Pope Joan
Once upon a time, there was a Woman Pope.....
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(permanent link) added: 2013-11-29 14:44:37 sponsor: Jaqen (last reply: 2013-12-01 08:14:23)

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I can't believe we don't have this.

The legend of the Saints asserts that 900 AD ish, the eponymous Englishwoman dressed up as a man, studied Theology and was so good at it that she was promoted and promoted and became Pope. 907 ish, she got pregnant, later she was on a liturgical procession through the City, she gave birth in public and the mob murdered her.

Ever since, there is a ceremony when the new Pope sits on a special throne and cardinals check that he is a man. See The Borgias example in TV.

In some versions, God granted a special miracle, Joan grew a beard.

Pope Joan was common knowledge from 1000 - 1500 AD. But then Martin Luther gloated "Mwah hah hah! The Pope is not infallible, there was a Woman Pope." Vatican Spin Doctor decreed the infallible doctrine that Joan never existed.

The irony is that Lutheran Church has more Women Priests and Bishops than Roman Church.

Mythology and folklore:
  • the Pope Joan legend is said to be the inspiration for the major arcana Tarot card, the High Priestess, which depicts a woman in ornate priestly robes sitting on a throne. In some decks she wears a papal tiara and others even explicitly call her The Papess.

Film
  • Pope Joan
    • YMMV: the scene of Holy Roman Emperor confronting Holy Roman Pope was Made Of Awesome.
    • Movie dropped the Bearded Joan meme. Maybe they wanted Joan to be hot? Maybe they thought Audience can believe Woman Pope, Audience cannot believe bearded Pope?
  • Yente Barbara Streisland dressed up as a man and went to Rabbi college. History Marches On, nowadays, some Jewish sects ordain Women Rabbis.

TV
  • The Borgias: Alexander is the newly elected Pope and sits on the special throne. A Cardinal Deacon puts his hand under Alexander's cassock and testifies "Habet duos testiculos et bene pendente" = "He has two testicles and is well hung."
  • Xena: Warrior Princess: Hope and Eve are priests of the One True God.
  • In the fourth season of Babylon 5, Sheridan has become somewhat revered by various people on the station much to the annoyance of Mr. Garibaldi, who at one point comments, "[Sheridan's] not the pope, he doesn't look anything like her!"

Theatre
  • The first act of Caryl Churchill's play Top Girls involves a modern businesswoman having dinner with famous female figures from history and legend, one of which is Pope Joan.

Real Life
  • Un Installment discussion thread
    • An accidental example exists in papal history: Owing to various misconceptions and transcription errors, there has never been a Pope John XX. The Pope who would have borne that number skipped straight to John XXI when choosing his papal name.
      • I doubt that explanation. I invoke Occam's Razor. 1559ish, Pope made an infallible doctrine that Pope Joan never happened, so spin doctors invented this legend about the numbers being wrong.

  • 1900 ish Britain ordains Women Deacons.
  • 1940 ish China ordains Women Priests.
  • 1980 ish USA ordains Women Priests.
  • 1990 ish Britain ordains Women Priests, USA ordains Women Bishops.
  • 2013 ish Britain ordains Women Bishops.

  • Subversion: 250 ish, St. Origen preached the heretical doctrine that Bishops must be eunuchs and was excommunicated. Maybe the ceremony of checking that the pope is a man came in in 250?
    • WMG maybe God who is mighty enough to give Joan a beard wig is mighty enough to give her a strap-on?

replies: 23

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