Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tales From the Papal Crypt: Introduction

The Papacy is pretty cool.  It also happens to be one of the oldest continuous institutions in Western Civilization.  There has been a Bishop at Rome for about 2000 years, give or take a century or so.  To compare, there has been a President in Washington, DC for a little over 200 years, a King in England for about a thousand, and when the office was dissolved in 1924, there had been a Caliph ruling over Islamic civilization for less than 1300 years.

Like any other old institution, however, the Papacy has not always been as it is now.  It has had its ups and downs, its triumphs and its disasters, its disgraces and its vindications.  It has gone through many metamorphoses in response to the needs and conditions of the times, and its practical role in the world has varied a great deal over the centuries.  Yet the continuity at the heart of the Papacy has been singular, indeed.

And what a history it has been!  The Papacy has been at the heart of so many major historical events that it is almost impossible to recount them at all.  The amount of adventures, intrigues, battles, arguments, tragedies, and victories in which the Papacy has played its part in is enormous, and enough for many a good story.  Thus, for your edification and entertainment, dear hypothetical reader, I thought I would take the time to tell a few of these tales.  They will be told in no particular order, neither chronological nor thematic, and most of them will not be told at all.  But still!  If you're interested in learning more about the Papacy in history, read on!