I don’t think Catholics understand what they’re defending, when they defend the papacy. Along those lines, I’ll be posting this series, “Great Moments in Papal History,” to show the character of those in office, whose legitimacy must be maintained in order to also maintain a “succession” in this “office.”
This is from Norman Davies, “Europe” (pg 417):
The Papal Schism, which lasted from 1378 to 1417, followed hard on the popes’ return from Avignon. There had been anti-popes before, of course; but the spectacle of two men, both elected by the same College of Cardinals and each preaching war and anathema against his rival, proved a grave scandal. The two original claimants, Urban VI and Clement VII, could hardly be described as holy men. The former turned out to be a deranged sadist who read his breviary in the Vatican garden whilst supervising the torture of his cardinals. The latter, Robert of Geneva, had once ordered the appalling bloodbath at Cesena.* In 1409, when both the Urbanite and the Clementine parties declined to attend a council designed to reconcile them, the College elected a third. The Schism was not ended until the Council of Constance dismissed all three existing pontiffs and unaniously acclaimed Cardinal Odo Colonna as Martin V (1417-31) in their place.
* [this] little comune revolted again in 1377 during the War of the Eight Saints. This time it was recaptured by Breton troops of Giovanni Acuto (the English-born condottiere John Hawkwood) under the command of Robert, Cardinal of Geneva, (later antipope Clement VII): the latter, acting as the legate of Pope Gregory XI, directed the savage murder of between 2,500 and 5,000 civilians, an atrocity by the rules of war at the time that earned the label the “Cesena Bloodbath” and the cardinal the “butcher of Cesena”.