Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/238

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CATASTROPHE

self crowned Emperor. The diplomacy he used made less of an im- pression on Eugene than did attacks staged by the Visconri and other enemies. They looked upon his disagreement with the Council as an excure for stirring up popular resentment and therewith tumult. Eu- gene recognized the authority of the Council by signing a formula submitted to him; but the reforms it decreed threatened to close the sources from which the Curia could obtain much needed money. When the Council of Union was broached a minority wished to con- voke in Italy while a majority sided with the French (the object here was to restore the Gallican Papacy) and favoured Avignon. There- with minds were sundered into two hostile camps. A spiritual cleav- age went hand in hand with a disagreement concerning policy. The stronger wing of those who favoured parliamentarianism became more and more radically democratic. Caesarini and others, including the notable philosophic pioneer Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, completely revised their attitude and once again linked up their ideal of popular government, humanism and culture with a sovereign ecclesiastical mon- archy. They attended the Council of Union which met in company with the Greeks and all other Oriental peoples in Ferrara during 1438. It removed to Florence after 1439, and later on completed in Rome the difficult task of reunion. This was, however, only short lived because the Eastern Empire had to surrender Hagia Sophia to Allah and his Prophet in 1453*

The Council of Basel continued under French leadership. Both Germany and France managed to derive political benefits from the edicts of reform issued before the breach with the Pope occurred. Declarations against Roman centralism and the system of tithes were declared a law of the state in the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438). The German Prince-Electors who after Sigismund's death maintained a neutral attitude amidst the quarrels which disrupted the Church, resolved at the Reichstag of Mayence in 1439 to fU w French example in so far as their principalities were concerned. The **Rump Parliament" of Basel committed suicide by deposing Eugene and setting up an anti-Pope the last one in history. This Felix V (1439-1449) was the rich Duke Amadeus of Savoy, who after a long reign in Rippaille on the Lake of Geneva, became a hermit living in perfect comfort as the head of an order of religious knights. He had


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