The Last Time a Pope Resigned, Dante Put Him in Hell |
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign the papacy for health reasons. The last time a pope resigned voluntarily was 1294. The great poet Dante Alighieri was so angry about it that he put the abdicating pope, Celestine V, into the antechamber of his Inferno. In the more than seven centuries since, no pope has taken the name Celestine.
Now that Pope Benedict has resigned, the popes who follow him will have to take the precedent he set seriously…