There have been 266 papal reigns, from Pope St. Peter to Pope Francis, and 44 U.S. presidential tenures, from President Washington to President Obama. For each of the following facts, see if you can guess whether they describe Popes or Presidents:
(Highlight to reveal answers)
- They assume their office by swearing an oath: Presidents, as required by the U.S. Constitution. Men elected pope assume office simply by their verbal acceptance of it.
- They have all been at least 42 years old: Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest president at 42. The U.S. Constitution requires presidents to be at least 35 years old. Pope Benedict IX was elected somewhere between the ages of 11 and 20.
- They serve the longer average time in office: Popes reign an average of about 7.3 years while presidents serve an average of about 5.2 years in office.
- Has the man among them who spent the shortest time in office: Pope VII died after reigning 13 days. President William Harrison served 31 days until dying of pneumonia.
- Has a man among them who was born in England: Pope Adrian IV was born in England. All of the presidents have been born in America.
- Has men among them who have entered marriage while in office: Presidents John Tyler & Grover Cleveland both entered marriages while in office.
- Has a man among them who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity: President Thomas Jefferson.
- Has had more men whose legitimate sons became their later successors: Presidents John Adams and George H.W. Bush both had sons who later became president, though Pope Hormisdas was the father of Pope Silverius.
- Has the man among them with the most non-consecutive terms in office: Pope Benedict IX had three non-consecutive terms, while President Grover Cleveland had only two.
- Has more men among them who have resigned from office: Popes Celestine V, Gregory XII, and Benedict XVI are all known to have resigned. Richard Nixon is the only president to have resigned.
- Has more men among them named James: There have been six presidents named James, including President “Jimmy” Carter, but no popes of that name.
- Has more men among them named John: There have been 21 [sic] popes named John, but only four presidents with that name.
- Has more men among them who were Catholic: Though President John F. Kennedy was a Catholic, the pope is always Catholic.
Pope or President Quiz Scoring:
0-1: Impeachable Apostate
2-3: Lame Duck in a Pointy Hat
4-5: Collapsed Conclave Campaigner
6-7: Absentee American Catholic
8: Honorary Catholic Politician
9: Future U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
10: Future Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
11: Dean of the U.S. Electoral College of Cardinals
12: Politically Savvier than Solomon
13: Papal POTUS Grand Poobah