Spirituality for Today – March 2011 – Volume 15, Issue 8

The 55th Pope
Boniface II

An image of Pope Boniface II Pope Boniface II the 54th Pope

Pope Boniface II (530-532)
Although he was by birth a Roman, he was of German ethnicity – the first pope to be so. Regarding his election, the question might be asked, "Just who was the anti-pope?"

Boniface was promoted by Pope Felix IV to become his successor. In doing so, Pope Felix disregarded a law forbidding the naming of a successor or offering anyone as a candidate to succeed a pope while the current pope still lived. Perhaps in reaction to this action, a majority of the electors chose the deacon Dioscorus to be the next pope, but the many supporters of Boniface claimed that he should be the next pope. By law, Dioscorus appeared to have the legitimate claim to the papacy. On the same day, both men were consecrated as pope. The embarrassment of two feuding factions causing turmoil in the Church proved to be short-lived. Just twenty-two days after his consecration, Dioscorus died. His forlorn followers gave their allegiance to Boniface as the rightful successor of Pope Felix IV.

Incredibly, Pope Boniface would promote a certain Vigilius, a man who would be favorable toward the Goths, to be his successor. Predictably, he was faced with strong opposition to this move and he soon recanted his action.

To his credit, Pope Boniface responded splendidly to the needs of the people of Rome during a severe famine that had struck the city. He also confirmed the edicts of the Council of Orange (529) condemning the heretical Semi-Pelagians who held that grace may be necessary for the salvation of mankind, but human initiative in freely seeking salvation was primary. The "full" Pelagians gave no role to grace at all in man's salvation.

Pope Boniface II was buried in Saint peter's Basilica.

Habemus papam