The Pope Who Quit
A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation
Jon M. Sweeney
At the close of the tumultuous Middle Ages, there lived a man who seemed destined from birth to save the world. His name was Peter Morrone, a hermit, a founder of a religious order, and, depending on whom you talk to, a reformer, an instigator, a prophet, a coward, a saint, and possibly the victim of murder. A stroke of fate would, practically overnight, transform this humble servant of God into the most powerful man in the Catholic Church. Half a year later, he would be the only pope in history to abdicate the chair of St. Peter, an act that nearly brought the papacy to its knees. What led him to make that decision and what happened afterward would be shrouded in mystery for centuries. "The Pope Who Quit" pulls back the veil of secrecy on this dramatic time in history and showcases a story that involves deadly dealings, apocalyptic maneuverings, and papal intrigue.
"I'm not embarrassed to say that I knew very little about the remarkable story of Peter Morrone, the monk turned pope. But I'm delighted to say that the tale, as exciting and compelling as any novel or film, is beautifully told by Jon Sweeney. This long-forgotten saga is rightly restored to its place as one of the most unusual episodes in the entire history of the church." --James Martin, SJ, author of "Between Heaven and Mirth"
"Jon M. Sweeney's loving portrait of Celestine V is that rare work of history that also feeds the soul. Anyone interested in the collision of hope, despair, and faith will come away nourished." --John L. Allen Jr., author of "A People of Hope
"I have read several of Jon Sweeney's books, always with pleasure. He is a conscientious researcher, and a fine storyteller, with a wonderful gift for creating a sense of place and time. This time he tells the story of Celestine V, a hermit who was elected pope, then abdicated five months later. In The Pope Who Quit, Sweeney gives us a vivid snapshot of a tumultuous period in the history of the Catholic Church and Western Europe." -Thomas J. Craughwell, author of "Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics