New Book Explores Fascinating History of Popes Who Resigned

Author Thomas Craughwell spans 20 centuries to reveal the 14 men who outlived the papacy.
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Feb. 25, 2013 - PRLog -- Charlotte, NC (February 25, 2013) — TAN Books, an imprint of Saint Benedict Press, announced today the publication of Thomas J. Craughwell’s  Popes Who Resigned, a  fascinating  look at all the papal resignations and depositions in the history of the Catholic Church.

Throughout the centuries, only thirteen popes have outlived the papacy:  four popes resigned, while nine were forcibly deposed.

Now, more than six hundred years after the last papal resignation, Pope Benedict XVI will become the fourteenth pope to renounce his title.  Popes Who Resigned tells the true stories of these fourteen popes, from St. Pontian, who resigned before being exiled to the mines of Sardinia, to the corrupt Benedict IX, who resisted all pressure to resign—until offered a large bribe.

Craughwell’s book examines Church law regarding the powers of the pope, and explains the often-misunderstood issue of papal resignation.  It compiles extensive quotes from popes throughout the ages on the burdens and duties of their office, and highlights the struggle that Blessed John Paul II and other pontiffs endured in facing the possibility of their own resignations.

“The papacy is the oldest institution in the world,” writes Craughwell.  “The dustbin of history—to borrow Leon Trotsky’s famous phrase—is heaped high with the empires, kingdoms, social and political movements that the popes have seen come and go.”

“The Roman Caesars, the barbarian invaders, the Holy Roman Emperors, the Reign of Terror, the Third Reich, the Soviet Empire are all gone, but there is still a pope in Rome, and soon there will be a new one.”  

Just under 80 pages in length, Popes Who Resigned is available exclusively as an ebook.

About the Publisher:  

TAN Books was founded in 1967, in response to the rapid decline of faith and morals in society and the Church. Since its founding, TAN Books has been committed to preserving and promoting the spiritual, theological and liturgical traditions of the Catholic Church. In 2008, TAN Books was acquired by Saint Benedict Press.  Today TAN publishes over 500 titles on Thomistic theolo­gy, traditional devotions, Church doctrine, history, and the lives of the saints.

About the Author:

Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of more than a dozen books, as well as a Catholic Courses professor and frequent media guest. He has written for The American Spectator, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications.

For more information, please contact Mary Thierfelder by email at For ordering information call 800.437.5876 or visit (
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 25, 2013

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