Monday, October 1, 2012

Lesson 27 - The Council of Constance and Conciliarism



1.   ANTECEDENTS

PRIMA SEDES A NEMINE INDICETUR
-       Although canon law provided that in case of emergency a general council can solve the disputed questions, the principle that no one might judge the pope (Prima sedes a nemine indicetur) and that he was only responsible to God had increasingly received recognition since the early Middle Ages.
-       This concept developed to protect the pope against deposition by emperors and the despotism of roman noble families in the saeculum obscurum.
-       Gregory VII à Dictatus Papae, 1075) à Innocent III à Boniface VIII > decline

HOW TO DEAL WITH A HERETIC POPE?
-       There is a possibility that even a pope could fall into heresy or mental illness
-       If a Pope fell into heresy, there would have to be a board which could note the fact and draw the proper consequences; it was impossible that a heretic could be a legitimate pope, and then he simply was no longer pope and would have to be removed from the papal throne.
-       This determination has to be made by a general council and the incumbent cardinals and the emperor as the protector of the Roman Church must convoke and conduct the council.
-       Canonists and papalists like Aegidius Romanus[1] (+1316), Augustinus Triumphus (+1328), and Alvarus Pelagius (+1349) agreed to this maxim

GENERAL COUNCIL
-       It must be conducted with a Pope. A council without a Pope is unthinkable. That is why there’s hesitation in the via concilii.
-       The Pope has the exclusive right to call an ecumenical council (16th proposition, Dictatus Papae, 1075)

ECUMENICAL COUNCILS
ECUMENICAL
COUNCILS
DATE
POPE
EVENTS
First Lateran Council
1123
Calixtus II
It extends the validity of the Concordat of Worms to the whole Church
Second Lateran Council
1139
Innocent II
It ends the schism of Anacletus
Third Lateran Council
1179
Alexander III

Fourth Lateran Council
1215
Innocent III
For the reform of the Church
First Council of Lyons
1245
Innocent IV
Depose Emperor Frederick II
Second Council of Lyons
1274
Gregory X
Negotiation for a crusade and regarding a union with the eastern Church; rules of conclaves[2]
Council of Vienne
1311
Under the influence of the French monarchy through the weak Avignon Papacy
Trial of the Templars
General Council at Pisa
1409
13 cardinals of both obediences


COUNCIL AT PISA (1409)
-       against the will of their masters, 13 cardinals of both obediences call the council of Pisa (1409)
-       > 100 bishops attended + another 100 sent delegates with powers of proxy + plenipotentiaries of > 200 abbots, cathedral chapters and universities.
-       They elected a new Pope, Alexander V who died the following year and the notorious cardinal Cossa (John XXIII) became his successor.
-       The council of Pisa was legally valid. But Gregory XII and Benedict XIII still refused to be replaced.
-       There are now 3 Popes of equal measure which can be viewed as legitimate or illegitimate.
-       The obediences of Gregory XII and Benedict XIII diminished and now Alexander and then John had the greatest obediences.

2.   CONSTANCE (1414), THE COUCIL OF UNITY
-       There are now 3 Popes of equal measure which can be viewed as legitimate or illegitimate.
-       King Sigismund[3] (1410-1437) favored the Pisan Pope John XXIII and calls for a new council to heal the triple split in Christendom.
-       John XXIII opens the Council of Constance (Nov. 1414) who hopes that the council will declare him sole legitimate pope (but this was not to be)
-       Under the influence of Cardinals d’Ailly, Fillastre, Zarabella and the chancellor of the University of Paris, Gerson à unity could only achieved if all three popes were to resign.
-       Manner of voting: In order to break the Italian majority, French, Germans, and English forced the procedure of voting according to “nations” not according to number; each of the 4 nations have one vote in the general voting. It succeeded in overcoming the superior strength of John XXIII and the Italians.
-       Fifth vote is cast by the college of Cardinals

JOHN XXIII FLED
-       When he saw that his chances disappear and realized that because of his former transgression he would be put on trial, John XXIII secretly fled (March 20/21, 1415)
-       From Schafhausen he attacked the council with accusations and threats.
-       He almost succeeded in dissolving the council when he fled.

CONSTANCE CONTINUED EVEN WITHOUT A POPE
-       King Sigismund intervened and proclaimed that the council would continue its work even without the Pope
-       March 23 – John Gerson gave a speech and established the reason why pope had no right to dissolve the council.
-       March 26 – fist session without a Pope
-       Card. Zabarella pushed a motion of not dispersing until schism is resolved.

HAEC SANCTA
-       Because of John XXIII’s disturbance in dissolving the council, the council on April 6, 1415 passed the famous decree Haec Sancta.
-       It is a decree that solemnly declared that it regarded itself as duly summoned, acting in the Holy Spirit, representing the whole Church militant, and receiving its authority directly from God; therefore, every Christian, even the pope, hade to be obedient to the council “ in what is decided with respect to the faith, the overcoming of the schism, and a general reform in head and members”
-       It is not a dogmatic definition of faith. Like what Marsilius of Padua had advocated i.e. the Pope is subordinate to the council.

WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHN XXII?
-       He tried to escape across the Rhine into Burgundy to continue his attacks to the council there.
-       Sigismund arrested him and tried.
-       John XXIII was deposed on May 29, 1415.

WHAT HAPPENED TO GREGORY XII?
-       He announced his voluntary resignation on July 4, 1415
-       This nonagenarian is unshaken in his conviction that he is the legitimate pope
-       He convoked the council once more in his own name and his request was granted, even though or precisely because, no one attributed any importance to the act (Haec Sancta).

WHAT HAPPENED TO BENEDICT  XIII?
-       Sigismund personally negotiated at Perpignan without any result.
-       At least other followers defected, principally Spaniards so that Spain constituted the Fifth Nation.
-       Proceeding against Benedict were initiated which ended in his deposition on July 26, 1417.

3.   JOHN HUS AND HIS TRIAL AT CONSTANCE

HUS’ LIFE AND WYCLIF’S INFLUENCE
-       He was born in 1370 in Husinec[4], studied in Prague and was ordained priest in 1400
-       During his studies he acquainted with the ideas of John Wyclif who since 1374 attacked Fiscalism of Avignon Papacy, wealth of the Church of prelates, and the hierarchy while at the same time contrasting it to the Church of the predestined which was to renounce property and live in apostolic poverty. Wyclif declared that in the true church of Christ only those who lived in state of grace had a place; most of all, no mortal sinner can have a leading position in the Christian Society (Church or State).
-       Hus denied the Church as a sacramental community of redemption in Christ.
-       Hus adopted Wyclif’s tenets and found a strong response among his Czech listeners.
-       Wyclif is theologically, politically, and sociologically revolutionary because you remove the sinners from public life.



ANTI-GERMAN SENTIMENT
-       There was an anti-German sentiment in the ruling clergy in Bohemia which fused with ecclesiastical and religious tendencies which were determined by Wyclif’s idea.
-       Pope Alexander V ordered the Archbishop of Prague (a German) to take step against Wyclif’s heresies. It was defended by Hus.
-       He appealed to John XXIII but the Archbishop had also turned to John XXIII
-       He was excommunicated by the Pope but the Bohemian King Wenzel protected him
-       Add to this to the tension à John XXIII trade in indulgences for he needed money for war against Ladislaus of Naples.

HUS’ TRIAL
-       Sigismund insisted that Hus be death with the council of Constance and offered him safe conduct
-       The Pope lifted the ban and he can now move freely.
-       Nov 28 – first hearing of Hus and following he was imprisoned although Sigismund protested vehemently.
-       His case receded in the background because of the overshadowing question of unity.
-       In the wake of John’s flight to Constance, and Haec Sancta à they deal with Hus and a chance to prove independence in matters of faith.

D’AILLY, FILASTRE, ZABARELLA, AND GERSON’S IMPARTIALITY
-       Doubtless intellectual and moral qualities
-       They are not Germans but French (so national sentiment can’t be involved)
-       They are not Papalists but moderate conciliarists
-       Opponent of John XXIII and other popes of the Schism

THE HUS TRIAL CONTINUES
-       Hus defended himself in the accusation of being heretic
-       (+) 30 heretical compositions in his writings whom he did not deny to have been written but defended its orthodoxy.
-       When he did not recant, they asked him to recant even their wrong meaning. He retorted that he cannot recant what he never had had in his mind.
-       He obstinately rejected subjection and idea of recanting.
-       D’Ailly, Zabarella and Sigismund vainly persuaded him to recant
-       Sentence:   Because he had dogmatized, defended and preached the heresies of Wyclif he was sentence to death (burning at the stake) on July 6, 1415
-       Sigismund asked him for the last time in the fire but he refused
-       History avenged Hus terribly with the Hussite Wars (1420-1431) in Bohemia and Germany


4.   THE QUESTION OF THE REFORM AT THE COUNCIL
-       All agreed in the necessity of the reform but when is the proper timing to discuss it.
-       Is it before or after the election of the new Pontiff?

BEFORE PAPAL ELECTION
-       If before the Papal election, it means the pope will be fundamentally subordinate council. Therefore, was Haec Sancta limited to this exceptional case or was it intended fundamentally to subordinate the pope to the council?
-       Strict conciliarist asserted that it was intended fundamentally to subordinate the pope to the council.
-       German and English[5] took the view that the authority of the general council should bind the pope.

AFTER PAPAL ELECTION
-       If after the papal election, it means that reforms are part of the normal administration of the Church and were reserved to the pope.

COMPROMISE
-       Compromise: 5 decrees which previously had been debated were passed on October 9, 1417. among them was the decree Frequens.[5points]
-       FREQUENS is a conciliar document which provided for the regular ecumenical council to celebrate every ten years and the Pope has to be obliged.
-       The English and Germans finally agreed and election proceeded.

5.   PAPAL ELECTION
-       In addition to 26 cardinals, 6 representatives from each of the five nations were included in the conclave  (Nov. 8, 1417) = 56 electors
-       Within 3 days election was finished despite of complex electoral procedure.
-       Nov.11, 1417 – Cardinal Odo of Colonna (Martin V) was elected.
-       The unity of the body of Christ has been restored.

6.   AFTER THE REFORM
-       The leadership of the council passed to the new pope.
-       April 22, 1418 - he concluded the council. Questions on Haec Sancta and Frequens in a conciliarist sense were rejected. The two decrees were ambivalent and can be understood in a moderate, orthodox sense or radical, heretical, conciliarist sense
-       The majority non-conciliarist understood the decrees as conservative and moderate.
-       The minority conciliarist did not accept defeat and soon were to assume dangerous proportion.

17th GENERAL COUNCIL AT BASLE (July 23, 1431)
-       Eugene IV (1431-1447) called the council
-       Dissension between him and the council members who keep the conciliarist theory begin to regard themselves as superior to the pope. The pope will be the last resort in the legal and administrative concerns of the Church.
-       Eugene transferred the problem from Basle to Ferrara (1437). But a small group of radical conciliarist remained in Basle until 1449 and proclaimed supremacy of the council over the pope as doctrine of faith; they deposed Eugene and elected an Anti-Pope Felix Và SCHISM AGAIN! But the last in the church history.
-       1449, Felix V resigned, the end of radical conciliarism in the Church
-       but the effect of conciliarism is to be felt for a long time.



[1] He participated in the formulation of the Unam Sanctam.
[2] It provides that the cardinals were to congregate 10 days after the death of Pope at the place of death in strict privacy (conclave) for the election of a successor and should be forced to a quick conclusion of the election through increasing reduction of daily food rations.
[3] The life and soul of the council of Constance
[4] Southern Bohemia
[5] Conciliaristic ideas took progress in Germany and England which is not true with regard to other nations.

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