[MR] Wikipedia: Avignon Papacy and Anti-popes

Garth Groff via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Tue Sep 20 03:26:00 PDT 2016

Noble Friends,

The rather confusing subjects of the Avignon Papacy and Anti-popes 
floats through the late medieval period, and can be quite vexing. Here 
follows a brief breakdown of the history and some definitions.

There are two periods of the Papacy located in Avignon, then in the Holy 
Roman kingdom of Arles but under French influence (and now a part of 
France): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avignon_Papacy . The first was 
from 1309 to 1377, and is generally considered to have been a legitimate 
Papacy. It began with the election of the French-born Pope Clement V in 
1305. From his coronation, Clement resided in France. In 1309 Clement 
decided to permanently move the Curia from Rome to Avignon due to 
political instability in Italy. A total of seven Avignon Popes ruled the 
church, all French by birth. Not surprisingly, the various kings of 
France had great influence over the Church during this time.

In 1376, Pope Gregory XI returned the Papacy to Rome under political 
pressure from Catherine of Siena. He died shortly after the return, and 
was succeeded by the unpopular Italian Urban VI. Dissident French 
cardinals elected a new French pope, Clement VII, who set up a rival 
papacy in Avignon in 1378. He was succeeded by Benedict XIII, who 
reigned in Avignon until 1403. He was booted out of Avignon by a French 
army after France withdrew recognition of Avignon, but continued his 
claim on the Papacy from exile until his death in 1423. During this 
time, the Europe was divided between following Roman or Avignon Popes, 
and the period is generally known as the Western Schism. Gregory XI and 
Benedict XIII are now considered to be Anti-Popes, and their reigns are 
not recognized as legitimate by the modern Catholic Church: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipope . Three additional Anti-Popes 
based in other places followed during the schism, until the whole mess 
was cleaned up at the Council of Constance between 1414-1418.

There have been many more Anti-popes than just Clement and Benedict. It 
seems to have been a recurring problem caused by both dissident 
cardinals or through political meddling by secular rulers. Politics and 
religion sometimes do not make good bed-fellows. Eventually the Church 
got things sorted out, but not before a lot of damage was done to the 
Rome's prestige.

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot

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