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after his creation, another Pope, Giovanni XXIII., was forthwith created by them in that city, in the person of Baldassare Coscia. The Church considers both these Popes, Alexander V. and Giovanni XXIII., to be genuine. But it is difficult to understand the theory on which it does so. For they were the creations of cardinals who had created an Antipope, or of cardinals who had been themselves created by an Antipope. The Council of Constance, which had been itself summoned by a Pope, John XXIII., who had been created by seceding cardinals in opposition to an accepted and recognised Pope contemporaneously reigning, Gregory XII., and the authority of which, as summoned by a Pope so created, had been expressly repudiated and denied by Gregory, ordained that both Gregory and John should be deposed and a new Pope elected. This election was made in a wholly novel and abnormal manner. It was decreed by the Council that a Pope should be elected by a specially constituted body, consisting, firstly, of the cardinals of the College of Gregory XII.; secondly, of those created by his rivals John XXIII. and his predecessor Alexander V.; thirdly, of those created by the Antipope Benedict XIII.; and fourthly, by thirty other prelates, six for each of the five nations which took part in the Council.
Such an election involved, it will be seen, nothing less than a new departure for the Church. All continuity with the traditional past is wholly and definitely severed. And though, Martin having been elected, it was thought fit to return with all possible accuracy into the old grooves, and to speak and act as though no continuity had been broken, nothing can be more indisputable than that the legitimacy of the whole scheme and constitution of ecclesiastical government thenceforward reposed and reposes on the innate authority of a selfconstituted* General Council. No better ground according to the veritable nature of things and of a constituted Church can be imagined. But various difficulties, then unforeseen, have arisen from the course pursued by that Council at Constance in the fifteenth century, and ultimately, therefore, from the disastrous action of those schismatic cardinals who rebelled against Urban VI., because he menaced them with the suppression of their simoniacal gains, luxurious habits, and loose lives. From, that rebellion, and from the series of events to which it directly led, arose a condition of things, the only outlet from which, as found by the Council of Constance, has made it exceedingly difficult for the defenders of the Eoman Curia to support in its continual encroachments the ever-growing and advancing theory of papal infallibility. Could the Council have foreseen to what a length these claims of infallibility would one day rise, they might have managed better. The better course—the only possible consistent course—would have been to declare the cardinals who rebelled against Urban VI. schismatic, and all their
* Self-constituted, inasmuch as Gregory absolutely refused to recognise the Council as summoned by John XXIII.—and not unreasonably, for John could be deemed to be Pope only by a seceding portion of cardinals and of Christendom. But Gregory did not refuse to recognise and submit to the Council, considered, not as summoned by John, but as a spontaneous meeting of the bishops of the Universal Church. As to the summoning of it by this or that lay prince, of course such summoning could impart no sort of authority to the Council in ecclosiastical oyes.
acts null, and the Popes elected by them, Alexander V. and John XXIII., Antipopes, and to have placed Gregory XII. upon an undisputed throne. Probably it was out of the power of the Council to pursue any such course. Probably no exit from the dead-lock could have been found save by compromise. But the compromise was fatal to a theory of papal infallibility, which, as matters have by the action of the Council been made to stand, not only bases the world of papal authority on an elephant which rests upon a tortoise, but takes that same elephant for the support on which to place the tortoise!
The intricate details of the vexed questions to which the proceedings of the Council of Constance have led, and of the all-important bearing of them on the contemporary controversy to which the unprecedented pretensions and claims of the present Pontiff have given rise, cannot be held to belong to a story of the Papal Conclaves, and would lead us into fields much too far away from our subject. The facts of the case, as well as the bearing of them on the claims advanced in accordance with the decrees of the late Vatican Council, have been as succinctly as lucidly set forth in Mr. Gladstone's tract on "The Vatican Council and the Infallibility of the Pope," and may there be read by those who are interested in the subject.
It is more germane to the scope of the present volume to point out, that all the disasters of a schism which divided Europe for thirty-nine years, all the heroic remedies applied by the Council of Constance to an intolerable state of things, from the violence of which remedies the constitution of the Church yet suffers, and all the insuperable difficulties imported into the theory of the existence and government of the Eoman Church, were caused by small circumstances in that fourteenth century Conclave which elected Urban VI., such as it has been the object of all the voluminous ceremonial and minutely precise regulations which govern those assemblies to render impossible.
Otto Colonna Pope as Martin V.—Conclave for the Election of Eugenius IV.—Contest between Popo and Council.—Anecdote of the Deathbed of Eugenius IV.—Anecdotes of the Conclave that elected Nicholas V.—Violence of the Eoman Barons.—Prospero Colonna.— Cardinal Nephews.—Election of Nicholas V.—Condition of Italy. —Failure of the Attempt to unite the Latin and Greek Churches.— Nicholas a Patron of the new learning.—Other Doings of Nicholas. —Anecdote of his Mother.—Conclave which elected Calixtus TTT.— Cardinal Bessarion.—Conclave which elected tineas Sylvius Piccolomiui as Pius EL—Efforts of the Cardinal of Eouen to prevent the Election, and to secure his own.—Mode of Pius II.'s Election.
Otto Colonna, Pope Martin V., thus elected by the authority of the Council in the November of 1417, was then in sound health, and fifty years old, and he reigned thirteen years and three months, not without some success in reducing the confused state of things in the Church to some degree of regularity and order. It was but little he could do or even attempt towards achieving as much for Italy, which was torn by war from end to end. But as has mostly been the case, the Eoman Colonna Pope, object of jeers* as he may have been elsewhere, was liked, and seems to have done well at
* The rhymes sung under his window at Florence by the Florentine Btreet boys, then as lawless, and as incapable of reverencing aught save cash, as now, are well known.
screamed the boys, imputing to the new Pope the only fault which thoy could comprehend to be such.