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.

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  • The Last Martyred Pope (St. Martin I)

    September 25th, 2019  |  12 mins 36 secs
    heresy, martyr, pope, saint

    On this week’s episode, it’s a pope who answered to no one but God. He was fierce in battling the burgeoning heresy of Monothelitism (which claimed Jesus only had one will), didn’t care if the emperor approved his election or not, and would go on to pay the ultimate price for his efforts, all for the sake of the Church.

  • The (Bad) Pope of the Protestant Reformation (Pope Leo X)

    September 12th, 2019  |  16 mins 45 secs
    bad popes, pope, renaissance

    On this week’s episode, it’s another one of the “Bad Popes”. This guy loved partying so much, and was so bad at managing money, that one contemporary said he spent three pontificates worth of dough – everything from the guy before him, all of his own money, and all of his successor’s. Oh, and Martin Luther was stirring up a rebellion, and this pope didn’t do much to stop it.

  • The Pope of the Counter-Reformation (Paul III)

    August 30th, 2019  |  15 mins 42 secs
    pope, renaissance

    On this episode of the Popecast it’s a guy who historian Eamon Duffy listed as one of the 10 Popes Who Shook the World. He was friends with a couple of bad popes, did some shady stuff himself in early life, then had a profound conversion and laid the groundwork for reform of the Church that we’re still feeling over 500 years later.

  • EXTRA: Audio of Pope Francis' Letter to Priests

    August 5th, 2019  |  28 mins 52 secs
    audiobook, extra, francis, pope

    On the 160th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, Pope Francis released a letter addressed to all the priests of the world. In the letter, Francis encourages and thanks his brother priests for their service, especially during such a difficult era in the life of the Church.

  • The Pope and His Enemy, Who Were Martyred Together (Sts. Pontian & Hippolytus)

    August 2nd, 2019  |  13 mins 12 secs
    antipope, early church, hippolytus, pontian, popecast

    This week is a Popecast unlike any other. Our pope this episode was not only the first in history to resign his office, but he did so after being exiled alongside his archrival, a man who had set himself up as the Church’s first antipope. And the craziest part about it? Both of them are now saints.

  • The Pope Who Condemned His Predecessor...Sort Of (St. Leo II)

    July 21st, 2019  |  15 mins 34 secs
    heresy, pope, saint

    He was in office less than a year, but left a mark on the Church that’s still making waves among Catholics and non-Catholics alike to this very day. Well-educated, a lover of sacred music, and great servant of the poor, for better or for worse this pope is known for formally condemning one of his papal predecessors – though not for being a heretic, just for being wishy-washy and neglecting his sacred duty.

  • The Pope Who Gave Us the Feast of Corpus Christi (Urban IV)

    June 26th, 2019  |  11 mins 56 secs
    feast day, french, pope

    Our pope today introduced a day of celebration to the Catholic world that’s endured for over THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLENNIUM. In addition to, you know, wrestling power away from a rogue dynasty and otherwise trying to keep the Church afloat in troubled waters. All in just 3 years. No big deal.

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

    June 5th, 2019  |  15 mins 56 secs
    pope, renaissance, saint

    Here's a pope who came from nothing, spent his life fighting for the Truth, and ended up practically saving the world. Better to be frail in body and strong in will, than the other way around.

  • The Brothers Pope (Sisinnius & Constantine)

    May 17th, 2019  |  10 mins 19 secs

    The first of three times in Church history that two brothers each held the Chair of Peter – and interestingly enough, also the first of three times that the brothers reigned back-to-back. Mama must’ve been so proud.

  • Another Very Bad Pope (Alexander VI)

    May 10th, 2019  |  16 mins

    In 1492, something else happened besides Columbus sailing the ocean blue, namely, that the most notorious pope EVER ascended to the Chair of Peter. This week it's the guy who typically tops the list of every rundown of the so-called “Bad Popes”, and who was described by contemporary historian as “more evil and more lucky than perhaps any pope before him”.

  • The Popecast's Guide to Pope Benedict XVI's Letter on the Sex Abuse Scandal

    April 30th, 2019  |  17 mins 2 secs
    abuse scandal, benedict xvi, good popes

    This episode serves as a brief recap of sorts and analysis on Pope Emeritus Benedict's recent letter on the Church's sexual abuse crisis – paired with the audio version of the letter released exclusively by The Popecast – for those who have neither the time nor the interest to wade through the minefield of Catholic Twitter to sort it all out.

  • EXTRA: Audio of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Letter on Church Sex Abuse Scandal

    April 13th, 2019  |  36 mins 33 secs
    abuse scandal, benedict xvi, good popes

    On April 10, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI released a letter addressing the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church – of which the full audible reading can be found here. The retired pope gave historical background to how the scandal came to be, how it's affected the formation of priests in seminaries, and what the Church ought to do about it.

  • The Abuse Scandal, Human Nature, & the Altar of the Heart (Interview w/ Dr. Chad Pecknold)

    March 19th, 2019  |  43 mins 13 secs

    Dr. Chad Pecknold, associate professor of theology at the Catholic University of America, joins the Popecast this week to talk about the present scandal in the Church, human nature, St. Augustine's two Cities, and the papacy's role in securing the Church...

  • The Pope Who Didn't Do Anything Funny (Pope St. Hilarius)

    March 13th, 2019  |  13 mins 12 secs

    This week’s pope has a bit of an ironic name. During his six years in the Chair of Peter, nothing too exciting happened, and certainly nothing that seemed to live up to, uh, how we currently define "hilarious."
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  • Interview w/ Trent Horn (Apologist, Speaker, & Author)

    February 28th, 2019  |  42 mins 38 secs

    Catholic apologist, speaker, and author Trent Horn joins Matt on The Popecast this week. Topics covered (among others) include:
    Biblical basis for the papacy
    Papal infallibility
    When is it okay to criticize the pope, and how far is too far? 

  • EXTRA: The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

    February 22nd, 2019  |  5 mins 46 secs

    Normally the Church celebrates feast days for persons – men and women from every age who the Church has held up as models of holy living – but today is a day that celebrates a chair.
    Well, at least what the chair represents.