Church History



Dr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

Fr Thomas Pallippurathukunnel

I. The Late Middle Ages (1303-1517

II. The Reformation (1517-1563)

III. The Catholic Reform and Counter Reformation (1563-1617).


I. The Late Middle Ages

1. The Avignon Papacy

2. The Western schism and the councils

3. The Byzentine Church: The age of Palamism (Renaissance)


II. The Reformation

1. Martin Luther and the coming of the Reformation

2. The Struggle over the concept of Christian freedom

3. The reform in the German principalities

4. Europe under the sign of confessional pluralism

III. Catholic Reform and counter Reformation

1. Origin, arid breakthrough of the catholic reform

2. The papacy and the implementation of the council of Trent

3. Religious forces and intellectual content of the catholic renewal

4. The springtime of the missions in the early modern period

5. European Counter Reformation and confessional absolutism

I. The late Middle Ages

On 13 December 1294 Pope Celestine V, a Beneditine monk (Peter of Murrone elected Pope on 5 July 1294, over 80) abdicated. On 23 December of the same year Boniface VIII (1294-1303) – Benedict Gaetani – was unanimously chosen as Pope. He was related to Popes Alexander IV and Nicholas III. He was also connected with Orsini and Colonna, the two papal rival families. He was born at Anagrii around 1240. He was created cardinal by Martin IV (1281-1285). He was harsh and intemperate, but had trained intellect, knowledge of the world, experience of cusiness, intrepid boldness, an iron will and amazing energy.

Boniface was the last great medieval pope, but his nine year reign unmistakably marked the beginning of the decline of papal prestige in European affairs. He, embodying perfectly the medieval concept of papal power, was fated to clash with his political contemporaries, Edward I of England and Philip IV of France.

Reasons for decline:

1. Pope’s desire to enhance his family’s fortune. His scheme to make his family, Gaetani, great landholders in the vicinity of Home brought into conflict with the rival family, Colonna. He degraded two cardinals of this family.

2. The clash with the kings. The kings wanted to eliminate the numerous tax exemptions enjoyed by the church. When kings went to war, they demanded subsidies from the clergy from their exempt possessions. In France the abbot of Citeaux refused to pay and appealed to the pope. Boniface replied with the bull Clericos laicos (Feb. 1296) reiterating the canon law of no taxation without the papal consent. Healso decreed automatic excommunication for anyone demanding or paying unauthorized levies. Edward outlawed the clergy who refused to pay; Philip forbade the export of money outside his realm to strike at the papal purse. Healso approached the University of Paris for opinions on the legality of Celestine’s abdiction, hoping to contest Boniface’s election.

3. The exsumption of the clergy from the trial in secular courts. In 1301 Philip IV’s agents arrested and imprisoned Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers. Boniface published two bulls, i.Salvator mundi, revoking all privileges granted to Philip IV and reinstating Clericos laicos, and ii. Auscmlta fili, a personal letter to the king enumerating the pope’s grievances. He then summoned the French bishops to Rome for a synodal examination of the state of the French church. The statements in Ausculta fill transferred the issue from the religious to the political field.

The French chancellor Peter Flotte denounced Boniface for attempting to infringe on the royal authority. He also procured from the French Estates General a solid demonstration of support for Philip.

On 18 November 1302 Boniface published the bull Unam Sanetarn assenting the papal claims to domination over the temporal power. The bull enuntiates two principles; the distinction between temporal and spiritual power in St. Bernard’s two swords metaphor the innate superiority of the spiritual in Gelasian terminology. She pope declared: “We declare, state, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for salvation that every human creature to subject to the Roman Pontiff“.

The official reply to Unam Sanctam was an emotional campaign of personal denigration against Boniface. Philip’s legists charged the pope with simony, heresy, murder, sorcery, idolatry and sacrilege. At ameeting of the royal council in June 1382 in the presence of 26 bishops and 11 abbots, the charges were presented and appeal made to a general council to judge the pope. In all France only the abbot of Citeaux and the bishop of Autin protested; they were arrested at once.

Boniface prepared to excommunicate Philip. It was known to Philip’s agent in Italy, William Morgaret who attacked Anagni, Boniface’s native town where he was then staying, and took the pope prisoner on 7 Sept. 1303. They wanted to carry the pope back to France to place him on trial there, but after two days, papal supporters rallied and expelled Mogaret. Boniface broken in Wind and body, returned to Rome where he died three weeks lateri 12 October 1303).

Boniface’s political meassures turned out for the most part unsuccessful. But his activity within the church was to survive his pontificate: first, the publication of the Liber sextus, a supplement to Gregory IX’s collection of decretals, then the introduction of order into the chaotic state affairs in the curial administrative system, the decision in the question of the relations between the mendicant orders and the diocesan clergy in the bull Super Cathedram of 18 Feb.1300. In June 1303 he founded a university at Rome, the later Sapienza, as a studium gerierale. He bestowed careful attention on the library and archives of the Vatican.

The Avignon Papacy


The situation after the death of Boniface VIII: Benedict XI and Clement V.


Benedict XI (1303-1394)

After the death of Boniface VIII, the supporters of the dead pope succeeded in opening the conclave despite the serious difficulties due to the existence of two factions of equal strength led by colonna and Gaetani families. The two deposed cardinals Janes and Peter Colonna were not allowed to take part in the election. On the first ballot itself the Cardinal bishop of Ostia, Kicholas Bocassini of Treviso, former master general of the Dominicans, was chosen Pope. He took the name Benedict XI. He had to face external as well as internal difficulties: the excessive influence of the French throughout Italy and of the agitation in the papal state, the quarrel between the two groups in the College of Cardinals. Boniface VIII’s new style had altered the papacy as an institution and evoked opposition. To please the French he sent notice of his election arid absolved king Philip IV from all censures he might have incurred and freed the Colonna Cardinals from the ecclesiastical penalties imposed by Boniface VIII.

As a cardinal and legate, he had been a success, but was not quite equal to the demands of his new, burdensome office. His narrowness is evident in the fact that the three cardinals created by him were Dominicans. When Arnald of Villanaova, the physician of Boniface VIII and an ardent Spiritual, sent him admonitions and threats in apocalypse dress, he had him imprisoned without trial. On 7th July 1304 after eight months’ pontificate, Benedict died at Perugia and was buried there in the church of his order.

Clement V C1305-1314)

Ten days after the death of Benedict XI, the cardinals entered the conclave in Perugia. When it opened it comprised nineteen cardinals, eight of whom were religious. In the course of its eleven months four cardinals left because of sickness. Fifteen took part in the actual election. The two Colonna cardinals were denied entry. Two Orsinis, cardinal dean Mathew Rosso Orsini and his nephew the cardinal deacon Napoleone Orsini, were the leaders of the opposite groups and there were violent, between them. Finally on 5 June 1305, the archbishop of Bordeaux Befrtrand de Got, was elected pope.

The newly elected pope accepted the notification made to him at the end of June, styled himself Clement V, and prepared for the Journey to Rome via Provence. But then he ordered six cardinals to attend his coronation at Lyons on All Saints. During the solemn coronation procession on 14 Movember a wall collapsed, killing several persons of high rank; the pope fell from his horse, and the most expensive Jewel in the tiara was lost. People read these happenings as an evil omen.

Clement did intend to go to Rome. His weakness, the increasing pressure of the French king and the insecurity of Rome and of all Italy made him postponing the journey to Rome. In his first creation of cardinals in December 1305, nine including four nephews, were French, and one was English, he was more confined to his homeland. Moreover he was not familiar with the curial procedure.

After the coronation Clement stayed quite a long time in his native place, in Poitiers alone for sixteen months. In 1309 he went to Avignon, but it was hot his permanent residence. From 1309 till his death he spent most of his time outside the city din the Rhone. He can neither be a Roman Pope nor an Avignon Pope. A sick man, he sought a place most advantageous to his health.

In his relations with France the Pope’s dependence was especially clear in two matters:

1. The process against Boniface VIII

2. The process against the Templars

1. The process against Boniface VIII

After the election of element it was discussed that,

i. all measures of Boniface against France against his assailants at Anagni be annulled,

ii. Full compensation be made to the Colonna,

iii. The corpse of the pope be disinterred,

iv. The sentences issued by Benedict XI be recalled (excommu­nication of Nogaret). Precise directions were even given for the formulating of the bull to be issued by the pope. At the curia the demands caused consternation. A committee of six cardi­nals was set up and after much deliberation a bull was sketched but at was not actually drawn up.

Again, a year later, the king and the pope discussed the following matters:

  • permanent settling of the curia in France
  • condemnation of the Templars
  • holding of a general council in France
  • canonization of Gelestine V
  • condemnation of Boniface VIII and burning of his remains
  • absolution of Mogaret.

 The process against Boniface started in 1310 and the case was discussed in many consistories. Several committees were concerned with hearing witnesses. The pope was accused of heresy. The trial was discontinued when the pope in the bull Rex Gloriae of 27April 1311, had acknowledged the king’s praiseworthy real in his proceedings against Boniface and had absolved Nogaret ad cautelam. The cancellation in the official register of the bulls issued by Boniface VIII against France was a serious humiliation.

2. Process against the Templars; the Council of Vienne

In the Middle ages the Christians were seeking the Holy Land and wanted to be taken care of there. From the effort to supply them with aid emerged the Templars.

Hugh of Payens (+1136), a knight from Champagne, Joined with eight companions In 1119 in a religious community obliged to poverty, chastity, and obedience, with added duty of providing armed protection to pilgrims en route from Jaffa to Jerusalern. Since Baldwin II of Jerusalem housed them in the royal palace, the so-called Temple of Solomon, the game came to be applied to them. The circumstances procured for the Templars rich gifts in all countries of the West and made them a powerful international society, conversant with finance, independent of the king of Jerusalem and of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

Even before Clement V, the king of France had planned the merging of all military orders, with himself as grand master, and in Lyons, at the time of Pope’s coronation; he had brought his complaints against the Templars. The real motive for their prosecution and destruction were the independence of these military orders and their great wealth in landed property and money. They were defamed and damaging reports were also carried to the pope. On 13 October 1307 all French Templars were arrested at the king’s order and then subjected to strict interrogations by royal officials, who made abundant torture. By extorted confessions they admitted rejection of and spitting on the cross, indecent kissing and exhortations to commit sodomy, and even the adoration of an idol in the ceremony of admission to the order. These avowals (confessions) were handed to the pope. Impressed by them he ordered the arrest of the Templars in all countries. But when he had been apprised (aware) of the nature of the proceedings and of the repudiation of many of the confessions, he suspended the delegated authority of the bishops and inquisitors in Feb.1308. Nevertheless, the imprisoned Templars remained under the custody of the king and his officials.

In summer 1308, the pope and the king met at Poitiers. A few carefully selected Templars repeated their previous confessions in the presence of the pope and curia. The king did not allow the grand master arid the chief officials of the order to come to Poitiers; they were questioned elsewhere. At Poitiers pope had to agree to hold a council in France, to open the process against the memory of Boniface VIII and to lift the suspension of the authority of bishops and inquisitors in regard to the Templars. The pope appointed two investigating committee, a papal commission to deal with the entire order. The king nomi­nated its members for the investigations not in France alone, but also abroad. The Templars were to be interrogated individually in every diocese by means of the episcopal commissions. The king also influenced the local commissions. Its goal was this: to extort confessions and prevent the repudiation of previous avowals by threat of the stake for the relapsed. When especially outside France, confessions were slow in coining, the pope ordered the universal application of torture. There were heroic scenes; many imprisoned Templars publicly declared their

innocence and that of the order. Thereupon, the Archbishop of Sens in May 1310 sent 54 of them to the stake on a single day and later several small groups.

Council of Vienne – 16 October 1311

The main purpose of the council was the affair of the Templars. The total number of the participants was around 300, of whom 120 were patriarchs, archbishops, bishops and mitred abbots. At pope’s suggestion the council selected from among its members a large committee to which the records and summaries were submitted for examination. After the discussion of the subject, out of regard for the king and pressure, the pope announced the suppression of the order by an apostolic decree on 3 April 1312.

After the council there began struggle for the Templars’ property. On 2May shortly before the close of the council, the transfer of the Templars, property to the Hospitallers was published. But the execution of this regulation proceeded very slowly and was dragged out for decades. In France the greatest part of it apparently landed in the King’s hands, since he claimed an adequate compensation for having brought the case to a conclusion. When the grand master and grand preceptor of Normandy were asked to repeat their confession of guilt in front of Notre-Dame de Paris and accept their sentences if life imprisonment, they publicly repudiated all confessions and swore to the order’s innocence. On the same day both were burned without regard for the Pope.

Today it is generally agreed that the order as a whole was guiltless of the crimes attributed to it. It was mainly the machinations of Philip the Fair and he bears the personal responsibility for the ruin and death of the Templars.


John XXII C1316-1334)

About two years after the death of Clement V, on 7 August 1316, the Cardinal bishop of Ostia, James Dues e of Cahors the bishop of Avignon (from 1310, cardinal from 1312)  was elected pope. he took the name John XXII. His coronation was performed at Lyons on 5 September and he arrived in Avignon in October.

This period is qualified as political papacy because the priority was given to politics, though John expressed his desire to return to Rome, he postponed it. The longer the delay lasted, the more serious became the psychological difficulties confront­ing a transfer of the Holy See.

John XXII and the Franciscans: In the Franciscan Order two groups had taken shape, the Spirituals and the Conventuals, differing on the question of a more or less rigid interpretation of the rule of poverty. St. Beneventure and Nicholas III had attempted unsuccessfully to resolve the difficulty in the last |century. There was a radical group called Fraticelli among the Spirituals, who resorted to force to overcome their more liberal brethren. John threatened them with excommunication and a temporary lull set in.

In 1322 the friars’ general chapter declared in vindication of the Spirituals’ views that it had always been a matter of faith that Christ and the Apostles had lived in absolute poverty. Pope condemned this opinion as heretical and imprisoned Bonagratia of Bergamo, the Franciscan representative at Avignon. Most of the friars accepted John’s declaration, but some like Michael of Cesena, William of Ockam opposed it.


John XXII and the empire: A double election occurred in 1314 between Frederick of Austria and Louis of Bavaria and it was not settled until Louis defeated his rival after eight years of civil war. John remained neutral but when Loius showed an interest in the affairs of northern Italy John declared him a usurper on the ground that no man might exercise the rights of emperor without papal approbation. When Loius refused to countenance such a claim, the pope excommunicated him. The emperor received support from the disaffected Franciscan Minority whom Louis sheltered at his court. They accused him of heresy because of his refusal to accept the Spirituals’ ideas on the poverty of Christ and his strange views on Beatific Vision which pope preached in a private sermon. – the souls of the just do not enjoy the full vision of God immediately after the death but only after the general judgment. On a visit to Rome in 1328, Louis set up a Franciscan friar as antipope but it collapsed quickly. There was discussion over this matter and in Faris the government opposed the pope and threatened to prosecute him for heresy. On the eve of his death the pope is said to have abandon­ed his peculiar opinion.

Pope John was an attentive reader and preacher. Healso deserved the label of politician. He died in 1334.

Benedict XII (1334-1342).

On 20 December 1334 James Fourner, bishop of Mire poix, was elected pope; he took the name Benedict XII. It seems that Benedict had no intention to returning to Rome as he built the great papal palace at Avignon. He also had to depend on France. The French church was again and again burdened for the political needs of the government. Throughout his pontificate he was unable to free himself from the strong bonds linking him to French policy.

Benedict started a comprehensive reform activity. A few days after his coronation he sent back to their benefices all ecclesiastics who could not satisfactorily justify their sojourn at the curia, se avoided many abused that had crept in. He was a Cistercian and the religious orders were his special concern. He issued special Dulls for their reform. “Fulgens sicut stella” for the Cistercians; Summi magistri for the Benedictines; Redemptor noster for the Franciscans.

Estimates of Benedict’s personality vary. So one denies that he was inspired by lofty motives. Petrarch Judges him quite severely, characterizing him as a totally unfit, drowsy, and drunken helmsman of the ship of the church, very likely these reproaches emanated from hostile Franciscan circles. In regard to theology he was rightly considered scholarly but of inquisi­torial harshness. He was a spiritual autocrat but a firm preserv­er of legality. Benedict died in 1342.

Clement VI (1342-1352) Fierre Roger from Limousin

On 7 May 1342 Clement VI was elected pope, he was known for his oratorical gifts. He was entrusted by the government with numerous tasks, he was also the spokesman of the episcopate in the nomination and taxations of benefices, official preacher of the crusade. He was created cardinal in 1338 and soon occupied an important position at the curia.

Clement was highly intelligent, a hard worker and a man of wide culture, he was the most magnificent of the Avignon popes. He used to say: “my predecessors did not know how to live as popes should do”. He abandoned all hope to return to Rome. &e resolved to complete and improve the palace. In 1348 Avignon was purchased from Queen Joanna I of Maples. This and the magnificent construction of the palace disappointed the Italian hope of a return of the curia.

In this pontificate occurred an important event. A few months after his election, Cola di Riengo the tribune of the people visited the pope to ask the reduction of the jubilee from every one hundredth to every fiftieth year, the pope granted it and proclaimed 1310 as jubilee year in a consistory in 1343. Cola di Rienzo took over the administration of the city in 1347 and planned to have the sovereignty of the Roman people after the suppression of barons and foreign mercenaries, independence of pope and emperor, unification of all inhabitants of the peninsula under a ruler of Italian blood. In spite of this the jubilee 1350 could be celebrated.

Clement ranks as the most splendid representative of the Avignon regime – grand scale expenditures, a court of princely luxury. It unbridled favouritism of relatives and countrymen. Under him the curia was scarcely to be distinguished from a secular court. His pontificate bore a worldly character. Clement died in 1352.

Innocent VI (1352-1362)

Cardinal Steaphen Aubert as Innocent VI was elected pope on the second day of the conclave in 1352. Before the election the cardinals resolved that the pope could not create no more cardinals until their number had dropped to sixteen and there could be no more than twenty of them. The pope is bound to get the consent of the cardinals – at least two third – for any procedure against individual cardinals and for the alienation of any part of the papal state. The consent of the cardinals was to be obtained in filling the higher administrative posts, in granting tithes and subsidies to kings and princes, and in demanding tithes for the benefit of the Camera Apostolica. The pope was not to hinder the cardinals’ free expression of opinion. But after the election the pope declared this capitulation null.

Innocent fortified Avignon with strong walls in 1357. He entrusted the reconstruction of the patrimonium papal state to Cardinal Gil de Albornoz who stayed in Italy thirteen years from 1353. Innocent could no longer realize his often expressed desire to go to Rome. He died at Avignon on 12 September 1362.

Bl. Urban V (1368-1370)

After the conclave of five days the cardinals elected one from outside the College of Cardinals, William Grimoard, the abbot of St. Vietor de Marseille. He took the name Urban V. He was a canonist. Se retained his monastic habit and monastic life le promoted studies by founding colleges and burses. He took strong steps against luxury of the court and sent many curialists packing. As a monk he was a stranger to the life of Curia. A man of interior life and somewhat ignorant of the world, he did not always see through the diplomatic game and fell prey to the allurement of political power.

In spite of the objections from France and the college of the cardinals, Urban left Avignon for Home on 30 April 1367 and landed at Corneto in the papal state on 4 June. After a brief rest he proceeded to the security of Viterbo in preparation for entering Rome, with a strong military escort, on 16 October.

In Rome the pope devoted special attention to the repair and adornment of the Roman churches, especially the Vatican and Lateran basilicas. In 1368, he created seven cardinals, five Frenchmen, one English and one Italian. There were disorders in Rome and Viterbo and political disturbances and opposition. Urban thought of going back to Avignon. In vain did Catherine of Siena, Bridgit of Sweden, Peter of Aragon advised against it. The French influences, above all that of the cardinals, were stronger, and the miscarriage of the Pope’s political plans was the chief motive for his giving in. He said “the Holy Spirit led me here, and now he is leading me back for the honour of the church”, Urban left Italy on 5 September 1370 and on 17th of the month he reentered Avignon. On 19 Dec. 1370 he died. Later he was beatified.

Gregory XI (1370-1379)

The conclave which began on 29 December 1370 with 17 cardinals, ended the following morning with the election of Cardinal Peter Rogery nephew of Clement VI. Gregory XI was crowned on 5 January 1371 and appeared on horseback in a colour­ful procession in Avignon. When only nineteen, he was made cardinal by his uncle in 1348. He was elected pope at the age of forty-two. As pope he too remained strongly attached to family and homeland. Of the 21 cardinals he created, eight were from his own land; there were eight other Frenchmen, two Italians, and one each from Geneva, Castile and Aragon.

Gregory was a weak and easily influenced man. He had also the traits of tenacity, energy and unrelenting severity. He understood the necessity of pope’s return to Home. He postponed it due to the unfavourable political situation in Italy and the pressure from France.

Despite the difficulties and pressures Gregory left Avignon on 13 September 1376. The influence of St. Catherine of Siena on Gregoryes return to Home is important. It is said that she spent three months -from the middle of June 1376 at Avignon to confer with the pope. On 17 January 1371 Gregory with 13 cardinals made his solemn entry into Rome. He died on 27 March 1378.

The Curia at Avignon

For almost seventy years Avignon was the papal residence, though the seat of the papacy was never transferred there. Avignon occasioned the expression “Babylonian Exile”. This term refers to the desolation of Rome and implies an accusation. In 1348 Clement VI purchased the city and the surrounding territory. Benedict XII started the construction of the papal palace and it was completed by Clement VI.

The papal curia at Avignon was like a princely court. The style of the officials of the curia strongly resembled that of the French royal court. The management of the apostolic palace was done by a large group of clergy and laity. Everywhere the French orientation was very clear especially in creating the cardinals. The College of Cardinals had great influence. Some­times pope’s freedom of action was restricted by the College of Cardinals. She written election capitulation of 1352 was a typical example. Most of them lived a luxurious life with enormous wealth. The French popes had an imprudent over-development of the financial system and an excessive affection for their country.

The Black Death (1348-50) lasted for thirty months. It was extremely contagious. Europe it destroyed some forty million people in Western Europe.

The Western Schism and the Councils

The premature death of Gregory XI on 27 March 1378 placed the church in a difficult situation. Thousands of Romans demanded a pope from Rome or at least a native of Italy. The sixteen cardinals then in Rome – 11 French, 4 Italians, 1 Spanish entered the conclave on 7 April. Next morning they decided to vote for Bartholomeo Frignano, archbishop of Sari. In the afternoon the mob invaded the conclave. It was calmed for the moment when it was declared that the aged Roman Cardinal Tebaldeschi had been elected. Despite his resistance he was enthroned before the altar of the chapel by the mob. The other cardinals profited by the break to flee, six to Castel Sant’ Angelo, the others to their residences or outside Rome. On the next after noon 12 cardinals returned voluntarily or were called to the Vatican to complete the election procedure. Cardinal Fiagnano took the name Urban VI. The cardinals ratified the election and acknowledged Urban as pope. They informed the absent cardinals of Urban’s election.

Once seated upon the pontifical throne, Urban alienated the cardinals by his tactless and tyrannous manner. His method to reform the church was at fault. His language was very offensive. St. Catherine of Siena wrote him: “For the love of Jesus crucified, Holy Father, soften a little the sudden movements of your temper”.

On 13 August 1378 the cardinals declared the election of Urban to have taken place under pressure and therefore to be null and void. On 20 September they -13 cardinals – elected Cardinal Robert of Geneva who called himself Clement VII at Fondi. The election was proclaimed on 21 and on 31 October he was crowned as Clement VII (1378-1394).

Clement’s election was an unhappy one. Canonically his election was entirely unacceptable. St. Catherine of Siena supported Urban, despite his notorious failings, and dubbed the cardinals of Anagni ‘devils in human form’. After trying in vain to establish his authority in Home, Clement went to Avignon in May 1381. The pope in Rome retained the obedience of England, almost all Germany, Scandinavia and northern, and central Italy; while Clement at Avignon was recognised by France, Scotland, Spain and the kingdom of Naples. The two rivals excommunicated one another, and each talked of nothing less than burning the other alive. The Great Schism had begun and it was to last for forty years.

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almost as many acolytes at heaven’s altar: St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Colette, the celebrated reformer of the Poor Clares, Bl. Peter of luxenburg. There was no universally recognized pope, no papa indubitatus. The archbishop Peter Tenorio of Toledo replaced in the canon of the Mass the name of the pope with the phrase “pro illo qui est verus papa”. The spiritual anguish thus generated increased stay from day to day; desolation over­whelmed the souls of men, and it was widely believed that no one had gained entry to Paradise since the beginning of schism. Many believed that the end of the world is 1400.

Urban VI died in 1389. The cardinals owing obedience to him elected a Neapolitan cardinal Peter Thomacelli pope who took the name Boniface IX (1389-1404). The Avignon pope Clement VII died on 16 September 1394. The Avignon college of cardinals elected a successor on 2S September 1394 – Peter de Luna, who styled himself Benedict XIII (1394-1423). With most of his colleagues in the conclave he had signed under oath a statement that he would devote himself to union with all real and would even abdicate in the event that the cardinals should regard this as necessary.

Various solutions were proposed to end the schism. In 1394 the University of Paris, after much consultation suggested three possibilities:

(1) via cessionis – joint surrender

(2) via compromissi – compromise, a committe of arbitration should be appointed and its decision bind both obediences,

(3) via concilii – a general council to pronounce the judgment.

France had an extraordinary attempt to end the schism, in 1398 the French clergy proclaimed the complete and immediate withdrawal of its obedience from Benedict XIII, hoping thereby to compel his immediate abdication. But Benedict absolutely refused to abdicate alone or to be the first to do so. After four years of vacillation they renewed allegiance to him. Until 1403 .Benedict was isolated in the palace. On 12 March 1403 he made a fantastic escape from the papal palace down the Rhone to the Chateau-Renard in the territory of the count of Provence.

Soon after the reconciliation of the clergy and his liberation Benedict sent important proposals to Rome:

(1) for a meeting of the two rivals on the borders of the respective obediences or in Italy, for e.g. in the territory of Genova.

2. for negotiations by plenipotentiaries in the event that the claimants could not meet personally;

3. for resignation.

Boniface rejected all of this. His death, occuring while the Avignon Embassy were in Rome, interrupted the contact, and the new pope Innocent VII did not take part in discussions.

The death of Innocent VII in 1406 seemed to open up another solution when Benedict asked the Roman cardinals not to proceed to an election. But before the envoys arrived, the new pope had been elected: the Venetian Angelus Correr, who became Gregory XII (1406-1415). In the event of his election each cardinal is had bound himself to resign if the same thing were to happen on the opposing side; specific regulations concerned the naming of new cardinals in order to maintain both colleges at numerical equality.

The third way was to convene a council to depose both popes. In March 1409, 24 cardinals – 14Romans, 10 Avignonese – accompanied by some 300 leading prelates held a meeting at Pisa. Since no pope had convened this council, their meeting was illegal. It lasted from March until August. They deposed both rival popes holding each guilty of the double offence of schism and heresy. They chose in their stead a Greek, Petros Philarges, cardinal of Milan, who became Alexander V (1409-1410). The University of Paris declared: Oh, happy choice! Peace had been restored! Oh, pacific union! But both popes refused to abdicate at the council’s order. Instead of two contested and questionable popes, there were henceforth three Alexander V died in 1410 and was replaced by John XXIII – Balthazar Cossa, the cardinal deacon of Ostia.

The council of Constance (1414-1418)

The council of Pisa could not achieve union. Therefore a new council was proposed to restore Christian unity. The place chosen was Constance. On 9 December 1313, Pope John XXIII issued the bull convoking the council to Constance. The German king Sigismund sided with the pope. John entered Constance on 28 October 1414 and on 5 November solemnly opened the council. He was accompanied by a retinue of six hundred. The other two popes did not attend in person, but both sent delegates. At first the number of the participants was slight, because many wanted to see whether the council would meet at all. Sigismund arrived on Christmas, and with the new year, 1415, the attendance rapidly grew. Thirty-three cardinals nearly five hundred bishops, two thousand representatives of the universities and some five thousand priests, ambassadors from every secular court, forty dukes, five hundred knights, every single one escorted by a train of gervants- some one hundred thousand souls! Ulrich of Richethal shadier side – seven hundred prostitutes to reform men’ s morals !

The council had a triple end in view:

1. to put an end to the scandal of Great Schism

2. to enact measures to suppress the abuses

3. to crush certain heresies

Of these three, the first one was seriously pursued. It was manifestly impossible to choose between the three popes. John came to Constance with the intention of having the Pisan decrees against Gregory and Benedict confirmed and then dissolving, the council. Although the legitimacy of the council of Pisa and of the election of John was recognised almost unanimously, only the resignation of the Pisan pope also and of the two deposed at Pisa seemed to give hope of success. This was also Sigismund’s plan and that of most of the nations. The council pressed for John’s resignation with menacing accusations. John finally yielded to the pressure and held out the prospect of abandoning his claims, but he bargained for a week about the proper formulation. Then, in the night of 20-21 March 1415, he left the city secretly and in disguise. He hoped that his flight would disrupt the council. But the council continued. The fugitive pope was brought back as a prisoner and deposed on 29 May being accused of simony, plurality, incest, sodomy, fornication and of being his predecessor’s murderer. He signed his own condemnation inscribing it with his Christian name alone: Balthazar. Five years later Martin V readmitted him to the College of Cardinals.

Gregory sent envoys to the council. After the flight of John XXIII, he reconvoked the council and announced his resignation. The council appointed him cardinal bishop of Porto and lagate of the Marsches of Aricona. Benedict XIII did not want to resign. He took refuge on the rocky pinnacle of Peniscola, a kind of Spanish Mont-St-Michel and proclaimed his profound faith in the justice of his cause; the whole Christendom was with him on this mountain top, just as all humanity had been with Noah in the Ark! On 26 July 1417 the council deposed him. Till his death in 1423 he regarded himself as the only legitimate pope.

The Great schism had been terminated and there remained the task of choosing a lawful pope. But it was not easy. Various factions were at work in Constance. It was finally decided to that the new should be elected by the College of Cardinals and six representatives of each of five nations (30). The elected should get two-thirds not only from the cardinals but also from the representatives of each individual nations. On the eight day of the conclave, 6 Novemebr 1417, Cardinal Oddo Colanna was elected under the name Martin V. He was crowned on 21 Nov. From now on the council was under his direction.

The German emperor Sigismand urged Martin to settle in Germany, the French king urged him to return to Avignon. But Martin courageously preferred the eternal city, Rome. He entered Rome on 28th September 1420.

The council restored peace in the church, but it could not solve all her problems. It advocated the conciliar supremacy. It decreed: ‘the general council, representing the Catholic Church, and deriving its power directly from Christ, must be obeyed by everyone, whatever their conditions or rank, even toy the pope! Another decree ‘frequens’ established the council as the normal and regular authority in the church, fixing the interval at which it must be convened (five years initially then seven and ten).

According to the Frequens, Martin, after five years, summoned a council at Pavia, but it was transferred to Siena due to plague. After a year of fruitless discussions it was disintegrated and it commanded to hold a council at Basel seven years later. Martin assented, and appointed Cardinal Cesarini as president with authority to dissolve it. On 20th Feb.1431 Martin died of apoplexy. Martin was a politician. He was able to restore peace in the church. He was also a man of very simple life. He reestablished the papal state, can be called the third founder of papal state. The inscription on his tomb reads: “temporum suorum felicitas”. When he died he left a state in relatively good order in the church.

Eugene IV (1431-1447)

The conclave met in the convent of Minerva, and chose Gaoriel Condulinero, a Venetian patrician and nephew of Gregory XII. The new pope took the name of Eugene IV. He was an Augustinian, pleasant, distinguished, reserved, continued the monastic life, against nepotism, interested to govern the church in the best interests of the church. But he lacked the flexibility and shrewdness of a diplomat.

At the conclave Eugene had been obliged with his fellow cardinals to sign a kind of capitulation which would subject the pope to the College of Cardinals. It entitled the college

–          to receive oath of loyalty from vassals and officials

–          to make alliances

–          to declare war

–          to control the reform in the church

–          to reform of the curia in head and members

–          general reform at a general council

–          to transfer of the curia

–          observance of the rules issued at Constance in regard to the nomination of cardinals.

–          sharing by the college in the income and in the govern­ment of the papal state.

–          no proceeding against the person and property of a cardi­nal without the consent of the majority.

–          whenever the formula ‘de fratrum nostrorum consilio’ was in a decree, the listing by name of the consenting cardinals.

Eugene was not a politician. His rash- proceedings against the Colonna family produced long lasting troubles in ail parts of the papal state. In 1434 the pope had to flee from Rome; he found refuge at Florence and then at Bologna. He was not able to return to Rome until 1443.

According to the decision of Constance, a council was opened at Basel on 23 July 1431. Eugene opposed the council from the start, lie dissolved it by the bull ‘Quoniam alto’ of 12 Nov. 1431 signed only by ten cardinals. Then he summoned a new synod, which was supposed to meet in Bologna eighteen months later. But Cardinal Cesarini and others were against dissolving the council. So the pope changed his tactics. He issued a bull which authorized the holding of the council at Basle and commanded the largest number of priests to attend it. Then he published two bulls which were intended to annul all the conciliar decisions. This was too much and Christendom feared a rebirth of the schism. Everybody begged Eugenius to yield. At last the pope by a new bull “Dudum sacrum” proclaimed his submission. When it was learned in Basle on Christmas 1433 that the pope had capitulated, one German prelate asserted: ‘the world had not received so great a benefit since the Incarnation’.

Shortly afterwards another event took place in Rome. Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, invaded the Papal States. The pope felt unsafe in Rome that he decided to flee. Eugene left the city on the night of 4 June 1434, disguised as a Benedictine and accompanied by only one faithful servant. After a very dangerous journey the pope reached Florence and had established himself there. Several cardinals rallied around him in Florence and the republic assured him of her protection, Eugene then ordered the closure of the council of Basle, which was now a state of utter chaos and had been abandoned by the legate, and summoned a new council at Ferrara.

The council of Ferrara was also intended for the reunion of the Greeks and has tern churches. The emperor with the patriarch and others arrived in Ferrara. But an epidemic raging in the neighbourhood of Ferrara forced to the council to adjourn to Florence. After much discussion the East and the West, in June 1439, agreed to a solemn declaration which proclaimed “the Roman pontiff to be the authentic successor of Blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, the vicar of Christ, Father and Doctor of all Christians”. The act of union was signed a month later.

Meanwhile the atmosphere at Basle was becoming both ponderous and frenzied. There was an antipapal campaign under the direction of a fanatic, cardinal Louis Aleman. The men of Basle consummated the rupture with Rome by electing an antipope the person of a layman, prince Amadeus of Savoy. He took the name Felix V. (He wass a widower and father of nine children).

On 18 September 1437 Eugene-transferred the council to Ferrara which was opened in January 1438. The Greeks arrived at Ferrara at the beginning of March. In June began the theolo­gical discussions. The forms of the discussions were quite varied. There were few general sessions; for the most part the work is done in committee discussions, in which prepared cedulae were debated by experts of both groups, often in a very sharp fashion. Joseph II, patriarch of Constantinople, was favourable to union but he died before the publication of the union decree at Florence.

Because of an alleged danger of pestilence, but really for financial reasons, the synod was transferred to Florence in January 1439. The expenses of the conciliar meetings were a burden on the curia. After long and fruitful discussions, con­versations between emperor and pope, and repeated threats of departure by the Greeks, there finally took place on 6 July 1439 the promulgation of in both languages and signing of theunion decree “Laetentur coeli”. Soon after the Greeks left, and on the very return voyage many of these among them who had taken part in the council withdrew their consent. The union was scarcely acknowledged in the East, even though other smaller groups of Oriental Christians – Armenians, Copts, Syrians, Chaldeans, and Maronites – reached an understanding with the curia. On pope its return to home in 1443 the council was transferred to the Lateran; it quickly declined in importance^ and was never officially con­cluded.

The points of theological controversy:

–          Filioque

–          Purgatory

–          the matter arid form of the Eucharist

–          the interpretation of the papal primacy

The doctrine of purgatory was discussed at Ferrara and Florence and stated: the souls in question had to undergo a cleaning penalty after death.

For the Greeks Filioque was the most important and really decisive point. The debate began at Ferrara in September and were prolonged until December without success. Then they were resumed in Florence at the beginning of March 1439 and were concluded in June, the Greeks argued that according to the decree of Ephesus the creed was not to be altered by additions. There were long and bitter discussions; no solution came out, but produced an axiom – “between the Western and Eastern Fathers if here can be no contradiction since they are all illumined by the Holy Spirit. In the decree of union the accord and the per­missibility of the accepting of the Filioque into the creed were defined with many words but it was not said who could law­fully make such an addition, and the Greeks were not obliged to insert the Western addition.

On the Eucharist they agreed to the essentials and recognized unleavened and leavened breed as the matter but there was no decision relevant to the form, that is, to the words of consecration and the epiclesis.

There was also heated discussions on the papal primacy. The Greeks regarded as the highest tribunal in the constitution of the church the pentarchy. They were fully prepared to concede to Rome the privileges he had enjoyed before the outbreak of the schism. There could no question of a primacy of jurisdiction. But in barely three weeks the Greeks were compelled to yield on a broad front.

 On political ground the emperor and the pope needed union. The emperor wanted the military assistance of the West in exchange for the slightest possible dogmatic concessions; the pope wanted aid against Basel arid hence demanded recognition of the primacy. Finally a satisfactory accord was reached and on 6 July 1439 the reunion of the churches was solemnly proclaimed. Pat. Joseph II of Constantinople, Bishop Bessrion of Nicea, and Isidore of Kiev sincerely laboured for reunion – pope Eugene even promoted the two latter to the rank of cardinal – but the motives of other Greeks were dubious. The factious Greek, popula­tion repudiated the work of their hierarchy. Constantinople fell in 1483 to the Turks.

Pope Eugene died on 23 February 1447. His successor was Nicholas V (1447-1455).

Renaissance and

Renaissance is a return to the study of classical literature and a rediscovery of Gracco-Roman art. As a result of this new phenomenon all Italy was enveloped in a golden hate of luxury and glory, of creative passion and sheer beauty. Renaissance man’s interests centered on the present rather than on the next world.

Michelet (History of France – 1&55) was the first to use theword to designate a chapter in the history of civilization. This was a break, a sudden change. It is said that after the sepulchral| darkness of the Middle Ages humanity broke from the tomb and underwent a glorious revival. This is an attractive picture, but not the complete picture. This brilliant scene contains great areas of shadow. It is also noted for its abject sins, depravities and violence. Horror mingled so intimately with beauty that it eventually came to seem perfectly natural. The very same people who embellished the churches became murderers, buried people alive and kept their enemies’ heads in urns and pickled in salt. The intrigue, debauchery, poisoning and incest were taking place on the fringes of the Holy See itself. This epoch, bore much prolific fruits simply because it was both voluptous and delicate and terrible, scholarly and barbarian. This period was abounded in unusual people. The renaissance period is also traditionally associated with a number “of inventions and discoveries: Gutenburg press, Mavigattiirs – Henry the navigator, Christopher Columbus, Bartholomew iat, Vasco da Gama etc. for their geographical discoveries.

The Renaissance was, substantially as well as chronologi­cally, an Italian srigia phenomenon. The movement was born in the Italian peninsula, and received its most powerful impulse from there. While the reminder of the West was still the scene of the death struggle of medieval civilization, a new culture had already come into Deing at Florence, Siena, Venice and Rome. There is a striking time lag between the Italian Renaissance and the phenomenaHa similarly named in France and Germany. West of the Alps men were thinking and building in G-othig while Brunelleschi was designing the cupola of Florence cathedral; on the banks of Loire and the Seine artists and writers were only Just starting to develop their kind of classicism, at a time whti, those wi on the Arno and the Tiber werealready well committed to baroque.

Why Italy assumed the leadership of the Western civilization? Because iff or two hundred years Italy experienced one^ of these upsurges of creative vigour, one of those prolific developments of_genius and talent which can be observed in Periclean Athens, twelth century France or the age of Louis XIV. The whole social political situation in Italy conditinoed a psychological and moral climate in which a number of j^owerf ul personalities were indeed enabled to assert themselves» This climate and the decadence and disintegrattjon during the final one hundred and fifty years of Middle Ages caused the emergence of this new state of mind: philosophy tended towards emancipation; the human personality grew tired of the moral and social ruJt^lTto which it was subject, and basic disciplines cnumbled;/the very meaning of life itself seemed about to be called in question.

The popes of early Renaissance


Micholas V (1447-1115).

In 145CKHlcholas celebrated the Jubilee year. Rome wjs over­crowded with pilgrims. On one occasion an enormous crusk on the bridge of Sant’angelo resulted in two or three hundred pilgrims being thrown into the Tiber, fie canonoiy.ed St. £ernardino_of Siena, a great preacher and Franciscan. Nicholas was a theologian . and skilled in fireelc Me played an important role in the reunion council of 143f. Sis short pontificate is immortal by his patronage to scholars and artists. Ie placed papacy in better position. France returned to the bosom of the church. Emperor Frede­rick mIII came to Rome to celebrate his marriage to Eleanor of Portugal and his coronation. Piccolomini observed: ‘It usedjto be the emperor_ who chose the pope, but riowthe pope is master’. In Germany a Concordat (of Vienna) wag signed in 144i which became a model of the agreements between the papacy and the_states. The right of the Holy See was recognised; but the electiqn_j>f the bishops was permitted to the secular authority, thepapacy__merely reserving’it self the right to sanction the choice. %elii V (f abdicated and he was admitted to the college of tfardinals.

le summoned artists to Some and transformed the face of the eternal city. The papal__city was surrounded by impregnable walls and the finest painters in Europe under Fra Angelico covered them with masterpieces. Se was also a patron of literature. ordered the scho’lars to translate liomer, Plato Aristotle etc.

e started the collection f__jjre_cious manuscripts and rare books whjch were to constitute the Vatican library, fie sent numerous messengers far and wide to obtain the copies of the precious books. At his death the Vat. library boasted nearly fifteen hundred books of which eight hundred and eighty were Latin manu­scripts. The money received during the Jubilee year was mostly spent for this purpose.

Nicholas had two tragic worrings. There was a plot under \tefano rorcaro, once a close friend to the pope, to set fire to the Vatican during the High Mass and arresting, the pope. The plan was discovered and Porcaro was hanged. A fow months later in. Pfay 1455__Goristantinople |3ilirrto_jbhe_ hands of the Turks. Nicholas was greatly hindered in the last year of his pontificate by a chronic illness. With him died thefirst Renaissance pope, but he was a Renaissance pope in the best senee.

Calixtus III U45S-145S).

Nicholas died during the night of 24-25 March 1455. The next conclave was overshadowed by the rivalry of £ollonna and Orsini families, but it could be held in the Vatican. The 77 year Cardinal Alfonso Borgia was elected; he called himself Galixtus__LII. He was an eminentjurist and had contributed decisively to the settling of the Western schism, fie became cardinal in 1444.

‘i’he chief dtaty _activity of the pope was devoted to the crusade. jj>ut it was not successful. He favoured nepotism T made two nephews cardinals

Pius II U 458-1464)

On 1cj August 1458 Aeneas oilvius Piccoloraini, cardinal of Sinna was elected’pope who took the name Pius II. In an election capitulation he had sworn: to continue the Turkish war and the reform of the Roman curia; There followed decrees on the share of the_cardinals in important ecclesiastical measures and in the iaiifill ing of the higher benefices, a sort of coregency in the administration of the gapal state, and an adequate maintaining and observing of the Constance decrees on the namii-g of   J new cardinals. Once a year the college was to meet and to examine whether the pope had observed the election capitulation and if necessary to admonish him, iefore the proclamation of the election the newly chosen pope had to confirm the election capitulation and later have a bull issued on this matter. All of this Pius did.

Pius was a humanist and had connections with all the great intellectuals of the age. Jie invited raaay of his own stamp to the Vatican, but unlike Nicholas, never reposed excessive con-fidence in any of them, lie encouraged artssts. fie also continued his li t e rary endeavours . When he was reminded that his early writings were not exemplary, he answered the courageously, repudiating the sins of his youth: ‘Aeneam rejicite, Pium ac^ipite ‘

?ius sought_td> revive _^jjg_J^ga Q? a crusade to unite the whole of chris tend om^against the Turks, fie appealed for a crusade in October 1463 and appointed Ancona. as the placje_of gathering in the next summer. Despite his poor health he said that he would take part, fiis appeal found a response among the lower classes throughout .e-urope. They set out for Ancona in bers but soon had tm turn There was response from the princes. On 1& June 1464 the seriously ill pope left Rome and with many cardinals and curialists, made his way to Anconas To his great disappointicent he found there only a few crusaders and eagerly awaited the arrival of the Venetian galleys. As they came in sight he died on 14 August’and the great enterprise was ruined.

The so-called letter of Pius to Mohammed II ia an extremely important document for an explanation of the personality__of liusll.  fie is regarded as_a reform pope. Right after his ele­ction he began comprehe_ngiy_e_prepa.rations for general reform and f orthe jref orrn__of the Romancuria. He worked hard on the drawing up of a greet reform bull, but he could not^promulgate in his_ i lifetime. As pope he did not defend the conciliar theory, but defended 1KB his prmatial prerogative^. To safeguard his position he was forced to admit several relatives to the college of card_-irials and to confide important posts to Sienese fellow countrymen.

Paul II (1464-1471)

The j^yenetiancarditial Feter B^rbo wa.s elected as Pope Paul II. The election was ded by a capitulation with more detailed regulations. J-ts content/Ls as follows: c on t inua t ion._of Turkish war and use of jtiie__^reat alum mines discovered near Tolfa under Pius II for the expenses of the crusade, reform__of thg_ curia within three months of the assumption of the papacy and continuation of reform, keeping the chanceryfees in line with the prescriptions of the chancery rules j^f instead ofmoving about.from palce  to

place, no-nomination of cardinals because ‘of requests from outside| respect the number qf_24 cardiriajjg as laid down at Constance, observance of other decrees of Constance, the summoning of a council within the next three years, the paying of 100 florins monthly to the cardinals who did not have an annual income of 4000 florins, filling of the higher benefices only in consistory the granting of presentations or nominations to benefices only with the consent of a majority of the Sacred College, the pro­secuting of the cardinals only with the consent of a majority, obligatory consultation in regard to enfeoffments in the papal state, renunciation of the exercise of jus spolii at the deaths of the cardinals, express consent of the college for military enterprises, no changing of the amount of taxes and no deals with the princes on the taxation of tne clergy, the taking of an oath by officials of the papal state to relinquish their posts sede vacante, and the prohibiting of relatives of the pope from governing atrongholds in the papal state: Civitavecchia, Tivoli, Kami, Spoleto, Soriano, Viterbo, itoccocontrada, and Fano. Jjo bull contradicting these regulations was to be drawn up. These chapters were to be read in the first consistory of every month and the cardinals were to investigate twice a year how they were being observed. After the election the pope declined to acknojtf-ledge the election capitulation.

Paul II had been admitted to the college by his uncle, Eugene IV, when he was 23 and was still lacking in personal merit, fie tried to get his way by force and hence was feared rather than loved.On the other hand he exerted himself to win people by splendid entertainments. As a cardinal he had used his immense wealth to constuct the huge Palag.zo Vener.ia and planned great collections, fie issued a ^eries_of practical rules and for the administration of andcare of Kome and the papal state.

In 1470 the pope issued a new summons to the crusade aga_inst the_Turjcs and sent invitations-to a congress at Eome. But it was not heard. The pope died in July 1471 at the age of fifty-three.

Sixtus IV iU71-14>4).

After the conclave of three days, Francis della Rovere, a Franciscan and mutstanding theologian, wss elected asypope Sixtus IV, on 9 April 1471. With him the high Renaissance had begun. &c favoured nepotism; he made two of his nephews cardi­nals, one later became as pope Julius II, the other was very notorious and/was dead within three years. The thirty.four card­inals – six pf’__them_jwe•re__his__nepheiws.-* were for the most part hardly worthy men.

with thejhajiie of Sixtus IV is foreever connected the t r an s fo rina $ ion of mediaeval Rome into a Renaissance city. This includes the 2£w__j3^rjej2te, the ponteSisto over Tiber, the churches of Sr;nta Maria del Fopolo, Santa Maria della Pace, the new hospital of Santo Spirito, numerous palaces of cardinals and other high prelates, and especially the great new palace chapel in the Vatican, the Sistine chapel. The pope’s bronze monui^nt now in the crypts under Sairt Peter’s is one of the finest o* papal graves.

When the Turks reached Italy the pope managed to i^nd out a fleet to expel the Moslems. In 147& a terrible trn4/^7 shocked the whole Italy. Giulio de wedici was assainated in the cathedral of Ilorencc during the High Mass, his brother Lorenzp escaped and having established himself in power, butchered every conspi-ratofc together with their friends. It very soon became known that a nephew of the pope had organized the plot and that the pope himself was aware of it.

The stressing of the personal goodness and piety of Sixtus IV cannot prevent our seeing in him the one who upset _the Italian balance of power by his unfortunate politicaljgnterpri-ses. And he be;.-rs the chief guilt for the further progress of the Roman curia into unbridled nepotism and worldliness.

Innocence VIII (14*4-1492)


The death, of Sixtus was followed in Rome by a storm against the”Grenoesey who, so the Romans and the inhabitans of the papal state thought, had occupied all the good positions under the Ligurian Pope (Sixtus). There was_ln security, unre st , the plu-and street fighting. The conclave started on 26 August 14*4. Twenty-five cardinals took part, and they were split into two f actions. On 29^!ajrdinal John Baptist Cibo, bishop of Mol-fetta, was elected as Innocent VIII. fie was a creation°cardinal Julius ^novere . Before his election, Innocent agreed to grant the cardinals whatever they might ask. It can be regarded as bribery and simony . He also was known to have two natural chil-j|r e n . One of them Franceschetto married Maddalena, daughter of Lawrence de’ Medici, which brought about temporary reconciliation with Florence. Because of the opposition of the Maples in 14§9, the pope imposed ecclesiast ijg_al censures on tne king and his territory. Only shortly before the deaH;h of the pope peace with fiaples was reached. in 1492.

Innocent was highly influenced by Julian delle Rovere. Vatican administration was increasingly controlled byonworthy men. The sacred college was filled wih__w^r]^ly cardinals. Among them was a thirteen year old boy G-iovanni de’Medici, who hed received the purple in token of the Pope’s gratitude to his father, Lawrence. In 1490 there was a move for crusadg_^.£aini the Turks, butjwas_without results^ innocent’s reign was almost constantly filled with disturbances in Rome. On the whole it was an unfortunate and we^kponti.f_icate_ in an age whlch._n_eeded^_£i strong, reform mindedpersonality.

Alexander VI (1492-1303)

(The temptation of the Flesh: Alexander VI, Borgia i*enri-Daniel Rops,The’ Prpt.Kef .p.300.) Alexander VI was born around 1430 at Jativa near Valencia.! He studied at Bologna. When his uncle had become pope Galixtus II” h» was admitted to the sacred college and became the vice chancellor of the Roman Ohurch. He was the richest cardinal of his time next to the French cardinal d’Estouteville. In the years 1462-1471 were born to him Peter Louis, Jjeronina and Isabella the names of whose mothers have not come down to us. Best known are those born of his liaison with Cottaneis, Cj^e sar , ,. , , John,. Geoffery and Lucre tia. They alter his election to the papacy, were at once provided for in the mariner of princes and claimed an excessive share of pope’s interests. John, born in 1476, became ,after the early death of Peter Louis, Duke of Gandia in Spain and then was given the honorary posts in Rome, made captain general of the pap&l sia±ss troops in the stuggle against the Orsini. He was assasinated in 1497. Suspicion was directed against Cardinal Ascanasus Sforza, the Orsini, and later even Caesar .Borgia.

Caesar’s influence on the pope was pernicious. He was richly endowed with benefices under Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII. After his father’s election as pope he obtained at theageof_1_t several bishoprics, including the wealthy see of Valencia, and in 1493 he was made cardinal. On the death of his brother John he resigned the cardinalate. He then became the duke of Valen-tinois and married a French princess, and was given the title of the duke of Komagna. The opoe’ s death caused his star to fade rapidly and died in 1507.

Lucretia_was corn in 14*0 and was favourite. In 1493 she was married to the Count of Pesaro I3frza family), but w^s declared null because 01 the husband’s alleged impotence in 1497. Then she married Alfonso, the duke of Msceglie. In 1500 he was murdered by Caesar’s minions iri the Vatican palace during the Holy Year 1500. In 1501 was her third marriage to Alfonso d’iiste of ierrara. Lihe died in 1510.

Geoffrey was born in 14*2. In 1494 he married Sancia of Aragon, a bastard daughter of Alfonso II of iiaples and became prince of Squillace. —e died in 1517.

Pope Alexander’s relationship^with Julia Farnese, sister of cardinal Alexander Farnese(Paul III) is debated. As cardinal he blessed her marriage. The two boys born during Alexander’s pontificate, ‘(John, the infans Komanus, in 1498 and liodr_i£O in 1503, very prooably had the pope for their fatherT open question, lackes clarity.

If the administration of the papal state was regarded as standard for evaluating a pontificate – it was so – Alexander’s pontificate was shrewd and important. Me could preserve the balance of power and react very sensitive&y to outside inter-ference. There were difficulties in the papal state caused by the quarrels of petty lords and the rivalries of the Roman families, Colonna, Orsini, Savelli. ^uite often th>. pope had to seek shelter in iaant’ Ang-“O o, and to proceed with sever? eccle-siatical.penalties against the disturbers of peace. In all th*ce he conformed to the style other princely courts.

Alexander VI and Savanarola

Jerome Savonarola was born in Ferrara in 1452, entered the Dominican Order at 23, an exemplary novice, a brilliant scholar, most rigorous in fasting and asceticism. In the beginning he confined to teaching and then began to preach. He became convin­ced that ha Christ had chosen him to be the_repositor3r of_fiis divine^me_s_sage. He said in a prophetical tone: The church will b eref_orme_d, but Italy will first be sgourged, and her chastise­ment ia imminent!”.

Savonarola was made the prior of Sanjfereo, Florence. At that time the monastery’s numbers rose to over 200. His sermons attracted huge crowds, fie h«d inherited the very fire and style from the OT prophets, fie claimed a supernatural power and was convinced that he had been invested with the giftof_T)rojihe_cy. iie spoke of his extraordinary ecstacies and of the apparition of Christ and Bl.Virgin Mary to him. The theme of his sermon: “the bride of Christ was tainted with sin and must be purified, she nust regain her faith. Alexander V.I on Peter’s throne must be the abomination’of desolation fortold by the scriptures.

The political involvement of Savonarola slowly made him unpopular. &e played a direct part in overthrowing the rule of Pietro de’Medici and in establishing a new democratic situation by a council elected by the middle class. He then imposed a dictatorship upon Florence.

fiis clash with the pope had political rather than theologi­cal cuuses, namely his support of the refusal by the Florentine Signoria to join the great Italian league against France. For the king of France was intended, in ajtotal misunderstanding of reality, the task of reforming the church arid curia by the con­voking of a general council and of replacing Alexander by a. more worthy pope. After long and patient waiting the curi?-* tqgk action by excommunicating Savonarola and threatening Florence with interdict, ^e disregarded the eccl. censure, fte was impri­soned, tortured, tried by eccl. court and hadcitaeen condemned as H a heretic.He was executed (in May 1491. respite all the evil, Alexander VI did splendid things in   , the gxternal eccl. sphere. The Jubilee year 1500 was celebrated with many eccl. rites in which he usually took part. The «ssasi- | nation of his son John, the collapsing d>£ the ceiling in the Vatican palace during a severe storin persuaded him to take up reform of the church, fte appointed a reform comnisioRof worthy and learned cardinals and competent theologians. It worked hard and drew up an admirable program for reform of head and members also but the reform bull that was ^prepared was never issued . encouraged expeditions and discoveries.

Alexander died in August 1 303 following a severe fever. there is a rumour that a mix-up in a poisoned drink destined for the host at a garden party is said to have resulted in the Pope’s death.

The e.i33aD6aac climax__in__ the remarkable personality of Alexander VI» for &vil practices that had been hitherto customary were now present in abundance and were toler-  f ated Dy the cardinals: a failure to observe^celibacy evgn_fey as  J pope, dissolution of marriages from purely polj/tijiaJL_it’Otives^. granting of high eccl. office, including the cardinalate, in return for considerable sums, extremes of nepotism in the pro-viding for children/ to the detriment of the papal state, the administering of the apostolic palace by the pope*s_^ajj^?hjte_rlju-cretin, who was also regent of Spoleto for_a_jrear – and yet Rod-  j rigo Borgia refused to be bk&sx&s outdone by anyone in the firm-  t ness of his faith.

Pius III (1503)

The unexpecjted_death of Alexander VI caused much cofusion in Rome and tlie papalistate. Caeaar Borgia, though ill, exerci­sed great influence, ^e was induced to leave Rome and the concl­ave started on 16 September. The election capitulation of 1484 was adopted with the express injunction that a general council had to be convoked within two 3*ears, and then one was to meet every five years, especially for the reform of the church. The two candidates, Julian della fiovere and George d’Araboise (Fr.) could not get the required number of votes. So .Pius IISs nephew Fra.ncis__Too.estchirii-i’iccQlomini, who was seriously ill, was elected as a caretaker pope. Mis pontificate lasted only 26 days. Contemporaries and posterity regarded his pontificate as a great misfortune, since the convoking of a general council and serious reform could have been expected from him.

otf_Raphael__in the stansa of Vatican palace are great. Julius spoke of his plans: 1 should like to see the_JJoroan poritiflLjthe one and the only permanent .master of Italy, ou^__c_graTon_jao_ther, but I am distressed to think that time may prevent me froc bringning my schemes to fruition, No 1 shall not be bble to do for Italy all that iny heart desires. Ah, if only I_were twenty years younger.  This was his and his predecessors dream. Jie strove to give it reality in a few years at his disposal. Though not all agree, Pastor styles Julius II as the saviour’ oftne papacy. It is true if pa pace’s tusks lies in politics, but it should lie in an intellectual and spiritual ministry that follows_the example of Christ.


Leo X (1313-1521)

‘^he__temptation_of_art’ Julius II lef\t a conflicting legacy: on the one hand a cosolidating papal state and a considerable treasure in the Pastel oant’Angelo; on the other, the_enemity of France and ecclesiastical opposition; besides a demand for reform from all sides.

25 cardinals took part in the election which began dir 4 March 1513,; As customary an election capitulation w&s first decided and swo rn to by all cardinals. On 11 Karen the 37 year old John de’Medici was elected. Me was sick and was carried into Conclave and at once he had to undergo an operation. £is illness made easier to get the assent of the old cardinals. His zealous secretary also worked hardfor it. fie had great political experience as ruler of Florence.

i»eo was from Florence, son of Lawrence il Magnifico. Me received tonsure at/the age of seven, soon obtained a series of lucrative benefices, including the abbey of Kontecassino. At thirteen he was secretly named cardinal by Innocent VIII« and in his seventeenth yearhe entered the sacred college.

Protestant Reformation

Reformation was not the work of one man – Martin Luther. It did not first begin with the 95 theses on 31 Oct. 151 7. Causes far reformation. Qy Devotio moderna^ the modern way of serving God, a spiri­tual revival within the catholic church, which strongly empha­sized both personal devotion and social involvement especially in education. It began in the late 14th cent.

Its sower was Geert Groote (1340-1384) from Holland . After a luxurious life he changed his life with a total commitment to Christ in 1374. Then he devoted himself to practical piety in the service of God and man. le Joined the Carthusians. After three years in 1379 he left the order and undertook a mission of preaching, le had an_ exalted view of the priesthood and never advanced beyond the rank^of deacon, lie licence to preach wa» revoked in 1383 because of his sharp criticism against the clerical abuses. He gathered a community ofjleyout women in his house to live the common life together without taking the vows of a convent. Ruysbroeck(l 293-1 38f) ana Radewijns (1350-1400) were associated with him.

Later a community of men – Brethren of the Common life  was formed . They have^observe the threefold rule of poverty, chas and obedi1eiice> but bound by no formal vow. In 1387 a house was founded at Windesheim. Here they became the Augustinian

canons and their constitutions were apporoved by pope Boniface IX in 1395. A few years later they formed the Congregation of Windesheim. They devoted to education and printing. They set up communities in Germany and Switzerland. Nicholas Cusa, Eramas were the members of this community.

Thomas a Kempis (Thomas Haemerken) 1380-1471 , was the man who best sums up the faith of the devotio moderna. His imitation of Christ is the choicest  evot_ional_handbook of the Middle Ages . In 1406 he became an Augustinian canon.

Imitation of Christ: 4 parts

1. some thoughts to help with the spiritual life.

2. -some advice on the inner life.

3. provides ‘spiritual comfort1.

4. a reverent recommendation to Holy communion. It was first printed in 1471 at Augsburg and has appeared in thousands of editions.

Imitation of Christ fiias influenced the lives of millions because it is searching, scriptural and utterly centred on Christ.

Devotion Moderna conditioned Many hearts and mindseto receive the teaching of the Reformers. No great revolution happens with­out rumblings and warnings. Luther had his heralds and prophets; before him came many lesser Luthers. Four of them deserve mention because their writings either anticipated the Reformer or helped i* form his views.

1. Meister Bckhart (1260-1327), a ^erman Dominican mystic. His teaching was condemned after his death.

2. Johann_Tauler (1300-136$), German Dominican mystic, poerful preacher, in the presence pf_God.

3. John of Wesel (140C-1481, German, rejected many of the distinctive doctrines and practices of the medieval catholic church, declared that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority in matters of faith. He wrote against indulgencesin 1475, was tried by the Inquisition in 1479 and condemned to a lifetime’s confinement in the Augustinian monastery at Mains.

4. Wessel Gransfort (1419-1489), Duthh theologian, wrote against indulgences.

5. Erasmus of Rotterdaai (1467-1536), greatest humanist, made reformation almost inevitable, he laid the egg which Luther Jiatc-hed. He became an Augustinian canon in 1487, priest in 1492, left monastery, went to Paris in 1495, among the humanists, then to England 1499-1500. Back to Holland he published a series of best selling satires^which ridiculed monasticism and scholasti-cism.

^) The medieval system of pilgrimage and relics. Reformation had no intention of a division. Its aim was the reform of the one Chmrch, common to all. The causes must not be restricted to so-called abuses and bad popes. Reformation means an adaptation to new circumstances and an awakening of self to the needs of the hour, not merely a return to the original and the removal of abuses.

(2) pglitical^ involvement of the popes and ecclesiastics^, authority. This led to to the rejection of religious guidance along with its political leadership.

– Boniface VTII’s theory – He replaced the traditional two powers theory.

– The Avignon papacy and popes‘ far reaching dependence.

on Trance, the interests of the universal church were no longer be considered.

The Great schism destroyed the unity of the Church.

– Coneiliarism – only escape from the damnable trinity of popes.

– Concordates after Constance – the fate of the church had been handed entirely to secular powers. Its result was the territorial Church – dependence of the church on the secular power.

– Popes became more and more princes among the princes.

ffiClericalism of the Middle Ages.

monopoply of education by clerics privileges of the clerical state.

– German idea: The church had to transmit not only the revelation of Christ but also the cultural treasures of antiquity. The church nad to distinguish between the treasures of faith and culture. A peaceful change is required, but the laity strived for independence and the church claimed outdated idea , i.e. the world had to extort its autonomy. This led to the protest of secularisation against the church under the standards of sub­jectivism, nationalism and laicism.

-^.   (g)The traditional attitude of the church created an anti-clerical, anti-loman and^ ant-scholastic atmosphgre

(jAAbuses among clergy and people Immediate cause, esp. examples of bad popes.

– The reign of Leo X was more gangerous his schoking negligence irresponsible frivolity prodigal j love of pleasure

unawareness of his duty and of responsiblity of the supreme shepherd.

His installation was a great festive display, a grand exhibition of the pope and his court. On a great placard could be read: ‘Once Venus reigned (Al«x.VI)» then Mars (Julius II) and now Pallas Athens takes the scepter1.

“Depravity has become so taken for granted that those soiled by it no longer notice the stench of sin”

‘Adrian VI)

(7) Situajtion_of__thejclergy was n© better clerical concubinage scandalous life negligence

– Tjie_church_apj)eared as the property of the_jcJLei;gy__tQ bging” econojaaic a^vantg-ge jjid profit. Its result: several bisho­prics or other pastoral offices could be united in one person. It was detririental to the care of souls. Eg.     ? C_aL_rdin_a_l_Al e xand e r farnese, grandson of Paul III possessed* 10 episcopal sees, 26 monasteries and 133 other benefices.

– In Cermany episcopal sees and abbacies open to nobility/only

– Most pasters were naaed by secular patrons.

– No religious spirit and zeal for the care of souls.

– Worldly papal court.

® great_jexpense of^ war  for_aione^ that j.ed to the trade of indulgence.

The Jjgrmari grieYances_aga.inst ^apacj, 1455 by Dietrich VonTErbach, abp. of Mainz.

To the chritian nobility of the German nations, by Martin Luther.

call for_ reform and _ oppogitiejLJfeg “th® church . Precisely waat were the strong and weak points of _the_church as it entered the era of reformation? To what extent was the external religious activity a facade or reality? – veneration of saints, pilgrimage, procession etc are they genuine? Was the external practice_ba,aed on a sound theological doctrine? ^ Those who attacked the church thought that they are still in the Church, eg. Martin Luther.

During the great schism people were unable to ascertain the true pope. And__they even accustomed to getting along without a pope.

Lateran_y (1512-17) had only meager effectiveness with regard t® reform. Because “theory and practice were__in j3uch_ glaring contradiction^1 . eg. In 1514 together with the papal bull on the reform of the church read at the 9th session thece was sent t© -archbishop” of Magdebarg and Mainz the curia’s offer, which pro­vided the immediate occasion for the reformation, for a fee of 10,000 ducates the archbishop would be allowed to hold the two sees simultaneously, and for the financial* of the fee* half of the indulgence offerings for St. Peter’s would be made over to__him.

– The far_reaiching deterioration^^ religious amd moral strentt

– The want of precision in centralquestions of faith.

– the so many lost opportunities foV- reform.

Martin Luther.

Reformation depended to a great extent on Martin Luther himseli Lorte characterizes him as ” sea of energies, of impuls_es__and perceptions and experiences” . On one side Luther was_the_jiero of faith , on the other the arch-heretic , the destroyer of Church^s_unity;. He was born at Bisleben on 1 0 _Noy ._ 1 483 • His father : Hans Luther, a miner. He had a harsh upbringing at home and at school. He says: “from childhood I was so trainedjtha^t I could not but turn pale and__becQmejterrified if I merely heaotd the_naae_ of Christ mentioned, for I was_jtaught only to regard him sis a stern and angry judge” . ‘

1 501 – entered the university of Erfurt

1 502 – Bach&lor of arts

1505 Masterof arts, at his fathers wish he began to study law.

1505 July 2 – lightening-striking, thrown to the ground and he cried out: ” Saint Anne, help me and I will become a monk”.

1505 July 17 – e_ntjBreji_Augustinian Monastery.

1506 Sept. – profession

1507 April 3 – Qrdination to priesthood^ anxiety during the first mass, ertte||£t_jLQ_f_lee from the altar. He was taught: “to expect forgiveness of sins and salvation through our works”.

1508 – lecturer at Wittenburg university.

1510 – visit to Rome. The main purpose of my journey to Rome was to fulfill my desire of making a complete -confess ion from my youth and to become devout. He was disapp­ointed , he found uneducated and unsympathetic confessors

– became doctor of theology, began to teach Bible.

– after a long spiritual crisis he finally came to under­stand the nature of the righteousness of God. He reje­cted all theology based solely on tradition and empha­sized personal understanding and experience of God’s Word.He oelieved that all our action^ stem from God. We are justified nflit by our deeds, but by faith alone. October 31. posted 95 theses on the door of the cathedral of Wittenburg.

December – The archbishop of Mains complained to Rome about Luther. Luther refused to come to Rome. July- during a disputation with Eck, K Luther denied the supremacy of poEg__a.nd. the infallibility of general councils,,. He_burned_ the papa.l_bull which threatened his 1521 January 3 – Luther was excommunicated.


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