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The Conciliarist TraditionConstitutionalism in the Catholic Church 1300-1870$
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Francis Oakley

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541249

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541249.001.0001

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Gerson’s Hope: FifteenthCentury Conciliarism and its Roots

Gerson’s Hope: FifteenthCentury Conciliarism and its Roots

(p.60) 2 Gerson’s Hope: FifteenthCentury Conciliarism and its Roots
The Conciliarist Tradition

Francis Oakley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the roots of conciliarism in the Roman Catholic Church during the 15th century. It focuses on the pattern of conciliarist thinking that rose to prominence during the years stretching from the onset of schism in 1378 to the dissolution of the Council of Basel in 1449. One strand in the conciliarist thinking of the classical era sought to give institutional expression to the Church's corporate nature by envisaging its constitution in quasi-oligarchic terms, its government ordinarily in the hands of the curia, and the pope being in some measure limited in the exercise of his power by that of the cardinalate, with whose ‘advice, consent, direction, and remembrance’ he had to rule. This point of view inspired the dissident cardinals in 1378 when they rejected the demand for a general council and took it upon themselves to pass judgement on the validity of Urban VI's election, thereby precipitating the Great Schism.

Keywords:   conciliarism, Roman Catholic Church, Great Schism, church reform, papacy, popes, universal Church, conciliar theory, general councils

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