Is the Pope Catholic?

Here’s a video from the British comedy game show QI (“Quite Interesting”) about the official title of the Pope Francis. It turns out that it’s not “Pope”. Further, you’ll learn that THE POPE IS NOT A CATHOLIC! In fact, the man who is officially the Pope is also NOT a Catholic. Listen and learn.

h/t: Michael


  1. Caldwell
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I think that “Pope” is Catholic, just not Roman Catholic

    Honorary titles attributed to the Hierarch of the Alexandrine Throne are:

    The Pillar and Defender of the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church and of the Orthodox Faith.

    The Dean of the Great Catechetical School of Theology of Alexandria.

    The Ecumenical (Universal) Judge (Arbitrator) of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic (Universal) Church.

    The Thirteenth among the Holy Apostles.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that the Coptic pope is “Catholic” but it’s somewhat confusing. As I understand things, the Coptic Orthodox church is an Oriental Orthodox church but it not Catholic. This church is headed by the Patriarch of Alexandria and is also called the Pope of Alexandria.

      The Coptic Catholic Church broke away from the Coptic Orthodox Church and joined the Catholic communion, their pope is the dude in Rome.

  2. merilee
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    But the bear still s**ts in the woods?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      There is a promised QI clip coming up on that very subject! Seriously

      • merilee
        Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Be sure to alert me when it’s coming!

      • merilee
        Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Be sure to alert me when it’s coming!

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 18, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          Will do do

  3. Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    He self identifies as the Pope.

    • sshort
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      and the wafer identifies as trans.

  4. Scorch
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    This show is well worth watching. It’s funny, insightful and always tries to be as scientifically correct as possible without getting too incomprehensible. Lots of episodes can be found on Youtube!

    • Pierre Masson
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I agree – series A to M were hosted by Stephen Fry, series N to current by Sandi Toksvig, as in this clip.

  5. rickflick
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “Defender of the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church…”
    It’s instructive to notice that nearly the entirety of the job description doesn’t have anything to do with doing good for anyone. It’s mainly to protect the the Church( from: embarrassment? humiliation? irrelevance?). This is consistent with the history of the Church from the early invention of political means of self preservation, accommodation of tyrants, the accumulation of vast wealth, to the defense of the Church against charges of pedophilia.

  6. Barb
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    …But is the bear, Catholic?

    It’s all a bunch of nonsensical double talk, if you ask me!

  7. norm walsh
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I just love the British irreverence towards religion.

  8. Posted March 18, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  9. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    At least “primate” is in his title.

    The honorific “pope” descends directly from Pontifex Maximus, the highest priest in pagan Rome.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 18, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      I’m not so sure it is derived from Ponrifex Maximus, I thought it was derived from Greek Pappas, meaning father.
      IiRC there were many Popes; Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, etc, and of course Rome.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted March 18, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        It Wikipedia, so proceed with caution.

        The word “pontifex” and its derivative “pontiff” later became terms used for Catholic bishops,[8] including the Bishop of Rome,[9][10] and the title of “Pontifex Maximus” was applied within the Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times. The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes “Supreme Pontiff” (in Latin, Summus Pontifex) as the fourth title, the first being “Bishop of Rome”.[11].

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 19, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          I know he is the Pontifex Maximus, I meant that I think the word ‘Pope’ is derived from ‘Pappas’, not from ‘pontifex’.

    • Posted March 19, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      So the better question would be ‘Is the Pope a primate?’

  10. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Since Francis is Vatican’s ‘One’,
    Has chance for romancin’ begun?
    So Fathers can wed,
    Or Pontiff instead,
    Say chance for romancin’ is nun.

    [From “101 Conservative Limericks: Righter-than-left Rhymes for the Times”.]

  11. BJ
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    The length of that title reminded me of every time they announce Daenerys’ full title in Game of Thrones, except this one was even longer.

  12. stuartcoyle
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    We can all be Popes according to the Principia Discordia, which is of course the only religious text worth reading.

  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 18, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    All hairs successfully split…

    I love/hate QI. My enjoyment of the bizarre facts detailed by Stephen Fry is often killed by exasperation at the ‘panelists’ trying to be funny at length and interrupting Stephen’s narrative. “Shut up and let him get on with it…!”


  14. Roger
    Posted March 19, 2019 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    The pope title is literally big enough to fit ten popes.

  15. Posted March 19, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink


    The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists also believe that their churches are “Catholic” in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the “Catholic Church” differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches, and Church of the East, each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away.


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