Today in Catholic History – Anti-Pope Nicholas V Consecrated

On 12 May 1328, Pietro Rainalducci was consecrated anti-Pope Nicholas V at St. Peter’s Basilica during the pontificate of John XXII. He was elected through the influence of the excommunicated Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV the Bavarian and was the last Imperial anti-pope. Rainalducci was a member of the Franciscan spirituals who supported Louis’ view that the secular authority was of greater power than the Church. Rainalducci took the name Nicholas in honor of Franciscan pope Nicholas IV and Pope Nicholas III who had written the Franciscan rules of poverty Exiit qui seminat which John XXII had torn to pieces, causing a schism in the Franciscan order.

One of the most interesting acts of his period as anti-pope was to preside over a trial of Pope John XXII at the Duomo of Pisa. John XXII was represented by a straw puppet dressed in pontifical robes. Nicholas condemned John and handed him [that is, the puppet] over to the secular authority to be executed.

John XXII, for his part, excommunicated Nicholas in April 1329. Later Nicholas would repent, confess both to the archbishop of Pisa and to Pope John, who absolved him on 25 August 1330. However, Nicholas would remain in a comfortable imprisonment in the papal palace at Avignion until his death in October 1333.

More on anti-pope Nicholas V

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