What challenges did the Church face during the 14th century?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Church faced many challenges during this century.  Three of the most important were heresies, the Black Death, and the Great Schism.

During this century, the Church was starting to face heresies and demands for reform that in some ways foreshadowed those of Martin Luther.  The most important of these heresies was Lollardy.  This idea was first propounded by John Wycliffe.  He called for a reduction in the power of Church officials like the Pope and he challenged such basic Church doctrines as the transubstantiation of the bread and wine at Communion.

The Church was also challenged by the Black Death.  It was unable to stop or even to explain this horrible tragedy.  This reduced its legitimacy and people's faith in it.

Compounding all of this was the Great Schism.  The Church essentially split in two with two different popes (and sometimes three) all claiming to be legitimate.  This brought the credibility of the Church into great doubt among many people.

All of these challenged the Church and helped to weaken it during the 1300s.

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