The Effects of the Great Schism

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5/1/06 Hist. 311 The Effects of the Great Schism For a large part of the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church was the largest ruling body in Europe. The body of the Church was large and the power that it wielded was absolute. Because the power that the Church’s leaders held was viewed as coming directly from God it was complete and unquestionable. For centuries the Church enjoyed this supreme power. It would not be until late in the fourteenth century that the Church’s power would lessen. This was cause primarily by the Great Schism. The Great Schism was in effect a large cause of the decline and fall of the papal power during the middle ages. This is essentially because the Roman Catholic Church was split into two. Therefore the people were divided down the middle on who to side with. The Church essentially tied itself into a knot. The Great Schism led to the downfall of the Roman Catholic Church because it decentralized the Church’s base of power, caused people to question the Church’s authority, it created a vacuum of power, drained the Church’s funds, and let heretical movements get a stronghold. The Great Schism started when Pope Clement VII V moved his presidency to Avignon. This is also sometimes called the Babylonian Captivity. When the papacy moved their center of power to Avignon, it was really under the French government and it was driven to corruption. Then later Gregory XI moved the papacy back to Rome, but when he died, the Cardinals were forced by the Roman people to select an Italian Pope. When the Cardinals entered their conclave in the Vatican palace on April 7, 1738 the Roman people that had gathered outside began chanting “A Roman! A Roman!” or “A Roman or at least an Italian” (Jones, 675). As the deliberations dragged on the crowd that had gathered quickly became a mob and grew violent. Their cries for a Roman became
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