In response to:

The Second Pope

Chip. Wrote: Mar 05, 2013 3:09 AM
Don't recall anyone saying Benedict wasn't up to the task of being pope, so that's a new one. Look, he is now one of the oldest men ever to be a pope, at 85, and although in this modern world people live longer lives, when someone is 85 and suffering one health issue after another finally says he just can't do a demanding job effectively anymore, his comment ought to be met with understanding ears. All long and successful histories have many failings, that others with long and less well documented histories with thereby few documented failings, can and do use to assert anything they want. That's wrong. So just be nice to each other, kids.

The wire services routinely refer to Benedict XVI, now the pope emeritus, as the first pontiff to abdicate in 800 years. But few of the news stories go into just who this earlier pope was, and why he chose to end his papacy. Which is understandable. The big story of 1294 is scarcely breaking news today. But it's a pity more attention isn't paid to the abdication of Celestine V, now St. Celestine, aka Celestino. Because history can prove instructive.

It's a cautionary tale, the story of why those 13th-century cardinals chose Celestine as pope, and why he chose to abdicate...