Jacques Duèze (John XXII) elected Pope
Pope John XXII (1249 – December 4, 1334), born Jacques Duèze (or d'Euse), was pope from 1316 to 1334.
He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy (1309-1377), elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France. Like his predecessor, Clement V, he centralized power and income in the Papacy, living a princely life in Avignon and spending a lot of money for his court and his wars. He opposed Louis IV of Bavaria as emperor, and Louis in turn invaded Italy and set up an antipope, Nicholas V. Pope John XXII also faced controversy in theology involving his views on the Beatific Vision.
The son of a shoemaker in Cahors, Jacques Duèze studied medicine in Montpellier and law in Paris.
The death of Pope Clement V in 1314 was followed by a sedisvacancy of two years, due to disagreements between the cardinals, who were split into two factions. After two years, Philip V of France (1316–22) finally in 1316 managed to arrange a conclave of twenty-three cardinals in Lyon. This conclave elected Jacques Duèze, who took the name John XXII and was crowned in Lyon. He set up his residence in Avignon rather than Rome, continuing the Avignon Papacy of his predecessor.
Pope John XXII cameo.
John XXII involved himself in the politics and religious movements of many European countries in order to advance the interests of the Church. This made him a very controversial pope at the time. Also his close links with the French crown created widespread distrust of the papacy.
Before John XXII's election a contest had begun for the imperial crown between Louis IV of Bavaria (1314–47) and his opponent, Frederick I of Austria (1308–30). John XXII was neutral at first; but in 1323, when Louis IV had won and became Holy Roman Emperor, the Guelph (papal) party and the Ghibelline (imperial) party began a serious quarrel. This was partly provoked by John XXII's extreme claims of authority over the empire and also partly by Louis IV's support of the spiritual Franciscans, whom John XXII condemned for their insistence on evangelical poverty and their belief that mendicant friars would replace the priesthood and sacraments of the Church. Louis IV was assisted in his doctrinal dispute with the papacy by Marsilius of Padua, and later by the British Franciscan friar and scholar William of Ockham. Louis IV invaded Italy, entered Rome and set up Pietro Rainalducci as antipope Nicholas V (1328–30). The project was a fiasco. Guelphic predominance at Rome was later restored, and Pope John excommunicated William of Ockham. However, Louis IV had silenced the papal claims, and John XXII stayed the rest of his life in Avignon.
Pope John XXII was involved in a theological controversy involving the Beatific Vision. Beginning before he was pope, he argued that those who died in the faith did not see the presence of God until the Last Judgment. The point is important to Catholics, since if the dead are not in the presence of God, then the whole idea of prayers to the saints would seem to be undermined. John XXII continued this argument for a time in sermons while he was pope, although he never taught this in official documents. He eventually backed down from his position, and agreed that those who died in grace do indeed immediately enjoy the Beatific Vision.
Despite holding for many years a view widely held to be heretical, John XXII is not considered a heretic because in his day the doctrine he had contradicted had not been formally defined by the Church, a lacuna that his successor, Pope Benedict XII (1334–42), immediately filled by the encyclical Benedictus Deus, which formally defined this doctrine as part of Church teaching.
Pope John XXII was also an excellent administrator and did much efficient reorganizing.
John XXII has traditionally been credited with having composed the prayer 'Anima Christi, sanctifica me...', which has come down to us in English as 'Soul of Christ, sanctify me...' and as the hymn, 'Soul of my Saviour, sanctify my breast'.
On March 27, 1329 John XXII condemned many writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical in his papal bull In Agro Dominico.
Born at Cahors in 1249; enthroned, 5 September, 1316; died at Avignon, 4 December, 1334. He received his early education from the Dominicans in his native town, and later studied theology and law at Montpellier and Paris. He then taught both canon and civil law at Toulouse and Cahors, came into close relations with Charles II of Naples, and on his recommendation was made Bishop of Fréjus in 1300. In 1309 he was appointed chancellor of Charles II, and in 1310 was transferred to the See of Avignon. He delivered legal opinions favourable to the suppression of the Templars, but he also defended Boniface VIII and the Bull "Unam Sanctam". On 23 December, 1312, Clement V made him Cardinal-Bishop of Porto. After the death of Clement V (20 April, 1314) the Holy See was vacant for two years and three and a half months. The cardinals assembled in Carpentras for the election of a pope were divided into two violent factions, and could come to no agreement. The electoral college was composed of eight Italian cardinals, ten from Gascony, three from Provence, and three from other parts of France. After many weeks of unprofitable discussion as to where the conclave should be held, the electoral assembly was entirely dissolved. Ineffectual were the efforts of several princes to induce the cardinals to undertake an election: neither party would yield. After his coronation Philip V of France was finally able to assemble a conclave of twenty-three cardinals in the Dominican monastery at Lyons on 26 June, 1316, and on 7 August, Jacques, Cardinal-Bishop of Porto, was chosen pope. After his coronation at Lyons on 5 September as John XXII, the pope set out for Avignon, where he fixed his residence.
His vast correspondence shows that John XXII followed closely the political and religious movements in all countries, and sought on every possible occasion the advancement of ecclesiastical interests. Nor was he less insistent than his predecessors on the supreme influence of the papacy in political matters. For this reason he found himself involved in grievous disputes which lasted throughout the greater portion of his pontificate. Great difficulties were also raised for the pope by the controversies among the Franciscans, which Clement V had tried in vain to settle. A number of Franciscans, the so-called "Spirituals," or "Fraticelli," adherents of the most rigorous views, refused to submit to that pope's decision, and after the deaths of Clement V and Gonzalvez, General of the Minorites, they rebelled, especially in the South of France and in Italy, declaring that the pope had no power to dispense them from their rule, since this was nothing other than the Gospel. They then proceeded to drive the Conventuals from their houses, and take possession of the same, thereby causing scandal and much disorder. The new general, Michael of Cesena, appealed to John, who in 1317 ordered the refractory friars to submit to their superiors, and caused the doctrines and opinions of the Spirituals to be investigated. On 23 January, 1318, many of their doctrines were declared erroneous. Those who refused to yield were treated as heretics: many were burned at the stake, and some escaped to Sicily.
These troubles among the Franciscans were increased by the quarrel about evangelical poverty which broke out among the Conventuals themselves. The general chapter of Perugia, through their general, Michael of Cesena, and other learned men of the order (including William Occam), defended the opinion of Bérenger Talon, that Christ and His Apostles had no possessions either individually or in common. In 1322 Pope John declared this statement null and void, and in 1323 denounced as heretical the assertion that Christ and the Apostles had no possessions either individually or in common, and could not even legitimately dispose of what they had for personal use. Not only the Spirituals, but also the adherents of Michael of Cesena and William Occam, protested against this decree, whereupon in 1324 the pope issued a new Bull, confirming his former decision, setting aside all objections to it, and declaring those who opposed this decision heretics and enemies of the Church. Summoned to appear at Avignon, Michael of Cesena obeyed the summons, but refused to yield and, when threatened with imprisonment, sought safety in flight. Leaving Avignon on 25 May, 1328, and accompanied by William Occam and Bonagratia di Bergamo, he betook himself to Louis of Bavaria for protection.
Political conditions in Germany and Italy moved the pope to assert over the latter far-reaching political claims, and similarly with regard to the German Crown, because of the latter's union with the imperial office. On this score a violent quarrel broke out between the pope and King Louis of Bavaria. During the vacancy that followed the death of Clement V, there had arisen a disputed election for the throne of Germany, Louis of Bavaria having been crowned at Aachen, and Frederick of Austria at Bonn (25 Nov., 1314). The electors of both candidates wrote to the future pope to obtain recognition of their choice, and also to seek for him imperial coronation. On the day of his coronation (5 Sept., 1315) John wrote to both Louis and Frederick and also to the other German princes, admonishing them to settle their disputes amicably. As there was no universally acknowledged German king, and the pope had not given preference to either candidate, neither could hope to exercise imperial authority. Nevertheless, in 1315 Louis appointed Jean de Belmont imperial vicar for Italy, and at the same time supported Galeazzo Visconti of Milan, then in open opposition to the pope. The latter maintained (13 March, 1317) that, by reason of the vacancy of the Roman Empire, all imperial jurisdiction resided with the pope, and, following the example of his predecessor Clement V, he appointed King Robert of Sicily imperial vicar for Italy (July, 1317). On 28 September, 1322, Louis of Bavaria informed the pope that he had overcome his opponent, Frederick of Austria, upon which John wrote him a friendly letter.
Louis, however, took no further steps to effect a reconciliation with the pope. On the contrary, he supported in their opposition to the papal legates the excommunicated Visconti of Milan and the Italian Ghibellines, acted as legitimate emperor, and proclaimed, on 2 March, 1323, Berthold von Neiffen imperial vicar for Italy. Thereupon John, following the precedent of Gregory VII and Innocent III, warned Louis of Bavaria that the examination and approval of the chosen German king with a view to the consequent bestowal of the imperial dignity belonged to the pope; that he must refrain from exercising royal rights until the legitimacy of his election had been settled; that he must recall all commands already issued, give no further aid to the enemies of the Church — especially the Visconti of Milan, condemned as heretics — and within three months present himself before the pope. Should Louis not submit to this admonition, he was threatened with excommunication. The subsequent behaviour of Louis was very equivocal. He sent an embassy to the pope, asking for and obtaining a delay of two months before appearing in the papal presence. At the same time he declared at Nuremberg on 16 November, 1323, that he did not recognize the pope's action or his claim to examine into the election of a German king; he also accused John of countenancing heretics, and proposed the calling of a general council to sit in judgment on him. During this respite, lengthened at his own request, Louis took no steps towards a reconciliation, and on 23 March, 1324, John pronounced on the king the sentence of excommunication. On the other hand the latter published at Sachsenhausen on 22 May, 1324, an appeal in which he accused the pope of enmity to the empire, of heresy and protection of heretics, and appealed from John's decision to a general council. An open breach henceforth existed, followed by disastrous results. Louis persecuted the few German cardinals, who recognized the papal Bull, whereupon John on 11 July, 1324, declared all his rights to imperial recognition forfeited. The pope further ratified the treaty between Duke Leopold of Austria and Charles I of France, in which the former promised to help the latter to the title of German King, and then of Roman Emperor. However, as Leopold died on 28 Feb., 1326, and Louis of Bavaria and Frederick of Austria became reconciled, the king's power in Germany became firmly established.
The quarrel between John XXII and Louis of Bavaria stirred up a vigorous literary feud concerning the relations of Church and State. Louis was supported by the Franciscan Spirituals, e.g. Ubertino da Casale, Michael of Cesena, William Occam, Bonagratia di Bergamo, and many others whose extreme ideas on the question of religious poverty had been condemned by the pope; also by two theologians of the University of Paris, Marsilius of Papua and John of Gentian (de Gentian), joint authors of the famous "Defensor Paces," which was intended to prove that the only way to maintain peace is by the complete subordination of the ecclesiastical power to that of the State. Denying the primacy of the pope, the authors asserted that the emperor alone could authorize ecclesiastics to exercise criminal jurisdiction, that all temporal goods of the Church belonged to the emperor, etc. Other theologians — e.g. Henry von Kelheim, provincial of the Minorites, Ulrich Hanganoer, the king's private secretary, Abbot Engelbert of Admont, Lupold of Bebenburg, afterwards Bishop of Bamberg, and William Occam, though not so extreme in their views as the authors of the "Defensor Paces," willingly exalted the imperial above the papal power. It was unfortunate for the fickle and, in theological matters, inexperienced king that he fell into the hands of such advisers. The "Defensor Paces" was anathematized by a papal Bull of 23 October, 1327, and some of its theses were condemned as heretical by the University of Paris. Many theologians in their writings defended the ecclesiastical hierarchy and the primacy of the pope, among them the Augustinian Alexander a Sancto Elpidio, later Archbishop of Ravenna, the Minorite, Alvarius Pelagius, the Augustinian Augustinus Triumphus of Ancona, and Conrad of Megenberg. On their side, however, the defence was carried too far, some of them even extolling the pope as absolute ruler of the world.
When Louis of Bavaria saw his power firmly established in Germany, he set out early in 1327 for Italy, where in February, with the chiefs of the Italian Ghibellines, he held a congress at Trent. In March he passed through Bergamo on his way to Milan. On 3 April John XXII declared forfeited all rights of Louis to the German Crown, also to all fiefs held from the Church and from former sovereigns, and finally to the Duchy of Bavaria. Moreover, he summoned Louis to appear before the Holy See within six months, and accused him of heresy for defending a doctrine which the Head of the Church had repudiated, and for taking under his protection the heretics, Marsilius and John of Gentian. Louis paid no attention to this notice, which indeed only aggravated his opposition to the pope. In Milan he received (30 May) the crown of Lombardy from the hands of two deposed bishops, and arbitrarily appointed several new bishops. The pope on his side appointed bishops to sees falling vacant within the empire, and continued to fill the various reserved prelacies, so that an open schism henceforth existed. In 1328 Louis set out for Rome, where the Guelphs had been overthrown with their senator, King Robert of Naples. On 17 January, 1328, the excommunicated German king received in Rome the imperial crown from Sciarra Colonna, who on 18 April, after a farcical proceeding, and in the name of Louis of Bavaria, proclaimed John XXII a heretic, usurper, and oppressor of the Church, and deprived him of all his papal dignities. A straw image of the pope was publicly burned in Rome, and on 12 May the Franciscan Spiritual, Pietro Rainalducci of Corbario, was proclaimed antipope by Louis, taking at his consecration (22 May) the name of Nicholas V.
But Louis had made himself so universally obnoxious in Italy, on account of his tax levies, that the position of the antipope was untenable. Many Ghibelline cities and rulers became reconciled with the pope, and finally Pietro of Corbario himself wrote to John, asking for pardon and absolution. At Avignon on 25 August, 1330, he publicly acknowledged his guilt in the presence of the pope and the cardinals, whereupon the former gave him absolution and the kiss of peace. Nevertheless, Pietro was not allowed to leave the city, where he spent the three remaining years of his life in voluntary penance and study. By degrees the whole of Italy returned to the obedience of the legitimate pope. The latter meanwhile had renewed his sentence against Louis of Bavaria, and proclaimed in Italy a crusade against him (1328). At the same time he summoned the German princes to hold another election, and excommunicated Michael of Cesena, William Occam, and Bonagratia. The adherents of Louis in Lombardy soon dwindled away, and he returned to Germany in the beginning of 1330. Here too, the people were weary of the long conflict, and wished for peace, so that Louis was compelled to take steps towards a reconciliation with the pope. In May, 1330, he entered into negotiations with Avignon through the mediation of Archbishop Baldwin of Trier, King John of Bohemia, and Duke Otto of Austria. The pope demanded from Louis renunciation of all claims on the imperial title. Louis on that occasion refused to entertain the idea, but was later (1333) willing to discuss the project of his abdication. The matter, however, was then postponed. Whether John XXII arbitrarily severed Italy from the empire has never been definitely settled, for the authenticity of the Bull "Ne praetereat" is not certain.
In the last years of John's pontificate there arose a dogmatic conflict about the Beatific Vision, which was brought on by himself, and which his enemies made use of to discredit him. Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question, in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope's view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on the matter (November, 1333), and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.
The Spirituals, always in close alliance with Louis of Bavaria, profited by these events to accuse the pope of heresy, being supported by Cardinal Napoleon Orsini. In union with the latter, King Louis wrote to the cardinals, urging them to call a general council and condemn the pope. The incident, however, had no further consequences. With untiring energy, and in countless documents, John followed up all ecclesiastical or politico-ecclesiastical questions of his day, though no particular grandeur is remarkable in his dealings. He gave salutary advice to ruling sovereigns, especially to the Kings of France and of Naples, settled the disputes of rulers, and tried to restore peace in England. He increased the number of sees in France and Spain, was generous to many scholars and colleges, founded a law library at Avignon, furthered the fine arts, and dispatched and generously maintained missionaries in the Far East. He caused the works of Petrus Olivi and Meister Eckhardt to be examined, and condemned the former, while he censured many passages in the latter's works. He published the "Clementines" as the official collection of the "Corpus Juris Canonici," and was the author of numerous decretals ("Extravagantes Johannis XXII" in "Corp. Jur. Can."). He enlarged and partly reorganized the papal Curia, and was particularly active in the administration of ecclesiastical finances.
The usual revenues of the papacy grew very meagre, owing to the disturbed condition of Italy, especially of the Papal States, consequent on the removal of the Papacy from its historic seat at Rome. Moreover, since the end of the thirteenth century the College of Cardinals had enjoyed one half of the large income from tributary kingdoms, the servitia communia of the bishops, and some less important sources. Pope John, on the other hand, had need of large revenues, not only for the maintenance of his Court, but particularly for the wars in Italy. Since the thirteenth century the papal treasury had exacted from the minor benefices, when conferred directly by the pope, a small tax (annata. — See ANNATES; APOSTOLIC CAMERA). In 1319 John XXII reserved to himself all minor benefices falling vacant in the Western Church during the succeeding three years, and in this way collected from each of them the aforesaid annates, as often as they were conferred by the pope. Moreover, many foreign benefices were already canonically in the papal gift, and the annates from them were paid regularly into the papal treasury. John also made frequent use of the right known as jus spolii, or right of spoils, which permitted him under certain circumstances to divert the estate of a deceased bishop into the papal treasury. He procured further relief by demanding special subsidies from various archbishops and their suffragans. France, in particular, furnished him the most financial aid. The extensive reservation of ecclesiastical benefices was destined to exercise a prejudicial influence on ecclesiastical life. The centralized administration took on a highly bureaucratic character, and the purely legal standpoint was too constantly in evidence. The pope's financial measures, however, were highly successful at the time, though in the end they evoked no little resistance and dissatisfaction. In spite of the large expenditures of his pontificate, John left an estate of 800,000 gold florins — not five millions as stated by some chroniclers.
John XXII died on 4 December, 1334, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He was a man of serious character, of austere and simple habits, broadly cultivated, very energetic and tenacious. But he held too persistently to canonico-legal traditions, and centralized overmuch the ecclesiastical administration. His financial measures, more rigorously applied by his successors, made the Curia of Avignon generally detested. The transfer of the papacy from Rome to Avignon was esteemed to have taken place in the interests of France, which impression was strengthened by the preponderance of French cardinals, and by the long-continued conflict with King Louis of Bavaria. In this way was aroused a widespread distrust of the papacy, which could not fail to result in consequences detrimental to the interior life of the Church.
John XXII, Roman Catholic Pope from 1316 to 1334, was born at Cahors, France, in 1249. His original name was Jacques Duèse, and he came either of a family of petty nobility or else of well-to-do middle-class parents, and was not, as has been popularly supposed, the son of a shoemaker. He began his education with the Dominicans at Cahors, subsequently studied law at Montpellier, and law and medicine in Paris, and finally taught at Cahors and Toulouse. At Toulouse he became intimate with the bishop Louis, son of Charles II, King of Naples. In 1300 he was elevated to the episcopal see of Fréjus by Pope Boniface VIII at the instance of the king of Naples, and in 1308 was made chancellor of Naples by Charles, retaining this office under Charles's successor, Robert of Anjou. In 1310 Pope Clement V summoned Jacques to Avignon and instructed him to advise upon the affair of the Templars and also upon the question of condemning the memory of Boniface VIII. Jacques decided on the legality of suppressing the order of the Templars, holding that the pope would be serving the best interests of the church by pronouncing its suppression; but he rejected the condemnation of Boniface as a sacrilegious affront to the church and a monstrous abuse of the lay power. On the 23rd of December 1312 Clement appointed him cardinal-bishop of Porto, and it was while cardinal of Porto that he was elected pope, on the 7th of August 1316. Clement had died in April 1314, but the cardinals assembled at Carpentras were unable to agree as to his successor. As the two-thirds majority requisite for an election could not be obtained, the cardinals separated, and it was not until the 28th of June 1316 that they reassembled in the cloister of the Dominicans at Lyons, and then only in deference to the pressure exerted upon them by Philip V of France. After deliberating for more than a month they elected Robert of Anjou's candidate, Jacques Duèse, who was crowned on the 5th of September, and on the 2nd of October arrived at Avignon, where he remained for the rest of his life.
More jurist than theologian, John defended the rights of the papacy with rigorous zeal and as rigorous logic. For the restoration of the papacy to its old independence, which bad been so gravely compromised under his immediate predecessors, and for the execution of the vast enterprises which the papacy deemed useful for its prestige and for Christendom, considerable sums were required; and to raise the necessary money John burdened Christian Europe with new taxes and a complicated fiscal system, which was fraught with serious consequences. For his personal use, however, he retained but a very small fraction of the sums thus acquired, and at his death his private fortune amounted to scarce a million florins. The essentially practical character of his administration has led many historians to tax him with avarice, but later research on the fiscal system of the papacy of the period, particularly the joint work of Samaran and Mollat, enables us very sensibly to modify the severe judgment passed on John by Gregorovius and others.