The Popecast: A History of the Papacy

The unvarnished, non-boring history of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church – told in a way to remind us that the world and the Church’s problems today have happened plenty of times before.

About the show

The unvarnished, non-boring history of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church – told in a way to remind us that the world and the Church’s problems today have happened plenty of times before.

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  • The Pope Who Sent St. Patrick to Ireland (St. Celestine I)

    September 9th, 2022  |  11 mins 12 secs
    early church

    Our pope this week was your garden variety early Church pontiff – battling heresy, beautifying churches, and being an all around good guy. But one thing set him apart...sending a certain snake-expelling bishop on mission to a little island in the North Atlantic, and changing the face of the world forever.

  • The Other Pope Named John Paul: The BEATIFICATION CUT (Blessed John Paul I)

    September 4th, 2022  |  32 mins 18 secs
    20th century, short papacy

    Our pope this week was in the Chair of Peter for barely a moment in the great lifespan of Catholic history, but his humble heart and joyful demeanor has influenced each of the three popes that have followed him and put him firmly among the most memorable and beloved pontiffs of the last several centuries. And yes, this is the second time we’ve covered him on the show, but he deserved a refresh – after all, on the day this is being released, our pope will be BEATIFIED by Pope Francis in Rome.

  • The Third Pope Ever (St. Cletus)

    August 20th, 2022  |  10 mins 2 secs
    early church

    First it was Peter. Then it was Linus. And then it was this guy.

  • Keeping a Cool Head While Covering the Pope (An Interview w/ Timothy Nerozzi)

    August 12th, 2022  |  1 hr 7 mins

    Today's episode is a great conversation with Timothy Nerozzi, who currently works as a Breaking News Reporter for Fox News. Timothy shares his take in particular on why secular reporting about the pope is quite terrible these days, his approach to journalism, and then of course we go into great detail on the office of the papacy itself – why we should keep a level head about Pope Francis, how the papacy has been changing over the past century, and a ton more.

  • The "Pope" from Kansas (Pope Michael)

    August 4th, 2022  |  10 mins 32 secs

    Now, here at The Popecast we normally cover those men who are considered to be “valid popes” – that is, a legitimate part of the unbroken line of succession in the Roman Catholic Church that began when Jesus gave the keys to Peter and, as is commonly understood, sits now with Pope Francis.

    And while there have been grandiose antipopes throughout history – men who we may one day talk about in more detail – today’s subject is another case entirely. Few may know about the man from Kansas who claimed to be pope, and unironically so.

    Recently he died, so today’s episode will tell the story of and serve as a tribute for David Bawden, the man who for the past 32 years had – by his estimation – reigned over the true Catholic Church as Pope Michael.

  • The Last Pope in History to NOT Change His Name (Marcellus II)

    July 29th, 2022  |  17 mins 26 secs
    history, renaissance

    This pope is another one of those best kept secrets of Catholic history – he held some of the most influential post in Renaissance Christendom, presided over Catholicism’s response to the Protestant Reformation, and then cracked the top 10 for shortest papal reigns. But his mom sure would have been proud that he kept the name she gave him.

  • The Popecast Origin Story and Other Tales (Matt's Interview on Real Presence Radio)

    May 19th, 2022  |  26 mins 28 secs
    guest appearance, interview

    Matt had the pleasure of being a guest on Real Presence Radio out in the Midwest, on a show hosted by none other than our most recent special guest Fr. Richard Kunst, to talk about the origins of The Popecast and his own personal favorite popes and papal history stories, among other things.

  • The First Pope in History to Change His Name (John II)

    April 23rd, 2022  |  11 mins 25 secs
    early church, history

    Today’s pope is certainly one for the record books. Even though he was only in office a couple short years, he’s memorable for one major papal staple that we take completely for granted these days.

  • The World's Largest Papal Artifacts Collection Outside of the Vatican (Interview with Fr. Richard Kunst)

    April 8th, 2022  |  35 mins 30 secs
    guest appearance, interview

    Today’s episode is one we’ve been very excited to bring you all for a long time. Our guest, Fr. Richard Kunst, is the curator of the world's largest collection of papal memorabilia and artifacts outside of the Vatican. Our conversation covers everything from how Fr. Rich’s collection came to be, some of the coolest and strangest articles he’s seen, his appearances on Pawn Stars, and (in the patron-only bonus section) even some never-before-heard stories about BOTH Popes John Paul.

  • The Pope Whose Corpse Was Put on Trial (Formosus)

    March 26th, 2022  |  13 mins 56 secs
    middle ages, pope, scandal

    Our man this episode is altogether unique – and not just because he’s the only Successor of Peter with this particular name. No, he’s actually most famous for something he had no control over at all – because he was dead.

  • The Pope Who Worked Miracles (St. Leo IX)

    February 19th, 2022  |  28 mins 58 secs
    middle ages, pope, saint

    This episode is about another one of those popes who you’ve probably never heard of, but is definitely one to remember. He was saintly from an early age, and despite desiring a life of anonymity in his service to Christendom, was plucked by the emperor from obscurity to become pope and, ultimately, usher in one of the biggest reform movements in Catholicism’s 2,000 year history.

  • Christmas Special: Pope Benedict XVI's 2010 Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message

    December 24th, 2021  |  13 mins 16 secs
    audiobook, christmas, pope benedict xvi

    We kept trying to find a good Christmas-themed papal bio for this week, and then we ran across this Urbi et Orbi address of Pope Benedict XVI's from 2010...

  • The Papacy & America's Founding (Interview w/ Dr. Michael Breidenbach)

    December 17th, 2021  |  53 mins 18 secs
    guest appearance, interview

    This week it's a special episode of the show – professor, historian, and author Dr. Michael Breidenbach joins the show to talk about his new book, Our Dear-Bought Liberty: Catholics and Religious Toleration in Early America.

  • The Obscure Pope Who Did Just Fine (Donus)

    December 10th, 2021  |  9 mins 25 secs
    early church, history

    Today’s episode is about a pope who’s probably easy to overlook. He only reigned for a short time, we don’t know all that much about him, and he isn’t remembered as a saint – a canonized one anyway. And yet, he dabbled in plenty of important things and did alright.

  • The Pope Who Renounced the Christian Faith...Or Did He? (St. Marcellinus)

    December 3rd, 2021  |  12 mins 42 secs
    early church, history

    Today’s episode is about a guy who lived...and died...during the last and worst of Rome’s persecutions of the Christian people. But just how that living and dying went is still up for discussion. 1700 years later.

  • The Pope Who Got a Bad Rap (John X)

    November 21st, 2021  |  14 mins 53 secs
    middle ages, pope

    Here's a pope who kept his head down and worked tirelessly for the good of Christendom. But in an age where secular rulers used the papacy as their plaything, he refused to be anyone’s puppet, and ended up paying the ultimate price. And what’s more, everyone though he was a bad pope until not all that long ago.