Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Conciliarism and Papalism

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Conciliarism and Papalism

Article excerpt

Conciliarism and Papalism. Edited by J. H. Burns and Thomas M. Izbicki. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 1997. Pp. xxxiii, 315. $59.95 hardcover; $22.95 paperback.)

Nearly a century after conciliarism's high-water mark at Constance, followed by a death knell with Pius II's Execrabilis in 1460, its major points of contention bubbled up in 1511. The occasion was a council held in Pisa and then in Milan by a handful of dissident cardinals backed by France's Louis XII, who was at war with Pope Julius II. In response,Julius II called the Fifth Lateran Council, which met beginning in 1512. The dueling councils and rhetoric renewed a debate about conciliar and papal authority chronicled in this new set of translations. First Cajetan, master general of the Dominicans, staunchly defended papal monarchy in his Auctoritas papae et concilii sive ecclesiae comparata. Jacques Almain, barely two months after receiving his theology doctorate at Paris, answered Louis XII's call for a rebuttal. Claiming the supremacy of a general council over a pope, Almain argued that the Church is a collective body and the pope a delegated authority; the Church retains the right to defend herself, even if the danger comes from her own minister. The editors continue with Cajetan's answer and then add a coda to Almain's position drawn from John Mair's 1518 commentary on Matthew's gospel. The three authors pursue their central points by revisiting familiar questions: To whom did Christ bestow his authority? What is the relationship between pope and general council, especially in the case study of an heretical pontiff? What is the nature of ministerial power? …

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