The Great Schism of the West What was the most important cause of the Great Schism?

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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

new Pope.

In fear of their lives, the cardinals...