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Catholic Dictionary




A heretical movement founded by John Wyclif (1328-84), parish priest of Lutterworth, Leicestershire, in England. His doctrines were disseminated by the "poor priests" who taught the people that authority to rule depends on moral virtue, the Bible alone contanis divine revelation, preaching is more important than the Mass and the sacraments, and the Pope has no primacy of jurisdiction. Condemned posthumously by the Council of Constance, Wyclifism persisted until the Reformation. Also known as Lollardism, it had its main impact in Bohemia, where John Hus used Wyclif's idea as a basis of religious belief and made deep inroads in the Catholic Church in Germany as a prelude to Protestantism.