What was the avignon papacy and why did it occur?
Basically, in 1377, Pope Urban VI was elected by the college of cardinals to replace Gregory XI. The French bishops and priests tried to persuade him into moving his residence to Avignon, because previous Popes such as Clement V had ruled from this city. Urban VI refused, publicly accusing French church officials of corruption through bribery. The relationship between the French clergymen and the Pope dwindled and he quickly lost support among Italian patriarchs as well. In 1378 AD a French catholic council overturned Urban VI's right as Pope and they chose their own, new leader for Christendom, Clement VII. The only problem was, no one was pious or high enough in rank to remove Urban VI from office officially. So now there were two Popes,one in Avignon and one in Rome. Up until 1417 AD each settlement had their separate Pope. Martin V came into power around this time, where it was agreed by everyone that he was the one and only Pope. This event is known as the Great Schism. It occured because the French wanted more authority within the Papacy and the ability to intervene with religious affairs.
Why was the papacy exile in avignon?
The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1378, during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon, in France, rather than in Rome. This situation arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown. Following the strife between Boniface VIII and Philip IV of France, and the death of his successor Benedict XI after only eight months in office, a deadlocked conclave finally elected Clement V, a Frenchman, as Pope in 1305. Clement declined to move to Rome, remaining in France, and in 1309 moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy". A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon; all were French, and they increasingly fell under the influence of the French Crown. Finally, on September 13, 1376, Gregory XI abandoned Avignon and moved his court to Rome (arriving on January 17, 1377), officially ending the Avignon Papacy. Despite this return, in 1378 the breakdown in relations between the cardinals and Gregory's successor, Urban VI, gave rise to the Western Schism. This started a second line of Avignon popes, now regarded as illegitimate. The last Avignon pope, Benedict XIII, lost most of his support in 1398, including that of France; following five years of siege by the French, he fled (March 11, 1403) to Perpignan. The schism ended in 1417 at the Council of Constance after only two popes had reigned in opposition to the Papacy in Rome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avignon_Papacy+ H-man
Why did the avignon papacy occur?
In the 14th century, the papacy was moved for a time to escape infighting of powerful families in Rome, between the Colonna and Orsini families. Eventually, you had "dueling banjos" of church councils electing different people to Pope, and there were times when there were as many as three men who had some claim to the office. That's just a rough summary, here's a link for more details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_Captivity_of_the_Papacy
What happened in Avignon during the Middle Ages?
For most of the 14th Century, the Papacy resided there. When a new pope was elected in Rome, there was a controversy because the Avignon pope would not step down. The church decided to just elect a third pope and dismiss the two opposing popes but this only exacerbated the problem. Finally, everybody agreed to move the Papacy back to Rome and everyone agreed on a single pope. Sorry, this is pretty vague. I think there was a Clement and a Martin involved.
What are the most heinous activities ever committed by the Pope or the Catholic church during the Renaissance?
So much Anti-Catholic propaganda, so many Protestants buy into myths about the Catholic bogeyman.The Inquisition was not a distinct thing. People could appeal to the pope for an Inquisitional Court to be established in their diocese to investigate abuses. This was a form of appeal court and mostly operated as a LIMIT on abuses by local princes (i.e. princes would accuse their political enemies of heresy and use trumped up charges to have them eliminated). As a result, the Church offered Inquisitional courts to prevent such abuse of the Faith. Various temporary “Inquisitions” were established over the centuries in various nations. The Church ran its inquisitional courts by some very odd principles (compared to the times):1. torture was forbidden (common practice at the time); yes, there were exceptions, as there always are.2. confessions extracted under torture were inadmissible (ibid)3. if anyone were accused of heresy, they could simply deny ascribing to such and do penance and go free (i.e. you could only be guilty of what you actually affirmed)4. the Inquisition itself did not carry out any sentences. If someone were found guilty and refused to recant, they were returned to civil authorities to carry out whatever sentence applied under the law.5. Over the course of ~200 years in Spain and Portugal, the total number of executions was about 3,000…about 15 per year. That seems barbaric and high in our day and age, but keep in mind that Henry VIII killed some 60,000 during his reign…and his daughter Elizabeth did likewise…with horrific torture, sham trials, and public dismemberment. In the larger scheme, the Inquisition was far more a moderating influence on Crown excesses of political control than an encourager. Without the Inquisition, those kingdoms would have launched pogroms similar to England and Germany that killed tens of thousands more.Inquisition - Wikipedia