Clement VIII, Antipope
CLEMENT VIII, ANTIPOPE
Pontificate (Avignon obedience): June 10, 1423 to July 26, 1429. Born 1369 or 1370 in Teruel into a noble Aragonese family as Gil Sanchez Muñoz y Carbón; his parents were Pedro II Sanchez Muñoz y Liñán, the Baron of Escriche, and Catalina Sanchez de Carbón. He died Dec. 28, 1446. Sanchez Muñoz was a doctor of canon law (Montpellier 1365) who served in the household of cardinal deacon Pedro de Luna. There he became a friend and trusted advisor of the future antipope. After de Luna was named benedict xiii (1394–1417), Sanchez Muñoz became a member of the curia at Avignon, and in 1396 was an envoy to the Archbishop of Valencia, an important position meant to maintain Spanish support for Avignon and ostensibly to further discussions that might end the schism. Eventually, Sanchez Muñoz became provost of Valencia and archpriest of Teruel. When Benedict XIII died, three of his four remaining cardinals elected Sanchez Muñoz pope on June 10, 1423. He took the name Clement VIII, a clear reference to clement vii (1378–94), who began the Great Schism when he moved the papacy back to Avignon.
In a noteworthy aside to the Great Schism, the fourth of Benedict's cardinals, Jean Carrier, did not attend the conclave because he was serving in Armagnac as Benedict's vicar-general. When he returned to Peñíscola in December 1423, Carrier declared that the election of Clement VIII had been invalid (he made accusations of simony in regard to the conferral of benefices). As a result, Clement excommunicated him, and Carrier went on to elect his own antipope (Nov. 12, 1425): Bernard Garnier, a sacrist from Rodez, who took the name Benedict XIV. Nothing of substance is known of Benedict XIV's career; we do not even have a date for his death. Some secondary works claim that Carrier himself went on to take the name Benedict XIV. Inasmuch as no power in Europe recognized either of these Benedict XIVs, the name does not appear on most lists of antipopes. Clement VIII is thus generally considered the last antipope of the Great Schism.
For his part, Clement had no secure power base of his own, and thus the Roman pope martin v (1417–31), was eventually able to secure his abdication. The closest Clement came to support was the Aragonese king Alfonso V (1416–1458), who would not publicly denounce the antipope because he found Clement's claim a useful bargaining chip in his effort to secure control of Naples. Nonetheless, Clement's claim lacked credibility even in Aragón, because while Alfonso was in Italy, Queen Maria was regent and actively supported Martin, as did the majority of Aragonese bishops. She went so far as to censure the antipope and to blockade Peñíscola. Alfonso temporarily lifted these measures in 1423, but only as a ploy meant to put pressure on Martin. Finally, when his claims in Naples appeared secure, Alfonso sent a personal delegation to Clement to convince the antipope that he should recognize Martin. The delegation was headed by Alfonso de Borja, who would become Pope callistus iii (1455–58). Clement abdicated on July 26, 1429; this was confirmed on August 13 in St. Mateo by Martin's legate, Pierre de Foix. There was no obvious ill will between pope and former antipope, and on Aug. 26, 1429 Martin named Sanchez Muñoz bishop of Majorca. He remained at this position until his death on Dec. 28, 1446. As he had requested, the tiara he used as bishop continues to hang over his tomb in the Cathedral of Palma.
Bibliography: j. d. mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio (Florence and Venice 1759–98; repr. Graz 1960–61) 28.1117–41. martin de alpartil, Chronica actitatorum temporibus domini Benedicti XIII, ed. f. ehrle (Paderborn 1906). a. degert, "La fin du Schisme d'Occident," in Mélanges Léonce Couture (Toulouse 1902) 223–42. s. puig y puig, Pedro de Luna: Ultimo papa de Aviñón, 1387–1430 (Barcelona 1920) 363–453, 606–17. r. mols, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1953) 12.1245–49. m. garcia miralles, La personalidad de Gil Sanchez Muñoz y la solución del cisma de occidente (Teruel 1954). v. a. Álvarez palenzuela, Extinción del Cisma de Occidente: La legación del cardenal Pedro de Foix en Aragón, 1425–1430 (Madrid 1977). w. brandmÜller, Lexikon des Mittelalters (Munich 1979) 2.2145–46. j. n. d. kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (New York 1986) 240–41. j. goÑi, Diccionario de Historia Eclesiastica de España, Suplemento I (Madrid 1987) 158–62 for additional bibliography; also 128–158 for an overview of the schism with an emphasis on Spain.
[p. m. savage]