Born: c. 1318 (Langquedoc)
Died: October 15, 1389
Pope: April 8, 1379 - October 15, 1389 (11 years, 6 months)
Urban VI was elected by French Cardinals at the behest of a Roman populace which demanded that an Italian once again sit on Peter's throne. This would not prove to be a good choice for them because Urban really wanted to reform the clergy - in particular, he wanted to limit the extravagant lifestyles which the cardinals had come to enjoy.
Unfortunately, he did not go about these reforms with much tact and his insults and abuse of the cardinals caused them to elect an antipope, Clement VII - this inaugurated the Great Schism of the West. This would last for some 60 years, with one set of popes settled in the Lateran Palace in the Vatican and a second line of popes based in Avignon.
Urban launched upon a program of violence against those he thought to have been conspiring against him, imprisoning people at will and mistreating them brutally. Later historians have considered seriously that he might have been insane.
Also Known As: none
Alternate Spellings: none
Common Misspellings: none
Popes and the Papacy: History, Doctrines, News About Popes
The pope may be the most visible and famous symbol of the Catholic Church. It is the office of the papacy and the assumed link back to the original apostles that differentiates Roman Catholicism from other Christian denominations. The office of the papacy is rather complicated and, much to the chagrin of believers, comes with a rather checkered past.
Pope John Paul II: Biography, History, and Policies
John Paul II has been one of the longest-lived and most influential popes in the history of the Catholic Church. For good or for ill, his policies and personality have helped shape not only the current character of Catholicism but also the direction Catholicism will take for generations to come. Because of that, it's important to take the time to carefully consider what his policies have been and how they have affected Catholics around the world.
Electing the Next Pope: Index of Resources on Papal Elections
Every human is mortal, and that includes popes. Some live and reign for extraordinarily long times while others only serve for a few days, but in the end all die and a new pope must be elected. How are papal elections run? A papal election is a process that is shrouded in secrecy; the details of any one election are supposed to be kept hidden, but general information is known.
Book Reviews: Roman Catholic Popes, Papacy, History
Who or what is the pope? The title pope stems from the Greek word papas, which simply means "father." Early in Christian history it was used as a formal title expressing affectionate respect for any bishop and sometimes even priests. Today it continues to be used in Eastern Orthodox churches for the patriarch of Alexandria.