Who Are The Popes?

Over the past 100+ years, nine Popes have served the Church as the successor to Christ in the Seat of St. Peter.  Each one added to the life of the Church.  A series will be offered on Wednesday mornings, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., from May 31st to June 21st to look at the first half of these Popes.  CLICK HERE to register.

Giacomo della Chiesa, who took the name Benedict XV served from 1914-1922 and saw the Church through the horrors of the Great War (WWI).  He was succeeded by Ambrogio Damiano Achile Ratti, who took the name Pius XI. Pius XI reigned from 1922-1939 during the Great Depression and build up to WWII. 

In 1939, Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Pacelli, who took the name Pius XII and saw the Church through WWII and the Holocaust. 

Upon Pius XII’s death, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became Pope John XXIII.  Many thought he would be a “filler” of the office due to his advanced age and he only served from 1958-1963.  Although he was only in office for a short time, John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, which ushered in many changes for the Church.  John XXIII did not live to see Vatican II to completion and was succeeded by Giovanni Battista Montini, who took the name Paul VI. 

Paul VI oversaw Vatican II until it closed and was the Pope from 1963-1978.  1978 was a unique year for the Church due to having three Popes.  Upon the death of Paul VI, Albino Luciani was elected and took the name John Paul I and stated he wanted to continue the work of his two predecessors, John XXII and Paul VI.  Unfortunately, he was only in office for a month before dying. 

Karol Wojtyla was elected the first non-Italian pope in 500 years and became John Paul II.  He would serve for the next 27 years and oversee huge changes in world politics and a shift of the church geographically. 

Upon his death in 2005, Joseph Ratzinger of Germany became Benedict XVI until his resignation eight years later in 2013.  Benedict XVI was the first Pope to resign in 500 years and ushered in the current pontiff, Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Francis I from Argentina. 

This study will give a brief history of their lives, contributions to the Church, and insight on how one Pope builds on the work of his predecessors and put their own unique stamp on the Church.  We will also see how world events were shaped by their pontificates and how those same events changed the focus of their reign.

May 31 – Benedict XV & Pius XI – The Great War and Depression (1914-1939)

June 7 – Pius XII – WWII and the Holocaust (1939-1958)

June 14 – John XXIII – Vatican II (1958-1963)

John 21 – Paul VI – Vatican II (1963-1978)

The second half of this series will be later in the year.

CLICK HERE to register.