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PAPAL SCHISM: URBAN VI AND HIS RIVAL CLEMENT VII

If Jesus prophesied that the true Church would be built on the rock of the papacy he was proved wrong.

The Great Western Schism started over Pope Urban VI who was elected in 1378 at one of the quickest conclaves ever Ė the speed itself indicates that something was amiss. The cardinals later said they were forced by a mob that bayed around them for an Italian or Roman pope. If they hadnít been forced they could have taken a bit longer, obviously the mob wasnít going to listen to reason and give them time to find a pope that would please Italy. They wanted a pope and wanted one fast.

Urban VI was undoubtedly insane his mind having snapped when he was chosen and most of the cardinals who elected him said they did so by force so the election was invalid. Urban being insane couldnít give the necessary consent to becoming pope so his consent and therefore his papacy was null and void. He was not pope. The Catholic Church will say that he must have been for that would contradict Christís promise to Peter the first pope that he would be the rock of the Church and the gates of hell will never prevail over the Church. They guess that he was sane despite outward appearances. That is just rationalisation. It is refusing to admit that he might have been crazy and Christ wrong. Some would say the gates of hell didnít prevail for the cardinals soon corrected their fake election by admitting it and coming up with a new solution to the Urban VI problem. The gates prevailed briefly then if they are right. That cannot be hidden away.

Urban VI was nicknamed the ďMad PopeĒ. He had his cardinals tortured to death. At the feast for his coronation he drank and made a total fool of himself and tried to assault a cardinal. He was notorious for slander and foul language and of extreme rudeness even to the most diplomatic of men. Many thought he was nothing like the man that had been Archbishop of Bari just a few days before his elected, pious, quiet, easygoing and humble. He had hallucinations of St Peter appearing to him.

The Cardinals who elected Urban VI soon had a new conclave and elected Clement VII, Robert of Geneva a Frenchman, leaving the Church with two popes. Nobody was ever able to prove that Clement VII who is listed as an antipope or false pope really was that. I would add that the insanity of Urban VI is clear evidence that Urbanís election must have been invalid for would God want a lunatic running the Church and teaching the Church? The Catholics just assume that he was validly elected and they assume it for convenience. That is not good enough and proves that the papacy is not of divine institution. A Church that cannot prove the credentials of its past rocks is not the true Church. A house that breaks the foundation off itself cannot stand or be a house. Urban VI got unbalanced as soon as he was elected but he must have shown signs of mental illness before his election. It is nonsense to argue that he was an easygoing normal man up until then for he might have just started to get sick a short time before his election and when he got absolute power as pope he didnít hide his problems anymore. An insane pope must depose himself automatically. If you are a car mechanic and you lose your arms you automatically cease to be a car mechanic. Itís the same principle.

IF THE CARDINALS WERE LYING WHEN THEY SAID THEY INVALIDLY ELECTED URBAN VI THEN WHY DIDNíT THEY TRY TO DEPOSE HIM BEFORE THEY CREATED A NEW CONCLAVE TO ELECT POPE CLEMENT VII INSTEAD? They were not lying at all. At that time, the idea of deposing a pope for heresy or for mental instability was more acceptable and the later Councils of Pisa and Constance reflected this tradition Ė the first to a greater degree than the second. Deposing Urban VI would have made sure that they would appear in a good light and would have cleared the way go ahead with a new conclave and would have guaranteed that most and possibly all of the Church would accept Clement VII. If they couldnít get rid of Urban VI they simply had to declare him deposed in the sight of canon law and God. That would mean that even if he didnít leave the Vatican and step down he was still not pope. They took the risk of electing a new pope when Urban VI was in Rome and causing a schism nobody including themselves wanted. Why? Because it was true, they had produced a fake pope in Urban VI. They wanted to avoid this risk so they would have deposed him but they wanted the truth to be known about the election so they had to take the risk. You might ask why not try to depose him as well as declaring his election invalid to make double sure that nobody could doubt that he was a fake pope? Perhaps the answer is that they thought that the truth was enough, Urban VI was deceitfully elected.

And the Church ignores the possibility that the cardinals did fiddle the election to a large extent to prevent non-Italians from being elected and rigged it to pacify the mob so that a Roman or an Italian, a Tebaldeschi or an Urban VI to be would be elected. This would mean the election would be undoubtedly invalid and unfair. A Concise History of the Catholic Church says that sixteen cardinals were in the conclave in Rome and were attacked in the streets and threatened to elect a Roman or an Italian on pain of being torn to pieces and the mob had invaded the papal wine cellar (page 194). It seems ridiculous to disbelieve the cardinals when they said they chose a fake pope in Urban VI which was putting themselves in very bad light and it is true that they were not free and to believe them when they said that Urban VI was the true pope. What else could they say until the idea occurred to them to elect another? There is no doubt that the election of Clement VII is more plausible as a real election for there was no pressure. The Church also ignores the fact that the mob was delighted with the announcement that Urban VI was pope and the cardinals would have expected this, the mob did state they would be content with an Italian. It should be remembered that nearly all the cardinals involved in the ďelectionĒ of Urban VII testified that they fiddled the election. If only half of them were saying it and the others contradicting them there would be some reason to believe then that they validly elected Urban VII.

Urban VI reigned from Rome and Clement VII reigned from the papal palace in Avignon, France. Rival lines of popes began with this schism.

Nobody knew at the time who the real pope was. If the pope is the rock the Church is built on and the sign indicating which Church is the one true visible Church of Jesus Christ as the Church claims and if you donít know which pope is the rock then there is only one solution. Both of them are fakes. They are fakes not because of evidence but because Godís promise doesnít fail. This would mean that if there is no marker then the proper judgement was to obey neither pope. Neither man was a marker so neither man was pope. So during the Great Western Schism from 1378 to 1415 there were nine antipopes including the popes recognised as valid by Catholicism. With all the antipopes there have been we see it is silly of the Church to say that the line of popes is impressive and a sign of Godís care for the Church. The mess seems to mean that the papal chair was vacant for decades. There was no head of the Church and no centre of unity. How the Catholic Church could be the true Church and suffer that cannot be explained.

To recognise Clement VII as true pope means you recognise his successor Benedict XIII and Clement VIII his successor as true popes. Clement VIII reigned from 10th January 1423 until he resigned on 26th July 1429. Urban VI, Boniface IX, Innocent VII, Gregory XII, Martin V would be have to be dropped from the Churchís list. Martin V wouldnít be a real pope for the papal line following Clement VII was the real line and still existed. Benedict XIII who was deposed to make way for Martin V was still alive and well and claiming to be the real pope. Also the Church says real popes cannot be validly deposed. Benedict XIII and then Clement VIII led a tiny Church in the end and excommunicated nearly all Christendom. Benedict XIII died in 1423 and had a successor in Clement VIII who reigned until 1429 so that means that there was no pope until Rome elected Eugene IV. There was no claimed successor to Clement VIII and so the succession would pass to whoever Rome elected if there were no other line claiming to continue the Avignon papacy. If it passed to Rome then when Clement VIII died in 1429 ending the line of rival popes to Rome. The next pope to be elected in Rome after that year was Eugene IV who was chosen in 1431. In that case, Eugene IV then whether he knew it or not was the successor of Clement VII. The list would continue from there.

When alleged antipope Clement VIII was elected Cardinal Jean Carrier claimed the election was invalid and regarded himself as the sole college of cardinals and he elected Benedict XIV in 1424. Benedict XIV then was antipope to Clement VIII. So Benedict XIV claimed to be the real successor of Benedict XIII. Benedict XIV is really an antipope for Cardinal Jean Carrier wasnít invited to the election and claimed it was invalid because of that! So the world had three men with a claim to the papacy, Clement VIII, Benedict XIV and Martin V. Some however might think that Cardinal Carrier was right. Benedict XIV appointed a Cardinal Jean Farald and three others before dying or resigning in 1429/30. These cardinals then chose Cardinal Jean Carrier as Pope Benedict XIV in 1433. Carrier chose this numbering probably because of some doubt about a previous Benedict being pope. Carrier ended up in jail and died there about 1437. It is alleged that his followers continued electing popes until 1470 but this is unclear. If Carrier was really pope then Eugene IV was not a real pope for he was elected during Carrierís reign in 1431.

Felix V who is listed as the last antipope in the records of the Church would then have been a true pope for he was in opposition to Eugene IV assuming that no successor was chosen for Carrier. If Felix V was an antipope then the list canít continue until 1447 when Nicholas V was made pope in Rome. If the line of Clement VII was valid then it follows that Carrier when he became Benedict XIV in 1430 even if a successor to an antipope was the real successor for he was the first pope of the Avignon line after the end of the reign of Clement VIís and Benedict XIIIís successor Clement VIII.

Eugene in a few years after his election had to contend with the last officially listed antipope Felix V. However for reasons we will see later the real line seems to be Gregory XI, Clement VII, Benedict XIII, Alexander V, John XXIII, Eugene IV. (Martin V who modern Catholicism says preceded Eugene IV and was a real pope was not a true pope because he was elected by the Council of Constance which claimed the right to depose popes. It deposed popes to make him pope. Yet he rejected its decrees that gave it this right and said the other decrees were right. So he was simply dogma sifting for if an ecumenical council is infallible you canít just pick and choose what decrees you like. If the council was wrong to depose the popes to make way for him then he was not pope. The Bible Presbyterian Reporter December 1958 www.tracts.ukgo.com/loraine_boettner.htm .)

Whatever the real list of popes is, it is very different from the accepted and official Roman list which has Gregory XI, Urban VI, Boniface IX, Innocent VII, Gregory XII, Martin V, Eugene IV. It means that the present pope Benedict XVI may really be Benedict XVII if the Avignon papacy line was valid and John XXIII who inaugurated Vatican 2 was really John XXIV if the first John XXIII was a true pope. There was a debate in the Vatican about the numbering when he chose the name John when elected pope. The Church recognising the wrong popes means the Church is in schism from them and is not the true Church.

The real reason the Catholic Church today wants to pretend that Urban VI was the real pope is because it doesnít want to admit that an impostor reposed on the chair of Peter from the death of his predecessor until the election of the alleged antipope Clement VII. That makes a mockery of the idea that the pope is the rock the Church is built on and the gates of Hell cannot prevail over the Church to give it a pope who is a fake and who teaches doctrine without authority and divine protection which is putting the Church in danger of error. When God could allow such a disaster he could allow a pope to give fake infallible teaching and lead the whole Church astray. The Catholic Church admits that it is nothing without its doctrine of infallibility. To admit that Urban VI was an antipope would be to encourage the scourge of sedevacantism in the modern Church. Sedevacantists are traditional Roman Catholics who reject all Roman popes since Pius XII and hold them to be invalidly elected and condemn them for heresy, blasphemy and liberalism. They have FBI documentation proving that Cardinal Siri was elected after the death of Pius XII as Pope Gregory XVII but a group of cardinals forced him out of the picture and elected an antipope John XXIII. If Siri was the real pope and couldnít act it and Siri certainly did indicate that there could be a hidden pope then it means that Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II were false popes. Benedict XVI who many sedevacantists nickname as ďPopeĒ Ratzinger would be a real pope being the first to be appointed after Siriís death. Many say that since Paul VI wrecked the Episcopal consecration rites making them invalid and that unlike the previous popes Ratzinger was consecrated a bishop under this invalid rite he is not a true bishop and cannot be the real pope. Ratzinger is the first pope to have been consecrated a bishop under the new liturgy that came in following Vatican II. One thing for certain is that if there is the slightest room for doubt about an Episcopal consecration it has to be repeated to make sure and until then the person cannot be treated as a true bishop. This is the law and doctrine of the Church and the reason it requires three bishops to do the consecration of a new bishop. And yet this Church wrecks the consecrations with a vague liturgy that doesnít express the intention of creating a bishop properly.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the cardinals re-elected Urban VI to show they were free after Urban came to the Vatican. But what else could they do then? This re-election was held just for the purpose of confirming the choice they had made so they couldnít make a different choice then. It had to be rigged too. When they rigged the second election they might have rigged the first one too. The mob would have hounded them again. The cardinals could not admit at that stage that they were forced to choose a pope they didnít want. They planned to say nothing for the sake of an easy life.

Pastor, a Roman Catholic historical expert wrote: ďIt is extremely difficult for those who study the question in the present day with countless documents before them, and the power of contemplating the further development of the schism, to estimate the difficulties of contemporaries who sought to know which of the two popes had a right to their obedience. The extreme confusion is evidenced by the fact that canonised saints are found among the adherents of each of the rivals ÖAll the writings of the period give more or less evidence of the conflicting opinions which prevailed, and upright men afterwards confessed that they had been unable to find out which was the true popeĒ History of the Popes Vol One pp 138-139 or pages 258-9 of A Handbook on the Papacy. The Church regards the antipope Hippolytus as a saint which shows that the Church must agree he couldnít be blamed for thinking that he was the real pope! The Church that floats away from its rock is not the true Church any longer.