The Western Schism of 1378: The History and Legacy of the Papal Schism that Split the Catholic Church
by Charles River Editors
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*Includes contemporary accounts of the schism
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
*Includes a table of contents
“Doubt still shrouds the validity of the three rival lines of pontiffs during the four decades subsequent to the still disputed papal election of 1378. This makes suspect the credentials of the cardinals created by the Roman, Avignon, and Pisan claimants to the Apostolic See. Unity was finally restored without a definitive solution to the question; for the Council of Constance succeeded in terminating the Western Schism, not by declaring which of the three claimants was the rightful one, but by eliminating all of them by forcing their abdication or deposition, and then setting up a novel arrangement for choosing a new pope acceptable to all sides. To this day the Church has never made any official, authoritative pronouncement about the papal lines of succession for this confusing period; nor has Martin V or any of his successors. Modern scholars are not agreed in their solutions, although they tend to favor the Roman line.” – J.F. Broderick
Nowadays, the pope is synonymous with unparalleled piety, compassion, and benevolence. To many, the pope is the embodiment of godly love in its purest form. No matter the weather or the inconvenience, millions upon millions of fervid devotees brave the congested streets of their cities, all for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to welcome the beloved Vicar of Christ.
The modern perception of the pope is a far cry from how things were just a couple of centuries ago. Back in the day, the most notorious of popes were nothing more than power-hungry dictators and cutthroat experts who manipulated European politics. There was a time when the holiest men of the world were constantly at each other's throats, willing to go to any lengths to secure the coveted papal title. Indeed, by the late 14th century, tensions within the Church reached its breaking point, resulting in the infamous split of the Catholic Church, one that saw multiple popes fighting to knock the others off their throne.
The Western Schism of 1378: The History and Legacy of the Papal Schism that Split the Catholic Church chronicles the controversial Avignon papacy, the rocky road that led to the break-up of the Catholic Church, the key figures that played a hand in the confusion, and how the contentious issues were finally resolved. Along with pictures depicting important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Western Schism like never before.