by Simon
 Lien-yueh Wei









The doctrine of Conciliarism and the role which this theory played in the Western Schism.  

The doctrine of Conciliarism

The pope was the successor of only one of the apostles, Peter. The sitting council of bishops was the successor of the entire council of apostles. Hence, the sitting council of bishops is the supreme authority in the church, and thus can exercise jurisdiction over the Pope.

The role

There were two popes at that time. It was important for the sitting council have the authority so that it could depose the popes and replace them. However, the popes claimed that they are the supreme authority because Christ gave the authority to Peter and Peter gave it to the popes. Then the council deposed both Gregory XII and Benedict XIII and elected Alexan­der V. Neither of the existing popes had accepted his deposition. Alexander had to estab­lish himself in a different place. Thus in the end the situation was worse for there were three popes. The council was unable to assert its authority. 



Burns, Patout, Lectures of “The Formation of Christian Tradition” in Vanderbilt Divinity school, 2004 Fall.


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