The Pope (from Latin: "papa" or "father" from Greek

Though the progressive Christianisation of the Roman Empire in the fourth century did not confer upon bishops civil authority within the state, the gradual withdrawal of imperial authority during the fifth century left the pope the senior imperial civilian official in Rome, as bishops were increasingly directing civil affairs in other cities of the Western Empire. This status as a secular and civil ruler was vividly displayed by Pope Leo I's confrontation with Attila in 452. The first expansion of papal rule outside of Rome came in 728 with the Donation of Sutri, which in turn was substantially increased in 754, when the Frankish ruler Pippin the Younger gave to the pope the land from his conquest of the Lombards. The pope may have utilized the forged Donation of Constantine to gain this land, which formed the core of the Papal States. This document, accepted as genuine until the 1400s, states that Constantine I placed the entire Western Empire of Rome under papal rule. In 800 Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish ruler Charlemagne as Roman Emperor, a major step toward establishing what later became known as the Holy Roman Empire; from that date onward the popes claimed the prerogative to crown the Emperor, though the right fell into disuse after the coronation of Charles V in 1530. Pope Pius VII was present at the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804, but did not actually perform the crowning. As mentioned above, the pope's sovereignty over the Papal States ended in 1870 with their annexation by Italy.

Popes like Alexander VI, an ambitious if spectacularly corrupt politician, and Pope Julius II, a formidable general and statesman, were not afraid to use power to achieve their own ends, which included increasing the power of the papacy. This political and temporal authority was demonstrated through the papal role in the Holy Roman Empire (especially prominent during periods of contention with the Emperors, such as during the Pontificates of Pope Gregory VII and Pope Alexander III). Papal bulls, interdict, and excommunication (or the threat thereof) have been used many times to increase papal power. The Bull "Laudabiliter" in 1155 authorized Henry II of England to invade Ireland. In 1207, Innocent III placed England under interdict until King John made his kingdom a fiefdom to the Pope, complete with yearly tribute, saying, "we offer and freely yield...to our lord Pope Innocent III and his catholic successors, the whole kingdom of England and the whole kingdom of Ireland with all their rights and appurtenences for the remission of our sins". [Quoted from the [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/innIII-policies.html Medieval Sourcebook] ] The Bull "Inter Caeteras" in 1493 led to the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which divided the world into areas of Spanish and Portuguese rule. The Bull "Regnans in Excelsis" in 1570 excommunicated Elizabeth I of England and declared that all her subjects were released from all allegiance to her. The Bull "Inter Gravissimas" in 1582 established the Gregorian Calendar. [See [http://tera-3.ul.cs.cmu.edu/cgi-bin/getImage.pl?target=/data/www/NASD/4a7f1db4-5792-415c-be79-266f41eef20a/009/499/PTIFF/00000673.tif&rs=2 selection from "Concordia Cyclopedia": Roman Catholic Church, History of] ]

Objections to the papacy

tized all who dispute the pope's claims of primacy of honor and of jurisdiction.

The Pope's claim to authority is disputed outside the Roman Church. These objections differ from denomination to denomination, but can roughly be outlined as objections to the extent of the primacy of the pope and to the institution of the papacy itself. [For a look at some of those objections, see 16th century Reformer [Philip Melancthon] 's [http://www.bookofconcord.com/treatise.html A Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope] ]

Some Christian communities (Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Old Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Independent Catholic Churches, etc.) accept the doctrine of Apostolic Succession, and to varying extents, Papal claims to a primacy of honour while generally rejecting that the pope is the successor to Peter in any unique sense not true of any other bishop. Primacy is regarded as a consequence of the pope's position as bishop of the original capital city of the Roman Empire, a definition explicitly spelled out in the 28th canon of the Council of Chalcedon. These churches see no foundation to papal claims of "universal immediate jurisdiction", or to claims of papal infallibility. Several of these communities refer to such claims as "ultramontanism".

Some Christian denominations reject the doctrine of Apostolic Succession, [See the comparative dogmatic text " [http://www.archive.org/details/MN41551ucmf_1 Popular Symbolics] " by Engelder, p. 109, 161, 498,] and thereby also reject the claims of Petrine primacy of honor, Petrine primacy of jurisdiction, and papal infallibility. These denominations vary from simply not accepting the Pope's claim to authority as legitimate and valid, to believing that the Pope is the Antichrist ['Therefore on the basis of a renewed study of the pertinent Scriptures we reaffirm the statement of the Lutheran Confessions, that “the Pope is the very Antichrist”' from [http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?2617&collectionID=795&contentID=4441&shortcutID=5297 Statement on the Antichrist] , from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, also [http://www.ianpaisley.org/antichrist.asp The Pope is the Antichrist] ] from [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%202:18;&version=9; 1 John 2:18] , [ [http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=579 Brief Statment] ] the Man of Sin from [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thessalonians%202:3-12&version=9 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12] , [See Kretzmann's [http://www.kretzmannproject.org/EP_MINOR/2TH_2.htm "Popular Commentary"] , 2 Thessalonians chapter two and [http://www.wlsessays.net/authors/IJ/JeskeThessalonians/JeskeThessalonians.PDF An Exegesis of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10] by Mark Jeske] and the Beast out of the Earth from [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2013:11-18;&version=9; Revelation 13:11-18] . [See See Kretzmann's [http://www.kretzmannproject.org/REV/REV_13.htm "Popular Commentary"] , Revelation Chapter 13] Confessional Lutherans hold that the pope is the Antichrist, stating that this article of faith is part of a "quia" rather than "quatenus" subscription to the Book of Concord. In 1932, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) adopted "A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod", which a number of Lutheran church bodies now hold. [The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation [http://www.lcrusa.org/brief_statement.htm] , the Concordia Lutheran Conference [http://www.concordialutheranconf.com/clc/doctrine/brief_1932.cfm] , the Church of the Lutheran Confession [http://clclutheran.org/library/BriefStatement.html] , and the Illinois Lutheran Conference [http://www.illinoislutheranconference.org/our-solid-foundation/doctrinal-position-of-the-ilc.lwp/odyframe.htm] all hold to "Brief Statement", which the LCMS adopted in 1932 and places in the [http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=579 LCMS.org website] ] Statement 43, "Of the Antichrist": [Online at [http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=579 Of the Antichrist] ]

43. As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thess.%202:3-12&version=9 2 Thess. 2:3-12] ; [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20John%202:18;&version=9; 1 John 2:18] , have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist "as God sitteth in the temple of God," [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Thess.%202:4;&version=9; 2 Thess. 2:4] ; that he anathematizes the very heart of the Gospel of Christ, that is, the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, for Christ's sake alone, through faith alone, without any merit or worthiness in man ( [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Rom.%203:20-28;&version=9; Rom. 3:20-28] ; [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Gal.%202:16;&version=9; Gal. 2:16] ); that he recognizes only those as members of the Christian Church who bow to his authority; and that, like a deluge, he had inundated the whole Church with his antichristian doctrines till God revealed him through the Reformation -- these very features are the outstanding characteristics of the Papacy. (Cf. [http://www.bookofconcord.com/smalcald.html#article4 Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 515, Paragraphs 39-41; p. 401, Paragraph 45; M. pp. 336, 258.] ) Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is "the very Antichrist." ( [http://www.bookofconcord.com/smalcald.html#article4 Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 475, Paragraph 10; M., p. 308.] )

The claim of temporal power over all secular governments, including territorial claims in Italy, raises objection. [See the [http://books.google.com/books?id=Zr3lGJei6fkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_summary_r#PPA168,M1 Baltimore Catechism] on the temporal power of the pope over governments and Innocent III's [http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/innIII-policies.html Letter to the prefect Acerbius and the nobles of Tuscany] . For objection to this, see the [http://www.archive.org/details/concordiacyclope009499mbp Concordia Cyclopedia] , p.564 and 750] The papacy's complex relationship with secular states such as the Roman and Byzantine Empires are also objections. Some disapprove of the autocratic character of the papal office. [See Luther, [http://www.bookofconcord.com/smalcald.html#article4 Smalcald Articles, Article four] ] In Western Christianity these objections both contributed to and are products of the Protestant Reformation.

Some objectors to the papacy use empirical arguments, pointing out that popes Callixtus III(recognized by the Roman Catholic Church to be an anti-pope) and Alexander VI were so corrupt as to be unfit to wield power to bind and loose on Earth or in Heaven. An omniscient and omnibenevolent God, some argue, would not have given those people the powers claimed for them by the Roman Catholic Church. Defenders of the papacy counter that the Bible shows God as willingly giving privileges even to corrupt men, citing examples like some of the kings of Israel and the apostle Judas Iscariot, as well as St. Peter's rejection of Jesus during the period leading up to the crucifixion.


Groups sometimes form around antipopes, who claim the Pontificate without being canonically and properly elected to it.

Traditionally, this term was reserved for claimants with a significant following of cardinals or other clergy. The existence of an antipope is usually due either to doctrinal controversy within the Church (heresy) or to confusion as to who is the legitimate pope at the time (see schism). Briefly in the 1400s, three separate lines of Popes claimed authenticity (see Papal Schism). Even Catholics don't all agree whether certain historical figures were Popes or antipopes. Though antipope movements were significant at one time, they are now overwhelmingly minor fringe causes.

Other popes

In the earlier centuries of Christianity, the title "Pope," meaning "father," had been used by all bishops. Some popes used the term and others didn't. Eventually, the title became associated especially with the Bishop of Rome. In a few cases, the term is used for other Christian clerical authorities.

In the Roman Catholic Church

The "Black Pope" is a name that was popularly, but quite unofficially, given to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus due to the Jesuits' in reference to the importance, within the Church, of the Jesuit order. This name, based on the black colour of his cassock, was used to suggest a parallel between him and the "White Pope" (since the time of Pope Pius V the Popes dress in white) and the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (formerly called the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith), whose red cardinal's cassock gave him the name of the "Red Pope" in view of the authority over all territories that were not considered in some way Catholic. In the present time this cardinal has power over mission territories for Catholicism, essentially the Churches of Africa and Asia, [http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=7049&eng=ylink Sandro Magister] , Espresso Online.] but in the past his competence extended also to all lands where Protestants or Eastern Christianity was dominant. Some remnants of this situation remain, with the result that, for instance, New Zealand is still in the care of this Congregation.

In the Eastern Churches

Today, the heads of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria continue to be called "Pope", the former being called "Coptic Pope" or, more properly, "Pope and Patriarch of All Africa on the Holy Orthodox and Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark the Evangelist and Holy Apostle" and the last called "Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa".

In the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church and Serbian Orthodox Church, it is not unusual for a village priest to be called a "pope" ("поп"). However, this should be differentiated from the words used for the head of the Catholic Church (Bulgarian "папа", Russian "папа римский").

Longest-reigning Popes

was a decade, a number of those whose reign lengths can be determined from contemporary historical data are the following:
# Pius IX (1846–1878): 31 years, 7 months and 23 days (11,560 days).
# John Paul II (1978–2005): 26 years, 5 months and 18 days (9,665 days).
# Leo XIII (1878–1903): 25 years, 5 months and 1 day (9,281 days).
# Pius VI (1775–1799): 24 years, 6 months and 15 days (8,962 days).
# Adrian I (772–795): 23 years, 10 months and 25 days (8,729 days).
# Pius VII (1800–1823): 23 years, 5 months and 7 days (8,560 days).
# Alexander III (1159–1181): 21 years, 11 months and 24 days (8,029 days).
# St. Sylvester I (314–335): 21 years, 11 months and 1 day (8,005 days).
# St. Leo I (440–461): 21 years, 1 month, and 13 days. (7,713 days).
# Urban VIII (1623–1644): 20 years, 11 months and 24 days (7,664 days).

Saint Peter is thought to have reigned for over thirty years (AD 29 - 64?/67?), but the exact length is not reliably known.

hortest-reigning Popes

Conversely, there have been a number of popes whose reign lasted less than a month. In the following list the number of calendar days includes partial days. Thus, for example, if a pope's reign commenced on 1 August and he died on 2 August, this would count as having reigned for two calendar days.
#Urban VII (15 September–27 September 1590): reigned for 13 calendar days, died before consecration. [ [http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-popes-by-length-of-reign Answers.com] ]
#Boniface VI (April, 896): reigned for 16 calendar days
#Celestine IV (25 October–10 November 1241): reigned for 17 calendar days, died before consecration.
#Theodore II (December, 897): reigned for 20 calendar days
#Sisinnius (15 January–4 February 708): reigned for 21 calendar days
#Marcellus II (9 April–1 May 1555): reigned for 22 calendar days
#Damasus II (17 July–9 August 1048): reigned for 24 calendar days
#Pius III (22 September–18 October 1503): reigned for 27 calendar days
#Leo XI (1 April–27 April 1605): reigned for 27 calendar days
#Benedict V (22 May–23 June 964): reigned for 33 calendar days.

Note: Stephen (23 March–26 March 752), died of apoplexy three days after his election, and before his consecration as a bishop. He is not recognized as a valid Pope, but was added to the lists of popes in the fifteenth century as "Stephen II", causing difficulties in enumerating later Popes named Stephen. He was removed in 1961 from the Vatican's list (see "Pope-elect Stephen" for detailed explanation).

ee also

*List of popes
*List of popes (graphical)
*List of popes by length of reign
*List of canonised popes
*List of names of popes
*Investiture Controversy
*Myths and legends surrounding the Papacy
*Prophecy of the Popes
*History of the Papacy
*African popes
*List of French popes
*List of German popes
*Papal regalia and insignia
*Papal Slippers
*Papal Coronation
*Papal Inauguration



*cite book | author=Loomis, Louise Ropes | title=The Book of the Popes (Liber Pontificalis): To the Pontificate of Gregory I | location=Evolution Publishing | publisher=Merchantville, NJ | year=2006 | id=ISBN 1-889758-86-8. Reprint of an English translation originally published in 1916.
*Ludwig von Pastor, "History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages; Drawn from the Secret Archives of the Vatican and other original sources", 40 vols. St. Louis, B. Herder 1898 - ( [http://www.worldcatlibraries.org/wcpa/ow/b92040657d7c02f6.html World Cat entry] )
* Hartmann Grisar (1845-1932), "History of Rome and the Popes in the Middle Ages", AMS Press; Reprint edition (1912). ISBN 0-404-09370-1
*James Joseph Walsh, [http://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC22760194&id=B-cQAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage&dq=%22popes+and+science%22 "The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time"] , Fordam University Press, 1908, reprinted 2003, Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-3646-9

Further reading

*Brusher, Joseph H. "Popes Through The Ages". Princeton: D. Van Nostland Company, Inc. 1959.
*Chamberlain, E.R. "The Bad Popes". 1969. Reprint: Barnes and Noble. 1993.
*Dollison, John "Pope - Pourri". New York: Simon & Schuster. 1994.
*Kelly, J.N.D. "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes". Oxford: University Press. 1986. ISBN 0-19-213964-9
*Maxwell-Stuart, P.G. "Chronicles of the Popes - The Reign By Reign Record of The Papacy From St. Peter To The Present". London: Thames and Hudson. 1997. ISBN 0-500-01798-0

External links

* [http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/index.htm The Holy See - The Holy Father] – website for the past and present Holy Fathers (since Leo XIII)
* [http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/2008.html The Holy Father's 2008 Prayer Intentions]
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm Catholic Encyclopedia entry]
* [http://kolonisera.rymden.nu/pope/popes.php?l=1 Pope Endurance League - Sortable list of Popes]
* [http://www.wlsessays.net/subjects/R/rsubind.htm#RomanCCPapacy Scholarly articles on the Roman Catholic Papacy from the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Library]
* [http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01_01_Magisterium_Paparum.html Data Base of more than 23,000 documents of the Popes in latin and modern languages]

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