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'Quick Help' Page: Why Is The Papacy In Rome? / Was The Papacy Always In Rome?

 

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Pope | Papal | Papacy

Why is the Papacy in Rome

Why is the Pope in Rome?

Was the Papacy Always In Rome?

Were the Popes Always in Rome?

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Divine Providence seems to have selected Rome for the location of the papacy. Prior to Christianity, Rome was the "metropolis of the world". The Roman Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to death, and both St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred in Rome. The pagan Roman empire would eventually fall and be replaced by the Holy Roman Empire. In fact, the Vatican is literally "built on St. Peter" (St. Peter's basilica is built directly over the tomb of St. Peter). As St. Thomas Aquinas said...

"To manifest his power still more effectively, [Christ] ordained that the head of his Church should be in Rome itself, the capital of the world, as a sign of his complete victory and that thence faith should spread to the whole world"

Note that St. Peter, the first pope, had set up his episcopal chair in Rome years before his martyrdom there (cf. Acts 12:17, "another place"). Also note that recent excavations have confirmed the burial location of St. Peter under the altar at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.


Since St. Peter went there, the papacy has always has been in Rome, except for a period of about seventy years in the fourteenth century, when the papacy was moved to Avignon, France. This time period may be referred to the 'Avignon Papacy'...

The Avignon Papacy refers to the period of time in the 14th century (1309-1377) where the papacy was moved from Rome to Avignon France. Pope Clement V moved the papacy under imperial pressure, beginning the seventy year 'Babylonian Captivity' (referring to Israel's exile) which lasted until the papacy was returned to Rome by Pope Gregory XI on January 17, 1377. There were a total of 7 Popes during this period: Pope Clement V, Pope John XXII (XXI), Pope Benedict XII, Pope Clement VI, Pope Innocent VI, Pope Bl. Urban V, and Pope Gregory XI.


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