Reluctant leaders, divine surprises and the pope

By Christina Capecchi


“It was 1415,” my friend corrected her husband over a dinner of wings and beer on that stunning Monday when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation.
We were discussing, like so many across the globe, our newly acquired bit of papal trivia: the last pope to resign.
Over the course of the day, there had been a shuffle of years and a scuttle for experts. Casual observers scrolled through Wikipedia’s list of all 265 popes, one of the more vast and colorful leadership records: a 20-year-old pope, a five-month papacy, a 32-year papacy, two-year gaps between popes and one man who served three separate terms.

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