Antipope

Antipope (from ἀντί, against, i.e. a rival pope), a pontiff elected by the will of a sovereign, or the intrigues of a faction, in opposition to one canonically chosen. The emperors of Germany were the first to set up popes of their own nomination against those whom the Romans had elected without consulting them. Otho the Great displaced successively two bishops of Rome; and when Sylvester III had expelled from the capital of Christendom Benedict IX, whose profligacy had compromised in the eyes of all men the honor of the sovereign pontificate, Conrad II, king of Germany, brought back this worthless pastor, who hastened to sell his dignity to Gregory VI. As Benedict, however, soon repented of this transaction, there were now three popes at a time, and their number was increased to four by the election of Clement II in 1046. Shortly after, Alexander II found a rival in Honorius II; and in 1080 the same unseemly spectacle was witnessed, when Henry IV, emperor of Germany, elevated to the papal chair Guibert of Ravenna, under the title of Clement III, in opposition to his implacable adversary, Gregory VII. But after the death of Gregory Clement was himself opposed successively by Victor III and Urban II, and at last died at a distance from Rome, having just beheld the exaltation of Pascal II as the successor of Urban. During the twelfth century several antipopes flourished, such as Gregory VIII and Honorius III. On the death of the latter, France began to intermeddle in these disgraceful strifes, and upheld the cause of Innocent II against Anaclet; while the kings of Sicily, on the other hand, frequently set up a pontiff of their own against the choice of the emperors. The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries swarm with antipopes; but what specially deserves notice is "the great schism of the West," produced by these shameless rivalries in 1378 — a schism which divided the Church for fifty years. It broke out after the death of Gregory XI, at the election of Urban VI, whom the voice of the Roman people, demanding an Italian pope, and not one who should fix his pontificate, like several of his predecessors, at a distance from Rome, had elevated to the papal throne. The French cardinals objected, withdrew to Provence, and elected a new pope, under the name of Clement VII, who was recognised by France, Spain, Savoy, and Scotland; while Italy, Germany, England, and the whole north of Europe, supported Urban VI. These two popes excommunicated each other; nor did they even fear to compromise their sacred character by the most cruel outrages and the most odious insults. The schism continued after their death, when three popes made their appearance "in the field," all of whom were deposed by the Council of Constance in 1415, and Cardinal Colonna elected in their room, under the title of Martin V. The last antipope was Clement VIII. With him the schism ceased; but the evil was done, and nothing could remedy it. The dogma of papal infallibility had received a mortal wound "in the house of its friends," anl the scenticism induced on this point rapidly extended to others. SEE POPE; SEE PAPACY.

 
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