The pope (from Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας (pappas), a child's word for father) is the Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle. The current office-holder is Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected in a papal conclave on 19 April 2005.
The office of the pope is known as the papacy. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is often called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" based upon the Church tradition that the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul were martyred in Rome. The pope is also head of state of Vatican City, a sovereign city-state entirely enclaved within the city of Rome.
The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in human history. The Popes in ancient times helped in the spread of Christianity and the resolution of various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs, and averting several wars. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are dedicated to ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of human rights.
Popes have gradually been forced to give up temporal power, and papal authority is now almost exclusively restricted to matters of religion. Over the centuries, papal claims of spiritual authority have been ever more firmly expressed, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility for rare occasions when the pope speaks ex cathedra—literally "from the chair (of St. Peter)"—to issue a formal definition of faith or morals. The first explicit such occasion (after the proclamation), and so far the last, was the definition of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in 1950.
Other articles related to "pope, popes":
... Pope Stephen IX (c. 1020 – 29 March 1058) was Pope from 3 August 1057 to 29 March 1058 ... who had been raised to the cardinalate by Pope Leo IX, for some time discharged the function of papal legate at Constantinople ...
... Conversely, there have been a number of popes whose reign lasted less than a month ... Thus, for example, if a pope's reign commenced on 1 August and he died on 2 August, this would count as having reigned for two calendar days ... He is not recognized as a valid pope, but was added to the lists of popes in the 15th century as Stephen II, causing difficulties in enumerating later popes named Stephen ...
... January 8 – Pope Innocent III succeeds Pope Celestine III as the 176th pope ...
... January 24 – Pope Nicholas II succeeds Pope Stephen IX as the 155th Pope, installed in opposition to Antipope Benedict X ... August – Robert Guiscard signs the Treaty of Melfi with Pope Nicholas II ... the College of Cardinals the sole voters in the election of popes ...
... He was ordained as a subdeacon by Pope Marinus I, followed by his being raised to the deaconate by Pope Stephen V ... During the pontificate of Pope Formosus (891–896), he was a member of the party of nobles who supported the Emperor Lambert, who was the opponent of ... led by his father Benedictus, attempted to have himself elected pope, contrary to the wishes of the emperor Lambert, who was also duke of Spoleto ...
Famous quotes containing the word pope:
“by mans oppression cursed,
They seek the second not to lose the first.
Men, some to busness, some to pleasure take;
But evry woman is at heart a rake:”
—Alexander Pope (16881744)
“And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross,”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)
“So vast is art, so narrow human wit.”
—Alexander Pope (16881744)