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THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF PIERRE DAILLYS CONCILIARISM BY Christopher M. Belutto* The theologian and church statesman Pierre d'Ailly (1350-1420) has been the subject of considerable scholarly attention, as befits one of the foremost fathers of the Council of Constance (1414-1418). The prominent role d'Ailly played as a conciliarist at Constance has, however , overshadowed the earlier development of his conciliar thought. This tendency is reflected in modern studies of d'Ailly which have correspondingly overlooked the important early stages of his career.1 D'Ailly's initial service to the University of Paris, the French crown, and the Avignon papacy strongly influenced the evolution of his conciliarism . He seems to have embraced the via concilH in three steps from the time he received his master's degree in theology in 1381 to his opposition in 1395 and 1396 to France's attempts to withdraw spiritual and financial obedience from the Avignon papacy.2 He appears at first to have been an enthusiastic supporter of conciliar principles, as seen in his Epístola Diäboli Leviathan and the actions he took as rector of *Mr. Bellitto is an assistant professor of ecclesiastical history at St.Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie,Yonkers,New York.The author thanks Louis B.Pascoe, S.J.,for comments and suggestions on earlier drafts, and this journal's anonymous referees for professional criticism . Selections were read as the paper"University, Crown, and Papacy: Pierre d'Ailly and the Politics of the Early Schism" at the 29th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 7, 1994. 'The definitive studies of d'Ailly focus on his later career. These include a study in political theory by Francis Oakley, The Political Thought of Pierre d'Ailly. The Voluntarist Tradition (New Haven, 1964); a biographical interpretation by Bernard Guenée,Between Church and State, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago, 1991), pp. 102-258; and an older account by Louis Salembier, Le Cardinal Pierre d'Ailly (Tourcoing, 1932). An exception to this pattern is offered by Douglass Taber, who treats d'AUly's early career from about 1380 through 1394. See "The Theologian and the Schism:A Study of the Political Thought ofJean Gerson (1363-1429)" (Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 1985), pp. 105-155. The withdrawal of obedience, discussed for several years, was first implemented from 1398 to 1403. From late 1396 through May, 1403, d'Ailly largely withdrew himself from this debate since the forces for withdrawal were too overwhelming. 217 218THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF PIERRE D'AILLY'S CONCILIARISM the Collège de Navarre and university chancellor. Second, dismayed by contentious debates among representatives of university, papacy, and crown at the Councils of Paris about the via cessionis, d'Ailly's backing of the via concilii grew cautious.The obstinacy of all involved appears to have moderated his enthusiasm for a full-scale conciliar resolution and moved an older, more circumspect d'Ailly to a third step: an oligarchic conciliarism, more properly characteristic of his ecclesiology, that assigned a mediatory role to the College of Cardinals. Especially illustrative of the latter two steps are his three cedulae of 1395 and 1396 which have not been analyzed in detail though they indicate in important ways how his conciliarism developed.3 The Context The development of d'Ailly's conciliar views cannot be understood apart from the intertwined relations among the Church, crown, and university he served during the Great Schism." D'Ailly began the arts curriculum at the Collège de Navarre about 1364 and advanced through theology. He came to royal and papal attention in 1379 when he was delegated by the university to advise Charles V (1364-1380) of its support for a general council to resolve the schism. D'Ailly received the master's degree and license in theology in 1381, but his rising career stalled when Charles VI (1380-1422) banned university discussion of the schism. D'Ailly retreated to his Noyon canonry, returning in 1384 as rector of the Collège de Navarre. By 1389, he was royal chaplain. That year, perhaps to curry the king's support and d'Ailly's friendship, Avignon 's Clement VII (1378-1394) nominated...


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