As good Christians, we are all probably familiar with the figure of the Pope of Rome and what he represents. Even so, there will be many of you who may have it all a little fuzzier and therefore it may not hurt to inform yourself thoroughly.
In this article we review the figure of the pope, how they are elected, which popes have been more influential and important among other important points that you will see below.
All about the Pope of Rome
Let us begin by defining who exactly is the Pope of Rome and what his figure represents. The pope is the bishop of Rome, head of the Catholic Church and of the College of Bishops, in addition to holding the title of sovereign in the Vatican City State.
Being considered Supreme Head of the Church, the Pope performs the same functions as any Bishop and others of greater exclusivity (such as granting the power of sanctity), he must appoint cardinals and can declare dogmas or declare ex cathedra, as well as being Head of State of the Vatican.
To complement this short description of the figure of the Pope of Rome, we would like to leave you with this documentary video: “Popes, The Guardians of the Keys of God”. Where they extensively explain the importance of the Pontiffs in the history of mankind at all levels. We liked it very much, we hope you can enjoy it as much or more than we did.
How is the Pope of Rome elected?
The election of a new pope takes place through a conclave a meeting held by the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church to elect a new bishop of Rome.
This meeting is held in the Sistine Chapel, one of the highest peaks of world art.
The term conclave comes from the Latin cum clavis (“under lock and key”), due to the conditions of seclusion and maximum isolation from the outside world in which the election must take place, in order to avoid interference of any kind.
According to the Apostolic Constitution, and the general norms of the Church, the pontifical election must comply with the following:
- Being a Catholic priest (eligible to become a bishop)
- Voting conducted by the College of Cardinals, with a maximum of 120 and all of them under 80 years of age.
- Election with extreme privacy in the Sistine Chapel.
- Secrecy under oath after the conclave as to who voted for whom.
- In case of success, a white smoke will be performed.
- In the event that another vote is necessary, it will be announced with a black smoke.
- The elected successor of St. Peter is asked for his consent by means of: “Do you accept your canonical election to Supreme Pontiff?”, if he accepts he is questioned as to the name he will take: “What do you wish to be called?”, and a record of the acceptance and name of the new pope is drawn up.
- The new pope is presented by the cardinal protodeacon after the signs of respect made by the rest of the cardinals.
- Then the pope must perform his first blessing called “Urbi et Orbi”.
This moment is always of vital importance and is televised by most (if not all) of the world’s television networks. Most of you will have had the opportunity to see at least the appointment of a pope and surely these are moments of hope and happiness. Now let’s move on to the next point in the life of a pope, how long can he remain in office? Continue to find out.
Tenure of office
If before we have seen what is the procedure for electing the pope of Rome, now we answer how long the office lasts. There are only two options to be able to leave this honor. The first and most common is death. When this happens, the period
a period without a pope and preceding a new election to fill his place.
On the other hand, the other reason that may end the tenure of His Holiness is resignation. The resignation or resignation must take place according to the Code of Canon Law which states that “If it happens that the Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validation that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested but not accepted by anyone”.
List of Popes of Rome
The Catholic Church has a long history and has had over 250 Popes. The most recent ones are listed below:
- Leo XII — Spoleto (Italy) — 1823-1829
- Pius VIII — Ancona (Italy) — 1829-1830
- Gregory XVI — Belluno (Italy) — 1831-1846
- B. Pius IX — Senigallia (Italy) — 1846-1878
- Leo XIII — Carpineto romano (Italy) — 1878-1903
- S. Pius X — Treviso (Italy) — 1903-1914
- Benedict XV — Genoa (Italy) — 1914-1922
- Pius XI — Milan (Italy) — 1922-1939
- Pius XII — Rome (Italy) — 1939-1958
- S. John XXIII — Bergamo (Italy) — 1958-1963
- Paul VI — Brescia (Italy) — 1963-1978
- John Paul I — Belluno (Italy) — 1978
- S. John Paul II — Wadowice (Poland) — 1978-2005
- Benedict XVI — Marktl am Inn (Germany) — 2005-2013
- Francisco — Buenos Aires (Argentina) — 2013 – Present
Most important and influential Popes of Rome
In the previous point, you have been able to read the names of the different popes. All of them have been important figures at different times who have served as inspiration and help to many Catholics around the world. Now we are going to focus on the last 6 and that you probably have more in mind. Let’s get to it.
- Benedict XV (1914 – 1922): This papacy we have chosen to include, because he decided that the Church would remain neutral during World War I. This decision caused controversy and anger on both sides. This decision caused controversy and anger on both sides.
- Pius XI (1922 – 1939): Pope Pius XI is known as the “pope of agreements” because he signed many during his papacy. Among the many agreements it decided to sign,
- John XXIII (1958 – 1963): He is certainly one of the most loved and remembered figures. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was respected and listened to, both inside and outside the Church, for his closeness and his friendly and dialoguing character. His mediation between the USSR and the USA was decisive in finding a solution to the Missile Crisis, one of the most critical moments of the last 100 years. In the ecclesiastical field, his greatest contribution was the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, a revolution in the strict norms of the Church aimed at bringing it closer to the faithful and to the new world.
- John Paul II (1978 – 2005): Karol Józef Wojtyla, of Polish origin, was the youngest pope of the 20th century. His pontificate lasted 27 years, the third longest in history. He played a decisive role in the fall of Communism and in the reconciliation of the Catholic Church with other religions. He was a popular and charismatic pope, with great communicative ability.
- Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013): Although he performed many laudable actions, we have chosen to name Benedict XVI at this point because he was the first Pope to resign from the Pontificate of the Catholic Church in over 500 years.
- Franciscan I (2013 – Present): Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the first American and Spanish-speaking Pope. He also has the honor of being the first Jesuit pope. Since the day of his election, his papacy has been uncomfortable for many ecclesiastical and political circles, due to his bold stances on controversial issues such as abortion, the environment, capitalism, immigration or gay marriage…
Before coming to the end we want you to enjoy a short but beautiful video that compiles the voice of the last 8 popes that the church has had. Their voices, while very different from each other, all convey the calm and kindness necessary for the importance of her figure. Perhaps some beautiful memories of a mass given by them will come to your mind, which will hopefully give you the light and hope you need. Go ahead:
And having seen the video, we end here this article on the most important figure of the Church. We hope you have been able to learn a lot and above all enjoyed a nice read.
The figure of the Pope brings us all closer to God our Lord and invites us to love everyone regardless of gender or religion. It also reminds us how beautiful Christianity is and how through the Church and her Holiness we can pray and share our sorrows and glories.
For our part, this has been all and we say goodbye until the next article.
See you soon!