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Lortz an intellectual Catholic Historian explains the reformation with reference to the medieval break up of Western Christianity Lortz provides revealing evidence of a late medieval break down in the universality of the Catholic Church which shook it to its very foundations Firstly Clement V removed the seat of the Roman See to Avignon in France from 1309 till 1377 Petrarch the father of humanism termed this period the Babylonian Captivity of the papacy a sentiment shared by many non-French In 1377 Gregory XIs returned to Rome by 1378 he was forced to evacuate back to Avignon where he re-established himself as pope The result of this was the creation of two popes Urban VI in Rome and in Robert of Geneva in Avignon the two popes excommunicated each other European loyalty became divided England and the German empire sided with Urban France and the kings of Spain with Clement In 1409 the Council of Pisa attempted to re-unify the church under one pope but ironically created a third pope Secondly the establishment of the German national reform council with a radically separatist stance acted to distance Germany from Rome Thirdly the church influence in the political social economic and legal field was damaged as a result of the growing desire amongst national rulers and in Germany territorial prices to centralize power into their own hands and away from other interest groups including the church This is evident in the increased tendency towards national churches in England France Spain and in Germany territorial churches Lastly Germanys refusal to raise taxation for or become directly involved in a papal to war against the Turks then the enemies of Christianity and resultant fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the Turks is evidence of Europes inability to unite against its enemies Although humanism is often viewed as returning unity to the church for Lortz it actually was a process of secularization The move away from a universal
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