Finally, in 1376, Pope Gregory XI moved back to Rome. But two years later, the people were still divided, and they elected two popes—one for Avignon, France, and one for Rome. Both popes claimed to be infallible, and each excommunicated the other. It was called “The Great Schism,” and Wycliffe was named as a primary cause.
Roberts Liardon tells us that the Catholic Church believed that Wycliffe’s “heresies” led to the unrest of the people because he poisoned them with his doctrines and confused their minds. For the next thirty-nine years, the papal headquarters remained divided.
Because of the attention focused on this schism, Wycliffe himself was almost ignored, despite the fact that the blame fell on his doctrines. While he was out of the spotlight, Wycliffe used his time to reveal, step-by-step, the other heresies he found in the Church. From 1378 through 1379, Wycliffe began to formulate his most startling revelation, a statement unheard of to the known world at that time. What was it? It was that Scripture (the Bible) was the sole foundation of all doctrine.
Roberts Liardon tells us that in March of 1378, Wycliffe released a booklet entitled On the Truth of Holy Scripture that sent the Catholic hierarchy skyrocketing with anger. From this one foundation—that the Scriptures alone contain the truth for the Christian lifestyle and doctrines—Wycliffe began to skillfully dissect the various heresies and hypocrisies that had blossomed in the Catholic Church. This one booklet contained thirty-two chapters upholding the truth of the Scriptures against the lies of the papacy. Wycliffe had crossed into a new frontier.