Lead: To a Europe beset by plague, war and economic depression, the Church offered precious little help.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the late 1300s Europe was in trouble. The Black Death was the in process of reducing the population by as much as a third. The Hundred Years' War between France and England was tearing up the French countryside and both countries’ economies. To make matters worse, the continent’s one unifying institution was itself in disarray. For seventy years Popes of the Roman Catholic Church lived in Avignon in southern France. Suspicious that the Church was then a pawn of the French king, English and German Catholics increasingly looked elsewhere for spiritual guidance.