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How did the Crusaders, Babylonian Captivity, The Great Schism, and Black Death affect the Catholic Church?

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  • The Crusaders became the military arm of the Church, and used force to restore Christianity. The Papacy suffered badly over the Crusades, as did all Christendom.


  • The Babylonian Captivity was the moving of the Papacy to Avignon in France from 1305 - 1378. This split the Church and divided the leadership as there were two Popes at the same time. The illegitimate or unrecognised Pope is called an Antipope. This lead to schism.


  • The Great Schism (sometimes called the Western Schism related to the Popes in Avignon and the Popes in Rome. By its end, three men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any real theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance (1414–1418). The simultaneous claims to the papal chair of three different men hurt the reputation of the office.


  • The Black Death (Bubonic plague) affect Europe as a pandemic which peaked between 1348 and 1350. Pope Innocent sat between cauldrons of fire, thus killing all the fleas and germs in his audience. That is how the Pope survived.

The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, reducing the world's population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history.

Includes CC-BY-SA content from Wikipedia's Black_Death article (authors)

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