Antipopes Benedict

Aaron asked about the antipope Benedict XIII. Well, it is quite a long story so I shall just give a few pointers.

Between 1378 and 1417, there were rival claimants to the papacy, located at Rome and Avignon. An attempted resolution at Pisa added a third claimant. The Wikipedia article "Western Schism" and the Catholic Encyclopaedia article "Western Schism" give the basic information about what happened. It was an utter mess. As the Catholic Encyclopaedia comments of the time of Urban VI (Rome) and Clement VII (Avignon):
The saints themselves were divided: St Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine of Sweden, Bl. Peter of Aragon, Bl. Ursulina of Parma, Philippe d'Alencon, and Gerard de Groote were in the camp of Urban; St. Vincent Ferrer, Bl. Peter of Luxemburg, and St. Colette belonged to the party of Clement.
The schism was brought to an end by the Council of Constance which deposed Benedict XIII (Avignon) and John XXIII (Pisa), and accepted the resignation of Gregory XII (Rome). Gregory had empowered the Council to elect a new Pope. They elected Odo Colonna who took the name Martin V.

As a footnote to this, there was also an antipope called Benedict X in the 11th century. The next Benedict took the number eleven so it could be argued that Cardinal Ratzinger really became the 15th Pope Benedict.
All of which goes to show the truth of the description of the Catholic Church attributed to Hillaire Belloc:
An institute run with such knavish imbecility that if it were not the work of God it would not last a fortnight.

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