Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Avignon Papacy

I like to link items in each post to previous posts that offer more info on those items. I have frequently referred to the time when the popes were not in Rome, but in Avignon; I have, however, not yet produced a post that explains the geographical shift.

The Avignon Papal Palace (It's no Vatican, but it'll do)
I suppose it might have started with conflict between King Philip IV of France, who was taxing the clergy to finance his ongoing wars, and Pope Boniface VIII, whose bull Clericis laicos forbade taxation of clergy with papal approval. After the death of Boniface and the death of his successor, Benedict XI, after only eight months, a Frenchman was elected, Clement V.

Clement V decided he did not want to live in Rome, and moved the papal court to Avignon, which is now in France but was then in the Kingdom of Arles. The French Clement was very friendly to the King of France, pretty much revoking Clerics laicos and beginning a string of seven popes, all French, who more and more came under the influence of the French crown.

The Avignon Papacy lasted from 1309 until January 1377. Pope Urban V wanted to move to Rome, but it was hindered by the War of the Eight Saints. His successor, Gregory XI, finally returned to Rome after (supposedly) being inspired to do so by Catherine of Siena.

The Avignon Papacy was sometimes referred to as the Babylonian Captivity, but worse was to follow.

After Gregory's death in 1378, conflict between his successor, Urban VI, and the cardinals created the Western Schism (1378 - 1417), when a series of rival popes were elected by renegade cardinals and took up residence in Avignon. The Avignon popes during this time are considered antipopes.

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