Don’t get excited. I am not talking about our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I am talking about the first and only pope in 2,000 years who resigned having once been elected. In the grisly Middle Ages, a number did depart the office by having been assassinated but this case is quite different. I am referring to Pope Celestine V, who was born in 1209 and was elected at the age of 84 as a compromise candidate, when the College of Cardinals spent two frustrating years without agreeing on a new pope.
Pietro da Morrone, founded a religious community and was its superior at the time of the impasse and he really blasted the cardinals, threatening them with the wrath of God. They responded by electing him to the Chair of Peter!
A new book on this subject, The Pope Who Quit, by Jon Sweeney, tells us that the choice might even have seemed inspired raising the hope that a truly holy man would be the one who led the Medieval Church out of its corrupt ways. However, it turned out to be a disaster. He was too old, the problems too serious. He resigned after 15 disastrous weeks. His claim to fame is an interesting one. He is the only pope out of the 265 men who have held the office to have ever actually resigned.
Do you want to get your hands on interesting reading material? Start reading Church history. What a story!