More than a billion Roman Catholics throughout the world today look to the pope for guidance and leadership. Despite the papacy's enormous influence, how much do you really know about this ancient and powerful institution? Catholics and non-Catholics alike will enjoy these 24 illuminating lectures about this remarkable institution. Professor Noble gives you priceless insights into the dramatic history of the papal office and the lives of the men who represented it. You'll follow four critical strands of papal history over 2,000 years: the history of the "Petrine" idea; the history of an institution; the history of popes and antipopes; the history of Western civilization; and you'll look inside the Vatican's doors and discover fresh views on the institution's people, ideas, traditions, and routines, as well as the important roles played by organizations like the Curia and the Secretariat of State. You'll investigate the mechanisms by which the church not only ministers to its worldwide flock but also deals with the practical realities of its administration. Filled with interesting stories and remarkable insights, this course promises to educate, enlighten, and entertain you.