The Decline of the Medieval Church at the End of the Middle Ages

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Towards the end of the Middle Ages and into the duration of the Renaissance, the Medieval Church’s social and political power dwindled. Centuries prior the Catholic Church gained a surplus of control, largely due to the stability it maintained during the chaotic breakdown of the Western Roman Empire . Yet toward the end of the Middle Ages the Church set in motion factors that would ultimately lead to its downfall as the definitive figure of authority. However, despite political and social controversy surrounding the church, the institutions it established cleared a path for a new way of thinking, shaping society in an enduring way. The devastating effect of the Crusades coupled with the spread of the Black Plague launched a changing public view of papal authority. This resulted in a more analytical mindset creating a foothold for the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution . An overtly secular focus took precedence over religious matters and the moral decay of the Church was called into question. This obsession of secular control is most clearly exemplified by the Great Schism that took place from 1378 to 1417 . The Great Schism was the result of the Babylonian Captivity, in which the papacy was forced to relocate to Avignon . Soon after returning to Rome, conflict arose within the papacy resulting in three popes fighting for the title. “When the Council of Constance unified the papacy in 1417 with the election of Martin V, the pope’s political authority outside of the

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