In the News: The Pope

On Monday, February 11, 2013,  Pope Benedict XVI shocked Catholics around the world by announcing his resignation from the papacy effective February 28th, 2013. He is the first pope in 600 years to step down from the post, which is one of the reasons that this is such a surprise to even those close to him. Let’s take this opportunity to look at the history of the papacy as well as explore the Vatican.

New resources that will be added to the ipl2 are noted NEW! All other resources can already be found in the ipl2 collection.

L’Osservatore Romano (find it on the ipl2)

L’osservatore Romano is the official newspaper of the Vatican. It is written in many languages, including English, for those living outside of Italy and gives an insider view of how the Vatican reports the news on happenings within. For the past several days, this newspaper has had many articles on Pope Benedict’s resignation, how the Vatican is handling it and the response of Catholics from all over the world. This newspaper gives a fascinating look at the inner workings of the Vatican.

NEW! Vatican Radio

Vatican Radio touts itself as the “voice of the pope and the church in dialogue with the world.” Here you will find full text and audio of Pope Benedict’s resignation. Of particular interest are the additional articles, podcasts, live radio, and videos about the papacy. For those who can’t make the trip to the Vatican, this site has a live Web-TV link to the outside of St. Peter’s Square. You can watch the goings on from the comfort of your couch!

The List of Popes: The Catholic Encyclopedia (find it on the ipl2)

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an exhaustive list of all of the Popes of the Vatican, beginning with St. Peter (32—67), all the way to Benedict XVI (2005—). Click on any name and you will find a biography of that Pope. Benedict was only the 9th Pope to ever resign. Click on the others to read the circumstances of their resignations – Pontian (230—235), Marcellinus (296—304), Martin I (649—655), Benedict V (964), Benedict IX (1032—45), Gregory VI (1045—46), Celestine V (1294), and Gregory XII (1406—15).

NEW! History of the Papacy

From a definition of the word pope to the origins of the Catholic church, this site has fascinating information about the history of the papacy from its inception. Understanding its history will further knowledge of what pressures the pope faces, how his position came about, and how it has evolved over the centuries. This site also explains why the pope usually dies in office, the process of electing a new popes, and the origin of that process.

NEW! Inside the Vatican: National Geographic News

From the book and TV documentary “Inside the Vatican, National Geographic Goes Behind the Public Facade,” National Geographic Society (NGS) takes an unprecedented close-up look at the workings of the Vatican. With chapters including St. Peter’s Basilica, The Swiss Guards, The Pope’s Day, A City-State, The World’s Most Beautiful Stuff, The Holy See, Electing a New Pope, The Secret Archives, The Making of the Inside of the Vatican, and a Kids Activity Guide, this webpage has it all for the Vatican enthusiast. Although the NGS channel is no longer showing the 2001 documentary, narrated by Martin Sheen, one can purchase the DVD from the NGS store if interested.

NEW! Dante’s World, Inferno

The last time a pope resigned voluntarily was 1294. Interestingly, rumor has it that the great poet Dante Alighieri was so angry about it that he put the abdicating pope (called Clement in this article), Celestine V, into the antechamber of his Inferno. In the more than seven centuries since, no pope has taken the name Celestine. Taken from “Dante’s World, A Readers Guide to the Inferno” (2007) this site has an analysis of how Dante viewed Celestine’s papacy and the effects of his resignation.

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