The 13th Gift of Christmas in Italy, 1294

“The cardinals assembled at Perugia after the death of Pope Nicholas IV in April 1292. After more than two years, a consensus had still not been reached. Pietro, well known to the cardinals as a Benedictine hermit, sent the cardinals a letter warning them that divine vengeance would fall upon them if they did not quickly elect a pope. Latino Malabranca, the aged and ill dean of the College of Cardinals cried out, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I elect brother Pietro di Morrone.” The cardinals promptly ratified Malabranca’s desperate decision. When sent for, Pietro obstinately refused to accept the papacy, and even, as Petrarch says, tried to flee, until he was finally persuaded by a deputation of cardinals accompanied by the kings of Naples and Hungary. Elected on 5 July 1294, at age 79, he was crowned at Santa Maria di Collemaggio in the city of Aquila in the Abruzzo on 29 August, taking the name Celestine V.

Realizing his lack of authority and personal incompatibility with papal duties, he consulted with Cardinal Benedetto Caetani (his eventual successor) about the possibility of resignation. This resulted in one final decree declaring the right of resignation, which he promptly exercised on December 13, 1294, after five months and eight days in office. In the formal instrument of renunciation, he recited as the causes moving him to the step: “The desire for humility, for a purer life, for a stainless conscience, the deficiencies of his own physical strength, his ignorance, the perverseness of the people, his longing for the tranquility of his former life”. Having divested himself of every outward symbol of papal dignity, he slipped away from Naples and attempted to retire to his old life of solitude.” ~Wikipedia, Pope Celestine V.

Today’s Gifts from Semicolon:
A song: When It’s Christmas in Texas, sung by George Strait.

A birthday: Dick van Dyke, b.1925
Christopher Plummer, b.1929
Taylor Swift, b.1989

A movie: Well, if you’re fan of Dick van Dyke, you can watch Mary Poppins, or if you prefer Christopher Plummer, you can pull out The Sound of Music. Either one would make for a great family movie time.

A book list: Kimbofo at Reading Matters is hosting A Book Bloggers’ Advent Calendar with one reading suggestion from her readers for each day of December leading up to Christmas. She’s collected lots of good reading recommendations for your 2014 TBR list.

A verse: Merry Literary Christmas by Alice Low at Becky’s Book Reviews.