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2 Burnside Christianity- Church History Medieval

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The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation


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The Pope Who Quit

A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation


Jon M. Sweeney







In his Prologue, Sweeney explains that factual information and textual evidence about late medieval figures is often hard to come by; and yet, he tells the story of this book by using sources that do exist, as well as by occasionally imagining additional details. Does this method concern you, or not? We have precious little documentary evidence of the events of this particular era. Even for those figures of the late Middle Ages who went on to become famous, we know little about their everyday lives. Consider two famous examples: Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, lived in fourteenth century England, but there is no documentary evidence for his existence whatsoever until he was fourteen years of age, and even that’s uncertain. And then there’s Peter Morrone’s exact contemporary, the Franciscan philosopher, Roger Bacon: despite being the most important thinker of his day, scholars are not entirely certain when he was born, when he died, where he was born, or where he died.


There are many references to asceticism in The Pope Who Quit. In the Introduction, what do you think of the self-flagellation portrayed? Can you see any positive purpose for it in a religious or spiritual life – then or now?

            Consider how a Catholic journalist recently wrote this in defense of revelations that Pope John Paul II self-flagellated: “Self-mortification teaches humility by making us recognize that there are things more important than our own pleasure. It teaches compassion by giving us a window into the sufferings of others—who don't have a choice in whether they're suffering. And it strengthens self-control. As well as (here's the big one I’ve saved for last) encouraging us to follow the example of Our Lord, who made the central act of the Christian religion one of self-denial and (in his case) literal mortification to bring salvation to all mankind.” [Jimmy Akins, National Catholic Register, Thursday, January 28, 2010 – as of this writing available at:]

Product Details

Sweeney, Jon M.
Sweeney, Jon Mr
Mr. Jon Sweeney
Biography - General
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8 x 5.17 x 0.8 in 0.5 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Religious
Featured Titles » Biography
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Medieval
History and Social Science » World History » European History General
History and Social Science » World History » Medieval and Renaissance
Religion » Christianity » Catholicism
Religion » Christianity » Christian Church » History
Religion » Christianity » Church History » Medieval
Religion » Christianity » Popes

The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation Used Trade Paper
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"Synopsis" by , The riveting story of Pope St. Celestine V, the pope who retired from the papacy.

At the close of the tumultuous Middle Ages, there lived a man who seemed destined from birth to save the world. His name was Peter Morrone, a hermit, a founder of a religious order, and, depending on whom you talk to, a reformer, an instigator, a prophet, a coward, a saint, and possibly the victim of murder. A stroke of fate would, practically overnight, transform this humble servant of God into the most powerful man in the Catholic Church. Half a year later, he would be the only pope in history to abdicate the chair of St. Peter, an act that nearly brought the papacy to its knees. What led him to make that decision and what happened afterward would be shrouded in mystery for centuries. The Pope Who Quit pulls back the veil of secrecy on this dramatic time in history and showcases a story that involves deadly dealings, apocalyptic maneuverings, and papal intrigue.

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