Two films, each called Pope Joan one in 1972 and one in 2009 repeat an old legend about a female Pope. What is the nature of this theory, and is there anything to substantiate it?

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    Hi Marc, welcome to Christianity.SE. Could you edit your question and provide a link to "that film," or an explanation of the controversy surrounding Pope Joan, for the benefit of users who are not already familiar with the subject? Thanks.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Oct 3, 2013 at 17:05
  • Welcome to C.SE! When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. One thing in particular - we don't look for opinions here, we look for fact, so I'm editing your question a little bit. Also, we encourage perspectives from all quarters, so I'm sure you're offending someone, but the best policy is not to care :) Oct 3, 2013 at 17:17
  • Do you mean this film? Oct 3, 2013 at 17:17
  • Yes Bruce that's the one. And thank you Affable Geek for the wonderful words. Oct 3, 2013 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Most scholars dismiss this is as fiction. Indeed the Catholic Encyclopedia brings up multiple variations on the story, each of which can be easily debunked.

Perhaps the most damning proof that this is a legend would stem from the fact that nobody - including enemies at the time - ever made such accusations. From Wikipedia:

It is also notable that enemies of the papacy in the 9th century make no mention of a female pope. For example, Photios I of Constantinople, who became Patriarch in 858 and was deposed by Pope Nicholas I in 863, was an enemy of the pope. He vehemently asserted his own authority as patriarch over that of the pope in Rome, and would have made the most of any scandal of that time regarding the papacy; but he never mentions the story once in any of his voluminous writings. Indeed, at one point he mentions "Leo and Benedict, successively great priests of the Roman Church".

This book is a book dedicated entirely to dealing with all the variations on the story, and debunking each.

  • Thanks Affable Geek for the link to the book (mean a lot). I don't know what happen to my Google Search. lol Oct 3, 2013 at 17:30

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