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 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.

  • Was Pope John Paul I Murdered? (An Interview w/ The Pillar's JD Flynn & Michelle La Rosa)

    October 31st, 2021  |  38 mins 28 secs
    guest appearance, interview

    This episode we're joined by JD Flynn and Michelle La Rosa from The PIllar to tackle one of the saltiest and most recent papal conspiracy theories – one of the doozies in pretty much the whole history of the Catholic Church. A half-century ago a pope reigned for a mere 33 days. Was it all just a strange coincidence, or was there something more nefarious afoot?

  • The Pope St. John Paul II Supercut

    October 22nd, 2021  |  47 mins 16 secs
    pope, saint

    This week's episode is a very special one indeed. Our pope today needs no introduction, being one of the finest men to ever grace the Chair of St. Peter, but he does need a long episode to tell the whole tale of his long and eventful life. October 22 – the day that this episode is being released – is this man’s feast day and the anniversary of the 1978 inauguration of his papacy, so raise a glass (or a pierogi) for one of the greatest of all pontiffs.

  • The Slave Who Became Pope (St. Callistus I)

    October 15th, 2021  |  12 mins 45 secs
    early church, history

    This pope is a guy who rose from the lowest rungs of society to become the leader of a burgeoning but still illegal faith. And yet, it wasn’t the Romans who gave him the most grief. It was one of his fellow Christians.

  • The Pope Who Saved Western Civilization (St. Pius V REDUX)

    October 8th, 2021  |  17 mins 2 secs
    pope, renaissance

    Today’s episode is a Popecast Redux about a pope who may well have single-handedly kept the known world from a very, very different future. In fact, 2021 marks the 450th anniversary of his masterstroke – a convening of both corporeal and a spiritual armies to lead the Catholic Christian West to victory in one of the greatest sea battles ever fought.

  • The Other Pope Named John Paul (Venerable John Paul I)

    September 3rd, 2021  |  23 mins 20 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 who followed him and put him firmly among the most memorable and beloved pontiffs of the last several centuries.

  • The Pope Who Hired a Warrior Cardinal (Innocent VI)

    August 19th, 2021  |  11 mins 52 secs
    middle ages

    Our pope this week was a pontiff in exile – the whole Roman Curia was in those days – who everyone thought would be near death, but he ended up sticking around for 10 years and set about cleaning up the clerical riff-raff, leaving us with one of the greatest hymns ever written, and hiring a bloodhound in a red hat to prowl around Italy and gain back what was rightfully Peter’s.

  • A Habsburg Shares the Story of Pope St. Gregory the Great

    August 12th, 2021  |  30 mins 56 secs
    guest appearance, interview

    Joining the show this week is special guest Eduard Habsburg, the Hungarian Ambassador to the Vatican and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, sharing the incredible story of Pope St. Gregory the Great, the "Pope Who Founded Western Civilization"