Listen to a Brief History of Papal Abdication


Pope Bene­dict XVI’s announce­ment of his retire­ment yes­ter­day morn­ing sent the inter­net into a tizzy, not to men­tion the thou­sands of Catholic insti­tu­tions across the world. The first ques­tion on everyone’s lips seemed to be “can he do that?” And since no pope has in 600 years, there doesn’t seem to be much prece­dent for it. Well, in a spe­cial and time­ly edi­tion, the new pod­cast Foot­not­ing His­to­ry presents the “admit­ted­ly very sparse” his­to­ry of papal abdi­ca­tion. It has indeed hap­pened before, but “almost nev­er with­out scan­dal.”

Lis­ten to the brief his­to­ry above and vis­it Foot­not­ing History’s home­page for more fas­ci­nat­ing his­tor­i­cal foot­notes.

Josh Jones is a writer, edi­tor, and musi­cian based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Fol­low him @jdmagness

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