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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:50 PM

The bizarre stories of the four other popes to have resigned in the last 1,000 years

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/11/the-bizarre-stories-of-the-four-other-popes-to-have-resigned-in-the-last-1000-years/

The bizarre stories of the four other popes to have resigned in the last 1,000 years
By Max Fisher, Updated: February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict IX, in 1045: At age 33 and about 10 years into his tumultuous term, the Rome-born pope resigned so that he could get married – and to collect some cash from his godfather, also Roman, who paid Benedict IX to step down so that he might replace him, according to British historian Reginald L. Poole’s definitive and much-cited history of the 11th century.

Pope Gregory VI, in 1046:
The same man who had bribed and replaced his godson ended up leaving the office himself only a year later, according to Poole’s account. The trouble began when Benedict IX failed to secure the bride he’d resigned for, leading him to change his mind and return to the Vatican. Both popes remained in the city, both claiming to rule the Catholic church, for several months. That fall, the increasingly despondent clergy called on the German Emperor Henry III, of the Holy Roman Empire, to invade Rome and remove them both. When Henry III arrived, he treated Gregory VI as the rightful pope but urged him to stand before a council of fellow church leaders. The bishops urged Gregory VI to resign for bribing his way into office. Though the fresh new pope argued that he had done nothing wrong in buying the papacy, he stepped down anyway.

Pope Celestine V, in 1294: After only five months in office, the somber Sicilian pope formally decreed that popes now had the right to resign, which he immediately used. according to a report in the Guardian. He wrote, referring to himself in the third person, that he had resigned out of “the desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, his longing for the tranquility of his former life.” He became a hermit, but two years later was dragged out of solitude by his successor, who locked him up in an Italian castle. Celestine died 10 months later.

Pope Gregory XII, in 1415:
The elderly Venetian had held the office for 10 years, but he was not the only pope. For decades, the Western Schism had left Europe with two popes, one in Rome and one in the French city of Avignon, according to Britannica. The schism’s causes were political rather than theological: the pope had tremendous power over European politics, which had led its kings to become gradually more aggressive in manipulating the church’s leaders. Gregory XII resigned so that a special council in Constance, which is today a German city, could excommunicate the Avignon-based pope and start fresh with a new, single leader of the Catholic church.

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Reply The bizarre stories of the four other popes to have resigned in the last 1,000 years (Original post)
jsr Feb 2013 OP
niyad Feb 2013 #1
The Velveteen Ocelot Feb 2013 #2
bullwinkle428 Feb 2013 #3
LineLineNew Reply .
jsr Feb 2013 #4
tavalon Feb 2013 #5
Flying Squirrel Feb 2013 #7
tavalon Feb 2013 #9
Hissyspit Feb 2013 #6
Duer 157099 Feb 2013 #8

Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:58 PM

1. k and r

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:59 PM

2. So Pope Benedict is the first Pope to resign in almost 600 years?

Usually they carry those guys out feet-first.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:05 PM

3. "Pope vs. Pope" (c. 1046) could have made for an AWESOME movie!

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Response to bullwinkle428 (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:12 PM

4. .

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:51 PM

5. Pope Ratty is resigning?

Maybe there is a God!

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Response to tavalon (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:15 PM

7. Oh, there is...

And she has been laughing non-stop since Adam.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:24 PM

9. As a Goddess worshipper, I almost put Goddess,

but the comment just begged to be the way it's been for hundreds of years, so I went with the masculine.

I'm not a fan of Pope Ratty, in case you can't tell and I am not, nor have I ever been Catholic, nonetheless, I think the previous one was much better.

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 02:18 PM

6. Am I correct in thinking that at one point there were three who

claimed to be or were functioning as Pope during the Western Schism?

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Response to jsr (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 06:22 PM

8. Might I be the first to predict that

the next Pope to resign will be named Celestine.

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