The present crisis in the Church can only be resolved by Cardinals of the Church.

by +Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

(Emphasis by Abyssum in red type)

The Feast of Corpus Christi, June 3, 2018

“Statistics do not lie” they say, and the statistics recently released showing that Sunday Mass attendance is at the lowest point in the United States that it has ever been is sobering news.  Apostasy is in the air.  No one can deny that the Church is in a moment of crisis.  A crisis that can only be resolved by a group of Cardinals, who were validly appointed by Popes Saint John Paul II and Benedict XVI,  who did not incur the penalty of Excommunication Latae Sententiae by violating the restrictions of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis which governed the Conclave held in 2013.

It can only be resolved by a group (however small in number) of validly appointed Cardinals who find that the election of Francis the Merciful at the Conclave of 2013 was invalid because the ballot which ‘elected’ him included ballots cast by Cardinals who had incurred the penalty of Excommunication Late Sententiae before voting, under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Universe Dominici Gregis, and among such Cardinals was Jorge Maria Bergolio himself.

It can only be resolved by a group (however small in number) of validly appointed Cardinals who, meeting in a special ad hoc conclave declare the See of Peter vacant and set the date for the next conclave which would be conducted under the provisions of Universi Dominici Gregis and which would proceed to elect the next Pope.

There is ample historical precedent for such a meeting  of Cardinals, however small in number.  Read  in the historical record below the many instances in which a crisis of the institutional Church was only resolved by the action of a small group of Cardinals who had been validly appointed cardinal by a validly elected Pope.

Here are some historical facts to help you put what I am proposing in proper perspective.  What I am proposing may seem radical to you, but believe me, what I am proposing is not nearly as radical as some of the solutions to similar crises that have occurred in the past.

Popes and Antipopes (999 .. 1503) from Wikipedia


Anti-popes were elected by an ecclesiastical faction and later declared uncanonical and invalid. Precise numbers are unknown due to scant documentation in earlier periods. The first anti-pope was probably St Hyppolitus (3rd Century) and the last Felix V, former Duke of Savoy. The number of antipopes range from 25 to 40.

High Middle Ages when the Europe was struggling with the rise of nationalism and new forms of political structure of society with consequent tensions between the Church and State.

1000 .. 1099

Ruler Antipope To
999 Sylvester II 1003
1003 John XVII
1004 John XVIII 1009
1009 Sergius IV 1012
1012 Benedict VIII 1024
1024 John XIX 1032
1032 Benedict IX 1045
1045 Clement II 1048 Imperial appointee
1048 Damasus II 1049 Imperial appointee
1049 Leo IX 1055 Imperial appointee
1055 Victor II 1057 Imperial appointee
1057 Stephen IX (X) 1058 Imperial appointee
1058 Benedict X Antipope?
1058 Nicholas II 1061
1061 Alexander II 1073
1061 Honorius II Antipope? 1072
1073 Gregory VII 1085
1080 Clement III Antipope 1100
1086 Victor III 1088
1088 Urban II 1099 On the last day of the council Pope Urban II preached about the oppression being inflicted on the Christians in the Middle East by the Muslim Seljuks. Christian churches were being destroyed and Christians attacked. The Pope called for the Christians in the West to help.
1099 Paschal II 1118

1100 .. 1199

Ruler Antipope To
1100 Theodoric Antipope 1102
1101 Albert Antipope
1105 Sylvester IV Antipope 1111
1118 Gelasius II 1119
1118 Gregory VIII Antipope 1121
1119 Calixtus II 1124
1124 Honorius II 1130
1124 Celestine II Antipope
1130 Innocent II 1143
1130 Anacletus II Antipope 1138
1138 Victor IV Antipope
1143 Celestine II 1144
1144 Lucius II 1145
1145 Eugenius III 1153
1153 Anastasius IV 1144
1154 Adrian IV 1155
1159 Alexander III 1181
1159 Victor IV (Octavian) Antipope 1164
1164 Paschall III Antipope 1168
1168 Calixtus III Antipope 1178
1179 Innocent III Antipope 1180
1181 Lucius III 1185
1185 Urban III 1187
1187 Gregory VIII
1187 Clement III 1191
1191 Celestine III 1198
1198 Innocent III 1216

1200 .. 1299

Ruler Antipope To
1216 Honorius III 1227
1227 Gregory IX 1242
1241 Celestine IV Oct – Nov
1243 Innocent IV 1254
1254 Alexander IV 1261
1261 Urban IV 1264
1265 Clement IV 1268
1271 Gregory X 1276
1276 Innocent V Jan – Jun
1276 Adrian V Jul – Aug
1276 John XXI 1277
1277 Nicholas III 1280
1281 Martin IV 1285
1285 Honorius IV 1287
1294 Celestine V Jul – Dec
1294 Boniface VIII 1303

1300 .. 1399

Ruler Antipope To
1303 Benedict XI 1304
1305 Clement V 1314

Babylonish Captivity & The Great Schism

Pope Clement V, a Frenchman, moved the Papacy to Avignon in France after his election (1309-1377). Urban V tried to return, and Gregory XI succeeded shortly before his death. Unfortunately the authorities in Avignon did not immediately accept this, and the Great Schism resulted, from 1378-1415, and they continued to elect a Pope. An attempt to solve this in 1409 resulted in three popes, two being “elected” at Pisa.

Popes of Avignon

Ruler Antipope To
1309 Clement V 1314
1316 John XXII 1334
1328 Nicholas V  Antipope 1330
1334 Benedict XII 1342
1342 Clement VI 1352
1352 Innocent VI 1362
1362 Urban V 1370 In 1367 Urban V travelled to Rome to restore the Papacy to Italy but had to return to France because of trouble there.
1370 Gregory XI In 1377 Gregory XI arrived in Rome to restore the Papacy to Italy.


Ruler Antipope To
1377 Gregory XI 1378
1378 Urban VI 1389
1377 Clement VII (Avignon) Antipope 1378
1389 Boniface IX 1404
1394 Benedict XIII (Avignon) Antipope 1423
1404 Innocent VII 1406
1406 Gregory XII 1415


In 1409 the Council of Pisa tried to solve the problem of having two popes, Gregory and Benedict. In the end the council declared the two void and elected their own; Alexander V.

Ruler Antipope To
1409 Alexander V (Pisa)  Antipope 1410
1410 John XXIII (Pisa)  Antipope 1415
1417 Martin V 1431
1423 Clement VIII  Antipope 1429
1425 Benedict XIV  Antipope 1430
1431 Eugenius IV 1447
1439 Felix V  Antipope 1449
1447 Nicholas V 1455
1455 Calixtus III 1458
1458 Pius II 1464
1464 Paul II 1471
1471 Sixtus IV 1484
1484 Innocent VIII 1492
1492 Alexander VI 1503

Avignon Papacy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of the city of Rome, showing an allegorical figure of Rome as a widow in black mourning the Avignon Papacy

The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon (which was then in the Kingdom of Arles, part of the Holy Roman Empire, now in France) rather than in Rome.[1]The situation arose from the conflict between the papacy and the French crown, culminating in the death of Pope Boniface VIII after his arrest and maltreatment by Philip IV of France. Following the further death of Pope Benedict XI, Philip forced a deadlocked conclave to elect the French Clement V as Pope in 1305. Clement refused to move to Rome, and in 1309, he moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the “Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy”.[2][3] 

{It should be noted that since Peter was the first Pope and lived and died in Rome he was also the first Bishop of Rome.  Consequently every Pope after Peter held the title of Pope because he was the Bishop of Rome.  If he did not live in Rome it created a huge problem for the Church since the law of the Church has always been that a bishop MUST RESIDE IN THE DIOCESE of which he is he Bishop.  So the fact that many of the Popes who resided in Avignon did so by choice they were considered by Catholics to have abandoned their See and hence were no longer Pope.}

A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon, all French,[4][5] and all under the influence of the French Crown. In 1376, Gregory XI abandoned Avignon and moved his court to Rome (arriving on January 17, 1377). But after Gregory’s death in 1378, deteriorating relations between his successor Urban VI and a faction of cardinals gave rise to the Western Schism. This started a second line of Avignon popes, subsequently regarded as illegitimate. The last Avignon antipope, Benedict XIII, lost most of his support in 1398, including that of France; after five years besieged by the French, he fled to Perpignan in 1403. The schism ended in 1417 at the Council of Constance, after two popes had reigned in opposition to the papacy in Rome.[6]

The Papal palace in Avignon, France

{In many ways the Papal palace in Avignon was more luxurious than the Vatican and so some of the Avignon popes can be accused of letting luxury influence their decision to remain in Avignon rather than live in Rome.}

Among the popes who resided in Avignon, subsequent Catholic historiography grants legitimacy to these:

The two Avignon-based antipopes were:

Benedict XIII was succeeded by three antipopes, who had little or no public following, and were not resident at Avignon:

The period from 1378 to 1417, when there were rival claimants to the title of pope, is referred to as the “Western Schism” or “the great controversy of the antipopes” by some Roman Catholic scholars and “the second great schism” by many secular and Protestant historians. Parties within the Roman Church were divided in their allegiance among the various claimants to the office of pope. The Council of Constance finally resolved the controversy in 1417 when {the claims of the popes in Avignon and elsewhere were rejected and the Council of Constance chose a completely different man} the election of Pope Martin V was accepted by all.

Avignon and the small enclave to the east (Comtat Venaissin) remained part of the Papal States until 1791, when, under pressure from French revolutionaries, they were absorbed by the short-lived revolutionary Kingdom of France (1791–92), which, in turn, was abolished in favor of the French First Republic the following year.[7]

The papacy in the Late Middle Ages played a major temporal role in addition to its spiritual role. The conflict between the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor was fundamentally a dispute over which of them was the leader of Christendom in secular matters. In the early 14th century, the papacy was well past the prime of its secular rule – its importance had peaked in the 12th and 13th centuries. The success of the early Crusades added greatly to the prestige of the Popes as secular leaders of Christendom, with monarchs like those of England, France, and even the Holy Roman Emperor merely acting as marshals for the popes and leading “their” armies. One exception was Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, who was twice excommunicated by the Pope during a Crusade. Frederick II ignored this and was moderately successful in the Holy Land.

This state of affairs culminated in the unbridled declaration of papal supremacy, Unam sanctam, in November 1302. In that papal bull, Pope Boniface VIII decreed that “it is necessary to salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff.” This was directed primarily to King Phillip IV of France who responded by saying, “Your venerable conceitedness may know that we are nobody’s vassal in temporal matters.” In 1303 AD, Pope Boniface VIII followed up with a bull that would excommunicate the king of France and put the interdict over France, and depose the entire clergy of France. Before this was finalized, Italian allies of the King of France broke into the papal residence and beat Pope Boniface VIII. He died shortly thereafter. Nicholas Boccasini was elected as his successor and took the name Pope Benedict XI. He absolved King Phillip IV and his subjects of their actions against Pope Boniface VIII; though the culprits who assaulted Boniface were excommunicated and ordered to appear before a pontifical tribunal. However, Benedict XI died within eight months of being elected to the papacy. After eleven months, Bertrand de Got, a French man and a personal friend of King Phillip IV, was elected as pope and took the name Pope Clement V.

Beginning with Clement V, elected 1305, all popes during the Avignon papacy were French. However, this makes French influence seem greater than it was. Southern France at that time had a culture quite independent from Northern France, where most of the advisers to the King of France were based. The Kingdom of Arles was still independent at that time, formally a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The literature produced by the troubadours in the Languedoc is unique and strongly distinct from that of Royal circles in the north. Even in terms of religion, the South produced its own variety of Christianity, Catharism, which was ultimately declared heretical. The movement was fueled in no small part by the strong sense of independence in the South even though the region had been severely weakened during the Albigensian Crusade a hundred years before. By the time of the Avignon Papacy, the power of the French King in this region was uncontested, although still not legally binding.

A stronger impact was made by the move of the Roman Curia from Rome to Poitiers in France in 1305, and then to Avignon in 1309. Following the impasse during the previous conclave, and to escape from the infighting of the powerful Roman families that had produced earlier Popes, such as the Colonna and Orsini families, the Roman Church looked for a safer place and found it in Avignon, which was surrounded by the lands of the papal fief of Comtat Venaissin. Formally it was part of Arles, but in reality it was under the influence of the French king. During its time in Avignon, the papacy adopted many features of the Royal court: the life-style of its cardinals was more reminiscent of princes than clerics; more and more French cardinals, often relatives of the ruling pope, took key positions; and the proximity of French troops was a constant reminder of where secular power lay, with the memory of Pope Boniface VIII still fresh.

The coat of arms of Benedict XIII displayed the papal tiara and cross. During this period, papal heraldry varied greatly and the crossed keys had not yet fully developed as a symbol of the papacy.


The temporal role of the Catholic Church increased the pressure upon the papal court to emulate the governmental practices and procedures of secular courts. The Catholic Church successfully reorganised and centralized its administration under Clement V and John XXII. The papacy now directly controlled the appointments of benefices, abandoning the customary election process that traditionally allotted this considerable income. Many other forms of payment brought riches to the Holy See and its cardinals: tithes, a ten-percent tax on church property; annates, the income of the first year after filling a position such as a bishopric; special taxes for crusades that never took place; and many forms of dispensation, from the entering of benefices without basic qualifications like literacy for newly appointed priests to the request of a converted Jew to visit his unconverted parents. Popes such as John XXII, Benedict XII, and Clement VI reportedly spent fortunes on expensive wardrobes, and silver and gold plates were used at banquets.

Overall the public life of leading church members began to resemble the lives of princes rather than members of the clergy. This splendor and corruption at the head of the Church found its way to the lower ranks: when a bishop had to pay up to a year’s income for gaining a benefice, he sought ways of raising this money from his new office. This was taken to extremes by the pardoners who sold absolutions for all kinds of sins to the poor. While pardoners were hated but needed to redeem one’s soul, the friars who failed to follow the Church’s moral commandments by failing their vows of chastity and poverty were despised. This sentiment strengthened movements calling for a return to absolute poverty, relinquishment of all personal and ecclesiastical belongings, and preaching as the Lord and his disciples had.

For the Catholic Church, an institution embedded in the secular structure and its focus on property, this was a dangerous development, and beginning in the early 14th century most of these movements were declared heretical. These included the Fraticelli and Waldensian movements in Italy and the Hussites in Bohemia (inspired by John Wycliffe in England). Furthermore, the display of wealth by the upper ranks of the church, which contrasted with the common expectation of poverty and strict adherence to principles, was used by enemies of the papacy to raise charges against the popes; King Philippe of France employed this strategy, as did Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In his conflict with the latter, Pope John XXII excommunicated two leading philosophers, Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham, who were outspoken critics of the papacy, and who had found refuge with Louis IV in Munich. In response, William charged the pope with seventy errors and seven heresies.

The proceedings against the Knights Templar in the Council of Vienne are representative of this time, reflecting the various powers and their relationships. In 1314 the collegium at Vienne convened to make a ruling concerning the Templars. The council, overall unconvinced about the guilt of the order as a whole, was unlikely to condemn the entire order based on the scarce evidence brought forward. Exerting massive pressure in order to gain part of the substantial funds of the Order, the King managed to get the ruling he wanted, and Pope Clement V ordered by decree the suppression of the order. In the cathedral of Saint Maurice in Vienne, the King of France and his son, the King of Navarre, were sitting next to him when he issued the decree. Under pain of excommunication, no one was allowed to speak at that occasion except when asked by the Pope. The Templars who appeared in Vienne to defend their order were not allowed to present their case — the cardinals of the collegium originally ruled that they should be allowed to raise a defense, but the arrival of the King of France in Vienne put pressure on the collegium, and that decision was revoked.

 After the arrest of the Bishop of Pamiers by Philip IV of France in 1301, Pope Boniface VIII issued the bull Salvator Mundi, retracting all privileges granted to the French king by previous popes, and a few weeks later Ausculta fili with charges against the king, summoning him before a council to Rome. In a bold assertion of papal sovereignty, Boniface declared that “God has placed us over the Kings and Kingdoms.”

In response, Philippe wrote “Your venerable conceitedness may know, that we are nobody’s vassal in temporal matters,” and called for a meeting of the Estates General, a council of the lords of France, who had supported his position. The King of France issued charges of sodomy, simony, sorcery, and heresy against the pope and summoned him before the council. The pope’s response was the strongest affirmation to date of papal sovereignty. In Unam Sanctam (November 18, 1302), he decreed that “it is necessary to salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff.” He was preparing a bull that would excommunicate the King of France and put the interdict over France, and to depose the entire clergy of France, when in September 1303, William Nogaret, the strongest critic of the papacy in the French inner circle, led a delegation to Rome, with intentionally loose orders by the king to bring the pope, if necessary by force, before a council to rule on the charges brought against him. Nogaret coordinated with the cardinals of the Colonna family, long-standing rivals against whom the pope had even preached a crusade earlier in his papacy. In 1303 French and Italian troops attacked the pope in Anagni, his home town, and arrested him. He was freed three days later by the population of Anagni. However, Boniface VIII, then 68 years of age, was deeply shattered by this attack on his own person and died a few weeks later.

Clement V in a later engraving

The death of Pope Boniface VIII deprived the papacy of its most able politician who could stand against the secular power of the king of France. After the conciliatory papacy of Benedict XI (1303–04), Pope Clement V(1305–1314) became the next pontiff. He was born in Gascony, in southern France, but was not directly connected to the French court. He owed his election to the French clerics. He decided against moving to Rome and established his court in Avignon. In this situation of dependency on powerful neighbors in France, three principles characterized the politics of Clement V: the suppression of heretic movements (such as the Cathars in southern France); the reorganization of the internal administration of the church; and the preservation of an untainted image of the church as the sole instrument of God’s will on earth. The latter was directly challenged by Philippe IV when he demanded a posthumous trial of his former adversary, the late Boniface VIII, for alleged heresy. Phillipe exerted strong influence on the cardinals of the collegium, and compliance with his demand could mean a severe blow to the church’s authority. Much of Clement’s politics was designed to avoid such a blow, which he finally did (persuading Phillipe to leave the trial to the Council of Vienne, where it lapsed). However, the price was concessions on various fronts; despite strong personal doubts, Clement supported Phillipe’s proceedings against the Templars, and he personally ruled to suppress the order.


One important issue during the papacy of Pope John XXII (born Jacques Duèze in Cahors, and previously archbishop in Avignon) was his conflict with Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, who denied the sole authority of the Pope to crown the Emperor. Louis followed the example of Philippe IV, and summoned the nobles of Germany to back his position. Marsilius of Padua justified secular supremacy in the territory of the Holy Roman Empire. This conflict with the Emperor, often fought out in expensive wars, drove the papacy even more into the arms of the French king.

Benedict XII

Pope Benedict XII (1334–1342), born Jaques Fournier in Pamiers, was previously active in the inquisition against the Cathar movement. In contrast to the rather bloody picture of the Inquisition in general, he was reported to be very careful about the souls of the examined, taking a lot of time in the proceedings. His interest in pacifying southern France was also motivation for mediating between the King of France and the King of England, before the outbreak of the Hundred Years’ War.

Under Pope Clement VI (1342–1352) the French interests started dominating the papacy. Clement VI had been Archbishop of Rouen and adviser to Philippe IV before, so his links to the French court were much stronger than those of his predecessors. At some point he even financed French war efforts out of his own pockets. He reportedly loved luxurious wardrobe and under his rule the extravagant life style in Avignon reached new heights.

Clement VI was also pope during the Black Death, the epidemic that swept through Europe between 1347–1350 and is believed to have killed about one-third of Europe’s population. Also during his reign, in 1348, the Avignon papacy bought the city of Avignon from the Angevins.[8]

Clement VI

Pope Innocent VI (1352–1362), born Etienne Aubert, was less partisan than Clement VI. He was keen on establishing peace between France and England, having worked to this end in papal delegations in 1345 and 1348. His gaunt appearance and austere manners commanded higher respect in the eyes of nobles at both sides of the conflict. However, he was also indecisive and impressionable, already an old man when being elected Pope. In this situation, the King of France managed to influence the papacy, although papal legates played key roles in various attempts to stop the conflict. Most notably in 1353 the Bishop of Porto, Guy de Boulogne, tried to set up a conference. After initial successful talks the effort failed, largely due to the mistrust from English side over Guy’s strong ties with the French court. In a letter Innocent VI himself wrote to the Duke of Lancaster: “Although we were born in France and although for that and other reasons we hold the realm of France in special affection, yet in working for peace we have put aside our private prejudices and tried to serve the interests of everyone”.

With Pope Urban V (1362–1370), the control by Charles V of France of the papacy became more direct. Urban V himself is described as the most austere of the Avignon popes after Benedict XII and probably the most spiritual of all. However, he was not a strategist and made substantial concessions to the French crown especially in finances, a crucial issue during the war with England. In 1369 Pope Urban V supported the marriage of Philip the Boldof the Duchy of Burgundy and Margaret III, Countess of Flanders, rather than giving dispensation to one of Edward III of England‘s sons to marry Margaret. This clearly showed the partisanship of the papacy; correspondingly, the respect for the church dropped.

Pope Gregory XI returned to Rome in 1376 and ended the Avignon Papacy.

The most influential decision in the reign of Pope Gregory XI (1370–1378) was the return to Rome, beginning on 13 September 1376 and ending with his arrival on 17 January 1377.[9][10] Although the Pope was French born and still under strong influence by the French King, the increasing conflict between factions friendly and hostile to the Pope posed a threat to the papal lands and to the allegiance of Rome itself. When the papacy established an embargo against grain exports during a food scarcity 1374 and 1375, Florence organized several cities into a league against the papacy: Milan, Bologna, Perugia, Pisa, Lucca and Genoa. The papal legate, Robert of Geneva, a relative of the House of Savoy, pursued a particularly ruthless policy against the league to re-establish control over these cities. He convinced Pope Gregory to hire Breton mercenaries. To quell an uprising of the inhabitants of Cesena he hired John Hawkwood and had the majority of the people massacred (between 2,500 and 3,500 people were reported dead). Following such events opposition against the papacy strengthened. Florence came in open conflict with the Pope, a conflict called “the war of the eight saints” in reference to the eight Florentine councilors who were chosen to orchestrate the conflict. The entire city of Florence was excommunicated and as reply the export of clerical taxes was stopped. The trade was seriously hampered and both sides had to find a solution. In his decision about returning to Rome, the Pope was also under the influence of Catherine of Siena, later canonized, who preached for a return to Rome.

This resolution was short-lived, however, when, having returned the papal court to Rome, Pope Gregory XI died. A conclave met and elected an Italian pope, Urban VI. Pope Urban alienated the French cardinals, who held a second conclave electing one of their own, Robert of Geneva, who took the name Clement VII, to succeed Gregory XI, thus founding a second line of Avignon popes. Clement VII and his successors are not regarded as legitimate, and are referred to as antipopes by the Catholic Church. This situation, known as the Western Schism, persisted from 1378 until the ecumenical Council of Constance (1414–1418) resolved the question of papal succession and declared the French conclave of 1378 to be invalid. A new Pope, Pope Martin V, was elected in 1417; other claimants to succeed to the line of the Avignon Popes (though not resident at Avignon) continued until c. 1437.

The period has been called the “Babylonian captivity” of the popes. When and where this term originated is uncertain although it may have sprung from Petrarch, who in a letter to a friend (1340–1353) written during his stay at Avignon, described Avignon of that time as the “Babylon of the west,” referring to the worldly practices of the church hierarchy.[11] The nickname is polemical, in referring to the claim by critics that the prosperity of the church at that time was accompanied by a profound compromise of the papacy’s spiritual integrity, especially in the alleged subordination of the powers of the Church to the ambitions of the French kings. As noted, the “captivity” of the popes at Avignon lasted about the same amount of time as the exile of the Jews in Babylon, making the analogy convenient and rhetorically potent. The Avignon papacy has been and is often today depicted as being totally dependent on the French kings, and sometimes as even being treacherous to its spiritual role and its heritage in Rome.

Almost a century and a half later, Protestant reformer Martin Luther wrote his treatise On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), but he claimed it had nothing to do with the Western Schism or papacy in Avignon.

The relationship between the papacy and France changed drastically over the course of the 14th century. Starting with open conflict between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip IV of France, it turned to cooperation from 1305 to 1342, and finally to a papacy under strong influence by the French throne up to 1378. Such partisanship of the papacy was one of the reasons for the dropping esteem for the institution, which in turn was one of the reasons for the schism from 1378–1417. In the period of the Schism, the power struggle in the papacy became a battlefield of the major powers, with France supporting the Pope in Avignon and England supporting the Pope in Rome. At the end of the century, still in the state of schism, the papacy had lost most of its direct political power, and the nation states of France and England were established as two of the main powers in Europe.

  1. Jump up ^ The Avignon Papacy, P.N.R. Zutshi, The New Cambridge Medieval History: c. 1300-c. 1415, Vol. VI, Ed. Michael Jones, (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 653.
  2. Jump up ^ Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason and Hugh S. Pyper, The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, (Oxford University Press, 2000), 227.
  3. Jump up ^ Catholic Encyclopaedia entry para 7
  4. Jump up ^ Joseph F. Kelly, The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: A History, (Liturgical Press, 2009), 104.
  5. Jump up ^ Eamon Duffy, Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes, (Yale University Press, 1997), 165.
  6. Jump up ^ The History of the Council of Constance, page 403, Stephen Whatley, Jacques Lenfant, published by A. Bettesworth, 1730.
  7. Jump up ^ P. M. Jones, Reform and Revolution in France: The Politics of Transition, 1774-1791, (Cambridge University Press, 1995), 13.
  8. Jump up ^ Avignon Papacy, Thomas M. Izbicki, Medieval France: An Encyclopedia, ed. William Kibler, (Routledge, 1995), 89.
  9. Jump up ^ Joëlle Rollo-Koster, Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Western Schism (1378), (Brill, 2008), 182.
  10. Jump up ^ Margaret Harvey, The English in Rome, 1362–1420: Portrait of an Expatriate Community, (Cambridge University Press, 2004), 3.
  11. Jump up ^ “Medieval Sourcebook: Petrarch: Letter Criticizing the Avignon Papacy”. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-10.

  • Ladurie, E. le Roi. “Montaillou, Catholics and Cathars in a French Village, 1294–1324“, trans. B. Bray, 1978. Also published as “Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error“.
  • Read, P. P., “The Templars“, Phoenix Press. Chapter 17, “The Temple Destroyed
  • Renouard, Yves. “Avignon Papacy
  • Rollo-Koster, Joelle. 2015. Avignon and its papacy, 1309-1417. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Sumption, J., “Trial by Fire“, Faber and Faber, 1999.
  • Tuchman, B., “A Distant Mirror“, Papermac, 1978. Chapter 16 “The Papal Schism
  • Vale, M., “The Civilization of Courts and Cities in the North, 1200–1500“. In: Holmes, G. (ed.) “The Oxford History of Medieval Europe“, Oxford University Press, 1988.
  • Voltaire, F-M, “Essai sur les mœurs et l’esprit des nations et sur les principaux faits de l’histoire depuis Charlemagne jusqu’à Louis XIII.” (English: Essay on the manners and spirit of nations and on the principal facts of history from Charlemagne to Louis XIII) Vol I, T XI, Chap LXV; edited by René Pomeau (1990) in 2 Volumes (Garnier frères, Paris) OCLC 70306666
  • Zutschi, P.N.R., The Avignon Papacy. In: Jones, M. (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume VI c.1300-c.1415, pp. 653–673, 2000, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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  1. 3names1God says:

    We hope you are doing well dear Bishop. We have not heard from you in a number of days. Praying for you.

  2. Sheepdog says:


  3. Sheepdog says:

    And history will show that Bishop Gracida saved everyone from total Bergoglian destruction. What a high honor it is to fight for the truth along with you. The Third Pope will then put to rest the “Two Pope” theory, with both Benedict and Francis going back to Cardinal.

  4. camroyer says:

    Your Excellency:
    Thank you for your direction and leadership. It’s a wonderful example for us all.

  5. Mary Deliduka says:

    Dear Bishop , what you are proposing is straightforward and clear….not rambling. The history you cite does help to put your proposal in proper prospective. I pray that Cardinal Burke and the others will soon have the courage to do as you propose!!! Radical? Yes but not as radical as
    “off with his head” !!!!!

  6. gellerman55 says:

    To hellenback7: I think the purpose of this history is explained in the last paragraph of the lead-in…”Here are some historical facts to help you put what I am proposing in proper perspective. What I am proposing may seem radical to you, but believe me, what I am proposing is not nearly as radical as some of the solutions to similar crises that have occurred in the past.”

    After this history reminder, it is clear to me that this current pope is just another bad egg in a long history of bad eggs, separated here and there by some good eggs. It is a miracle that the Church has persisted in spite of its leaders’ failings and ambition; proof, I suppose that the Holy Spirit flows through it no matter what. That is, at least, some comfort.

    I am so concerned that this is the end, as predicted, of our beautiful Church universal, that I devote one bead every morning to prayer for it. I pray for four things specifically:

    1. That the faithful who have left, and are leaving, (I was one of them, in fact) will stay and fight from within, rather than criticize from the side lines;
    2. That the bishops and cardinals who were not appointed by the current pope grow a pair of ecclesiastical cojones and stand up to what is so obviously wrong that even the common man in the church pews can see it;
    3. That the Holy Spirit flow through the bishops and cardinals that were appointed by the current pope and help them stand up for what is right, in spite of their ambitions and the political fallout that is sure to follow; and,
    4. That the faithful few, like Bishop Gracida, be protected from harm for speaking out as they have. After reading this disturbing history lesson, I’m surprised he is still alive.

    Keep beating the drum, Bishop. You are one, brave fellow. We are grateful to have you.

  7. hellenback7 says:

    What does this long, drawn out history lesson from hundreds of years ago have to do with today’s problem in the RC Church?
    Which of the many confusing examples purports to explain or purpose the solution needed today?
    I usually like much if what you say but this seems to be unfocused rambling…no offence intended.

  8. We are still awaiting PF’s response to the Dubia & ++ Burke’s promise nineteen months ago for a public correction & calling for a council to inform Catholics not to follow his teaching if he refuses to repent as PF would have excommunicated himself automatically & the Papal Office would be then vacant. This has not happened, so is ++ Burke’s statement untrue or who has a hold over him preventing the rightful correction? ++ Burke also said that numbers didn’t matter but Truth. A lot of Catholics certainly believe that PF was questionably elected (un-canonically?) & that the heresies & blasphemies spewing out of his mouth & his scandalous support of sodomy & HC to deviants is anti-Christ. Was he a Marxist heretic prior to his election which would have made him an unsuitable candidate even for priesthood.

    The foundations of the CC are deteriorating by the minute yet the Hierarchy still persists in blind obedience to this Dictator who supports the Muslim invasion that’s taking place in Europe, the betrayal of Chinese Catholics, the numerous suspensions on faithful priests, the excommunication of José Galat for publicly upholding Catholic Doctrine, who surrounds himself with infidels, abortionists, population controllers & states there is no Hell. What does it take to remove this anti-Catholic monster from the Papal Office so that the consecration of Russia can take place, the Third Secret of Fatima be revealed in full, Tradition reinstated intact, the fullness of the True Faith evangelised, Sin exposed & dealt with?

    Canon Law has not helped in solving this outrageous Apostasy & the lack of courage & determination of the Hierarchy to rid the world of this Destroyer Pope (referred to in St. Francis of Assisi’s deathbed predictions) is pathetic. Red hats are supposed to martyr themselves for Christ, so why aren’t they doing so? Are they all Judases?

  9. Terri Bradley says:

    The validly elected Cardinals who might declare the seat of Peter vacant are terrified of causing a ‘formal schism’, but at the same time I cannot help but think that these same Cardinals are keenly aware of the ‘informal schism’ that we are already in. It seems to me that Bergoglio has managed to stack the deck with like minded men bringing the ratio overwhelmingly in his favor. He has been a busy bee in this regard and has tapped close to twice as many as Saint John Paul ll or Benedict, all of course with his modernist bent and fans of his anti Catholic theology. I would have no idea of the outcome of such a declaration, but you are probably correct in that it is the only way now for validly elected Cardinals to go lest we all be swallowed up by the Anti Church. At this point, I see no Cardinals validly elected with the courage to do such. God save the Church! I pray for the restoration daily.

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