Nicolas de Clamanges: Personal and pastoral reform in the late medieval Church

Christopher M Bellitto, Fordham University


Known as a literary humanist, Nicolas de Clamanges (ca. 1363-1437) was closely involved in the Great Schism, French humanism, politics at the University of Paris, and Church reform. Far more than an elegant writer, he was a religious reformer writing treatises and letters on Church renewal, especially during twenty years of active exile in France. He advocated a foundational reformatio personalis upon which was built the reform of the Church in capite et in membris. He identified the personal path to reform as a via purgativa led by the Holy Spirit and in imitation of Christ. His plans moved beyond the individual to a greater goal: reforming pastoral care in the institutional Church. His criticisms of simony, failures in the cura animarum, and the irrelevancy of scholasticism emphasized the fact that the primary task of pope, bishop, and priest was shepherding God's flock. Instead of offering a technical treatment of the authority and representation of the General Council at Constance, he encouraged its delegates to let the Holy Spirit, through the fruits and goals of personal and pastoral reform, guide their efforts to unite and reform the Church.

Subject Area

Middle Ages|Religious history|Clergy|Biographies

Recommended Citation

Bellitto, Christopher M, "Nicolas de Clamanges: Personal and pastoral reform in the late medieval Church" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9715516.