A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation
Jon M. Sweeney
2012 /ISBN: 0385531893
by Carmen Ferreiro
Pope Who Quit, Jon M. Sweeney tells the story of how Peter
Morrone, a humble and uncultivated Italian hermit, became Pope in
1294 at the ripe age of 84. In Mr. Sweeney's hands, this historical
event makes for a fascinating tale that illuminates the politics
of the time and gives us a window into the Middle Ages.
in the XIII century, Jon M. Sweeney shows us, was a highly political
position. One that was supposed to end only by death. The death
had not always been natural. In fact, the list of Popes murdered
or supposedly murdered before Peter Morrone became Pope is quite
alarming. But Peter was the only Pope who ever quit.
He was elected
Pope in a surprising turn of events. The cardinals have been electing
the pope for many months and the Church without direction was not
doing so well. So Peter wrote a letter asking them to put their
differences aside and choose a pope already. That the cardinals
would elect him was never his plan and, at first, he refused. Eventually
he accepted and took the name of Celestine V.
But the position,
he soon found out, required qualities like diplomacy and clerical
abilities he lacked. As cardinals, the big Italian Houses, and the
King of Naples battled to steer him in their favor, Celestine V
found himself unable to cope with the situation and less than four
months after his election, he quit his position.
retirement caused quite a stir in Vatican politics and started a
chain of events that ended with his death, whether by natural causes
or foul play we'll probably never know.
was canonized and is considered a saint by some, a coward by others,
Dante among them.
of your beliefs, the story of The Pope Who Quit is an absorbing
story you won't want to miss.