everyone in his retinue. After Pope Gregory XI died in the Vatican palace on 27 March 1378,BOOK, Conradus Eubel (ed.), Hierarchia catholica, Tomus 1, 1913, Libreria Regensbergiana, Münster, second, Latin, 21,weblink {{la icon}} the Romans put into operation a plan to ensure the election of a Roman pope. The pope and his Curia were back in Rome after seventy years in Avignon, and the Romans were prepared to do everything in their power to keep them there. They intended to use intimidation and violence (impressio et metus) as their weapons.BOOK, Mandell Creighton, The great schism. The Council of Constance, 1378-1418,weblink 1882, Houghton, Mifflin & Company, 49-68, On April 8, 1378 the cardinals elected a Neapolitan when no viable Roman candidate presented himself. Urban VI, born Bartolomeo Prignano, the Archbishop of Bari, was elected. Urban had been a respected administrator in the papal chancery at Avignon, but as pope he proved suspicious, reformist, and prone to violent outbursts of temper.Cardinal Hugues de Montelais stated that he had a mental reservation against Bartolomeo Prignano, on the grounds that he was "unsuitable", due to his temperament and temper: "dixit in vera conscientia sua quod ante ingressum conclavis nec post nunquam habuit in mente consentiendi in eum nec eligendi eum, nec etiam cum esset in conclave nominavit eum, quia agnoscebat eum quod esset melancholicus et furiosus homo." Stephanus Baluzius [Étienne Baluze], Vitae Paparum Avinionensium Volume 1 (Paris: apud Franciscum Muguet 1693) column 1270. Many of the cardinals who had elected him soon regretted their decision: the majority removed themselves from Rome to Anagni, where, even though Urban was still reigning, they elected Robert of Geneva as a rival pope on September 20 of the same year, claiming that the election of Urban was invalid because it had been done for fear of the rioting crowds.T. Wilson-Smith, Joan of Arc, p. 24 Robert took the name Clement VII and reestablished a papal court in Avignon. The pair of elections threw the Church into turmoil. There had been rival antipope claimants to the papacy before, but most of them had been appointed by various rival factions; in this case, a single group of leaders of the Church had created both the pope and the antipope.Johannes Fried (2015) pp. 167-237. The Long Century of Papal Schisms. The Middle Ages. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. {{Page needed|date=September 2019}}The conflicts quickly escalated from a church problem to a diplomatic crisis that divided Europe. Secular leaders had to choose which claimant they would recognize: In the Iberian Peninsula there were the Fernandine Wars (Guerras fernandinas) and the 1383–1385 Crisis in Portugal, during which dynastic opponents supported rival claimants to the papal office.

Consequences

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- Habemus Papam 1415.jpg -
Habemus Papam at the Council of Constance
Sustained by such national and factional rivalries throughout Catholic Christianity, the schism continued after the deaths of both Urban VI in 1389 and Clement VII in 1394. Boniface IX, who was crowned at Rome in 1389, and Benedict XIII, who reigned in Avignon from 1394, maintained their rival courts. When Pope Boniface died in 1404, the eight cardinals of the Roman conclave offered to refrain from electing a new pope if Benedict would resign; but when Benedict's legates refused on his behalf, the Roman party then proceeded to elect Pope Innocent VII.In the intense partisanship, characteristic of the Middle Ages, the schism engendered a fanatical hatred noted by Johan Huizinga:Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages, 1924:14 when the town of Bruges went over to the "obedience" of Avignon, a great number of people left to follow their trade in a city of Urbanist allegiance; in the 1382 Battle of Roosebeke, the oriflamme, which might only be unfurled in a holy cause, was taken up against the Flemings, because they were Urbanists and thus viewed by the French as schismatics.{{Citation needed|reason=the articles about the battle doesn't mention the reason, the article about the oriflamme doesn't mention the condition|date=July 2017}}Efforts were made to end the Schism through force or diplomacy. The French crown even tried to coerce Benedict XIII, whom it supported, into resigning. None of these remedies worked. The suggestion that a church council should resolve the Schism, first made in 1378, was not adopted at first, because canon law required that a pope call a council.{{Citation needed|date=May 2019}} Eventually theologians like Pierre d'Ailly and Jean Gerson, as well as canon lawyers like Francesco Zabarella, adopted arguments that equity permitted the Church to act for its own welfare in defiance of the letter of the law.Eventually the cardinals of both factions secured an agreement that Benedict and Pope Gregory XII (successor to Innocent VII) would meet at Savona. They balked at the last moment, and both groups of cardinals abandoned their preferred leaders. A church council was held at Pisa in 1409 under the auspices of the cardinals to try solving the dispute. At the fifteenth session, 5 June 1409, the Council of Pisa attempted to depose both Pope and antipope as schismatical, heretical, perjured and scandalous,J. P. Adams, Council of Pisa: Deposition of Benedict XIII and Gregory XII, with additional references. Retrieved 02/26/2106. but it then added to the problem by electing a second antipope, Alexander V. He reigned briefly from June 26, 1409, to his death in 1410, when he was succeeded by antipope John XXIII, who won some but not universal support.

Resolution

{{unreferenced section|date=June 2015}}Finally, a council was convened by Pisan antipope John XXIII in 1414 at Constance to resolve the issue. This was endorsed by Pope Gregory XII, thus ensuring the legitimacy of any election. The council, advised by the theologian Jean Gerson, secured the resignations of John XXIII and Pope Gregory XII, who resigned in 1415, while excommunicating the second antipope, Benedict XIII, who refused to step down. The Council elected Pope Martin V in 1417, essentially ending the schism. Nonetheless, the Crown of Aragon did not recognize Pope Martin V and continued to recognize Benedict XIII. Archbishops loyal to Benedict XIII subsequently elected Antipope Benedict XIV (Bernard Garnier) and three followers simultaneously elected Antipope Clement VIII, but the Western Schism was by then practically over. Clement VIII resigned in 1429 and apparently recognized Martin V.The line of Roman popes is now recognized as the legitimate line, but confusion on this point continued until the 19th century. Pope Pius II (died 1464) decreed that no appeal could be made from pope to council, to avoid any future attempts to undo a papal election by anyone but the elected pope. No such crisis has arisen since the 15th century, and so there has been no need to revisit this decision. The alternate papal claimants have become known in history as antipopes. Those of Avignon were dismissed by Rome early on, but the Pisan popes were included in the Annuario Pontificio as popes well into the 20th century. Thus the Borgia pope Alexander VI took his regnal name in sequence after the Pisan Alexander V.Gregory XII's resignation (in 1415) was the last time a pope resigned until Benedict XVI in 2013.

Aftermath

After its resolution, the Western Schism still affected the Catholic Church for years to come. One of the most significant of these involved the emergence of the theory called conciliarism, founded on the success of the Council of Constance, which effectively ended the conflict. This new reform movement held that a general council is superior to the pope on the strength of its capability to settle things even in the early church such as the case in 681 when Pope Honorius was condemned by a council called Constantinople III.BOOK, Pilgrim Church: A Popular History of Catholic Christianity, Bausch, William, Cannon, Carol Ann, Obach, Robert, Twenty-Third Publications, 1989, 0896223957, Mystic, CT, 211, There are theorists such as John Gerson who explained that the priests and the church itself are the sources of the papal power and, thus, the church should be able to correct, punish, and, if necessary, depose a pope.Bausch, Cannon, & Oback, p. 211. For years, the so-called conciliarists have challenged the authority of the pope and they became more relevant after a convened council also known as the Council of Florence (1439-1445) became instrumental in achieving ecclesial union between the Catholic Church and the churches of the East.BOOK, The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, O'Connor, James Thomas, Ignatius Press, 2005, 1586170767, San Francisco, 204, There was also a marked decline in morality and discipline within the church. Scholars note that although the Western Schism did not directly cause such a phenomenon, it was a gradual development rooted in the conflict, effectively eroding the church authority and its capacity to proclaim the gospel.BOOK, An Introduction to Canon Law, Coriden, James, Paulist Press, 2004, 0809142562, New York, 21, This was further aggravated by the dissension caused by the Protestant Reformation.

Historiography

According to Broderick, in 1987:

Notes

{{Reflist}}

Bibliography

  • Gail, Marzieh (1969). The Three Popes: An Account of the Great Schism. New York, 1969.
  • Gayet, Louis (1889). Le grand schisme d'Occident. 2 volumes. Paris-Florence-Berlin: Loescher et Seeber 1889. {{fr}}
  • Prerovsky, Ulderico (1960). L' elezione di Urbano VI, e l' insorgere dello scisma d' occidente. Roma: Società alla Biblioteca Vallicelliana 1960. {{it}}
  • Rollo-Koster, Joëlle and Izbicki, Thomas M. (editors) (2009). A Companion to the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) Leiden: Brill, 2009.
  • Smith, John Holland (1970). The Great Schism: 1378. New York 1970.
  • Ullman, Walter (1948). The Origins of the Great Schism: A study in fourteenth century ecclesiastical history. Hamden, Conn: Archon Books, 1967 (reprint of 1948 original publication)) [strongly partisan for Urban VI].
  • Valois, Noël (1890). "L' élection d'Urbain VI. et les origines du Grand Schisme d'Occident," in: Revue des questions historiques 48 (1890), pp. 353-420. {{fr}}
  • Valois, Noël (1896). La France et le Grand Schisme d'Occident. Tome premier. Paris: Alphonse Picard 1896.

External links

{{Periods of papal history}}{{History of the Catholic Church}}{{Catholicism}}{{Christian History|collapsed}}{{Navboxes|list={{WesternSchism}}{{Antipopes}}}}{{Authority control}}

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