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Papal Trivia: Celestine V Only Pope To Abdicate After Hearing Simulated Voice Of God

August 20, 2011

Time now for another amazing papal trivia moment from the history book written by an award-winning historian, which is making for a great summer-time read on my lawn.  I am loving the epic nature of this read, and the richness of the writing and gazillion facts along the way.  The book  is Absolute Monarchs, A History Of The Papacy by Julius Norwich, which was published this summer.   If you enjoy world history, and a cast of untold numbers this book is one you should read.

Briefly about the only pope to abdicate…It is 1292…an 85 year-old peasant who had lived for 6 decades as a hermit is selected by the cardinals in what will become the most unqualified person to hold the papacy…(that is saying a lot)…he ordered the construction of a small wooden cell  within the castle he lived at in Naples as it was the only place he felt comfortable…he mostly refused so see the cardinals while pope as their worldliness frightened him…when they did meet they had to drop Latin and speak in the crude style he was accustomed to…he was so awful that one cardinal introduced a secret speaking tube in his cell and late at night simulated the voice of God instructing the pope that the flames of hell approached if he did not leave…five months after becoming pope he quit…his succesor will hunt him down as it was feared the faithful would use him in opposition to Boniface VIII….(I will let readers find out what happened by reading the book!)

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