Saturday, April 29, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 45

Continues from the previous post –

The Avignon pope, Benedict XIII, refused to come to Constance. In spite of a personal visit from the emperor Sigismund, he would not consider resignation. The council finally deposed him in July 1417. Denying their right to do so, he withdrew to an impregnable castle on the coast of Spain. Here he continued to act as pope, creating new cardinals and issuing decrees, until his death in 1423.
The council in Constance, having finally cleared the field of popes and antipopes, elected Pope Martin V as pope in November. From the election of Pope Martin V of the Council of Constance in 1417 to the Reformation, Western Christianity was largely free from schism as well as significant disputed papal claimants. Martin V returned the papacy to Rome in 1420. Although there were important divisions over the direction of the religion, these were resolved through the then-settled procedures of the papal conclave.

Unlike their European peers, popes were not hereditary monarchs, so they could only promote their family interests through nepotism. The word nepotism originally referred specifically to the practice of creating cardinal-nephews, when it appeared in the English language about 1669. According to Duffy, "the inevitable outcome of all of this was a creation of a wealthy cardinalatial class, with strong dynastic connections." The College was dominated by cardinal-nephews, relatives of the popes that elevated them, crown-cardinals, representatives of the Catholic monarchies of Europe, and members of the powerful Italian families. The wealthy popes and cardinals increasingly patronized Renaissance art and architecture, rebuilding the landmarks of Rome from the ground up. This well appreciated Renaissance was costing a lot of taxation on ordinary people, janta, on one side and that activity was giving business opportunity for the rich section of society on the other side.

Pope Sixtus IV in 1478 authorized Ferdinand and Isabella to appoint inquisitors who will ensure that Spanish Jews are genuinely converted to Christianity. And it remains the tradition that Dominicans, among them Torquemada, will undertake the task. The Spanish Inquisition is an extension of what has gone before.

The Papal States began to resemble a modern nation state during this period, and the papacy took an increasingly active role in European wars and diplomacy. Pope Julius II become known as "the Warrior Pope" for his use of bloodshed to increase the territory and property of the papacy. The popes of this period used the papal military not only to enrich themselves and their families, but also to enforce and expand upon the longstanding territorial and property claims of the papacy as an institution. Although, before the Western Schism, the papacy had derived much of its revenue from the "vigorous exercise of its spiritual office," during this period the popes were financially dependent on the revenues from the Papal States themselves. With ambitious expenditures on war and construction projects, popes turned to new sources of revenue from the sale of indulgences and bureaucratic and ecclesiastical offices. Pope Clement VII's diplomatic and military campaigns resulted in the Sack of Rome in 1527.

Popes were more frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes between competing colonial powers than to resolve complicated theological disputes. Columbus' discovery in 1492 upset the unstable relations between the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile, whose jockeying for possession of colonial territories along the African coast had for many years been regulated by the papal bulls of 1455, 1456, and 1479. Alexander VI responded with three bulls, dated May 3 and 4, which were highly favorable to Castile; the third Inter caetera (1493), awarded Spain the sole right to colonize most of the New World.

Continues in next post –

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