3 results
August 17, 2015

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a new pope a year from now. I’m not making a prediction—my prognosticational abilities are not sufficiently developed. I’m just bringing up a possibility, one that I think isn’t farfetched.

Let me begin by turning back the calendar a few pages, to 1292. Pope Nicholas IV, who had been reigning since 1288, died that April. He had been elected only after a long impasse among the papal electors. As it turned out, his successor was elected after an...

February 11, 2013

In the coming days there will be plenty of comments about Pope Benedict XVI's stunning announcement. Some of those comments will appear in the Catholic Answers Blog. For now, let me make a few points:

1. Yes, popes can renounce the Petrine office. A few popes have done so, the most famous being St. Celestine V in 1296. (More on him another time.)

2. Benedict XVI hasn't "resigned," as that word commonly is used. A resignation implies informing one's superior about one's decision...

February 7, 2013

On this day in 1878 Bl. Pius IX died. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferreti was the second-longest reigning pope in history, after St. Peter. He oversaw the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854), and became the "prisoner of the Vatican" when the Papal States fell to the army of the new Italian state. He was beatified in 2000. He commonly is said to have been a liberal when he ascended the papal throne in 1846 but became a conservative as he aged....