During the years of 1378 to 1417, a schism occurred within the Roman Catholic
Church. It was the Great Schism of the West and unlike the Great Schism of the East, this
schism was not about defying against the supreme Church. The Great Schism of the West
was about politics. During this time, three separate people claimed to be the pope,
including Pope Urban VI, Pope Clement VII, and Pope Alexander V. Although the
Roman Catholic Church recognized Pope Urban VI as the official pope of that time, it
was his tyrannical and oppressive actions which had the most effect on bringing upon the
Great Schism of the West onto the Roman Catholic Church.
The story of the Great Western Schism began in 1378 after the Babylonian
Captivity, which was when the papacy was located in Avignon for some seventy years.
After the Babylonian Captivity, the papacy became situated in Rome.
The residing pope
at that time, Pope Gregory XI, died and the nervous quest for his successor began. Pope
Gregory XI had beforehand authorized the sixteen cardinals in Rome to elect his
successor. Of these sixteen cardinals, one of them was German, one was Spanish, four
were Italian, and ten were French.
With the majority of the cardinals as foreigners, the residents of Rome began to
worry whether or not a Pope would be elected who would return the papacy to Avignon.
The Roman people began asking for either a Roman Pope or an Italian Pope.
Unfortunately, their small worries began to take hold in the form of a rioting mob. An
armed mob began charging through the city, asking that their demands be met.
Eventually, they reached the Vatican, where the sixteen cardinals were meeting to elect a
In fear of their lives, the cardinals...