Religion: Shedding the Dutch Curse

The man Roman Catholics regard as the first Pope was also, of course, the first non-Italian Pope: Simon Peter, the "rock" on whom Jesus Christ said he would build his church. For most of St. Peter's 263 successors, however, it was not the universal nature of the church but the strident demands of local Roman politics, with its aristocratic, warring families, that determined their selection. No fewer than 205 of them were Italians. The 58 exceptions were 15 Greeks, 15 Frenchmen, six Germans, six Syrians, three North Africans, three Spaniards, two Dalmatians, two...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!