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Pope Celestine IV and the Year of Jubilee

Jul 02, 2010


Here is some interesting news from a Roman Catholic source. It tells a little history of Pope Celestine who was elected Pope after 1,260 years of Church history. In my view, it was their big opportunity to bring some righteousness to the papacy, as even this article recognizes, but Celestine found this to be Mission Impossible.

Celestine declared a Jubilee, forgiving the sin of the world without requiring payment to the Church. The Cardinals were alarmed, as this was a major source of income. Further, Celestine could not refrain from giving away the wealth of the Church to the poor. So he was convinced to resign after just five months, and he who convinced him then took his place as Pope.

He took the name of Pope Boniface VIII. The article says of him,

"He thought he would end his life in peace, but his successor, Boniface VIII, fearing his opponents might use Celestine as a rallying point, ordered him confined, and some allege (probably wrongly, since he was already approaching 90), executed. All of Celestine's official acts were annulled by Boniface."

This is the same Boniface that I quote in chapter 5 of my book, The Seven Churches, where he insists that he and other popes have the right to alter or abolish even the precepts of Christ Himself. It seems to me that any man who holds that opinion would have no scruples about ordering the execution of Celestine. Certainly, he was able to have Celestine arrested and put into a dungeon without any twinge of conscience.

It seems that Pope Benedict feels a connection to Celestine and wants to set him up as a model for the papacy. This is a not-so-subtle slap at Boniface VIII.

Pope Benedict has also declared this year to be a Jubilee year, since it is the 800th birthday of Celestine. We too declared it so last September, but for a different reason.

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Category: News Commentary

Dr. Stephen Jones

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