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I am friends with some of my former students on facebook. One of them, a woman, posted a comment about the recent resignation of Benedict XVI, and tagged me in it to get my thoughts. I talked about the historical context of the previous resignations, and why they had resigned, and what my take on the resignation was. 

A male friend of hers chimed in, telling me that I was entirely wrong about the historical context (he claimed that Gregory’s resignation came about because of the Protestant Reformation) and that “obviously” I was getting my information “from somewhere like Wikipedia.”

I then corrected him on his timeline (after all, the Council of Constance is a good hundred years before Luther’s Wittenburg moment), and proceeded to provide a brief history of the Great Schism.

He then corrected me again. At this point, my former student commented that I had been her professor….for medieval European history. His response? ‘oh.’

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