15 Interesting Facts About Popes and Papacy

The Pope is believed to be one of the most powerful people on Earth. There are billions of people all around the world who look up to him for spiritual guidance. And he is the director of one of the largest organizations in history – The Catholic Church. But why does the Pope have such a great influence over so many people?

In order to gain a better understanding of the importance of the Pope, you would have to go back several thousand years. The Catholic Church bean with Peter. He was the first pope. Ever since that time, the pope has changed every few decades (due to the pope stepping down or passing away). This has led to a chain of popes leading straight from Saint Peter directly up to Pope Francis. However, there is much more to the Catholic Church than just the pope. The number of traditions and customs can be staggering. After 2,000 years, it is probably no surprise that it would have so many.

Here are a few interesting facts about Popes and Papacy that you may not be aware of.

Thoughtful Gift Giving

It is common these days for the President of the United States to exchange gifts with the current Pope. President Johnson once exchanged gifts with Pope Paul VI. Johnson received a 15th Century painting. The Pope received a bust of Johnson.

Anyone Baptized Male Could Be Pope

Despite what many others may believe, a pope doesn’t have to first be a cardinal, or a priest in order to become the pope. Any baptized male can be elected. However, the last non-cardinal priest elected was Urban VI in 1378. So that could be why it is such a popular belief.

Pope Gregory IX Wasn’t a Cat Person

Pope Gregory IX believed that cats were the incarnation of Satan. This led to a massive killing of cats, which caused a massive increase in the rat population. Which in turn led to the massive outbreak of the Black Death. That could explain why all most cats have an attitude problem.

An Antipope is not Anti-pope

An Antipope is someone who is considered by some people to be the legitimate pope in opposition to the rightful pope. Even though it sounds like someone who would be opposed to the pope.

The Pope Created A Republic

In the year 1440, the Pope made a land deal with the city of Florence. But a small piece of land was accidently left out of the contract. The people promptly declared independence, and the Republic of Cospaia was born. It maintained independence for nearly 400 years.

Popeachu, I choose you!

In 2000, the Pope gave his support to the world of Pokémon in order to counteract the controversy that it was “the work of the devil”. Keep in mind that this was before the release of Pokémon Go!

The Pope x 2

Pope Benedict IX is the only man to have been pope more than once, and also the only pope to have ever sold the papacy.

People Just Want to Ban Everything

There were some people who wanted Pope Clement VII to ban coffee because they thought it was the “devil’s beverage”. After tasting some coffee, the Pope said it would be a sin to only let unbelievers drink something so delicious.


Pope Benedict XII was elected by accident. This is because back in the day, the cardinals would all vote for a random candidate during the first round of voting to see who everyone else was leaning toward. However, they all voted for the same person.

No Soup for You!

In 1269, the cardinals took almost 3 years to elect the pope. To speed up the process, the villagers in Viterbo refused to send the cardinals anything more than bread or water.

A Brave Rescue

In spite of being criticized for not speaking out against Hitler, Pope Pius IXX oversaw one of the largest rescue operations in history. It was responsible for saving the lives of nearly 1 million Jews.

This doesn’t really need a heading…

Pope Francis was once a nightclub bouncer.

Perhaps he was referring to the show?

In 1951, Pope Pius XII declared that the Big Bang Theory was compatible with Catholicism.

LOL Pope

When Pope John XXIII was asked about how many people worked in the Vatican, he replied, “about half of them”.

Where Do I Sign Up?

If you are awarded one of the five orders of knighthood by the Pope, you can enter St. Peter’s Basilica on horseback.