Catholic Church – Avignon
|Latin: Ecclesia Catholica|
Papal Palace, Avignon
|Latin Church, and 9 Eastern Catholic Churches|
|Language||Ecclesiastical Latin and native languages|
|Liturgy||Western and Eastern|
|Headquarters||Papal Palace, Avignon|
Jesus, according to|
1st century |
Holy Land, Roman Empire
|Members||760.85 million (2020) (baptized)|
The Catholic Church – Avignon or CCA, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church – Avignon or the Avignon Catholic Church, and officially known as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church in the world with 760.85 million baptized members as of 2019. Based in Avignon, France, it claims to continue the history of the Catholic Church, specifically the tradition of the first thousand years of the Church, which is the longest continuously operating international institution and has played an instrumental role in the development and history of Western civilization. While the bishop of Rome or the pope is recognized as the de jure head of the Church, since 1934 the Church of Avignon declared that the See of Peter in Rome is occupied by heretics and the bishop of Avignon is the pope. As a result, since the Second Western Schism or Avignon–Rome schism of 1934 the Catholic Church's leadership has been contested between the two bishops, and the two both have partial international recognition and from individual Catholics.
As with the Roman Catholic Church, the Avignon Catholic Church professes the Nicene Creed and that it is the continuation of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission. It teaches belief in the apostolic succession of its bishops and that the pope himself is the successor to Saint Peter, of whom primacy was conferred by Jesus. It holds that it remains the original, infallible Christian faith, which has preserved through sacred teaching. The Catholic Church teaches the existence of seven sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the most prominent and liturgically celebrated in the Mass. The church teaches that when sacrificial bread and wine has been consecrated, it becomes the literal body and blood of Jesus. It also venerates Virgin Mary as the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, and the saints, and holds that the saints can intercede prayers between a living believer and God.
The schism between Rome and Avignon arose after an agreement made between the papacy and the Landonist Italian government in 1933, as well as measures enacted from the Second Vatican Council in 1949, which was seen by many Catholics including some cardinals as illegitimate. They claimed that the infallible Magisterium of the Catholic Church could not have decreed the changes made in the name of the Second Vatican Council, and concluded that those who issued these changes could not have been acting with the authority of the Catholic Church. Accordingly, the Council of Avignon in 1935 holds that Pope Pius XI and his successors left the true Catholic Church and thus lost legitimate authority in the Church. The Council cited Paul IV's 1559 bull, Cum ex apostolatus officio, stipulated that a heretic cannot be elected pope, and Canon 188.4 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law provides that a cleric who publicly defects from the Catholic faith automatically loses any office he had held in the Church.
Avignon, France, was also the site of the Avignon Papacy from 1309 to 1376 when several popes resided there instead of Rome due to a conflict between the papacy and the French crown. This separation ended in the 1417 Council of Constance when the two rival popes ended their opposition to Rome. Avignon again became the seat of the pope after the Second Western Schism in 1934, in which the archbishop of Avignon led the resistance of Catholic cardinals and bishops against the Italian Landonist influence in the Vatican, which had taken a number of measures that were considered illegitimate by traditional Catholics. The French arch-conservative Catholic government of King Jean III backed the separation and became the first to recognize the legitimacy of the new Avignon papacy. Since then the pope in Avignon has claimed to be the legitimate successor to Peter and the continuation of the Catholic Church.