pa·​pa·​cy | \ ˈpā-pə-sē How to pronounce papacy (audio) \
plural papacies

Definition of papacy

1 : the office of pope
2 : a succession or line of popes
3 : the term of a pope's reign
4 capitalized : the system of government of the Roman Catholic Church of which the pope is the supreme head

Examples of papacy in a Sentence

He was selected by the cardinals for the papacy.

Recent Examples on the Web

During his 10 days in Africa, the Pope focused mainly on three themes at the heart of his papacy: combating poverty, environmental degradation and political corruption. Delia Gallagher, CNN, "Pope says he's not afraid of a schism in the Catholic Church," 10 Sep. 2019 But the idea of altering a tenet of the priesthood has caused an unusually public conservative backlash, even by the standards of Francis’s papacy. Washington Post, "A bid to allow married priests in the Amazon ignites debate about celibacy," 16 Aug. 2019 As viewers recall, this isn’t the first time that Law has de-clothed for his papacy role. Natalie Stone,, "Holy Abs! Jude Law Strips Down to (Very) Low-Rise Swimwear in The New Pope Teaser," 30 Aug. 2019 Last month, private letters disclosed by a former McCarrick aide supported Viganò’s claim that McCarrick was told by the Vatican to retreat from public life during Benedict’s papacy. Washington Post, "This archbishop called on the pope to resign. Now he’s in an undisclosed location.," 10 June 2019 The nine-episode original from Sorrentino is his second series set in the world of the modern papacy, according to HBO. Natalie Stone,, "Holy Abs! Jude Law Strips Down to (Very) Low-Rise Swimwear in The New Pope Teaser," 30 Aug. 2019 Under Francis’ papacy, the Vatican has thrown open its doors to global business leaders as the pontiff pushes his agenda for social justice, financial equality and environmental protections. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Pope Francis Just Convinced These Big Oil CEOs to Change Their Message on Climate Change," 17 June 2019 In the late ninth century, the papacy played a central role in violent power struggles across the Italian peninsula. National Geographic, "In 897, the corpse of a pope was exhumed—to be put on trial.," 20 Aug. 2019 One of the most intriguing aspects of Francis’ papacy, from the Latin American perspective, is his interest in the Amazon as a community of faith but also as a site of profound ecological importance. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Can Married Priests Help Save the Amazon?," 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'papacy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of papacy

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for papacy

Middle English papacie, from Medieval Latin papatia, from Late Latin papa pope — more at pope

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Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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The first known use of papacy was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of papacy

: the office or position of the pope
: the time when a particular pope is in power

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a topic to which one constantly reverts

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