The Conciliar Movement And Schism

The Conciliar Movement And Schism Exemplified by the Babylonian Captivity, the problems, which aroused in the eleventh century papacy, were nothing that could be overlooked. Eventually causing the schism and conciliar movement, the corruption of those leaders of the Catholic Church was caused by a question of who had more power, the king or the pope? The quest for more power in the papacy resulted in the beginning of the reform movement, another reason for the European states to politically separate, and caused the church to reevaluate its system of power. A question of power and control was plaguing the pope and the king. Attacks ricocheted back and forth between Pope Boniface the VIII and King Philip IV, each thought they held more power than the other did. In earlier days, it would have been no question as to whom could manipulate the other into giving up power, the pope would only have to threaten excommunication and the king would give in to the papal demands. Philip was not one to fear excommunication as those ahead of him had; the Church was not greater than he was.

Eventually Philip tired of the games between himself and the papacy and had Boniface killed to settle the problem. This only lead to a greater argument. The inability to bargain with the royalty in Italy drove the papacy to take a liking to the French offer to move the center of the Church to Avignon. France sees the power in holding the Church within its lands and persuades the papal leaders to bring the Church on French soil. The move of the Church marked an uprising of immorality among the Church leaders. The papacy was known for their immoral behavior, bearing children, having affairs, being publicly drunk, and even participating in orgies. The papacy also participated in the sale of indulgences, in which they gave positions in the church as well as forgiveness and salvation for money.

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The conditions were bad in Italy, some leaders wanted to go back, but instead they took advantage of France. A reaction to the decline of morals among church leaders, many people began to question the Universal Church. Lead by such people as John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, the reform movement began. Reformers believed that the middleman should be removed-the popes, bishops, cardinals-and that people could have direct contact with God. There would be no dependence on corrupt Church leaders to save you; your salvation was based on faith alone.

After many arguments and pleas from the people, the papacy is moved back to Rome, only to enter the period of The Great Schism. Pope Urban VI comes into power and loses favor of some other leaders. Everyone in the papacy is so used to self-indulgence, they decide they have the right to elect another pope if they so choose. Pope Clement VII is elected. Thus begins the schism; Clement VII is taken to Avignon to continue immoral-moral practices while Urban VI remains in Rome, causing two popes from which to choose allegiance and two centers of the Church. Religion was a large part of Europeans’ lives during this period, other countries could not sit back and watch the church be controlled by only two countries.

Diplomatic allegiance choices were made according to long standing rivalries. England supports Italy and Urban VI because of their shaky relations with France, while the Scots back France because of their relations with England. The schism gives rivaling countries yet another reason to separate themselves from one another; it feeds the already existing fire. It has come to the realization of the leaders of the Church that this matter must be resolved. The Conciliar Movement begins in order to create a church council to regulate power of the papacy, end the abuses, and end the schism.

The Council of Pisa began the remedying process by deciding a council will share the power and decision making with the papacy. A new pope was elected at this meeting, yet all people still do not recognize him, which allows the problems and schism to continue. A meeting of the Council of Constance finally ends the schism. Attempts for the balance of power through a church council failed; the pope would not approve seeing as it involved the resignation of his ultimate power. The abuses only get worse in the papacy, yet all efforts were not futile. Ultimately, the Catholic Church was not changed; it was only shaken up.

The papacy still stuck to their belief in the Unum Sanctum of 1300, which declared papal infallibility, meaning the abuses could continue since they could do no wrong. The end of the conciliar movement was marked by the apparent accomplishment of nothing. Foreign relations continued as were: everyone looking for a reason to gang up on everyone else. The schism and abuses of the papacy laid down the foundation to reformation, which did not help the Universal Catholic Church, only destroyed it. European History.


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