Monday, June 12, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 49

Continues from the previous post –
After a preliminary return to Rome for three years, from 1367, the final move back from Avignon takes place in 1377.

After seventy years in France, the papal curia is French in its methods and largely in its staff. Back in Rome, some degree of tension between French and Italian factions is inevitable.

It is brought to an abrupt head by the death of the French pope Gregory IX within a year of his return to Rome. The Roman crowd, said to be in threatening mood, demand a Roman pope or at least an Italian one. In 1378, the conclave elects an Italian from Naples, Urban VI. His intransigence in office soon alienates the French cardinals. In addition, the behavior of the Roman crowd enables them to declare, in retrospect, that his election was invalid, voted under duress. The French cardinals withdraw to a group of their own, where they elect one of their numbers, Robert of Geneva. He takes the name Clement VII. By 1379, he is back in the palace of popes in Avignon, while Urban pontificates in Rome. This tussle for Rome amongst Europeans shows that a person who could be a Pope has to be from European nations and anybody other than that, just cannot even dream of becoming Pope. Europeans have monopolized Seat of Pope for good. Even though, as we know original Peter was from Jerusalem. In Europeans, also, there was choice and that was of Italian first choice, second choice would be French and then Spanish, Portuguese followed. We do not see any Pope from Germany and other Northern States of Europe like Danish, Norwegian or Russian. In much later period however, we do see some changes in this pattern of choice in selecting person for position as Pope. We also notice that Popes of Vatican had some misgivings about Germany and their animosity with that country is obvious. Reason for that is not clear but some historians are suggesting that Popes were attached to their motherlands and that often decided their decisions about selecting their staff in curiae. They specially avoided having anybody from Northern States of Europe. Europe as it were divided on this point in Northern European countries and Southern European countries while selecting New Pope. Catholic Cardinals of any other country such as from Africa, Latin America and Asia were conspicuously absent while selecting new Pope. European politics becomes very vividly visible on such occasions.

The Great Schism has begun. Since now, there were two equal authorities of Pope in Europe and it was possible that there will be more Popes in the world if this type of strife continues in future. None having key to heaven from Jesus; makes them all invalid bishops of Christianity. We by now know that this "key to heaven from Jesus", is what makes Popes from Vatican so much important. When this key is lost, Popes are of no value at all. However, this concept is often sidelined by ordinary faithful while looking to this office of papal authority.

The Great Schism: 1378-1417
For nearly forty years, Europe has two papal curiae (the central administration governing the Roman Catholic Church) and two sets of cardinals, each electing a new pope for Rome or Avignon when death brings a vacancy. Each pope lobbies for support. Kings and princes play them off against each other, changing allegiance when advantage offers.

In 1409, a council is convened at Pisa to resolve the issue. The council declares both existing popes to be schismatic (Gregory XII from Rome, Benedict XIII from Avignon) and appoints a new one, Alexander V. Nevertheless, nobody has persuaded the other two to resign. Therefore, the church now has three popes. Another council is convened, in 1414, at Constance. It will also consider the radical notions of John Wycliffe and John Huss.

Continues in the next post –

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