The Church in Crisis The Church faced major political and theological challenges in the 14th century.
Evidence • Babylonian Captivity • The Great Schism • Marsiglio of Padua • John Wycliffe • John Huss
Politically the church had two challenges • Babylonian Captivity 1309 - 1376 • When French Kings dominated the papal court and moved it to Avignon for almost 70 years. • Rome and the Papal States were neglected and the prestige of the papacy suffered. • The Great Schism 1378 - 1417 • When the popes returned to Rome in 1376, there were two competing popes, one selected by cardinals loyal to France, the other by the Roman elite. • This Great Schism lasted until the election of Martin V as pope some forty years later. • This schism also damaged papal prestige.
Theologically the church faced two significant challenges • The first, by the Italian Marsiglio(Marsilius) of Padua who challenged the legitimacy of the church as an institution, arguing that it should own no property and be under the authority of the state. • Second was from the Englishman John Wycliffe, • who asserted that religious authority for a Christian was Scripture and that Christianity should permit only practices sanctioned in Scripture. • Therefore, pilgrimages and veneration of saints, as well as corrupt practices like absenteeism and pluralism, were all illegitimate. advocated by the English peasant in their revolt of 1381