Pope Gregory XI (1370–78) was a Frenchman named Pierre Roger de Beaufort born on 1330. He was the successor of Urban V, who had made an unsuccessful attempt to remove the papacy from Avignon to Rome (1367–70). From the time of his election Gregory heard prophetic admonitions to go to Rome, first from St. Bridget of Sweden and then from St. Catherine of Siena, who visited him (1376). But the Avignon court was opposed, and Italy had again become inhospitable. The pope’s absence and the death of Cardinal de Albornoz had plunged the entire Italian peninsula into anarchy and violence. Florence, Milan, and Perugia revolted against papal authority. With Gregory’s sanction, Robert of Geneva led a marauding army into Italy, returning violence for violence. Gregory finally heeded St. Catherine’s pleas and returned to Rome (Jan., 1377), thus ending the Babylonian Captivity of the popes on French soil. All his efforts to bring about peace failed. He was the last of the French popes and was succeeded by Urban VI. The elections after his death began the Great Schism. Gregory issued the first condemnation of the teachings of John Wyclif.
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