The Decline of the Medieval Church - Vol. 2

The Decline of the Medieval Church - Vol. 2

The Decline of the Medieval Church - Vol. 2

The Decline of the Medieval Church - Vol. 2

Excerpt

The fundamental cause for calling the Council of Pisa in 1409 and the Council of Constance in 1414 was to heal the Great Schism, which had divided all of Western Europe, both politically and ecclesiastically into hostile and irreconcilable camps, by which the very foundations of Papal authority were undermined and jeopardized. By 1409 the disgraceful schism had afflicted Western Christendom for thirty-one years, and none of the means employed to end it had succeeded. Compromise or arbitration had never been seriously attempted. The suggestion of the surrender of one, or both claimants, had failed lamentably because of the obstinacy of the rival Popes, each equally convinced of his constitutional rights. The intervention of princes and armies had been without results. The situation was deplorably desperate. Hence the demand from all parties and all classes, that some effective means be taken to heal the breach and thus restore unity to the Church and peace to Europe, finally compelled the two colleges of cardinals to desert their rival leaders and to call the Council of Pisa.

A second general cause for summoning a universal council was the widespread recognition of the necessity for a thoroughgoing reformation. Many, if indeed not all, of the evils and abuses against which the various reform movements, and particularly the two great Popes, Gregory VII and Innocent III, had so valiantly struggled, were continued while numerous new evils of all sorts had appeared during the Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism. Hence arose an irresistible cry on all sides for a council representing Christendom to purify the Church from top to bottom. This cause lay behind not only Pisa and Constance, but likewise Basel in 1431.

A third cause was the desire to deal in some effective . . .

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