Myth of Pope Joan
Woman Disguised as a Man
Female Disguised as a Male
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Question / Issue:
Was there ever a "Pope
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
No. This is believed
to be "at first a satire, but later accepted as true." The story claims that a
woman was elected pope (they thought she was a man) and that her true identity
was not discovered until she suddenly, and publicly, gave birth. Often mentioned
by anti-Catholics of modern times (and formerly believed by some Catholics),
this story can be easily disproved, as the years of her supposed "reign" are all
accounted for by legitimate (male!) popes. Even non-Catholic historians reject
the "Pope Joan" story (or stories, since there is more than one version of the
Note: Of course it
is impossible for a woman to become pope. A legitimate pope would have received
Holy Orders, which is not possible for a female to receive (see
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