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Things you didn't know you didn't know

Some fascinating facts about the history of the conclave

Things you didn't know you didn't know

Published: March 06, 2013 08:03 AM GMT

Updated: March 14, 2013 07:07 PM GMT

“In the church,” Chicago Cardinal Francis George once said, “everything has happened at least once!” That’s no surprise given that the Catholic Church is a nearly 2,000-year-old institution that has adapted to radically different epochs.

But electing a new pope while the former pope is still alive? That’s rare.

Indeed, this colorful and curious history continues to be written in today’s headlines, as George and 114 other cardinal electors gather in Rome to choose a successor to Benedict XVI – the first pope to resign in six centuries, and after a troubled papacy that has many historians reaching back to the Renaissance for apt comparisons.

So what are some other firsts and lasts, quirks and facts of papal history that you should know about? There are plenty, and Religion News Service has compiled a handy guide:

Original story: Everything you need to know about popes and conclaves 

Source:Religion News Service

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