Tomorrow, Pope Benedict XVI will step down as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the first pope to step down in hundreds of years. For Roman Catholics, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of this event. Does it herald in a new era when popes will retire gracefully, rather than die in office? Will March bring in a pope that isn’t European? The possibilities are endless, though most likely the cardinals will select another pope not too unlike the previous 200+ of them.
I was raised Roman Catholic and while these events no longer impact my faith directly, it has inspired me to look back and relearn the biblical origins of the papacy. While Protestants and Orthodox Christians disagree, Roman Catholics trace the office of the pontiff all the way back to St. Peter, on the explicit instruction of Jesus himself. And did you know there is not just one, but two popes mentioned in the bible? Read on for more.