Popes And Councils Do Err

The election of a universally recognized Pope did not put an end to the conciliar movement. The demand that councils should meet regularly was a nightmare prospect for a papacy struggling to reassert its authority, and one which Martin V and his successors were to resist vigorously. The Council of Basle (1431–9) was dominated by this conflict between Pope and Council. Only a small proportion of the participants in the council were Bishops, the rest being theologians and proctors appearing on behalf of absentee bishops. At the opening session, not a single bishop was present. Pope Eugenius IV (1431–47) therefore decided to dissolve the Council, but the members refused to accept his decision, and after two years of haggling the pope gave way.

Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, 3rd edition (New Haven: Yale, 2007).


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