Friday, October 3, 2014

The Pope Who Quit

In August of 1294 Peter Morrone, a hermit living in the mountains was elected Pope after a two year vacancy and takes the name Celestine V. Who is this man that was elected Pope, and why did he abdicate in December of 1294 after only a few months in office? Celestine V was one of the first Popes to abdicate in history. He was imprisoned by Boniface VIII later in December, and died in prison in May 1296. This was not the peaceful life he was hoping to lead.

I briefly read about this Pope in The Penguin History Of Medieval England, and I wanted to read this book to learn more about one of the only Pope's to willingly abdicate his position. I think I should try a different book. I found it to be a little presumptuous as some points. It also seemed while reading, that the author either did not have enough material for a book of this length, or did not put it together well. There was a lot of effort put into making this an intriguing story, and I think it went beyond what was necessary. There were some chapters that were largely speculation. The facts in this case are interesting enough, they did not need added mystery.

There was a lot of switching of tense or randomly referring to things in the present with only a loose connection that was not really necessary by using a lot of side tracked topics that again fit in, but could have been clearer why they were being added to the book. The material was put together in a choppy way that did not lend to understanding or flow of the material.

I felt very dissatisfied at the end of this book. I felt that I had hardly learned anything about Celestine V. I would also have liked it if there had been more information about Celestine V's time as Pope. It would also have been beneficial to have information on what his time in office and his resignation meant for the Catholic church. I would much rather read about that than all the random facts and speculations that filled in the book instead.

I would recommend finding a different book if you want to learn more about Celestine V.

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