Antipopes? WTF?

I had never heard this term until today’s Final Jeopardy. Anyone knows what criteria must be met to be considered an antipope? When did the term first arose? Who was the first antipope? The most famous one? Any additional antipope-related information will be welcomed!

Thanking you in advance:

Antiquasar. :slight_smile:

Well, here’s the Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on antipopes. And, for the Official View, here’s the Catholic Encyclopedia’s take on antipopes.

Something that is interesting is when I looked at the respective lists of the Catholic Encyclopedia and Brittanica list Antipope Slyvester different. The Catholic Encyclopedia says he was Slyvester III where as Jeopardy and Brittanica say he was Sylvester IV.

Have popes and anti-popes ever met? What happened? Could this phenomenon be harnessed to provide safe, clean energy?

(I’ve always been leery of having fettuccine Alfredo after antipasto. I figure it could give a new meaning to the phrase “upset stomach”.)

But about popes, at the time when two guys are both claiming to be pope, it’s not usually known which is pope and which antipope. That’s not decided until later. I suppose we don’t need to know which is which, we just have to know that they aren’t both of the same polarity. So all we would have to do would be to get the two claimants together.

But what about when there are three claimants? We would have to get all three together to make sure there was at least one of each. The survivor would, of course, be an antipope.

Clearly you are not a student of history. I don’t think anyone would call a religous was safe or clean. But there is a fair amount of engery.

In 1305, King Phillip IV of France used his influence to get a French Pope, Clement V, elected. To ensure his safety, Clement resided in the French city of Avignon rather than Rome and Avignon remained the Papal residence for the next seventy years (with the French king thereby controlling the Pope). In 1377, the Papalcy was returned to Rome and the following year, an Italian was elected as Pope Urban VI. Shortly thereafter, a group of French Cardinals returned to Avignon, declared Urban’s election was invalid, and elected Clement VII as Pope. Urban naturally refused to recognize this so there were now two Popes.

This situation continued for some time and finally representatives from both Avignon and Rome met at the Council of Pisa in 1409 to solve the problem. Unfortunately, their solution was not particualry helpful, as they decided that the answer to having a papal surplus was to elect another Pope, John XXIII. Pope Benedict XIII in Avignon and Pope Gregor XII in Rome apparently decided they could safely ignore this decision and carried on.

The problem was eventually solved by a winner-take-all cage match to unite the three contending titles. Okay, not true, it was really resolved at the Council of Constance in Germany in 1418 which of course elected a new Pope, Martin V, but having decided the joke was getting old, the Germans decided to enforce this by arresting the other three claimants. The Council’s other principal achievments were the record number of prostitutes who attended and the burning of John Wycliffe, who took it surprisingly well having died forty two years earlier. Unfortunately, this joke was also spoiled by the burning of John Huss and Jerome of Prague who, unlike Wycliffe, were not allowed to postpone the event until a more convenient time.

(Comes in, realizes that the title says Antipopes, not Antelopes, and leaves before anyone notices, her face red…)

minor nitpick: Clement VI was elected at Avignon. Clement VII was pope from 1523, after the Great Schism was healed. He was the pope who denied Henry VIII’s request for an annullment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, thereby contributing to the Anglican Schism.

JTI: There were two Clement VII’s. After the Great Schism, another pope came along and re-used the Avignon pope’s name as a demonstration that the former’s claim was illegitimate. Similarly, there was another Pope John XXIII in more recent times.

Here’s the timeline for the whole embarassing period. This is mostly taken from

1305: The King of France uses his influence to get Clement V elected. Clement V moves to Avignon, France. For the next 73 years, the papacy is under the control of the French king. (It was Clement V who wiped out the Knights Templar, BTW.)

1305 - 1378: Clement V, John XXII, Benedict XII, Clement VI, Innocent VI, Urban V, and Gregory XI all serve as popes. This period is what Church historians call the “Babalonian Captivity.”

1378: Urban VI is elected pope. He tells the French king to go screw himself and goes back to Rome. Some French cardinals decide that they won’t accept this move, so they elect a new guy, Clement VII, who stays in Avignon. This is the beginning of the Great Schism.

1389: Urban VI dies. The cardinals in Rome elect Boniface IX pope.

1394: Clement VII dies. The Cardinals in Avignon elect Benedict XIII as their pope.

1404: Boniface IX dies. Innocent VII is elected by the Roman cardinals.

1406: Innocent VII dies. Gregory XII is elected by Rome.

1409: The Council of Pisa is convened to solve the schism. They elect a new pope, Alexander V. God only knows why they thought a third contender would make matters any better, but they did. Neither Greg nor Benny want to yield their claims to this new guy, so the Church now has 3 popes.

1410: Alexander V dies. The guys from Pisa elect John XXIII to succeed him.

1415: Everyone finally decides that enough is enough. The Council of Constance is convened to settle things permanently. Emperor Sigismund arrests all three claimants and forces them to resign (or abdicate or whatever). Martin V is elected pope in 1417. He goes to Rome and that’s that.

Gregory XII dies in 1417, John XXIII dies in 1419, and Benedict XIII in 1423. The guys in Avignon weren’t quite done, however. After Benedict’s death, they elected another new pope, named Clement VIII, but nobody seems to have paid any attention to him. He died in 1429.

In hindsight Clement VII, Benedict XIII, Alexander V, and John XXIII, and Clement VIII are considered anti-popes. Urban VI, Boniface IX, Innocent VII, Gregory XII, and Martin V are considered legitimate popes. As I’ve said, some of the anti-popes’ names have been re-used by latter popes as a sign of contempt.

ahh, now I understand. Thanks!

So where does Sylvester fit in? (He was part of the Jeopardy question and is now considered an anti-pope.)

One of the reasons the decision of the Council of Pisa was rejected was because the council was not sanctioned by a Pope. In 1415, the Germans convinced John XXIII to sanction the Council of Constance but shortly after the council began John changed his mind and declared it invalid. After Martin V was named Pope, the council convinced Gregory XII to retroactively legitimize the council’s authority and resign in Martin’s favor. As a result of this, the council recognized the Roman line of Popes from Urban VI to Gregory as the legitimate line and the Avignon and Pisa lines as antipopes.

Sylvester IV was elected Pope in 1105. His election was the result of a disagreement between King Henry IV of Germany (carried on by his son Henry V) and Pope Gregory VII (and his successor Paschal II) over investiture, ie the naming of bishops. The Pope felt it was his prerogative, but because of the secular authority bishops held, kings felt they should have a say in who was named bishop in their realm. In England and France, the pope was able to work out an agreement with the kings on this issue but in Germany, it led to a conflict with Henry IV eventually naming his own Pope, Clement III. Gregory in retaliation, declared Henry dethroned and named Duke Rudolf of Swabia as King. The conflict went on for several decades with Henry being succeeded by his son, Clement being succeeded by Albert and Sylvester, and Gregory being succeeded by Paschal. In 1111, Henry and Paschal reconciled and Sylvester lost what little support he had and died soon thereafter. The agreement between Henry and Paschal didn’t last and Henry tried to start up another line of antipopes after Paschal’s death in 1118.

Does the Church have an official position on the status of the Antipopes’ souls?

Are they now playing tiddlywinks with the other popes in Heaven, or are they languishing in one of the ubiquitous “special corners” of Hell?

I suppose that that would depend on the specific anti-pope and his motives. John XXIII propbably hoped that he would reconcile the schism, but it’s harder to imagine how guys like Clement VII could justify their actions.

dtilque said:
(I’ve always been leery of having fettuccine Alfredo after antipasto. I figure it could give a new meaning to the phrase “upset stomach”.)

When I used to wait tables at an italian restaurant, every time I would serve antipasta I would say to the table “For God’s sake, don’t let this touch the pasta.” Not once did I ever get a laugh, or even a glimmer of understanding from any table.

Odd, but the only place I had heard the term was at the TrueCatholic web page. It seems to be a splinter group that believes the doctrine of John XXIII’s Vatican II invalidates him and all the popes that followed. Curiously I don’t see any referenc to antipope when I browse the site now.

Correction, they have a gallery of anti-pope photos here

Hmm, I’d love to see this “Pope Pious the XIII” and “the pope of religous interlerance,” Jack Chick have a fight to the death.