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Popes and the Papacy: History, Doctrines, News About Popes

Who or what is the pope? The title pope stems from the Greek word papas, which simply means 'father.' Early in Christian history it was used as a formal title expressing affectionate respect for any bishop and sometimes even priests. Today 'pope' continues to be used in Eastern Orthodox churches for the patriarch of Alexandria but is mostly widely used in the Catholic Church
  1. Catholic Popes
  2. Pope Benedict XVI (10)
  3. Books on the Papacy
  4. Pope John Paul II (18)
  5. Papal Elections (30)

Roman Catholic Papacy 101: Who is the Pope? How Many Popes Have Existed?
Doctrinally, the pope is regarded as the successor of St. Peter, leader of the apostles after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is an important factor in the tradition that the pope is believed to have jurisdiction over the entire Christian church in matters of faith, morals and church government. Reviewed here are basic questions...

What is the Roman Catholic Pope? Definition and Explanation of the Catholic...
The title pope stems from the Greek word papas, which simply means 'father.' Early in Christian history it was used as a formal title expressing affectionate respect for any bishop and sometimes even priests. Today it continues to be used in Eastern Orthodox churches for the patriarch of Alexandria.

History of the Papacy: General Historical Overview of the Catholic Pope and Papacy
The pope may be the most visible and famous symbol of the Catholic Church. It is the office of the papacy and the assumed link back to the original apostles that differentiates Roman Catholicism from other Christian denominations. The office of the papacy is rather complicated and, much to the chagrin of believers, comes with a rather checkered past.

Was Peter the First Pope? How the Papacy Originated in Rome
Catholics believe that the bishop of Rome inherits the mantle of Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ who was entrusted with the administration of his church after he died. Peter travelled to Rome where he is believed to have established a Christian community before he was martyred.

Papal Resignations: Can a Pope Resign or Be Removed?
Like any secular monarch, the pope is elected for life - but that does not mean that it is impossible for a pope to step down while still alive. This is not a common occurrence because it would affect people's perception of the stability of their church's hierarchy and might set a precedent for church factions to pressure popes to resign; yet...

Early Church Administration & Papal Elections
Many people think that the current structure and administration of the Catholic Church is very much like it has always been, but that's not the case. Early on, there isn’t even evidence of a single bishop of Rome presiding over churches in the city. Although the official lists give the names of several 'popes' during the first decades, it is...

Development of Papal Primacy: Why is the Pope Leader of the Church?
Today the pope is regarded generally as the supreme head of the Catholic Church and, among Catholics, as the head of the universal Christian Church. Although principally the bishop of Rome, he is much more than just 'first among equals,' he is also the living symbol of the unity of Christianity. Where does this doctrine come from and how...

Papal Infallibility: Is the Pope Infallible? Examining the Catholic Doctrine...
In Christian theology, infallibility is the doctrine that in matters of faith and morals the church, both in teaching and in believing, is protected from serious error by "divine dispensation." This doctrine is most associated with the Catholic church, but is also applied by the Orthodox church to ecumenical councils. The doctrine is widely...

Murdered Popes: Crime and Conspiracy in the Vatican
Today the Catholic Pope is a generally respected figure, but that hasn't always been the case. Some have been very despicable people, involved in all sorts of nasty situations. Aside from those who were martyred during the earliest decades of Christianity, a number of popes have been murdered by rivals, cardinals, and even supporters.

Antipopes: What is an Antipope? When is a Pope Not a Pope?
The term antipope refers to any person who claims to be pope, but whose claim is treated as invalid today by the Roman Catholic Church. This should be a straightforward concept, but in practice it is much more difficult and complex than it might appear.

Discrepancies in Papal Numbering: Which Pope is Which?
People might assume that the numbering and listing of popes would be simple and obvious, but that isn’t always the case. There have been several names used multiple times over the years: Benedict, Alexander, Boniface, Paul, Clement, Urban, and Gregory to name a few. In two series, though, there are discrepancies and not everyone agrees on who gets what number.

The Popes At Avignon: Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy
Today the papacy is intimately associated with Rome. Despite the fact that the papacy started off in Rome and is today based in Rome, it wasn’t always located there. For a time, the popes were based in Avignon, France, commonly known as the 'Babylonian Captivity' of the papacy.

Power & the Papacy: Centralized Control vs. Collegiality
There is a lot of debate in the Catholic Church about the nature of the Church and how individual Catholics should relate to it. On the one side are those who take an authoritarian stand, insisting that authority in the Church flows from the top down, with Church members obligated to obey the hierarchy’s directives in all things.

Pope Joan: Was There Really a Female Pope?
There is a persistent and popular legend that a woman once managed to rise to the office of pope. This tale got its start some time during the Middle Ages and continues to be repeated today, but there is little if any evidence supporting it.

Chronological List of Catholic Popes (Simplified)
This list of popes is arranged in chronological order. It starts with Peter, believed by Catholics to be the first pope, and ends with Benedict XVI, the most recent pope. Alternative names are given, years of reign are listed, and all names are linked to short biographies that describe major dates in their papacy, controversies, and important events at the time.

Chronological List of Catholic Popes by Century (Detailed)
This list of popes is arranged in chronological order and divided by century. It starts with Peter, believed by Catholics to be the first pope, and ends with Benedict XVI, the most recent pope. Years of reign are listed, short descriptions are given, and all names are linked to biographies that describe major dates in their papacy, controversies, and important events at the time.

Popes: Longest Pontificates - Roman Catholicism and the Papacy
Here is a list of the 13 longest pontificates in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Each of these popes reigned over the Catholic Church for an unusually long time. Today some believe that especially long papacies are bad for the Church because they prevent necessary change from happening when it should.

Popes: Shortest Pontificates - Roman Catholicism and the Papacy
Here is a list of the shortest pontificates in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The links will take you to biographies of these popes - but short biographies. Their reigns were so short that there really isn't much which can be said about them.

Papal Firsts, Lasts, and Interesting Facts
This chronological list of popes provides interesting bits of trivia about the various people who have occupied the throne of St. Peter. Firsts, lasts, and unusual facts are presented alongside the years they reigned, which number pope they were, and links to more complete biographies.

Alphabetical List of Catholic Popes: History and People of the Catholic Papacy
This list of popes is arranged in alphabetical order. It starts with Adrian and ends with Zosimus. Alternative names are given, years of reign are listed, and all names are linked to short biographies that describe major dates in their papacy, controversies, and important events at the time.

Biography: Pope John Paul II
John Paul II is the second pope to ever choose two names, following his predecessor. Wojtyla was also the first non-Italian to be chosen for this office in over 400 years and reports indicate that the election of a non-Italian pope may have been pushed by the growing influence of Catholics from outside of Europe. At just 58, he was also the...

Roman Catholic Pope: Nature of the Papacy
Who or what is the Roman Catholic Pope? What makes a person a pope and how does this position differ from other Roman Catholic clergy?

History and Nature of the Papacy
The papacy has a very long and complex history - indeed, much of European history can only be understood in light of the conflicts over who should be become pope, conflicts between popes and secular rulers, and dissent from papal decisions.

Electing the Next Pope: History and Process
Some popes may reign for extraordinarily long times while others may only serve for a few days, but in the end all die and a new pope must be elected. But how are popes chosen? It's a process that seems shrouded in secrecy and history; the details of any particular election are supposed to be kept hidden, but general information about the typical process is indeed known.

Popes of the 1st Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the first century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had...

Popes of the 2nd Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the second century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had...

Popes of the 3rd Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the third century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 4th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fourth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had...

Popes of the 5th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fifth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had...

Popes of the 6th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the sixth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 7th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the seventh century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 8th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the eighth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 9th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the ninth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 10th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the tenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had...

Popes of the 11th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the eleventh century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 12th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the twelfth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 13th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the thriteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 14th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fourteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 15th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the fifteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 16th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the sixteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 17th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the seventeenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 18th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the eighteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 19th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the nineteenth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Catholic Church.

Popes of the 20th Century
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the twentieth century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the dates of their reigns, and the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they...

Popes of the 21st Century: History of the Roman Catholic Papacy and Church
Here is a list of all of the popes who reigned during the twenty-first century. The first number is which pope they were. This is followed by their chosen name, the starting and ending dates of their reigns, and finally the number of years they were pope. Follow the links to read short biographies of each pope and learn about what they did, what they believed, and what impact they had on the course of the Roman Catholic Church.

History of the Papacy Bibliography: Major Sources Used
Principles source of information used in the creation of the resources on popes and the papacy.

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