this is not the first time a pope has resigned. It goes way back as early as the first century. It was little known because during the time, christianity was an illegal religion in the roman empire. Pontian was the first pope to resign. He found out he was going to be deported to a prison on the island of Sardinia and then he resigned to avoid imprisonment. Crazy!
the next one happened towards the end of the 13th century. The cardinals were deadlocked and decided to go outside the conclave and elected a hermit! For reason being that he'll come into rome, he'll clean up and they can then move forward in a spiritual manner. And guess what? He gets eaten by the court and resigned after four months. Wow! the drama never ends!
the third one was Gregory XII in the 14th century during which there were three popes at the time of the great schism. It was said that he had the best claim to be the legitimate pope, but he decides to metaphorically "fall on his sword."
and it has been years since we entered the 21st century and the excitement continues. During the last conclave after pope john paul's death, i was working at a contemporay showroom along with another co-worker. We could not do any work on the floor because we were glued to the tv monitor waiting for what the smoke would look like coming out of the sistine chapel. Is it black? Is it white? Do we have a new pope? It happened for days and it was exhilarating. It was almost like watching a very long award show, "and the oscar goes to..."
it is our human race's chronological connection to the past that sometimes made me wonder, i might have been born in the wrong century because i am drawn to their scandals that were even more notorious than of the present day.
some of us would think that we have made some progress throughout the centuries and some of us would think only a little, but who knows what it would be like centuries from now (if there would be any conclave).