Conciliar Movement

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Conciliar Movement


a movement for the reform of the Catholic Church that developed during the late 14th and early 15th centuries among higher circles in the church and among Western European secular feudal lords.

The conciliar movement, which asserted the supremacy of ecumenical councils over the Roman papacy, developed as a result of the formation and consolidation of centralized national states in Europe, as well as the desire of the national churches to be more independent and less subordinate to the pope. In addition, the ruling class became interested in church reform owing to the decline of papal authority and the growth of popular heretical movements, especially the Hussite movement in Bohemia in the early 15th century. The immediate cause of the conciliar movement was the Great Western Schism (1378–1417). The supporters of the conciliar movement insisted that ecumenical councils be held regularly, independently of the pope, and that they function as the highest church body. The French clergy was particularly active in the conciliar movement (seeGALLICANISM).

Convened in 1409 on the initiative of several cardinals and without the consent of the pope, the Council of Pisa was intended to limit the pope’s authority. The Catholic Church does not regard this council as legal. The principle of conciliar supremacy was proclaimed by the Council of Constance (1414–18) and by the Council of Basel (1431–49), during its first phase (through 1437). Pope Eugene IV pushed through a condemnation of the conciliar movement at the Council of Florence (1438–45), which was convened in opposition to the Council of Basel. In 1460, Pius II issued a papal bull forbidding any appeal to the authority of an ecumenical council.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Particular focus is directed toward the conciliar movement, which threatened the authority and relevance of the papacy; this is a particularly interesting problem in that before he became pope, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini had made a name for himself as a radical conciliarist.
The fifteenth-century Spanish theologian, Juan de Segovia, is well known to everyone who is interested in the conciliar movement, especially at the Council of Basel.
This decision has since then coloured the view of the conciliar movement among mission organizations, free churches, and evangelicals.
In Kraynaks opinion, Kant's influence--more than that of the Conciliar movement in the Middle Ages, the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, and various other forces that have been suggested by historians--is responsible for Christianity's acceptance of the doctrines of human dignity and natural rights that infuse modern liberal democratic institutions.
This would be a welcome shift of orientation for our global South sisters and brothers who have long called for the western and northern hemispheric centred conciliar movement to take seriously the church's witness in contexts where faith is a matter of life and death on a daily basis.
Following a succinct overview of the conciliar movement in the aftermath of the Great Schism (1378), including the great fifteenth-century reform councils, and a lucid summary of conciliar sources in canon law and corporation theory, Avis strikes out into adventurous territory when he approaches the question of natural law (also recently addressed by Oakley) and its relationship to the major reformers, especially Luther.
More to the point, it suggested the eventual solution with the emergence of a conciliar movement that triumphed at Constance.
In the resulting conflicts legitimate demands for reform of the clergy were lost and thus the seeds for much more serious conflicts of the future, the Conciliar movement or the Protestant revolution, which absorbed the remnants of Waldensian dissent, come to mind.
In 1948, the first assembly of the World Council of Churches declared, "Peace is the will of God." Yet, even after the carnage of another world war, pacifist and just-war churches in the conciliar movement were unable to agree on a peace ethic.
Both figured centrally in the conciliar movement within ecclesiology that Black (1997, 651) considers to be "the strongest evidence for convergence between republicanism and Christianity." A survey of these thinkers sustains the validity of Black's general thesis that the history of republicanism cannot be told without reference to Christianity, while also demonstrating that this claim requires the narration of a more complicated and less Whiggish process than he permits.
Secondly, to the validity of the long-standing claim that the conciliar movement and conciliar ideas of the fifteenth century later exerted a demonstrable and important influence on the shaping of early modern political and constitutional thinking.
In the first chapter, "The Conciliar Movement," drawing upon the studies that have since appeared, by Fischer and Lumpe, and Sieben in German, and by Gaudement and Munier in French, Hess surveys the development of conciliar meetings and the procedures they employed, highlighting the changing self-understanding and role that these councils had.