Week 30 – John Wyclif, Hundred Years’ War, Great Western Schism

Who was John Wyclif?

He was a priest and a professor at Oxford. His works indicated that an individual belongs to the elects, which is usually falsely associated with John Kelvin (16th century). He also was of the opinion that all Christians are priests and may go directly before God. The anticlerical party took encouragement from him: if clergy won’t gives away all their property, the state should take it from them = if king seizes property of bishops and monasteries, he could support himself well.

Wyclif was urged that the Church in England ought to be separated from the papacy and appeared before English bishops to defend his statements. With Great Western Schism underway, the general confusion allowed him to resume his activity, but in June 1381, the Great Revolt breaks out and the government abandons support of Wyclif.

What were the causes and consequences of the Hundred Years’ War?

Firstly, there was a dispute over Gascony between France and England; Gascony had been added to the English crown in 1152 with marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Secondly, the struggle over Flanders (today western Belgium), where French had long claimed lordship over the dukes of Flanders.

And last but not least, the English king’s efforts to take control of the whole France itself.

The most important battles were in Crécy in 1346, Poitiers in 1356 and Agincourt in 1415.

France won: England alwaays lacked the resources to conquer French and even though the English won the battle in Crécy, it was only due to the French disarray.

In 1453, war ended; England lost all of France except Calais.

What was the Great Western Schism, and how was it resolved?

Took place in the 14th century (careful not to confound it with Great Schism in 1044). It was basically a battle between Christians and the cardinals. People wanted a Roman, or at least Italian, pope and formed an angry mob outside of the electing room. Cardinals have decided to elect Bartolomeo Prignano, who is also known as Urban VI, an Italian. He seemed perfect; calm, known for his even temperament. Until one day he suddenly violently denounced Church offials from seeing him and even struck one. Nobody knew what was going on. Cardinals elected Frenchman Clement VII as new pope, but Urban refused to abdicate, so the cardinals said he wasn’t chosen legitimately, that they were pressured by the crowd outside while electing him. However, Clement is French, he takes up residence in Avignon and the Great Western Schism begins.

There was chaos for a few years, until 1415, when Pope Martin V was elected and recognized even by people as an official pope. However the image of Church’s image and unity remained damaged.

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