Execrabilis


Execrabilis
   Papal bull issued by Pope Pius II on 18 January 1460, forbidding anyone to appeal from a decision of a pope to a future general council of the church. The end of the Great Schism of the Western church in 1417 had removed the crisis of disunity that had strengthened Conciliarism, the theory that a general council of the church, rather than the pope, was the supreme authority in the church. With the final disbanding of the Council of Basel in 1449, both the driving force behind Conciliarism and the political backing for any extreme action to enforce its theories had been weakened.
   Nevertheless, much opinion among educated clergymen north of the Alps still held that the supremacy of councils over popes, formally adopted by the decree Haec sancta of the Council of Constance in 1415, was a permanent part of the law of the church. The popes had always opposed this doctrine, but they hesitated to revoke the decree openly since actions of the Council of Constance had been the basis for the end of the Schism and the election of Martin V as pope in 1417.
   After the end of the Council of Basel, popes Nicholas V, Calixtus III, and Pius II found that disgruntled secular rulers and clergymen sometimes appealed from papal decisions to the meeting of the next general council (which would have occurred every 10 years if the popes had lived up to Martin V's promise to the Council of Constance). Hence Pius Il's immediate goal in issuing Execrabilis was to stop the practice of appealing his decisions to a future general council. His long-term goal was even simpler: it was to weaken and ultimately destroy the foundation of the Conciliarist view of authority within the church and to reaffirm the view of the medieval popes that the pope's authority rested entirely on his position as successor to St. Peter and hence was absolute and not answerable to any council or any other human agency. Pius II's decree was resented in many places, and from time to time rulers still threatened to convene a council against the pope's will and make him answerable to it. Other persons (Martin Luther in 1520, for example) still issued public appeals from an unwelcome decision of the pope to a future general council.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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