The Popecast

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.

For early access and extra bonus stuff, check out patreon.com/thepopecast.

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Episodes

  • The Immaculate Conception and the Popes

    December 9th, 2020  |  17 mins 53 secs
    dogma, pope, saint

    This episode is a bit unique. It’s early December, so our Catholic listeners will know that there are two mega huge feast days celebrating Mary in the first half of this month – the Immaculate Conception on December 8 and Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.

    So we thought it might be fitting to break from the usual format and talk about the Mother of God under one of those titles, and what two 20th-Century popes have to say about her.

  • The Pope Who Called a Crusade (Pope Clement III)

    December 1st, 2020  |  11 mins 50 secs
    middle ages

    Our pope this week had the fun job of wrangling a bunch of Alphas and convincing them to work as a team for the sake of Christendom, and in the meantime tried not to lose everything the papacy had accumulated up to that point in history. Oh, and his nephew would later end up being one of the most powerful popes in history.

  • The Pope Who Baptized the Pantheon (Pope St. Boniface IV)

    November 20th, 2020  |  10 mins 48 secs
    middle ages, pope, saint

    Our pope this week you might not know, but odds are you know about something he did. I’m talking about the biggest and oldest unreinforced concrete dome IN THE WORLD. He converted it from a pagan temple into a church, which has been in constant use now for over 1400 years.

  • The Pope Who Won a Contested Election (Pope St. Cornelius)

    November 12th, 2020  |  12 mins 18 secs
    early church, history, martyrdom, persecution, roman canon

    Our pope this week wasn’t around for long, but the time he did spend in office left its mark. He entered the Chair of Peter at a dicey time in Christian history and dealt with an arch nemesis from within the Church right after his election, to boot. He was eventually killed for his faith, and is now the patron saint of things like lovers and earaches.

  • The Last Pope to Write about Witches (Pope Gregory XV)

    October 29th, 2020  |  11 mins 50 secs
    renaissance

    This pope was old and sick when he got elected, and wasn’t in office for all that long. But he wasn’t about to let any younger whipper snappers outdo him in energy or productivity. Oh, he also made the founder of the Jesuits a saint, and wrote the last document from a pope about when certain someones could or could not be burned at the stake.

  • The Second Dominican Pope (Blessed Benedict XI)

    October 14th, 2020  |  11 mins 18 secs
    middle ages

    Our pope this week is in elite company in more ways than one – he was holy when sanctity was severely lacking in the halls of the Vatican, and he’s one of only FIVE popes in history from the Dominican Order to be elevated to the Chair of St. Peter.

  • Pope Francis Apostolic Letter on St. Jerome (For the 1600th anniversary of his death)

    October 7th, 2020  |  37 mins 52 secs
    audiobook, francis, pope

    The exclusive audiobook of Pope Francis' new Apostolic Letter, Lettera Apostolica Scripturae, commemorating the 1600th anniversary of the death of St. Jerome. Chapters included if you'd like to skip around.

  • The OTHER Saint Paul (Pope St. Paul I)

    September 30th, 2020  |  12 mins 2 secs
    early church, history

    Our pope this week faced down an invading king, fought against a nasty heresy in the East, and has something in common with just FIVE other popes in all of Church history. Oh, and he’s not the St. Paul you’re probably thinking of.

  • The Other OTHER Saint John (Pope St. John I)

    September 20th, 2020  |  9 mins 8 secs
    early church, history

    Our pope this week was the first to hold the most popular papal name in Catholic Church history. A divisive figure in his early days, he repented of his old ways and went on to become so renowned that the emperor himself prostrated himself at this pope’s feet.

  • The Pope After Peter (St. Linus)

    September 11th, 2020  |  12 mins 58 secs
    early church, pope, saint

    The pope we’re talking about today had to follow the Fisherman himself. He’s a man who not only knew the Apostles, but was taught and ordained by them. Not to mention he’s one of only two popes – not counting Peter himself – to be mentioned in Sacred Scripture.

  • Pope Peter: An Interview w/ Author Joe Heschmeyer

    September 3rd, 2020  |  52 mins 18 secs
    book, early church, interview, scripture

    This week on the Popecast we have a very special guest: Author Joe Heschmeyer. Joe is a fellow pope nerd like you and me who’s just written a great book on the papacy entitled Pope Peter: Defending the Church's Most Distinctive Doctrine in a Time of Crisis.

  • How are popes elected? (Episode 50 Special)

    August 26th, 2020  |  23 mins 48 secs
    church history, milestone, papal election

    This time around we’re doing a little something different – a topic that’s more foundational to the very papacy itself – to celebrate the 50th episode of The Popecast. It's the only truly secret meeting left on the planet. Where all the red hats gather for a Catholic cage match, and the world waits, holding its breath, for that fateful white smoke.

  • The Pope Who Baptized Coffee (Clement VIII)

    August 14th, 2020  |  12 mins 38 secs
    coffee, renaissance

    Our pope this week had barely been a priest 10 years before being elected at age 55, had one of Catholicism’s great Renaissance saints as his confessor for 3 decades and, oh yeah, he’s the one who brought coffee to the Western World.

  • The Pope Who Wrote a Romance Novel (Pius II)

    August 6th, 2020  |  20 mins 45 secs
    conversion, pope, renaissance

    Our pope this week is one unlike any other of the 265 successors of St. Peter. Smart and eloquent with a pen though he was, for most of his life he was best known as a smooth-talking womanizer and deadbeat dad whose only goal was elevating his own career, all the way up to being crowned as the emperor’s imperial poet. And then he met the pope (who he hated), and everything changed.

  • The Pope Who Canceled Rome (Adrian IV)

    July 28th, 2020  |  12 mins 29 secs
    middle ages, pope

    Our pope today, the first and only British pope in history, is a man who came from nothing and was elevated to the papacy. A monk who would’ve rather not been pope, he faced down emperors and kings and shut down the entire Eternal City when a heretic threatened to hold it hostage.

  • The Eleventh Pope (St. Anicetus)

    July 14th, 2020  |  9 mins 32 secs
    early church, history

    Our pope today reigned barely more than a century after Jesus walked the earth, and he’s best known for welcoming a disciple of the Beloved Disciple to Rome for a friendly chat about the date of Easter.