Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fun with Popes and Presidents

One of the most obscure areas of human knowledge is the comparison in ages and terms of office between Popes and Presidents. It is arguably of no value whatsoever, and therefore eminently suited for scholarly research. Based on the studies of myself and my former colleague Matthew Jaffe, I offer the following tidbits in handy question-and-answer format:

Q. How many times in history has a president been inaugurated at an older age than the currently reigning pope?

A. Three times: In 1849, when Zachary Taylor was 64 and Pius IX was 57; in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was 70 and John Paul II was 61; and Reagan again, in 1985, when he was 74 and John Paul II was 65.

Q. Have the president and pope ever been the same age at inauguration time?

A. Yes, once when James Buchanan was 65 and so was Pius IX.

Q. What pope reigned through more presidential administrations?

A. Pius IX, through the terms of Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, A. Johnson, Grant, and Hayes.

Q. When was the youngest inaugurated president juxtaposed with the oldest reigning pope?

A. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated at age 42. Leo XIII was then 91, 49 years older.

Q. What president has served through more papal reigns regardless of duration?

A. Jackson and Carter served through three each. Jackson: Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI; Carter: Paul VI, John Paul I, and the start of John Paul II.


tricia said...

You crack me up.

solarblogger said...

This will probably show the limits of Wikipedia research, but here goes.

Q: Have the president and the pope ever had the same first name?

A. 1797-1799 when Pius VI (Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi) and John Adams were pope and president together, and then in 1963, when Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini) and John F. Kennedy were president and pope together. (Giovanni is a form of John.)