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The Popecast

Author: Matthew Sewell

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Short bios on the popes of the Roman Catholic Church, and periodic interviews with experts and commentators on the papacy & Church history. Become a patron and find extra bonus content at
34 Episodes
On this week’s episode, it’s another one of the “Bad Popes”. This guy loved partying so much, and was so bad at managing money, that one contemporary said he spent three pontificates worth of dough – everything from the guy before him, all of his own money, and all of his successor’s. Oh, and Martin Luther was stirring up a rebellion, and this pope didn’t do much to stop it.BECOME A PATRON OF THE POPECAST (free stickers to the next two $2 patrons...) – Visit
On this episode of the Popecast it’s a guy who historian Eamon Duffy listed as one of the 10 Popes Who Shook the World. He was friends with a couple of bad popes, did some shady stuff himself in early life, then had a profound conversion and laid the groundwork for reform of the Church that we’re still feeling over 500 years later.BECOME A PATRON OF THE POPECAST (free stickers to the next two $2 patrons...) – Visit
On the 160th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, Pope Francis released a letter addressed to all the priests of the world. In the letter, Francis encourages and thanks his brother priests for their service, especially during such a difficult era in the life of the Church. FULL TEXT: THE POPECAST (free Popecast stickers to the next 3 patrons):
This week is a Popecast unlike any other. Our pope this episode was not only the first in history to resign his office, but he did so after being exiled alongside his archrival, a man who had set himself up as the Church’s first antipope. And the craziest part about it? Both of them are now saints.Also, we talk about beards at the end – thanks to a question for Nick, one of our newest patrons!BECOME A PATRON OF THE POPECAST (free stickers to the next 3 patrons...) – Visit
He was in office less than a year, but left a mark on the Church that’s still making waves among Catholics and non-Catholics alike to this very day. Well-educated, a lover of sacred music, and great servant of the poor, for better or for worse this pope is known for formally condemning one of his papal predecessors – though not for being a heretic, just for being wishy-washy and neglecting his sacred duty.BECOME A PATRON OF THE POPECAST (free stickers to the next 3 patrons...) – Visit ( and click "Become a Patron"
Our pope today introduced a day of celebration that’s endured for over THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLENNIUM. In addition to, you know, wrestling power away from a rogue dynasty and otherwise trying to keep the Church afloat in troubled waters. All in just 3 years. No big deal.*BECOME A PATRON OF THE POPECAST (free stickers to the next 5 patrons...) at*LINKS FROM THE EPISODE: * Transiturus de Hoc Mundo ( – Papal Bull introducing the Feast of Corpus Christi* Flocknote's Popes in a Year – Pope Urban IV (* The Catholic Encyclopedia – Pope Urban IV (* Wikipedia – Pope Urban IV – Pope Urban IV (* The Catholic Encyclopedia – Feast of Corpus Christi (
Here's a pope who came from nothing, spent his life fighting for the Truth, and ended up practically saving the world. Better to be frail in body and strong in will, than the other way around.SUPPORT THE POPECAST: MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE* ESSAY: The Banners of Lepanto ( by Fr. George Rutler* ESSAY: Our Lady of the Rosary and the Battle of Lepanto ( by Fr. Steve Grunow* POEM: Lepanto ( by G.K. Chesterton* * Consueverunt Romani ( by Pope St. Pius V (Call to Prayer)BIOGRAPHIES OF POPE ST. PIUS V* Pope St. Pius V ( in the The Catholic Encyclopedia* Pope St. Pius V ( in Flocknote's Popes in a Year* Pope St. Pius V ( at Catholic News Agency* Pope Pius V ( on Wikipedia
It’s a Popecast first, folks. The first time we’re covering two popes in a single episode AND the first of three times in Church history that two brothers each held the Chair of Peter – and interestingly enough, also the first of three times that the brothers reigned back-to-back. Mama must’ve been so proud.SUPPORT THE POPECAST:* Pope Sisinnius ( (Flocknote's Popes in a Year)* Pope Sisinnius ( (Catholic Encyclopedia)* Pope Sisinnius ( (Wikipedia)Pope Constantine ( (Flocknote's Popes in a Year)Pope Constantine ( (Catholic Encyclopedia)Pope Constantine ( (Wikipedia)
In 1492, something else happened besides Columbus sailing the ocean blue, namely, that the most notorious pope EVER ascended to the Chair of Peter. This week it's the guy who typically tops the list of every rundown of the so-called “Bad Popes”, and who was described by contemporary historian as “more evil and more lucky than perhaps any pope before him”.SUPPORT THE POPECAST:* Letter of Pope Pius II rebuking Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (;+none+of+the+allurements+of+love+were+lacking,+and+you+conducted+yourself+in+a+wholly+worldly+manner.+Shame+forbids+mention+of+all+that+took+place,+for+not+only+the+things+themselves+but+their+very&source=bl&ots=IpuLNhDl8P&sig=ACfU3U1o-1BKW0avibesmXGfOewURZnfcQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjw4oOg3I3iAhXhPn0KHQlvD-YQ6AEwAHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false)* Inter Caetara ( (papal bull granting Spain exclusive rights to colonize and explore the New World)* Pope Alexander VI ( (Popes in a Year - Flocknote)* Pope Alexander VI ( (Wikipedia)* Pope Alexander VI ( (Catholic Encyclopedia)
This episode serves as a brief recap and analysis on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's recent letter on the Church's sexual abuse crisis – paired with the audio version of the letter released exclusively by The Popecast – for those who have neither the time nor the interest to wade through the minefield of Catholic Twitter to sort it all out.LINKS MENTIONED ON THE EPISODE* Full Text of Pope Emeritus Benedict's letter: LINK ( FOR THOUGHT* JD Flynn on Twitter:* Ed Condon on Twitter:* Fr. Harrison Ayre on Twitter (2008 speech by Pope Benedict XVI):* Kyle Helmick on Twitter (Catholics who make money off the faith): (Critics of the letter)* Fr. James Martin / Twitter thread –* Massimo Faggioli / Commonweal Magazine – Benedict's Untimely Meditation (* Jamie Manson / National Catholic Reporter – Pope Benedict Explains Things to Me (* Jason Horowitz / New York Times – Dueling Popes? Maybe. Dueling Views in a Divided Church? Definitely. ( (In favor of the letter, even with light criticism)* Gerhard Ludwig Muller / First Things – Benedict and His Critics (* Marc Barnes / Bad Catholic – Benedict XVI's Critics Are Not Being Smart (* Ed Condon / Catholic News Agency – Analysis: How Benedict's essay supports Francis' call for 'zero tolerance' (* Marc Barnes / Bad Catholic – Fr. James Martin You Leave My Dad Right Out of This (* Dr. Chad Pecknold / Catholic Herald – Why Benedict's Intervention is So Important (* Dr. Chad Pecknold / Catholic Herald – Why did Benedict mention the Eucharist in his abuse essay? (* Fr. Raymond de Souza / Catholic Herald – Why Benedict by-passed the Vatican (
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