14 Papal Facts That Are a Little Disturbing

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8 Popes Who Have Conditionally Resigned

A conditional resignation is a bit like a contract where if certain conditions arise you can leave. These types of conditional arrangements often arise from things like warfare and disease.

While no other Pope has resigned for 600 years, until Benedict XVI,  several have conditionally resigned without putting the resignation into effect. Pope Pius VII signed a document of resignation if he was to be taken prisoner by Napoleon. Pius XII drew up documents resigning and ordering the evacuation to Portugal in the event he was kidnapped by the Nazis. John Paul II wrote a letter of resignation if he had an incurable disease or severe and prolonged impairment that prevented him from carrying out his duties. But obviously, that arrangement was never honored.

Resignations are as rare as hens teeth, and the most common way for a Pope to leave office is via a casket.


9 Declaring A Popes Death

Declaring A Popes Death

Ok, so when we die, as in normal people, our bodies are put through a few medical teste to see if we are really dead. Out pulse is checked, along with any signs of breathing. If they are absent the doctors will normally make further checks to see if the brain is still alive. They will check our pupils and reflexes. These checks are normally sufficient ti determine if we are still a living member of this planet. But the process for the Pope is, well, a little less complicated.

Once the Pope has died the the Cardinal Camerlengo, or the Popes chief of staff, calls his baptismal name 3 times, and until recently, tapped him on the head 3 times with a silver mallet. Sure, there’s nothing like concussion to wake a sleeping person. If there is no response, such as when someone is concussed, he is declared dead and the process of his funeral and election of a new Pope is put into motion.

But hopefully this process can be put off for as long as possible.


10 The Longest Serving Pope

Most Popes come into power at an advanced age, so the time that they can spend in power is very limited. But just because they might become Pope when most of us are looking at retirement doesn’t mean that they won’t be there for long. In fact, they can stick around like chewing gum on a park bench.

The longest serving Pope in history was Pope Pius IX who served for nearly 32 years. The next longest serving Pope is in dispute between John Paul II who reigned for 27 years and Saint Peter who some records have stated reigned for 30 years.


11 The Youngest Pope Ever Was A Little Naughty

Youngest Pope Ever

Just because most Pontiffs come into the Vatican as old as the hills doesn’t mean that they all do. The youngest Pope ever was John XII who was elected in 955 at the age of 18. He was accused of murder, sacrilege and incest. So not only did his age possibly result in him being a little immature, but judging by his character, it looks like he didn’t take his vow of celebacy too seriously either. And he might have been keen to a little incest, like Johnny Knoxville’s ancestors were.

Pope john XII’s ordination was declared invalid on February 26 964, probably because he was an asshole. He died 3 months later.

So being young is no guarantee of a long life of service, which brings us to the shortest reigning Pope.


12 Shortest Reigning Pope

Life is unexpected, and sometimes it can present people with a very untimely death. This is why some Popes have been in office for a shorter length of time than it takes for a hen to roost on some eggs.

The shortest reigning Pope was Pope Urban VII who reigned from 15th to 27th September 1590, a total of only 13 days. His reign was so short he was never coronated.

The most recent of short reigning Popes was John Paul I who reigned from 26 August – 28 September 1978, which was only 34 days. He was succeeded by one of the longest reigning and popular Popes in history, Pope John Paul II.


13 Popes From Around The World

The Catholic church can be described as multi-national. The position, when vacant, is open to people from all over the globe. While the vast majority of them have been European, and Italian specifically, they have managed to come from other regions of the world..

To date there have been three Popes from Africa. They were Pope Miltiades, Pope Gelasius I, Pope Victor I. One Pope came from the Middle East, and he just happened to be the first, Saint Peter. And the incumbant is the first to come from the Americas.

The remainder of them are all European, however only one has come from the British Isles.

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14 Why Do Popes Choose A New Name

So this is the big question. Why do popes choose a new name when they have been known by their birth name their entire life? Well, to be honest it isn’t something that they have to do. IOf they choose to they can pick a new name.

The Pope gets to choose the name he wishes to be known as during his reign. If he chooses to keep his birth name, he can. The tradition of picking a new name dates back to the 6th century when a priest named Mercurius took the name John II because he didn’t want to be known by his pagan name. While not all Popes since then changed their name, most have.


We hope you found this list of Papal facts as interesting as it was disturbing. While many of them have been men of God, some have been insane men. Please feel free to share this list on your social network, and keep browsing out site for more amazing facts.



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