Papal Cupidity

… 10 things that the faithful would prefer not to know about Popes …

John Graham

The Copper Beech Hoogstraten, Belgium

Papal Cupidity



John Graham 3 Papal Cupidity © 2010 John Graham Published by The Copper Beech, ETCetera Assessments LLP Brouwerijstraat 8/7 Hoogstraten, B-2320 Belgium ISBN: 1452881464 EAN-13: 9781452881461

Front Cover: Papal insignia overlaid by Greed All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. Printed and bound in the United States of America. For information on translations or distribution of this book please contact the author, John Graham, at Much of the factual information has been excerpted and abridged from that of the New Advent, Catholic Encyclopaedia. The opinions expressed in this book are those of the author. 3

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Dedication.................................7 This brief book is dedicated to the New Advent, Catholic Encyclopaedia. The encyclopaedia is a piece of writing that subtly combines the writing of ‘the church’, which is often ‘fiction’, with fact as it is known from other sources. It pulls no punches to protect church dignitaries and above all, it is readable..............7 A Pope.......................................9 St. Peter (32 – 67) … 1st...........13 Papal Names............................19 Pope Boniface II (530 - 532) … 55th........................................22 Pope Constantine (708 – 715) … 88th........................................25 Pope Stephen VII (896–897) … 114th.......................................27 Pope John XII (955-963) … 131st29 Life in the Middle Ages.............32 ..............................................35 Pope Benedict IX (1032 – 1045, 1045, 1047 – 1048) … 146th, 148th and 151st.......................36 ..............................................38 Pope Blessed Urban II (1088 –


John Graham 5 1099) … 160th..........................39 Antipopes................................46 Pope Gregory IX (1227 – 1241) … 179th.......................................48 Pope Celestine V (1294) … 193rd ...............................................53 Pope Urban VI (1378 – 1389) … 203rd & Pope Clement VII (1378 – 1394) ......................................58 Pope John XXIII, Pope Benedict VIII & Pope Gregory XII (1406 – 1415) … 206th..........................61 Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) … 215th.......................................65 Pope Julius II (1503 – 1513) … 217th.......................................71 Pope Leo X (1513 – 1521) … 218th ...............................................77 Pope Clement VII (1523 – 1534) … 220th.......................................85 Pope Pius V (1566 – 1572) … 226th.......................................90 Pope Innocent X (1644-1655) … 237th.......................................93 John Graham 143......................3 Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) … 251st ...............................................96 Pope Pius XII (1939 – 1958) … 261st.....................................101


Papal Cupidity Pope Paul VI (1963 – 1978) … 263rd.....................................109 Papal Cupidity............................2 Celibacy.................................113 Papal proclamations...............116 Pope John Paul II (1978 – 2005) … 265th.....................................119 Pope Benedict XVI (2005 - ) … 266th.....................................124 10 things that the faithful would prefer not to know about Popes and the Papacy.......................130 Chronological List of Popes.....134 References.............................142


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Dedication This brief book is dedicated to the New Advent, Catholic Encyclopaedia. The encyclopaedia is a piece of writing that subtly combines the writing of ‘the church’, which is often ‘fiction’, with fact as it is known from other sources. It pulls no punches to protect church dignitaries and above all, it is readable.


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A Pope Let us meet a “Pope” according to the Church of Rome: “The title Pope, once used with far greater latitude, is at present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome who, in virtue of his position as successor of St. Peter is the chief pastor of the whole Church: The Vicar of Christ upon Earth. Besides the bishopric of the Rome Diocese, certain other dignities are held by the pope as well as the supreme and universal pastorate: he is Archbishop of the Roman Province, Primate of Italy and the adjacent islands, and sole Patriarch of the Western Church. The Church’s Doctrine as to the pope was authoritatively declared in the Vatican Council in the Constitution “Pastor Aeternus.” The four chapters of that Constitution deal respectively with the office of Supreme Head conferred on St. Peter, the perpetuity of this office in the person of the Roman pontiff, the pope’s Jurisdiction over the faithful, and his supreme authority to define in all questions of faith and morals.”
Ref: New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia

There is an avowed belief in the Catholic Church that apostle Peter came to Rome. It is unlikely since he was an Israelite Jew and

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there was no motivation to leave the Antioch region where he preached, to establish an evangelistic group in Rome. For a start it was a very long way when you had to walk or travel by ass. Israel was the center of new ‘Christian’ ideals and Peter is on record of teaching only locally. However, be that as it may, the belief that Peter arrived in Rome is the basis for establishing the Vicar of Rome as the head of the Christian Church and to credit popes as all being his successors. They are assumed to carry forward Christian beliefs and have St. Peter’s virtues in the “perpetuity of this office.” Facts, however, point to something quite different. There have been 265 popes since Peter was presumed the first in the year 32 AD. All have been the nominal head (Chief Executive Officer) both of the Vatican, a state, and of the Roman Catholic Church, a religious institution. Only in 1870 did the Pope lose the right to rule the City of Rome. On many occasions, other men have been in competition for the position of Pope, as Antipopes. They were usually elected by a competing section of the Church. Popes have come from a variety of backgrounds, but certainly most have had powerful and rich supporters. It didn’t harm to be born into a family all of whose members worked for the Church in some capacity or other. They were not trying to succeed a poor Jewish evangelical activist to

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demonstrate the virtue of his teaching … most were trying to obtain a position at the head of the Christian organization, one of power and wealth. With very few exceptions, it was their cupidity that made them pope. Only a small notable handful objected to being elected … Popes Celestine V and Pius V, both good men, come to mind. They are the exception. Many Popes have been good men but the vast majority has fallen well below the idea that they were of sufficient stature to be a ‘supreme authority to define in all questions of faith and morals’. Indeed, nepotism, bribery, the waging war, murder, torture, excommunication, and neglect of the peasant, are common themes throughout the lives of Popes. Many have also engaged in adultery, sodomy, and other unspeakable acts. Martin Luther, a faithful adherent to the Church of Rome, for example, saw very clearly in 1515 that his pope, Pope Leo X, was a greedy immoral man who sold indulgences for future sins to pay for his own worldly pleasures. The behavior of Leo and his predecessors was the reason for the Reformation, the fracturing of the Catholic Church and the loss of believers to the new Protestant Churches. The Church literally fell apart and remains apart. Even today, when there is much more public


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scrutiny of the actions of the pope, the present Pope adheres to archaic ideas of morality that are so out of date with present conditions that they have resulted in a vast number of deaths among innocents. He and his immediate predecessor cannot be considered stupid men, merely mistaken ones. It is unlikely that those who suffered from AIDS in Africa will forgive them. It is not going too far to call them ‘murderers’, since they knew and know well what is happening. So it behooves the faithful to look carefully at the heads of their church and to judge the teachings of their church by the believability of its infallible leadership. This was essentially the advice that Martin Luther gave in the 16th century. He found the Church of Rome sadly lacking. Things haven’t changed.

Let’s visit a few Popes through the ages to see what they were like. Keep an open mind.


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St. Peter (32 – 67) … 1


Peter (whose original name was Symeon) and his brother Andrew were fishermen living in Capharnaum on the banks of Lake Genesareth. He had a profitable business with his own boat. He was married, had children and his wife’s mother lived with them. He was relatively well off. Like many other Jews, Symeon was attracted to the preacher of whom he had heard and he made an effort to meet him personally. Eventually, he and his brother talked to Yeshua bin Yosef (now called Jesus Christ) for a day and were convinced by him. They became his followers. Later Yeshua recruited Symeon to work closely with him in his evangelism even though Symeon occasionally went back to fish to support his family. Still later, it is said that Yeshua renamed Symeon: Cephas, which when translated into Latin is Petrus … hence Peter. Yeshua had gathered around him some likeminded friends. They were all manual workers and they all suffered under the yoke of the Roman-led Jewish Herod. Taxes were high and the collections went to Herod’s court and to Rome. Nothing much came back to the people. However, Yeshua had the idea that the people didn’t deserve to be cared for until they corrected their ways so he set about making them better people …

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which was the reason for his preaching. Cephas agreed with that mission and was soon a recognized a leader of those who followed Yeshua … his disciples. Yeshua began to rely on Cephas and even, once, used his boat as a dais to preach to the people who had come to hear him along the shore of Lake Genesareth. Cephas was a faithful friend right until at the end when Yeshua had been condemned. Then Cephas denied him telling Herod that he didn’t know him. That, as the Catholic Encyclopedia puts it, was due quite naturally, to “fear and cowardice.” Hey! Cephas was human. After Yeshua was crucified, Cephas came out of the closet and began to relay Yeshua’s message across the land. Of course, most of those who heard the message thought, Well, I have better things to do with my time, but a few were convinced and the number of followers increased. The number of groups of those converted to Yeshua’s ideas grew as Cephas preached around Palestine, Judea and as far north as Antioch in Syria, 300 miles from Jerusalem. He also took a tour along the coast through Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea. The Bible attributes miracles to Cephas throughout his travels as they did to Yeshua but this is more a matter of advertising his


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greatness in the written word of a century or more later, than of the truth. One sanctifies past heroes … one need only think of our own. As the little groups of followers grew, it wasn’t long before Herod Agrippa I realized that he had another troublesome activist on his hands. He had Cephas arrested and thrown into prison intending to have him executed like the previous troublemaker, Yeshua bin Yosef. However, Cephas escaped and left the land. Where he went was kept so secret that there is not even a suggestion in the Bible. Now we know it to have been Antioch … not far in modern terms but very far away from Herod in those times. Cephas did originate one odd thing that sets orthodox Jews apart. “When the Christianized Jews arrived in Jerusalem, Peter, fearing lest these rigid observers of the Jewish ceremonial law should be scandalized and his influence with the Jewish Christians be imperiled, avoided thenceforth eating with the uncircumcised.” It boggles the mind how one would determine if one’s dining companion was circumcised or not. His friend, Paul, was horrified and, publicly censured Peter for the idea. However, Peter’s views held.


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As Herod’s troops searched more keenly for Christians, Peter and other converted Jews made Antioch on the banks of the Orontes River in Syria their home. There they could change their citizenship. To avoid persecution, they worshiped secretly in caves where they could not easily be found. Paul also habitually started and ended his missionary journeys in Antioch. Later, St. Peter’s Grottos Church was built at the cave location. It is one of more than twenty fourth-century churches uncovered in Antioch. Tradition says that Peter preached and taught here while he was in the city from 47 A.D. to 54 A.D. He would have been an old and respected man. Peter, in all probability, died in Antioch of old age. That’s where he did most of his work and he was among friends and out of the reach of persecution. However, the Catholic Church would prefer that we believe that Peter traveled all the way to Rome where he was in even more danger than in Jerusalem and worked there until he was caught and crucified. But as his denial of Yeshua bin Yosef at the last shows Peter was not one to walk into danger. The Church dates his papacy as being from 32 A.D. to 67 A.D. This would validate the Catholic Church as the Church of Rome, elevate Peter to something like Sainthood and make sense of the papal succession.

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However, there is no reason to believe that Peter ever got to Rome or even wanted to travel so far. In fact, the Church writings on this matter are so positive any intelligent reader must judge them to be false: “It is an indisputably established historical fact that St. Peter laboured in Rome during the last portion of his life, and there ended his earthly course.” “St. Peter's residence and death in Rome are established beyond contention as historical facts by a series of distinct testimonies extending from the end of the first to the end of the second centuries, and issuing from several lands.” The twelve ‘testimonies,’ offered by the Catholic Encyclopedia, are stories of rumors about Rome, or conjectures inferred from the Bible written much later. Furthermore, most do not refer specifically to Peter but to anonymous apostles. The Church methinks. doth protest too much,

What matters to the Church of Rome in this case is precedence, that “this constitutes the historical foundation of the claim of the Bishops of Rome to the Apostolic Primacy of Peter.” In other words if one doesn’t believe that Peter came, worked and died in Rome, there is no case at all for the all–

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powerful Church of Rome. Well-documented life in Pompeii and the surrounding towns, extending from 100 B.C. to 79 A.D., from evidence found under the ashes of Vesuvius, often speaks of visitors from Rome and the religious cults that were evident. The history shows no sign of any Christian Church of Rome either in practical existence or in influence. Instead, the practices of Greece, Egypt and the Roman Empire affected how the inhabitants lived and worshipped. It is very unlikely that Peter traveled further west than Antioch when he was 65. It is more likely that the Roman cell of converted Christians grew and being more powerful than others simply assumed the seniority among Christian groups in succeeding centuries. It has happened in other groups. The Church of Rome then wrote its own history. Very little is heard of Rome in Church matters until after 120 A.D. and documentation really began in about 400 A.D. However, whatever the facts are, the Church of Rome lives by what it believes.


John Graham 19 Papal Names St. Peter was named first by the Latin and then the Anglicized version of his given name. The Catholic Church would have us believe that Symeon was renamed Cephas by Yeshua bin Yosef (Jesus Christ) and that Cephas was translated into Petrus and, thence, to Peter.

An alternative possibility is that Symeon was translated to the Aramaic Cephas in the first Greek writings, just as Yeshua became Jesus in Greek because the Y was unpronounceable. However, finally, the Catholic Church named Symeon, Pope Peter, albeit a long time after his death. They used his own name in this instance. The first 42 popes also used their own names but since about the 100th incumbent it has been the custom for a Pope to take a name from prior Popes. Some of the names have meanings: Pius (pious), Clement (clemency), Innocent (merciful and innocent) and so on, although these adjectives have nothing to do with the actual character of the individual. Sometimes one suspects that the name the Pope chose for himself was merely a cover. Choosing to be Pius, the umpti-umpth, provides great anonymity. Thus, for example, Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli took the name ‘Pius’ … the twelfth pope of that name. In this case he was indeed pious although not good.


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Likewise, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini became the sixth Pope Paul. Our most recent Pope is named Benedict XVI, although his real German name is Joseph Alois Ratzinger. Apart from the real convenience of brevity to the owners of the names in these three examples, why have there been sixteen Benedicts, thirteen Leos, sixteen Gregorys and twenty-three Johns? In fact, there are only eighty-two original names distributed among 266 Popes and only one new one since the 108th holder of the position. The single new name in the past 158 popes has been John Paul, but since Pope John Paul was only pope for 33 days, his name was immediately assumed, in tribute to him, by his successor, Karol Jozef Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. Presently, the incoming Pope selects a name immediately that he is elected and the Sacred College announces the name along with the results of the election. In theory the incoming Pope is free to pick from any of his predecessors, use his own first name or come up with something new. In practice nothing but the first option has been used for the past 150 popes except for Pope John Paul. Thus, when one speaks of a Pope it is vital to say which he is. Pope John has twentythree possible references so the title is

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ambiguous. Moreover, confusion reigns with the name of Stephen. Some lists, including that of the Catholic Encyclopedia, list Stephen II although he died before he was consecrated. However, the Vatican’s list omits him and all future Stephens are renumbered. Thus, Stephen VII is this book could also be Stephen VI and so forth. (See the appended list of Popes from the Catholic Encyclopedia on page 132.)


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Pope Boniface II (530 - 532) … 55th It is the custom that prior Popes are regularly made Saints. Pope Boniface was the third in the history of the Papacy not to be honored by beatification. One has to ask why. Boniface was German, son of Sigisbald. We know nothing of his youth but that he came to Rome to work with the Roman Church. Under Pope Felix IV he was archdeacon and he became a person of some influence. Felix felt himself near death and fearing that the Roman and Gothic factions of the Roman Church might come to arms over a successor, he took an unusual step. He took it upon himself to appoint his own successor. He appointed the aged Boniface. Thus, when Felix died, Boniface took succession. Unfortunately for him, sixty of the seventy Roman priests disagreed and elected their own pope, Pope Dioscorus. The reason was not so much a dislike of Boniface but fear that the Ostrogothic King Athalari, whose grandfather was influential in electing Felix and, therefore, Boniface, might have too much influence. It was a political issue. Both popes were consecrated on the same day, Boniface in the Basilica of St. Julius, and Dioscorus in the Lateran. This was already the seventh papal schism in a history


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of only 55 papal successions. Fortunately, it only last twenty-two days because Dioscorus died leaving Boniface in sole possession of the position. Boniface then convened a Roman synod where he anathematized (cursed) Dioscorus. Although the dissenting priests didn’t formally confirm his papacy they were all persuaded to vow allegiance to him. All Popes have powerful persuasive talents since they can excommunicate those who don’t follow their word and excommunicated ecclesiasts lose their positions and their income. In a second synod he presented a constitution that gave him the right to appoint a successor and he named Vigilius. The assembly of priests quickly ratified the constitution. However, the people did not. The constitution was so unpopular that Boniface was forced, in a third synod, to retract it and nullify his nomination of Vigilius. Apart from the matter of succession, the term of Pope Boniface II was spent in assisting Christian groups throughout the West and East of Europe, and in North Africa. Remembering that in 500 AD the Roman Catholic Church was just a growing cult amongst other cults, most of the work needed was to strengthen the outposts of the Church.


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However, for all the work he did in support of the church and for the charity he provided to the populace of Rome during a year of famine, subsequent church deliberations found him not worthy of sainthood. Perhaps it was because he sought to appoint his successor.


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Pope Constantine (708 – 715) … 88


He was a Syrian and his father was John. So much is known of his early life. On coming to the Papacy, Constantine was faced with the challenge of new secular power. Felix, whom he had even consecrated as Archbishop of Ravenna, refused to acknowledge his overriding power as Pope. The Archbishop eventually obeyed but only after, as Catholic history reports, suffering “dire misfortune.” One wonders what this “dire misfortune” was that brought Felix into line, especially as the same Catholic history proclaims that Constantine was “a remarkably affable man.” Perhaps he smiled as he visited Felix on the rack. Constantine’s papacy was a sequence of opposites. The first half of his tenancy, for example, was marked by a severe famine while the second half had an abundance of crops. Then, on one hand, he welcomed visitors from Britain, Coenred of Mercia and Offa of the East Saxons, both of whom received tonsure, a condition close to but not quite ordination. It merited cutting the hair and wearing a surplice to become monks. The Bishop of Worchester, who had accompanied them, earned some privileges for his monastery of Evesham. His visitors


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were easy to deal with. On the other hand, closer to home the Emperor Justinian II had convened a meeting, a Council, just before Constantine was elected Pope, at which 102 canons were passed. Many of these proposed customs were in contravention to the Church’s teachings. One, for example, allowed the Greek secular clergy to abandon celibacy, while another granted the Patriarch of Constantinople independence of the Church of Rome. The general theme of Justinian’s meddling was to promote Monothelism (a heresy admitting the spiritual nature of Christ by denying his human nature). However, when pressed by Constantine, Justinian denied this motive. The Pope then took a firm hand in undoing what Justinian had done and he regained control. In order to meet Justinian, Constantine traveled to and from Constantinople when it was rare for any Pope to emerge from Rome. In doing so he was able to consecrate sixty-four bishops in the presence of their people rather than having the candidate bishops travel to Rome. However, other than consecrating Bishops he did not do much else.


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Pope Stephen VII (896–897) … 114


Stephen VII was Roman and the son of a priest, but he clearly didn’t think much of the Church. He was consecrated bishop of Anagni by Pope Formosus and there is a suggestion that it might have been against his will for later he got revenge. He was consecrated as Pope in 896. On the other hand, Emperor Lambert and his mother Ageltruda might have had something to do with what happened next. They may have forced him to act. He had the body of Formosus exhumed. Then, before an unwilling synod he had the body placed on the papal throne. A deacon was appointed to answer for the dead pontiff, who was then tried and condemned for acting as a bishop when he had been deposed and for passing from the See of Porto to that of Rome. The corpse was then stripped of its sacred vestments, two fingers were cut from his right hand and he was dressed in layman’s clothes. Formosus was then briefly reburied but exhumed, later to be thrown into the River Tiber. Stephen then forced several of those who had been ordained by Formosus to resign their offices. He couldn’t do much more since shortly afterwards he was strangled.

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His papal work had been limited to granting a few privileges to some churches.


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Pope John XII (955-963) … 131


After the death of the reigning pontiff, Agapetus II, a Roman Octavius, then eighteen years of age, was chosen his successor in 955. Octavius took the name of John XII. The Catholic Encyclopedia reports, “The temporal and spiritual authority in Rome were thus again united in one person -- a coarse, immoral man, whose life was such that the Lateran was spoken of as a brothel, and the moral corruption in the city became the subject of general odium. War and the sexual chase were more congenial to this pope than church government.” In fact, Octavius, now Pope John XII, was merely a boy and he loved the excitement of war when he was not in bed with some woman. However, his campaigns were not successful, He was defeated by the King Berengarius of Italy and his son and Duke Pandulf of Capua. Pope John resorted to an alliance with King Otto II of Germany who drove Berengarius and Pandulf away from Rome. In return he crowned Otto II an Emperor and he created the Archbishopric of Magdeburg and the Bishopric of Morseburg. Furthermore he made all future popes subject to the approval of the Emperor.


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As soon as Otto left, Pope John changed his mind and sought help from Adalbert, son of his previous enemy Berengarius, and from the Hungarians. It was a confusing time to keep a tally of friends and enemies. A synod composed of 50 Italian and German bishops was convened in St. Peter's; John was accused of sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery and incest, and was summoned to defend himself. Refusing to recognize the meeting, John sentenced them all to excommunication if they elected another pope. The emperor now came forward to accuse John of having broken the agreement ratified by oath and he called in Adalbert as a witness. The synod deposed John XII and elected a layman as a new pope Leo VIII. The imperial troops finally left and John’s supporters rose up in revolt. They were suppressed but they revolted again, successfully, bringing John XII back to Rome. There he took bloody revenge on those who had deposed him. CardinalDeacon John had his right hand struck off, Bishop Otgar of Speyer was scourged, and a high palatine official lost nose and ears and others were put to death. In another synod the election of Leo VIII was declared invalid and John XII was restored to the papacy. However, John died in 964, eight days after he had been, according to rumor, stricken by


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paralysis in the act of adultery. Another rumor was that the woman’s husband killed him on finding them in bed together. That would certainly have caused paralysis. He was 27.


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Life in the Middle Ages The higher ranks of the Catholic Church: Bishops, Cardinals and Popes, occupied a stratum of society equal to that of Kings and Emperors in the Middle Ages. They lived in comparable luxury, occupying castles and palaces defended by their own armies and cared for by countless servants. The Popes answered to no one and always had the ultimate defense that they could excommunicate anyone they wished. They could even order imprisonment and executions. Their only responsibility was the conduct of church rites and contemplation. No wonder these positions were highly sought. However, ordinary people didn’t live like this. The years between 1100 and 1500 were a time of plague and poverty, when the populace was at the mercy of weather and, at times, starvation, marauding armies, and the ever-present strictures of the church. At the peasant level, people were considered simply ‘usable’ by the ‘upper’ classes, in many ways, always for labor or sometimes for an army. Below the elite, landlords owned the land and, for them, the peasants, both freemen and serfs with varying types of land ownership, worked. In almost all cases, peasants were answerable to the lord of the manor in their community. They could not


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travel to other parts. The villages also had a legal and social hierarchy. At the top was the parish priest who might be a gentleman but was most often a peasant among his own congregation. He might own some land but he was as much one of the village as anybody, laboring alongside in smock and coarse boots. However, being the priest, he commanded a little respect and he came into his own on Sundays as well as at births, marriages and burials. Many of the peasants were specialists in, for example, repairing pots and pans, thatching, wood-working, shoeing horses, grave digging, repairing farm equipment like plowshares, or making hinges, keys and locks and even firearms. This counted for a great deal of practically in any village but nothing at all to a bishop who was convening a crusade. A peasant was simply a peasant. A typical home in Europe was made of wood and plaster, which is the reason that very few structures remain from before the late sixteenth century when stone structures became the norm. The home would probably have earthen floors and any second floor would be limited to a ladder that lead to an open half-floor either for food storage away from rats or, sometimes, for an extra pallet if the family was large. In farms the livestock


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might also share the farmhouse either in a barn adjacent to the living room or, at least for small animals, in the house itself. In winter they contributed warmth. The woman of the house, when she wasn’t washing or mending clothes or caring for infants was also the cook. She worked close to the fire. The fireplace was equipped with a spit or iron-cooking supports that swiveled above the fire. Usually a large iron cooking pot would be hung close to the fire for the stew to simmer. Another hanging cauldron boiled water. It was an economical and efficient way of cooking for a family because the food could be slow cooked or brought to the boil quickly if needed when the man returned from working outside. Of course, while Popes dined on fresh meat, white bread and wine, the peasant ate porridge and turnip stew, and drank beer or ale. Meat might consist of a chicken or a rabbit. Since the fire also supplied the only heat for the house it was the family focus of attention, the hearth was large and the smaller children played in front of it. The fireplace usually included, at least one side, a nook with a seat occupied by one of the grandparents … there was nowhere warmer. In the evening, the wife would sit knitting or darning while her husband smoked a pipe, and they talked.


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Even though peasants might boast of comfortable shelter, food and warmth, life was very uncertain for them. The hoofs of an unexpected horse or the clatter of halberds might signal anything from a traveler seeking shelter to the complete disruption of their lives. It was something that a Pope, born in a rich family and elevated through the ranks of the Church, would never experience.


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Pope Benedict IX (1032 – 1045, 1045, 1047 – 1048) … 146th, 148th and 151st Pope Benedict IX was a persistent man … be became pope three times and didn’t die in office. Instead, he was seeking a fourth election. He had been born into a church family, raised under Church protection, and he came to believe that he would inevitably become Pope. Since the family practically owned the papacy at this time, Benedict’s father, Alberic, regarding the position of pope as a kind of heirloom, and placed his son in the throne when he was just twenty in 1032. Benedict was the nephew of the two Popes who immediately preceded him but he had quite a different character. As the Catholic Encyclopedia, which is rarely critical of a Pope, notes, “He was a disgrace to the Chair of St. Peter.” As Pope, Benedict did fulfill some of the responsibilities of his position by holding synods, endowing some churches and monasteries, excommunicating one cleric, and forcing the Duke of Bohemia to found a monastery for having stolen the body of St. Adalbert from Poland. It was all run-of-themill stuff. However, Benedict was a dissolute youth so, in 1044, one of the religious factions in Rome drove him from the city and elected


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an Antipope, Sylvester III. Benedict quickly took control once more by driving Sylvester out of Rome. However, showing more frailty than is usual in a Pope, in 1045 Pope Benedict IX sold the office to John Gratian for a large sum of money in order to marry. Gratian then became Pope Gregory VI. However, Benedict regretted the decision and tried to regain the papacy only to incur the intervention of King Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor. As a result a German bishop was elected to be Pope Clement II instead of either Benedict or Gregory. However, having lived the good life and wanting to regain it, Benedict was not so easily put aside. He again seized Rome and the papacy by force of arms and became Pope for the third time. Now he couldn’t hold on to it so he, in turn, was driven out once more in favor of yet another Pope, Damasus II. Apparently, Benedict never ceased trying to regain what he considered to be his by right of birth, although the Church historians would like posterity to believe that the Abbot of Grottoferrata testified that “Benedict turned from his sin and came to (St.) Bartholomew for a remedy for his disorders.” The Abbot added that, “he died in penitence at Grottoferrata.”


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Nothing is known of his wife or even whether he went through with the proposed marriage in 1045.


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Pope Blessed Urban II (1088 – 1099) … 160th Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) was the first to establish the idea of a “Holy War,” that churchmen could wage a war directed by God to convert heathens. It wasn’t an original idea since St. Augustine before him had first made the suggestion in the 4th Century. War, they both said, was no longer to be a defensive action but a positive moral act. “In his treatment of heretics, schismatics, and pagans his (Gregory’s) method was to try every means — persuasions, exhortations, threats — before resorting to force; but, if gentler treatment failed, he had no hesitation, in accordance with the ideas of his age, in resorting to compulsion, and invoking the aid of the secular arm therein.” (New Advent – Catholic Encyclopedia) In modern language, Gregory intended to beat-the-hell out of non-Christians. In making this determination, Gregory laid the foundations of the disastrous Crusades against Islam that occupied Europe between 1097 and 1215. Otho of Lagery was born of a knightly family, at Châtillon-sur-Marne in the province of Champagne, about 1042. His origin gave him money and a knightly idea of chivalry. Had he been born into a farming


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family things might have been different but then he could not have aspired to the papacy anyway. His money helped him to be educated in Reims and to move up the ranks in the church, first as canon, archdeacon, monk, and prior. At 36 he became a Cardinal and very much ‘Gregory’s man’. In office, he appointed only those who were liked by Gregory. It was a time when Gregory’s papacy was in danger from a competitor, Pope Victor III, but fortunately they both came together to suggest Otho as their successor. When he was elected unanimously at 46 he took the name Urban II. Later he said of Gregory, "all that he rejected, I reject, what he condemned, I condemn, what he loved, I embrace, what he considered as Catholic, I confirm and approve" He remained still ‘Gregory’s man.’ Thus, it was natural from his knightly upbringing and his faithfulness to the ideas of his predecessor that he would adopt Gregory’s idea of a Holy War. When he made his appeal two decades later for a Crusade against ‘unclean nations,’ he said, “Let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements.” “Unclean nations” meant, as far as Urban


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was concerned, Muslim nations and societies. The Papacy had very little difficulty with Jews especially because, even though making a profit from lending money is usury and, therefore, a sin, Jews were useful in that capacity. Fortunately for the Popes, it was the lender not the borrower who was considered sinful. Primarily, Urban was reacting to an appeal from the Christian ruler Alexius I Comnenus for assistance against the Turks. King Alexius was having trouble as the Turks acquired land and he needed troops. It was not originally a squabble between religions, but from Urban’s point of view, it was a holy crusade against Muslim Turks. From that beginning, the idea of a holy crusade grew to encompass the retaking of Jerusalem from the Muslims. At no time did Urban, or any other Pope, try to understand the Muslim religion or see that it had many things in common with Christianity … it simply stemmed from Mohammed rather than from the many contributors to the Bible. They had the same origins. Moreover, Christianity had as many failings in its teaching as did Islam and it’s Augustine Holy War simply matched a Jihad. However, now committed to his Holy War, Urban traveled through Western Europe, particularly in the country of his origin,


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France, calling for a great religious military expedition to Jerusalem. He clearly had a way with words because finally through a combination of threats and pleading 100,000 people ‘took the cross’, and the first Crusade became a reality. Of course, beyond threats and pleading, bribery was involved. The fact that each crusader was offered redemption of all his sins was a telling incentive to ‘take the cross.’ It was an offer almost none could refuse. With losses and desertions, and, hopefully, some rational changes of heart, 60,000 eventually gathered at Nicaea near Constantinople in June 1097. Urban had been so persuasive that many of the leaders like Godfrey, the Duke of Lorraine, who was actually a vassal of Urban’s political enemy, the emperor Henry IV, sold many of their lands to finance their armies. The result? Even though Jerusalem was taken, the first Crusade was a failure. Jerusalem couldn’t be held. Nothing was gained and the attempt itself created a new Islamic unity. Succeeding Crusades to the Holy Land were a confusion of poor organization under many different motivations, some religious and some mere greed. What marked the Crusades was the outright cruelty of Christian armies, killing everywhere on the way through Europe. Old


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scores were settled and new ones created. All five major Crusades failed in one way or another, and Pope Urban II certainly bore most of the responsibility for starting the illconceived mess. But this wasn’t the end. Crusading became the fashion for Popes against the Muslims at the start but also for gain. Indeed, the missions over the years grew ridiculous. Each new pope felt compelled to initiate a crusade. In 1114, Pope Paschal II proclaimed a crusade against Muslims in Spain. In 1118, Pope Gelassius II promoted a crusade to capture Saragossa. In 1120, Pope Calixtus II proposed crusades to both Spain and the Holy Land. In 1127, Pope Honorius II urged a crusade against the Normans of South Italy, and, in 1132, Pope Anacletus II called for a crusade against his rival Pope Innocent II. In 1199, Pope Innocent III declared a crusade against a minor German noble to recover church lands in Italy. In each of these cases the crusaders were bribed. They were offered redemption from their sins if they ‘took the Cross.’ In later years, Popes used the call for a crusade for purely political reasons, for example, Pope Clement V in 1308 called for a crusade against Venice, granting Spanish mercenaries and other supporters all the spiritual rewards of Eastern crusaders.

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In 1145 Pope Eugenius II called for a second Crusade to the east and used Abbott Bernard of Clairvaux as his mouthpiece. In 1187 Pope Gregory VIII, witnessing Muslim Saladin’s victories in the East persuaded the elite of Europe, including King Richard I of England, to take up the sword. They failed to recapture Jerusalem. Pope Innocent III took up the challenge for a fourth Crusade in 1200. It was not only a disaster but the Muslim gains included a sack of Constantinople … the war had moved from the East to the gates of Europe. Pope Innocent III didn’t learn a thing because in 1213 he called for a fifth Crusade to the East hoping that the death of Saladin would make a difference. It didn’t. When Innocent died, his successor, Pope Honorius III, was no brighter. With no leader, his crusade, the fifth to the east, was an utter failure. These Popes were unworldly men. They were schooled only in the precepts of one religion and had no idea how armies moved, how they were provisioned, how they fought. Instead they each depended on either the elite of Europe to do the job for them or on mercenaries who were their own men. They forgot that these self-same people could never agree at home let alone in foreign lands where lands and cities were for the taking. Internecine squabbling between the Christian Dukes, Princes, and Kings,


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marked each crusade since all wanted a piece of the Islamic pie. Throughout this period the papacy wore blinkers … Popes preferred not to see who the enemy was. Moreover those in Rome had no compunction against squandering lives. The Crusades started by Pope Urban II gained no territory; instead more was lost to a much stronger and more unified enemy … the Muslims who occupied North Africa and parts of the Iberian Peninsula. Hundreds of thousands of lives and great wealth were lost and, furthermore, no one understood the Muslim or his beliefs any better than before. The Popes concentrated only on differences rather than similarities.


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Antipopes Competing popes have appeared many times in history. They arose not only because of personal ambitions but also because political separations (schisms) came about both in the West and in the East. Different Cardinals simply championed their candidates to uphold their views and at times there were sufficient Cardinals with different views to champion a number of different popes, usually two but sometimes three. Of course, since the clerks at the Vatican have corrected these difficulties and the present list of 266 popes shows none in parallel occupation. It is a smooth continuation of history as the latter day Church sees it. The written history carefully smoothes over the rough spots in papal competitions and shows a clean sequence from the mythical first pope, St. Peter, to the present day. However, the authorities also list 30 false claimants between the 3rd and 15th Centuries. They are described as Antipopes. Here is a typical situation: Pope Innocent II (1130 – 1143) … 165th Pope, and Pope Anacletus II (1130 - 1138) Both claimants were consecrated in Rome on the same day, Gregorio Papereschi as Innocent II in Sta. Maria Nuova, and Anacletus in St. Peter's three hours later.


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Innocent immediately left for France where he gained the support of King Louis VI and his bishops. He then traveled throughout France and the German states to gain the support of bishops throughout the land. Bishops acknowledged him everywhere and he was able to perform some activities that only a pope might have done. He crowned King Lothair and Queen Richenza, appointed bishops, celebrated Easter in Paris, opened a great synod at Reims, and crowned the young king of France, Louis VII. Meanwhile, Anacletus does not seem to have campaigned, perhaps because of sickness since he died shortly. Anacletus’ supporters elected a successor, Pope Victor IV. However when Innocent II returned triumphantly to Rome supported by an army that he had gathered, Victor quietly abandoned the papacy. Innocent moved swiftly to ensure his position and to heal the schism. He called the tenth Ecumenical Council to which a thousand bishops came. All of Antipope Anacletus’ official acts were declared null and void and the bishops that he ordained were, with few exceptions, deposed and some of his principal supporters were excommunicated.


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Pope Gregory IX (1227 – 1241) … 179th Ugolino, the Count of Segni, was born in the Campagia region of Southern Italy and he was educated at the Universities of Paris and Bologna. His family was not poor to be able to send him those distances. After the accession of Innocent III to the papal throne in 1198, Ugolino had no difficulty in getting Church appointments. Even visible nepotism was a way of life for Popes in those days. Thus, Ugolino became, successively, papal chaplain, Archpriest of St. Peter's, and Cardinal-Deacon of Saint' Eustachio in 1198. In 1206, he became Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri. A year still later he became a papal legate (ambassador). It was a matter of who one knew rather than having to show that one would be a virtuous leader of the church. As Papal Legate, with a colleague, Ugolino was given the job of negotiating between two claimants to the German throne, Philip of Swabia and Otto of Brunswick … hardly a religious issue. They neither managed to get agreement nor to have Otto abandon his claims so they left for Rome to consult with the Pope. Then they heard that Philip had been murdered, so they returned to Germany to persuade everyone to accept Otto without even, apparently, enquiring who had killed Philip. They were successful and they returned home. That mission took Ugolino


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and his colleague four years. After the death of Innocent III, in order to hasten the choice of a successor, the College of Cardinals agreed to an election by compromise and they empowered Cardinals Ugolino and Guido of Preneste to appoint the new pope. There must have been a whole bunch of politicking to have that happen. Still the pair appointed Honorius III who, of course, immediately rewarded them. Ugolino became plenipotentiary legate for Lombardy and Tuscia, and was entrusted with preaching the crusade in those territories. Later he was also given the responsibility for Central and Northern Italy. He was certainly one of the inner-circle in Rome Then after the death Honorius III, the College of Cardinals again asked three of their number to make the decision. First the choice came down to one of the three but he, very honourably, objected since it might look as if he had elected himself. Instead, the College now elected Ugolino and he became Pope Gregory IX at age 80. He surprised them all by staying in office for 14 years. His first activity was a soap opera. His knowledge of European politics and personalities first stood him in good stead. His first problem was Emperor Frederick II,

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who was delaying his promised departure on a crusade. Pope Gregory IX ordered him to go, which he did returning just three days later claiming that he and his partner in arms were sick. Pope Gregory knew Frederick had not departed for the crusade eight or nine times already so he place him under a ban of the Church and when this didn’t work he excommunicated the Emperor. This resulted in a mob attacking the Pope so he escaped to Perugia. Now, the Emperor Frederick II, hoping to show that Pope Gregory had been hasty, decided to leave on a Crusade. Pope Gregory IX replied that an excommunicated ruler was not a suitable person to lead a Crusade and he put the Emperor under a ban a second time. The Emperor Frederick now, seeing he wasn’t getting anywhere, attempted reconciliation. However, Pope Gregory knew how these things worked and he distrusted the Emperor. He was right, for German clerics at the urging of Frederick’s son, would neither recognize the bans placed on the Emperor nor his excommunication. Furthermore the Emperor defeated the papal army that Gregory had sent to invade Sicily. Things weren’t looking good for Gregory. More attempts at reconciliation didn’t work and it seemed that the Empire of Frederick and the Papacy of Gregory simply could not


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exist together in peace. Even a truce, which restored land to the papacy and removed the papal ban on the Emperor, was just temporary. Frederick’s armies were doing well in Northern Italy and Gregory therefore allied himself with the states of Tuscany, Umbria and the Lombard League to oppose him. Pope Gregory also ordered a crusade against the Emperor Frederick and back in Germany his legates urged the election of a new king. However, all the German bishops remained faithful to the Emperor, who, in order to embarrass Gregory further declared himself master of the Pontifical States. In the next step of this soap opera, Pope Gregory ordered all Bishops to attend a General Council in Rome, but the Emperor Frederick forbade attendance and captured all those bishops who had started to travel to the council despite his prohibition. Instead, he and his armies went and camped outside Rome. Pope Gregory XII however had the last laugh. He died … at 94 years of age. Soap opera apart, during his papacy, when he wasn’t leading an army a little like Don Quixote, Pope Gregory XII had a good heart. He despised the luxury that many ecclesiastical figures aspired to, much preferring the Mendicant Friars. When he was Bishop of Ostia he had sometimes

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donned the robes of St. Francis and walked barefoot. Likewise, St. Clare and her order were within his protection and he built three convents for them. He gave new statutes to the Carmelites and assisted the Cistercians and other orders. He canonized St. Francis and several other worthy characters. On the other hand he was very severe on heretics. He was in favor of the Inquisition and of putting heretics to death by fire. Whenever he was away Rome became home to a number of heretics but he hounded them down on his return and delivered them to the secular authorities for punishment … usually death by fire for the obstinate and life imprisonment for the penitent. There was, of course, no mercy. He helped the University of Paris, his Alma Mater, but also watched carefully over its professors. He warned repeatedly against a tendency to subjecting theology to philosophy by making the truth of the mysteries of faith dependent on arguable proofs. In that Pope Gregory XII was no different from prior or future Popes.


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Pope Celestine V (1294) … 193


Pietro di Murrone was of humble parentage, a Neapolitan. He became a Benedictine monk when he was seventeen and he was ordained a priest in Rome. He loved solitude and this lead him to him the wilderness of Monte Morone in the Abruzzi and then later to wilder places in Mount Majella. He took for his model the Baptist. His hair-cloth shirt was roughened with knots; a chain of iron encompassed his emaciated frame; he only ate on Sundays and each year he kept four Lents, passing three of them on bread and water; the entire day and a great part of the night he devoted to prayer and work. However, as others who want solitude have found out, it wasn’t to be. Others gathered around him wanting to be like him and soon there were many disciples in his wilderness. They called themselves Celesti and at Pietro’s death there were thirty-six monasteries and 600 adherents. Another group of hermits also called themselves Celesti but they were associated with Franciscan monasteries. They lived according to the rule of St. Francis. Eventually, it was too much for Pietro so he appointed a certain Robert as his deacon to look after his disciples and he went deeper into the wilderness. There must be solitude somewhere, he was probably thinking.


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Then in 1294, three eminent men and a host of monks, priests and laymen, ascended Pietro’s mountain and told the 81-year-old hermit that the Sacred College of Cardinals had elected him Pope. There had been no pope for over two years since the College had been divided between two rival families, the Orsini and the Collona. They simply could not agree. The crux came when Charles II of Naples wanted Papal authority to regain Sicily. He was a patron of the Catholic Church. Cardinal Orsini mentioned the hermit on the mountain and the deal was done. They came to an immediate unanimous decision. Pietro, on hearing of his elevation, burst into tears but realizing that flight was impossible, he obeyed what he viewed as a call from God to abandon his own wishes for a life of public service. Down from the mountain a crowd of some 200,000 greeted him it was said. He said good-bye to solitude. On hearing about the event King Charles of Naples, with his son, the titular head of Hungary, hurried to meet Pietro, now Celestine V, ostensibly to pay homage to the new pope, in reality to take the simple old man into honorable custody. Had Charles known how to be moderate in his good luck, this election might have brought him incalculable benefits; as it was, he ruined everything by greed.

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Instead of going to Rome, at King Charles’ request, Pietro asked the Cardinals to come to Naples. There he arrived riding on an ass and although only two Cardinals came he was crowned Pope. Later he was again crowned in Rome … the only double investiture of a pope in history. He remained under the control of King Charles and it is amazing how many serious mistakes the simple old man crowded into five short months. There is no full register of them, because his official acts were annulled by his successor. At the urging of King Charles he ordered the Curia to repair Naples. He appointed twelve Cardinals, seven French and the remainder Neapolitan, thereby creating the basis for the Western Schism to come. At Monte Cassino he tried to make the monks obey a hermit’s life but they humored him only while he was with them. Then as Advent approached Pietro had a little hut built like the one he lived in Abruzzi. He began to feel that his soul was in danger as the affairs of state were taking too much of his time that ought to be spent in piety. The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the Celestine V and to his discontented cardinals, whom he rarely consulted. However, since he was the supreme he had no superior, to whom could

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he resign? The point was put to an expert in canon law, Cardinal Gaetani, and he decided according to common sense, affirmatively. The fact that he was next in line for the papacy didn’t affect his decision that the old man could resign! King Charles tried to mount an opposition to the abdication, after all Celestine V was doing a lot of good for Naples, His castle was surrounded by a host of monks in tears imploring Celestine V to continue his papacy but, after some evasive answers, a week later his mind was made up. When Cardinal Gaetani was elected Pope Boniface VIII. He immediately revoked many of the enactments of Celestine V so King Charles lost many of the favors done to Naples and Neapolitans. Gaetani, now Boniface VIII, took Pietro along with him to Rome dressed as a hermit but he was forced to keep him in custody for fear that opponents might make use of the old man. Still Pietro managed to escape and he turned up, to the delight of a host of monks, at his old hermitage at Majella. Boniface ordered his arrest but it took several months to catch him while he wandered through the wilderness and even tried to cross over to Greece. Eventually he was arrested and Boniface imprisoned him in a small cell in the Castle of Fumone near Anagni.


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Boniface treated him cruelly in captivity for nine months and then had him murdered. Clement V canonized him in 1313 and his remains were taken to the church of his order at Aquila, where they are still revered. Pietro was a reluctant Pope … a good man.


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Pope Urban VI (1378 – 1389) … 203rd & Pope Clement VII (1378 – 1394) The College of Cardinals elected Bartolomeo Prignano as Urban VI. They did so after difficult negotiations between the Italian and French members of the Sacred College with those of Limoges. Prignano, at the time was Archbishop of Naples and a good candidate given his business ability, integrity, and knowledge of law. The fact that he was a subject of Queen Joanna of Naples also favored him. However what was most compelling was that the Roman mob turned out in force and even invaded the Vatican to ensure an Italian pope. The College of Cardinals gave in quickly and their deliberations were the shortest on record. However, once Prignano was in office his violent disposition became apparent … especially when he struck a Cardinal who had annoyed him. As Pope he did not show any of the good qualities, which had distinguished him before. He wanted to reform the church but he set about it with little prudence. He quarreled with the Sacred College, abused the cardinals and high dignitaries of the Church and, furthermore, he insulted Otto of Brunswick, a church benefactor. Insulting a benefactor of the church could be more damaging than even hitting a Cardinal.

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So a group of disaffected churchmen thought that Urban VI was not suitable. A mistake had been made … so they elected an alternative pope, Pope Clement VII, who took up residence in Avignon, a French city owned by the Vatican. The two papal rivals then established their own courts and appointed their own College of Cardinals and acted as independent popes for many years. This split Europe in two as France, Scotland and Spain supported Avignon while England, and the Italian and German states supported Rome. This was the start of the Western Schism in the Catholic Church that lasted 40 years until 1417. Urban VI was undoubtedly elected legally according to Church law and there is no proviso for ridding the world of a bad pope … there still isn’t. Unfortunately, he accomplished nothing during his papacy except alienation of all those around him. He was inconsistent, capricious and quarrelsome and he certainly hadn’t the genius or talent to heal the rift between Avignon and Rome. Urban’s aggressive behavior became even more irritable to the older members of the Sacred College. His cardinals needed a more practical way of proceeding; they proposed to depose or arrest him. But he discovered the plot and six of them were put in prison

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and their possessions confiscated. Those who did not confess were tortured and Pope Urban VI complained that he could not hear them screaming. The King and Queen of Naples, since they were suspected of being accomplices, were excommunicated. He died in 1389 a senile and difficult man. No one mourned his loss. The Catholic Church eventually struck Pope Clement VII from the official lists and then released the name Clement for another pope to use 150 years later. It’s not clear what happened to the cardinals appointed by the Antipope.


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Pope John XXIII, Pope Benedict VIII & Pope Gregory XII (1406 – 1415) … 206th These three men were “in vitriolic and even bloody conflict with each other.” John (or Giovanni) occupied the papal palace in Rome, Benedict held court in Avignon while Gregory held council in Naples. People continued to believe whatever they wanted to believe but having three popes made the church an administrative nightmare. Who makes appointments and who collects the church taxes? To whom do priests and bishops report? Eventually, the Holy Roman Emperor invited all three to a Council of the Church in Constance to settle the matter. Pope John (Giovanni) also had the power of the Medici banking family behind him. They made good profit over the comings and going of three popes, an immense number of Cardinals and innumerable other churchmen to Constance, but in the end their candidate lost. After some difficult negotiations Giovanni saw that he might be losing the decision so he tried to scuttle the conference. For this action he was taken into custody and once he was discredited the ecumenical vultures moved in to make a meal of his shame. Even the Medici money couldn’t help him. The Council, left without candidates, elected


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its own, Pope Martin V. Giovanni ceased to be pope and was erased from the church’s memory. Instead he “was arrested and accused of heresy, incest, piracy, sodomy, tyranny, murder and fornication with more than two hundred women.” You were in those days either a really excellent saint or a really evil villain. One other candidate, Gregory, seeing what had happened to Giovanni wisely retired from the fray lest someone look into his own background. Some of the accusations against Giovanni must have sounded familiar. The third candidate, Benedict, remained stubborn to the end, but his successor finally submitted to Martin V twelve years later. Giovanni spent four years in prison until the Medici family was able to ransom him for 3,500 florins in return for his collection of rare jewels. With some urging and financial inducement Pope Martin V made Giovanni the Bishop of Frascati, to the south of Rome, despite the horrendous accusations against him. Hands that are washed with bribes can make as many consecrating blessings as clean ones. Pope Martin V was the fastest rising churchman to assume the mantel of Pope. Representatives of five nations unanimously elected him at the Council of Constance


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after a short conclave because he was not aligned to any faction in this three-way horse race. He was elected on the 11th of November but because he was then only a sub-deacon, he was ordained deacon on the 12th, priest on the 13th, consecrated bishop on the 14th and crowned pope on the 21st. He was only 41 and he represented the new blood that the church needed to heal the Western Schism. He was a good unassuming man with a great knowledge of canon law and “numerous other good qualities.” Subsequently he did all that he could to erase the rift that had formed the Western Schism. The Avignon papacy was ended. However, the state of Rome made it impossible to re-establish the papal throne there. The city was almost in ruins, while famine and sickness had killed many of its inhabitants. The few people that still lived there were on the verge of starvation. Martin V therefore, proceeded slowly on his way thither, stopping for some time at a number of cities: Berne, Mantua, Geneva and Florence, to carry out some papal duties. In advance he recognized Queen Joanna as queen of Naples getting her thereby to relinquish Rome. Martin was now able to continue on his journey to Rome, where he arrived three years later after the Council of Constance.


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He at once set to work, establishing order and restoring the dilapidated structures such as churches, palaces, and bridges. For this reconstruction he engaged some famous masters of the Tuscan school, and thus, inadvertently, laid the foundation for the Northern Italian Renaissance. His Council of Cardinals wanted to have his actions overseen by a General Council, but he wangled his way out of that until he died.


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Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) … 215


Rodrigo Borja (Borgia) had popes in the family. He was born near Valencia in Spain. His parents were Jofre Lançol and Isabella Borja, sister of Cardinal Alfonso Borja. Rodrigo hadn’t intended on the Church … there were other jobs available but when his uncle became Pope Callixtus III he was taken into his uncle’s family and that determined his vocation. Like all family members of Popes, Rodrigo was obtruded onto the Church. His uncle sent him for a year to study law at the University of Bologna and on his return, when he was 25, he was made Cardinal– Deacon of St. Nicolo and he held that position for 17 years. Then in quick succession he became Cardinal-Bishop of Albana and then Oporto and then he became Dean of the Sacred College. His actual title was Vice-Chancellor of the Roman Church. Many envied him but he seems to have given satisfaction, even the evil Guicciardini admitted that, "in him were combined rare prudence and vigilance mature reflection, marvelous powers of persuasion, (as well as) skill and capacity for the conduct of the most difficult affairs". Because of his uncle the Pope, Rodrigo held a long list of archbishoprics, Bishoprics, abbacies, and other honors, and his


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acquaintances knew nepotism when they saw it. Yet he didn’t flaunt his position, notwithstanding the magnificence of his household and his passion for card playing, he was strictly abstemious in eating and drinking, and a careful administrator, he became one of the wealthiest men of his time. When he was 29, Rodrigo earned a letter of reproof from Pope Pius II for his behavior in Sienna, which, it is said, shocked the Church and the town. Since he didn’t drink it was probably connected with one of his earthly vices. He was interested in women. In about 1470 he met Vanozza Catanei, who lived in Rome. She became the mother of his four children: Juan, Caesar, Lucrezia and Jofre, born in 1474, 1476, 1480, and 1482. Lucrezia Borja, who was very beautiful, became infamous in her own right as the epitome of sexual depravity and murder. In 1492, Rodrigo became Pope and took the name Pope Alexander VI. He was fortunate; he narrowly obtained the required two-thirds majority of votes with a margin that was his own vote. It was suspected that he bought others. The populace were overjoyed and demonstrated with “bonfires, torchlight processions, garlands of flowers, and the erection of triumphal arches with extravagant inscriptions.”

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He repaid the populace’s welcome well. He set about curing the general lawlessness that pervaded the city of Rome. Within a few months, 220 assassinations had taken place. In each case, Pope Alexander VI ordered an investigation and once the culprit was found he was hanged on the spot and his home razed to the ground. In addition, he divided the city into four parts, each with its own magistrate to maintain the peace. Finally, he reserved the Tuesday of every week for settling grievances. Anyone could appear before him and argue his or her case and he dispensed justice “in an admirable manner.” Then he rebuilt the defenses to Rome, employed Bramante to decorate the Borja apartments in the Vatican and sponsored literature even though he laid no particular claim to learning. Apart from these excellent initiations, Pope Alexander VI remains a model from which one might judge nepotism. He continued in his papacy to act as he had done in his position as Cardinal particularly because he had a strong affection for his children. In this he was perhaps at odds with the Church but he was a model of what a non-celibate papacy should be about. He married one of his daughters, Girolama, to a Spanish Nobleman and set up two sons with valued positions in Spain. However, unfortunately he selected Caesar to follow him in the


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church. A week after he became Pope he appointed his eighteen-year-old son to be Archbishop of Valencia even though the boy never went to Spain nor did he take Orders. He was even appointed a cardinal later without being a qualified priest. Lucrezia’s first husband was Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, and a cousin of Ascanio. The marriage was celebrated in the Vatican in the presence of the Pope, ten Cardinals, and the elite of Rome. The elaborate revelries and parties for the event remained a blot on Alexander’s character. The marriage also had a political significance since it cemented an alliance between Alexander V and Milan and Venice. He needed the alliance at the time to withstand an archenemy, King Ferrante of Naples. Later, Lucrezia got rid of Giovanni on the grounds that the marriage was never consummated although she was pregnant at the time the marriage was finally annulled … her pregnancy was said to have come by virtue of a tryst with Alexander VI’s messenger. Alexander’s nepotism went on. The politics of the Church States and the Italian States were closely intertwined and Alexander VI set about dispossessing those Barons who were disloyal to him. They were the families of Orsini, Colonna, Savelli, the Gaetani, and others. They were continually


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plotting between each other, against each other, and against the Papacy. If Alexander VI had just simply dispossessed them by force of arms and his own allies from Milan and Venice, it would have been a worthy thing to do. However, he had always in mind that he would dispossess them of their castles and possession and award everything to members of his own family. By the time he was 75, the Sacred College was composed only of his supporters and he had affairs well in hand. He enjoyed and laughed at the scurrilous lampoons that were in circulation in which he was accused of incredible crimes, and he took no steps to shield his reputation. War had broken out in Naples between France and Spain over the division of the spoils. Alexander was still in doubt which side he could most advantageously support, when his career came to an abrupt close. In 1503, the Pope, with Caesar, his son, and others, dined with Cardinal Adriano da Corneto in his villa and imprudently remained in the open air after dark. All of them paid the penalty by contracting the pernicious Roman fever. Within twelve days Alexander was so sick that he made his confession, received the last sacraments, and died. Afterwards, the rapid decomposition and swollen appearance of his corpse gave rise to the usual suspicion of poison. His


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reputation was such that later the tale ran that he had drunk by mistake a poisoned cup of wine, which he had prepared for his host. However, the poison, which killed him, was merely the deadly microbe of the Roman countryside. So, after 11 years as Pope, Alexander VI left behind some excellent innovations for the populace of Rome embedded in a life of international intrigue and nepotism.


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Pope Julius II (1503 – 1513) … 217


Giuliano Della Rovere was born into a noble but poor family with an Italian father and a mother of Greek extraction. He followed his uncle into the Franciscans and was educated at Perugia. When his uncle was elevated to Pope Sixtus IV, Giuliano’s papal career began when he was 28. Within four months of his uncle’s elevation he was created Cardinal Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli. Thereafter, blessings flowed and he was overwhelmed with benefices. He held Episcopal sees In Carpentras (14712), Lausanne (1472-6), Catania (1473-4), Coutances (1476-7), Mende (1478-83), Viviers (1477-9), Sabina (1479-83), Bologna (1483-1502), Ostia (1478-1503), Lodève (1488-9), Savona (1499-1502), Vercelli (1502-3) and the Archepiscopal see of Avignon (1474-1503). He also drew revenue from being a commendatory Abbot of Nonantola and various other ecclesiastical benefices. However, he didn’t spend these large incomes on himself, nor it might be added, on the poor. He was a patron of the fine arts; so much of his income went to building magnificent palaces and fortresses. The patronage continued after he became Pope. Giuliano didn’t neglect himself either. When


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he eventually became pope he had three illegitimate daughters, the best known of which, Felice, married into the Orsini family. The other two, Clarissa and Giulia, didn’t amount to anything and were probably happier for that. In return for all the benefices he received, Giuliano served Pope Sixtus IV faithfully. He became a Papal legate charged with settling various disputes around Western Europe in particular to regulate the affairs of the Archdiocese of Avignon but also on various missions through France and the Netherlands. Once, he was sent at the head of a papal army to restore order in Umbria. When Sixtus IV died, since he saw he had no chance Giuliano supported someone whom he could influence, Pope Innocent VIII. Giuliano held virtual full power for the next eight years. Then, when Innocent VIII died, Giuliano was still not selected because of his strong support for France. Instead a representative of a family that he disliked, the Borgias, was elected as Alexander VI. Giuliano immediately withdrew to his fortified stronghold in Ostia. Despite apparent reconciliations, Giuliano evaded Rome while Alexander VI was in power but returned on his death for a third attempt at the papacy. Again he was unsuccessful, a very old Francesco Piccolomini was elected as Pius III.


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However he died within twenty-six days and Giuliano had yet a fourth chance This time, using a great deal of bribery among the Cardinals, and a great number of promises, Giuliano was elected Pope in the shortest conclave ever. He became Pope Julius II. He was now an avenger seeking to establish and extend his temporal power over the independent republican states of Venice, Perugia and Bologna, who had taken over some papal lands. The warlike Julius II personally directed the campaign against both, setting out at the head of his army in 1506. Perugia surrendered without any bloodshed and Bologna only took the excommunication of its leader and the cities were his in a few months. Then he turned to the Italian states and finally after complicated alliances, battles and an exercise of his papal powers (excommunication worked wonders) he rid the Italian Peninsula of France. He is famous primarily for this. He didn’t neglect his papal duties. He was still spiritual head of the church. He heard Mass almost daily and often conducted it himself. Unlike most Popes he was free of nepotism and many of his enactments were designed to cure the ills of the church and the monasteries. He also inducted dioceses in the new American colonies, in particular

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in Espanola, San Domingo and Porto Rico. Even while engaged in war and leading the armies of the Lord, Pope Julius II still had time for beauty. Kren and Marx write: Julius II had an enduring impact … in art. “With his wealth of visionary ideas, he contributed to the creativity of Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Following an overall plan, he added many fine buildings to Rome and laid the groundwork in the Vatican Museum for the world's greatest collection of antiquities. Among the innumerable Italian churches that benefited was Sta. Maria del Popolo, for which he commissioned Andrea Sansovino to create sepulchers for a number of cardinals and Pinturicchio to paint the frescoes in the apse. Around 1503 the Pope conceived the idea of building a new basilica of St. Peter, the first model of which Bramante created. Julius laid the foundation stone in 1506. The Pope's friendship with Michelangelo was enduring despite recurrent strains imposed on their relations by the two overly similar personalities. Their relationship was so close that the Pope became, in fact, Michelangelo's intellectual collaborator. Of Julius' tomb only the "Moses" in the church of S.

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Pietro in Vincoli, in Rome, was completed; the Pope is, however, not interred there but in St. Peter's, along with the remains of Sixtus IV. In 1508 Michelangelo was prevailed upon by Julius to begin his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which were unveiled in 1512. The paintings were, in form and conception, a product of the artistic ideas of both Michelangelo and the Pope. By 1509 Raphael began his masterpieces for the Pope, the frescoes in three rooms of the Vatican. Spiritual references to the person and the pontificate of Julius II are evident in one of the rooms where secular and religious wisdom are juxtaposed in the "School of Athens" and the "Disputa," while the beauty of creativity is represented in the "Parnassus." The theme of another room (the Stanza d'Eliodoro), which could be called a transcendental "political" biography of the Pope, is still more personal. "The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple" symbolizes the expulsion of the French and the subjugation of all the church's enemies, with Julius II depicted witnessing the scene from his portable throne. Closely related to this is the "Liberation of St. Peter," in which light and darkness serve to symbolize the historic events of the

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pontificate. The third great fresco in this room, the "Mass of Bolsena," shows the Pope kneeling, rather than enthroned, in commemoration of his veneration of the communion cloth of Bolsena in the cathedral of Orvieto. In addition to these fresco portraits, there is one by Raphael in the Uffizi gallery in Florence, one of the masterpieces of portraiture, which shows the Pope not as the victorious Moses springing to his feet, as Michelangelo portrayed him, but as a resigned, pensive old man at the end of an adventurous, embattled life. Michelangelo's chalk drawing of the Pope in the Uffizi gallery approaches it in quality.” Would you rather be known as someone who inspired and sponsored great art or one who lead holy armies into battle?


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Pope Leo X (1513 – 1521) … 218


Giovanni de Medici was destined to be Pope before he arrived on this mortal soil in 1475. He was the second son of the most important scion of the Medici banking family, Lorenzo the Magnificent. His mother was Clarice Orsini. The Medici family found that having a pope who was a member of the family helped their banking business … especially in the matter of charging interest on loans, which was the sin of usury. Giovanni became pope when he was 38 and whereas one of the normal populace of Italy at that time might have experienced life and its vicissitudes in those early years, Joe did not. He was born into a wealthy family and lived in the family’s magnificent palace. Ultimately, his father decided, that he would be Pope. He really had no choice. Progress went well. Giovanni was received into the clerical order (tonsured) when he was six and made a member of the highest order of Prelates when he was seven as well as being appointed Abbot of a French monastery in Font Douce. When he was eight he became the Abbot of the rich Passignano monastery and at ten he was the Abbot of Monte Cassino. He gained every clerical post that his father could arrange. His father, ruler of the Florentine Republic kept up pressure on the church so that Giovanni was elected a Cardinal at thirteen

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while his education was completed by a number of well-known humanists and scholars. Not that he knew much about life in the streets. However, things changed. His father and chief supporter died when he was sixteen and the family fortunes took a plunge. First, Cardinal Giovanni returned from Rome to Florence but shortly afterwards the Medici family was expelled from the city and he had to leave disguised as a Franciscan monk. Now at eighteen he began to experience life a little. He was ill prepared for it. After trying to restore the supremacy of his family, he led the life of a literary and artistic amateur. However, while excelling in dignity, proprietary and irreproachable conduct, he was incapable of managing money so he was soon reduced to a distressed straits. He was a bad manager to the last. Towards the end of Pope Julius II’s life, fortune once more smiled on Giovanni de' Medici. In 1511, when the pope was dangerously ill Giovanni became legate in Bologna and Romagna. However, then he suffered another reverse. The Spanish and Papal armies, with which he was traveling, were defeated in 1512 at Ravenna by the French and he was taken prisoner. It was a pyrrhic victory for the French soon lost all

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their Italian possessions and Giovanni, who was to have been taken to France, succeeded in making his escape. The supremacy of the Medici in Florence was re-established in 1512, and this unexpected change in the fortunes of his Medici family was the prelude to better things for Giovanni. The Pope died in 1513, and Giovanni de' Medici, then thirty-eight years old, was elected as the new Pope. If his father had been alive, Giovanni would probably have been pope twenty years earlier. Now, he showed another side as he made up for a lost twenty years of power and luxury. Despite his age was he was still a boy at heart. He liked laughter and had an addiction to music and theater and secular pleasures such as hunting and banquets. He said, “ Let us enjoy the papacy, since God has given it to us.” He was known as a free-spending libertine. He dispensed money far and wide with no regard to the dwindling papal treasury. In one single ceremony he spent a seventh of his predecessors’ total reserves. The Catholic Encyclopedia explained, “He paid no attention to the dangers threatening the papacy, and gave himself up unrestrainedly to amusements, that were provided in lavish abundance. He was possessed by an insatiable love of

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pleasure, that distinctive trait of the Medicis. Music, the theater, art, and poetry appealed to him as (much as) to any pampered playboy. He loved to give banquets and expensive entertainments, accompanied by revelry and carousing; and notwithstanding his indolence he had a strong passion for the chase, which he conducted every year on the largest scale. From his youth he was an enthusiastic lover of music and attracted to his court the most distinguished musicians. At table he enjoyed hearing improvisations and though it is hard to believe, in view of his dignity and his artistic tastes, the fact remains that he enjoyed also the flat and absurd jokes of buffoons. Their loose speech and incredible appetites delighted him. In ridicule and caricature he was himself a master. Pageantry, dear to the pleasureseeking Romans, bullfights, and the like, were not neglected. Every year he amused himself during the carnival with masques, music, theatrical performances, dances, and races. Even during the troubled years of 1520 he took part in unusually brilliant festivities. Theatrical representations, with agreeable music and graceful dancing, were his favorite diversions. The papal palace became a theater and the Pope did not hesitate to attend such improper plays as the


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immoral "Calendra" by Bibbiena and Ariosto’s indecent "Suppositi". His contemporaries all praised and admired Leo's unfailing good temper, which he never entirely lost even in adversity and trouble. Himself cheerful, he wished to see others cheerful. He was good-natured and liberal and never refused a favor either to his relatives and fellow Florentines, who flooded Rome and seized upon all official positions, or to the numerous other petitioners, artists and poets. His generosity was boundless, nor was his pleasure in giving a pose or desire for vainglory; it came from the heart.” In 1515 the papal treasury was empty. His solution to avoid becoming destitute was to sell titles, favors and indulgences. There were plenty of customers in Rome. An indulgence gave the purchaser relief from any future sin that the purchaser might commit. The larger the contribution then the larger the sin that would be pardoned. It was an easy way to ensure that one went to heaven virtuously if you had enough money to buy sufficient indulgence. The revenue paid for Leo’s enjoyment. Not only did Leo sell indulgences and pardons, he also had revenue from the Holy Roman Emperor and his blessing was crucial in the election of a new Holy Roman


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Emperor. Any aspirant would have to pay dearly for the honour. The Holy Roman Emperor was an elective office founded in 800. The position was to unify France, much of Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and northern Italy. Over time it had become fragmented until Voltaire declared that the Holy Roman Empire was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.” Still Charles of Spain aspired to the vacant position … he borrowed heavily to pay Leo for his support with the German electors. That money too was dissipated on Leo’s pleasures. Eventually, some younger cardinals decided that enough was enough and that Leo needed to go. They decided to poison him. However, Leo uncovered the plot and Cardinal Petrucci, who admitted to knowing of it, was strangled in prison. Other conspirators were either executed or exiled. There was no mercy when Leo’s way of life was being threatened. Another critic, Martin Luther, who dwelt beyond the Pope’s arm in Wittenberg, Germany, also felt that the church should brought back to its primary mission of persuading people to live a virtuous life rather than collecting money for pardoning their sins and then squandering it. Presently the church was a vision of corruption and

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arrogance led by the Pope: Leo X. Luther wrote a very critical and menacing letter to Leo. He wrote sarcastically, “Among those monstrous evils of this age I am sometimes compelled to look to you and call you to mind, most blessed father Leo.” He continued, under your influence, the Church of Rome, “formerly the most holy of all Churches has become the most lawless den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels.” And more, “Not even the antichrist if he were to come, could devise any addition to its wickedness.” He went on like this for some time. He was not a man to mince words. Leon X put the letter aside for later attention and his reply reached Luther three years later. Meanwhile in 1515, not waiting for a reply, Luther posted his 95 theses on a church door in Wittenberg. He argued that in Catholic countries the elected popes were not leading the church in the right way but were more interested in wealth and possessions. He invited, nay forced, the faithful to consider their own position. In that time, bishoprics were bought and sold and retained through force of arms. Bishops supported their own armies. There was nothing holy or peaceful about Catholicism.


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Leo didn’t see the problem. He was, of course, concerned that some of those who he viewed as his congregation would think of breaking away to form a new church but he had delayed his response for so long, thinking that this miserable priest, Luther, would change his mind, that the schism was unstoppable. Luther and Calvin travelled throughout France and Germany preaching the new gospel of sombre restraint, abhorrence of decoration, and strict attention to the word of the Bible. Protestantism was born and it enveloped northern Europe and, not long after, the Americas. Leo X, by his attention to earthly pleasures, played while the Catholic Church was torn asunder. His later attempts, at the Council of Trent and the introduction of the Inquisition, to counteract the protestant movement came to nothing more than furious wars between Protestant and Catholic supporters.


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Pope Clement VII (1523 – 1534) … 220


Guilio de’Medici was born a few months after the death of his father Giuliano who was killed in Florence following disturbances that resulted from a conspiracy of rival bankers. Subsequently his uncle, Lorenzo the Magnificent raised him. Lorenzo was a Medici banker who was also ruler of the Florentine Republic so he was a powerful backer. Guilio was illegitimate since his parents were only betrothed, but he was later declared legitimate under an abstruse element of Canon Law and with Lorenzo’s assistance he rose within the ranks of the church. He became a Knight of Rhodes and was made Grand Prior of Capua, and, then upon the election of his cousin, Giovanni de' Medici, to the papacy as Leo X, he at once became influential within the Church. In 1513, he was made Cardinal and has the credit for helping to make papal policy during Leo’s pontificate although, given Leo’s lack of response to Martin Luther’s critical letter that does not seem much of a recommendation. When Leo died in 1522, Guilio was a favored candidate for election to Pope. However, after a lengthy conclave, the new pope became Pope Adrian VI. It was only after Adrian’s death a year later than Guilio

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got his chance. He became Pope Clement VII “with enthusiastic rejoicing.” Most of the early years of his pontificate were involved with a war between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Francis I of France. It was a confused affair especially as Pope Clement, as Guilio de’Medici had negotiated the marriage of his young relative Catherine de’Medici to Francis’ son. In the end he allied himself to France and only evaded the wrath of Charles by a truce and an indemnity of 60,000 ducats. That proved to be not enough for unpaid mercenaries who then attacked Rome. They reached the walls, which, owing to the pope’s confidence in the truce he had concluded, were almost undefended. Clement had barely time to take refuge in the Castle of Sant’ Angelo, and for eight days the "Sack of Rome" continued amid horrors almost unexampled in the history of war. "The mercenaries, all Lutherans,” says an impartial authority, "rejoiced to burn and to defile what all the world had adored. Churches were desecrated, women, even the religious, violated, ambassadors pillaged, cardinals put to ransom, ecclesiastical dignitaries and ceremonies made a mockery, and the soldiers fought among themselves for the spoils." Clement took refuge, as a virtual prisoner, in the Castle of Sant’ Angelo.


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Were this not enough to harass Clement in return for his underhand negotiations with The Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France, Francis 1, things were happening in England that needed his attention. King Henry VIII, tired of Queen Catherine who had produced no heirs, was now passionately in love with Anne Boleyn. She, he thought, looked as though she could give him an heir. The only problem was that he was married to Catherine and he had had carnal knowledge of Anne’s sister, which would not allow a marriage to Anne. In church-speak, Henry needed a dispensation from “the impediment of affinity.” Cardinal Wolsey was sent to Rome for two indulgences from the strictures of the church: … that Henry’s bedding of Anne’s sister would be ignored and that Henry would be granted a divorce from Catherine. Wolsey in Rome had to wait until Clement managed to escape Sant’ Angelo and even had to travel twice to Rome. Then, though Clement had no issue with Henry’s carnal knowledge of Anne’s sister, he drew the line at the divorce. History shows that Clement first authorized that a Commission in England should decide the issue but he put stringent conditions on the outcome. Negotiations continued to flow between London and Rome with occasional interference from Francis of France and

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Emperor Charles. The latter once simply declared a communication that he didn’t like “a forgery.” However history notes in the Catholic Encyclopedia, that Pope Clement’s “intelligence was of a high order, though his diplomacy was feeble and irresolute.” He simply didn’t know whom he was up against in Henry VIII. Upon the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry appointed Cranmer and made him his papal negotiator. Henry did two other things: first he secretly married Anne Boleyn and then he ordered Archbishop Cranmer to approve his divorce from Catherine, which he did. Now Clement finally acted. He excommunicated King Henry VIII and declared his marriage to Boleyn null and void. However, he had not thought the matter through. Being celibate he understood neither Henry’s desires for this woman nor his power in England. Henry VII declared himself head of the Anglican Church, issued new rules for services and life within the church. He destroyed the Roman Catholic monasteries and, effectively, did away with Roman Catholicism in England forever. Now he didn’t need the Pope. ‘Popery’ became an English word for


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‘arbitrary power.’ In one fell swoop, without noticeable sorrow, Clement had lost a great section of the Roman Catholic Church. Following his predecessor Leo X’s loss of the Netherlands, Scotland, Germany and Switzerland to the reformed Protestant Church, it looked as though the Church in Rome was crumbling. Pope Clement VII dabbled in politics without the talent to do so.


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Pope Pius V (1566 – 1572) … 226th Pope Pius V does not fit under the heading of “Papal Cupidity” except for reasons of contrast. He was unequivocally a good man who was neither ambitious nor greedy for power. Michele Ghisleri was born in Lombardy to poor but noble parents. Although, normally, he would have been expected to be trained in a solid trade to help his family, the Dominicans took him to the Monastery of Voghera where he was brought up in austere piety. He entered the Dominican order and at 24 was ordained as a priest. He taught religion and philosophy and worked with the novices. He was an excellent example to the novices. “He fasted, did penance, passed long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, traveled on foot without a cloak in deep silence, or only speaking to his companions of the things of God.” Ghisleri was not ambitious. It wasn’t until he was 52 that he was made Bishop of Sutri but when his piety and fervor against heresy came to the notice of the Pope he was appointed cardinal just three years later and he was appointed general inquisitor for all of Christendom. As Cardinal he continued to show his zeal. It was he who opposed Pope Pius IV when the


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latter wanted to admit Ferdinand de’Medici, a relative, to the Sacred College when he was just thirteen and it was he who defeated Maximilian II, Emperor of Germany, who wanted to abolish ecclesiastical celibacy. One might say that Ghisleri was misguided now but he acted then entirely and consistently according to his faith. When Pius IV died, Ghisleri was, “despite his tears and entreaties, elected pope, to the great joy of the whole Church”, other than himself. He was 62. As Pope he didn’t change. He gave large alms to the poor, instead of distributing his charity at haphazard like his predecessors. As pope he practiced the virtues he had displayed before. He was still pious and, in spite of the work of his office, he made at least two meditations a day on bended knees. In his charity he visited the hospitals, and sat by the sick, consoling them and, if necessary, preparing them to die. He washed the feet of the poor, and embraced the lepers. It is related that an English nobleman was converted on seeing him kiss a beggar’s feet covered with ulcers. (Adapted from New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia.) Despite his piety Pope Pius V did not neglect the office. He banished luxury from the papal court, raised the standard of morality, and attempted to reform the clergy.

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On a more human side he banished prostitutes to a more distant location and forbade bull fighting. Despite his humble beginnings he also worked assiduously on an international level. He supported Mary Queen of Scots against Elizabeth in England: writing to console Mary in prison and excommunicating Elizabeth. He fought for Catholicism in the Netherlands by supporting Charles of Spain, in France by encouraging the Catholic League against the Protestants, and in Germany against heretical princes. However, his main passion was to oppose the Turks in very practical matters. He supported the Knights of Malta … the hospitalers of the Crusades, and gave money for the fortification of Italian towns. When Solyman II attacked Cyprus, Pope Pius V rallied the forces of Venice, Spain and the Holy See to oppose him. He broke into tears when the Catholic forces won the battle of Lepanto setting back to Turkish invasion. He was in the middle of negotiations to unite Europe against Islam when he died. “He left the memory of a rare virtue and an unfailing and inflexible integrity. He was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.”


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Pope Innocent X (1644-1655) … 237


Giambattista Pamfili’s father and mother were Camillo Pamfili and Flaminia de Bubalis, from Umbria. The young man studied law at the Collegio Romano and from there he climbed the steps one-by-one directly to the papacy with a pope at his elbow every step that he climbed. Pope Clement VIII appointed him consistorial advocate and auditor. Pope Gregory XV made him Nuncio in Naples. Pope Urban VIII appointed him the datary with the cardinal legate to France and Spain and then appointed him titular Latin Patriarch of Antioch and Nuncio of Madrid. He was created a Cardinal of Sant' Eusebio in 1626. He was a member of various Catholic assemblies: the Council of Trent, the Inquisition, Jurisdiction and Immunity. He had arrived at the innermost of circles but probably knew nothing f life outside the church. In 1644, a conclave for the election of a successor to Urban VIII was a stormy one. The French faction refused to vote for a candidate who was nominally friendly towards Spain … good man or not. It was Cardinal Firenzola, the Spanish candidate that they were targeting. Cardinal Mazarin, the prime minister of France put the hit in. So, even though Pamfil was friendly with Spain, he wasn’t from Spain so he was duly


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elected and took the name of Innocent X. That last step needed someone else to slip from it. Pope Innocent X was pliable … he bent with the wind. Soon after his accession, he was forced to take Barberini to court for misuse of public money. Barberini fled to France for the protection of Mazarin. Innocent X issued a papal bull announcing that any Cardinal leaving Rome without permission and not returning would forfeit all his properties and benefices and the Cardinalate itself. The French Parliament declared his announcement null and void. He didn’t give in until Mazarin threatened to mount an army against the papacy … then he yielded and Barberini was later rehabilitated. Innocent X was “a lover of justice and his life was ‘blameless’; he was, however, often irresolute and suspicious.” Also … and there is always something else in the life of a Pope. Also, his papacy was tainted by his dependence on Donna Olimpia Maidalchini, the wife of his deceased brother. For a short time his sister-in-law’s influence yielded to the influence of young Camillo Astalli, a very distant relative whom Innocent made a Cardinal. But he was unable to get along without his sister-in-law, Donna, and at her instigation Astalli was deprived of the

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purple and removed from the Vatican for reasons unknown except perhaps jealousy. The accusation made by Gualdus (Leti) in his "Vita di Donna Olimpia Maidalchini" (1666), that Innocent's relations with her were immoral remains on the books. Perhaps ‘blameless’ was the wrong word.


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Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) … 251st Pope Pius VI made his name by being kidnapped by Napoleon and dying in captivity en route for Paris. After the French Revolution, Pope Pius VI rejected the "Constitution civile du clergé" which had been drawn up and in 1791 he suspended the priests who had accepted it, helped the banished clergy and protested against the execution of Louis XVI. France retaliated by annexing Avignon and Venaissin. The Pope cooperated with the enemies of the French Republic. It was this and the murder of the French attaché, M. Basseville, in Rome, that led Napoleon to attack the Papal States. At the Truce of Bologna in 1796 Napoleon dictated the terms: twenty-one million francs, the release of all political criminals, free access of French ships into the papal harbors, the occupation of the Romagna by French troops and more. At the Peace of Tolentino in 1797 Pope Pius VI was compelled to surrender Avignon, Venaissin, Ferrara, Bologna, and the Romagna; and to pay fifteen million francs and give up numerous costly works of art and manuscripts/ In an attempt to revolutionize Rome the French General Duphot was shot and killed, whereupon the French took Rome in early 1798, and proclaimed the Roman Republic. Because


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the pope refused to submit, he was forcibly kidnapped from Rome five days later and taken first to Sienna and then to Florence. A year later, though seriously ill, he was taken to Parma, Turin, then over the Alps to Briançon and Grenoble, and finally to Valence, where he died before he could be taken any further. Who deserved this? Giovanni Angelico Braschi was like many others who reached the papal throne. He was born into a noble but impoverished family and was sent be educated at a Jesuit mission and to study law at Ferrara. A Jesuit connection wasn’t an ideal way to start a connection with the Catholic Church of Rome but after undertaking a diplomatic mission he was appointed a papal secretary and canon of St. Peter’s when he was 38. Pope Clement XIII made him treasurer of the Church 11 years later and Pope Clement XIV appointed him Cardinal 9 years later still. Then, he retired to become a commendatory Abbot at Subiaco. Close on fifty he had already had had a good career and expected to live out his years in peace. How often do we not achieve the simplest of goals? Braschi had no chance to savor the life at Subiaco because he was elected Pope almost immediately and his responsibilities were in Rome.

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There, now as Pope Pius IV, Braschi was the victim of international intrigue and doubledealing. At first France, Portugal and Spain had opposed his election because of his Jesuit connection. Thereafter, he had to be very careful not to show too much allegiance to that group, although he did liberate their leader, General Ricci from Castle Sant’ Angelo and eventually revoked a papal bull ordering the Jesuit’s suppression. He also allowed the Jesuits in Prussia to retain their schools. … But that all took time. His first difficulties involved the Emperor Joseph II of Germany who forbade his Austrian bishops from applying to Rome for anything and he suppressed innumerable monasteries. Pope Pius IV went to visit him in Vienna but the Emperor only granted him an audience with a minister. Still, when Pope Pius returned to Rome the Emperor accompanied him as far as the Monastery of Maribrunn. However, as soon as the pope had gone on, the Emperor confiscated the monastery. Thereafter, he appointed his own bishop to the See of Milan. However, by this time Pius IV had had enough. He threatened the Emperor with excommunication. The Emperor traveled to Rome, nominally to return the Pope’s visit but let drop the information that he was about to separate the

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Church in Germany from Rome. He was persuaded to avoid the subject and they parted on good terms, the Pope having given the Emperor the right to appoint bishops to Milan and Mantua. Now however, Emperor Joseph’s brother, the Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany and the Bishop Scipio Ricci of Pistoia, repeated Joseph’s actions. They organized a synod at which certain papal doctrines and papal supremacy was eliminated. Pope Pius VI had another rebellion on his hands. The rebellions continued. In Germany, ecclesiastical leaders in Mainz, Trier and Cologne and the Archbishop of Salzburg attempted to curtail papal authority. In Spain, Sardinia and Venice, the authorities followed in Joseph’s footsteps and in the two Sicilies, Ferdinand IV refused to allow the authority of papal decrees without royal assent. The king refused to acknowledge papal suzerainty and more than sixty Sees were vacated. Seven years later Pope Pius VI was allowed to fill them in a temporary compromise. The new lands in the Americas were, by comparison, un-troublesome to the Pope. The See of Baltimore was founded and filled in 1788. Then came the French Revolution and Napoleon in which France too tried to distance itself from Rome.

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Poor Pius VI never did get back to the peace of the monastery of Subiaco.


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Pope Pius XII (1939 – 1958) … 261


Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli must have been relieved to be known simply as Pope Pius. Eugenio Pacelli was born in Rome in 1876 as the third child of devout Catholics … both lawyers. They had four children: a boy and a girl before Eugenio and another girl afterwards. Eugenio was a thin child who suffered from stomach problems that persisted through his life, forcing him always to be careful of his diet. The family lived in an apartment in central Rome with Eugenio’s grandfather who had been the legal advisor to Pope Pius IX. The apartment must have felt much like the law office of the Vatican. It certainly affected Eugenio. He sounds to good to be true. He was modest and never appeared before his brother and sisters without being fully dressed with a jacket and tie. He always came to the table with a book, carefully asking his parent’s permission to read. He’s was never part of a real family … Catholicism and the papacy was his life. He even used to act out the ritual of mass in robes that his Mother provided when normal boys might be playing ‘cops and robbers.’ As a youth he was pious. However, his mind worked overtime with great subtlety and


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cunning on occasion when needed. He was the perfect combination of a churchman and a lawyer. He was well educated, in a theoretical sense, and he learnt to speak Latin, Italian, German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Slovakian, and Hungarian. He had both a gift for languages and an excellent memory. It was said later that he learnt Portuguese well enough to be able address the Brazilian Parliament in just 40 days. Just a few years before his birth the Popes had lost their lands to the emerging Italian state formed from its disparate republics and in 1870 the papacy even lost Rome and was allotted a much smaller property, now the Vatican. It was threatened that the Pope might even be considered a normal Italian citizen. Both Pacelli’s father and grandfather worked on the restoration of papal authority through ecclesiastical and international law. The first Vatican Council in 1870 declared that the Pope was “dogmatically infallible in matters of faith and morals” and “the unchallenged primate of the faithful.” The Council inferred that he was not to be an ordinary Italian but that he held dominion over the wider Church even without its traditional lands across the Italian peninsula. Pacelli entered the Vatican at the age of 24

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with this background of international affairs and church law. He collaborated on the reformulation of church law, the Code of Canon Law, which was then distributed in 1917 to Catholic bishops and clergy throughout the world. The code gave the Pope full power over the Church: all bishops would be nominated by the Pope; doctrinal error would be considered heresy; priest’s writings were subject to censorship; papal letters to the faithful were infallible and all candidates for priesthood would have to take an oath to submit to the strict wording of doctrine as laid down by the Pope. In 1917 and already an archbishop, Pacelli became papal nuncio, or ambassador, to eliminate all existing legal challenges to the new papal doctrine. At the same time, in Munich, he was to reach a treaty between the papacy and Germany, which would supersede all other agreements and be a model of Catholic church-state relations. A Reich Concordat would mean recognition by the German government of the Pope's right to impose the new Code of Canon Law on Germany's Catholics. It would also recognize certain powers of the State. Pacelli was well aware of Germany’s political conditions and the relevance of Munich. Pacelli was elected Pope in 1939, in a very


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difficult time, the war already having started with Hitler’s invasion of Austria and Czechoslovakia and Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia. Britain would enter the war that year when Hitler invaded Poland with whom Britain had a defensive treaty. France followed soon after. Before the war Archbishop Pacelli had tried to appease the Nazi’s and had even called for a Peace Conference, which never took place. However, he condemned neither Hitler’s policy of “Lebensraum” and his military expansion across Europe, nor the persecution of the Jews. Vatican history says that he was being careful and trying to protect the Roman Catholics of Germanoccupied territories, but it also meant that they were provided no authoritative voice of support. His actions, or lack of action, were not strange for a careful lawyer. His first “Summi Ponitifactus,” or papal sermon, was an evasive masterpiece of legal words hidden in church-speak. The document reminds one of a later President of the United States, also a lawyer, who answered a direct question at his impeachment hearings by saying, “It depends what you mean by ‘is’.” (Fortunately Clinton’s legal evasion was ineffective. He was impeached.) The closest Pacelli got to speaking about the horror that had already encompassed the


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Jews and would soon encompass the world was to say: “As, with a heart full of confidence and hope, We place this first Encyclical of Our Pontificate under the Seal of Christ the King, We feel entirely assured of the unanimous and enthusiastic approval of the whole flock of Christ. The difficulties, anxieties and trials of the present hour arouse, intensify and refine, to a degree rarely attained, the sense of solidarity in the Catholic family. They make all believers in God and in Christ share the consciousness of a common threat from a common danger.” There was no condemnation of those responsible for the “common threat.” “The hour when this Our first Encyclical reaches you is in many respects a real "Hour of Darkness" in which the spirit of violence and of discord brings indescribable suffering on mankind. Do We need to give assurance that Our paternal heart is close to all Our children in compassionate love, and especially to the afflicted, the oppressed, and the persecuted? The nations swept into the tragic whirlpool of war are perhaps as yet only at the "beginnings of sorrows" but even now there reigns in thousands of families, death and desolation, lamentation and misery. The


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blood of countless human beings, even noncombatants, raises a piteous dirge over a nation such as Our dear Poland, which, for its fidelity to the Church, for its services in the defense of Christian civilization, written in indelible characters in the annals of history, has a right to the generous and brotherly sympathy of the whole world, while it awaits, relying on the powerful intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, the hour of a resurrection in harmony with the principles of justice and true peace. These words, without a single negative word about the Nazi regime, would hardly bring solace or support to people being transported in cattle trucks to concentration camps across Germany and then being herded into gas chambers. Even as things got worse, the Pope refused to condemn atrocities, For example, while Jews and Serbs were being massacred in Croatia, Pius XII was corresponding in a friendly manner with Hitler’s man-incharge, Ante Pavilec and ignoring the deaths that Pavilec was ordering. Of course, the Pope also had a dictator of his own living in the same city. Benito Mussolini carefully courted the Pope and declared Italian policies (that woman should work only in the home; that divorce and


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contraception should be banned) that were in accord with those of the Pope. As a result the Pope never objected to Mussolini’s adventure in Abyssinia although he did write a mild letter of protest when, at the start of his papacy, Jews were deprived of all right of Italian citizenship. They were henceforth not allowed to marry non-Jews, and could not work in state offices or in any banking establishment. Transport to AuschwitzBirkenau may have been in the offing. After the war, the Vatican, while keeping it’s own official papers secret, sought to whitewash the Pope’s image. Several catholic writers have claimed that denunciations of Hitler by Catholic Bishops in war-torn Europe were the words of Pope Pius XII even though they did not come with the authority of his voice. John Cornwell revealed what Pacelli had done in his book “Hitler’s Pope,” and naturally came under severe Vatican censure. Pope Pius XII’s life in the Vatican was comfortable throughout the war. Sister Mary Pascalina looked after him for forty years. She was his woman and very protective of all his wishes, protecting him from unannounced visits and the like. She was therefore thoroughly disliked by the papal staff and ecclesiastical visitors. Her diaries were published as a biography 'La Popesa.’ One must make whatever one likes of the


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title. Viewing all the evidence, it seems that while Pope Pius XII was not a deliberate and outright Nazi collaborator, his actions prior to the war made it easy for the Nazis to gain power and the fact that he did not denounce the Nazi’s or their genocide is inconsistent with his role as Pope. The Nazis could and did ignore him. Cornwell’s book’s title remains his true legacy.


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Pope Paul VI (1963 – 1978) … 263


Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini was a churchman through and through. Born in 1897, in Lombardy, into an Italian family of nobility (at least on his mother’s side), he entered a seminary at 19 after school and was ordained a priest at 23. He was then educated at the Gregorian University, the University of Rome and a Church Academy. There is no evidence that Giovanni mixed with anyone but church people after high school. He entered the Vatican civil service, working for Cardinal Pacelli who was then Vatican Secretary of State. When Pacelli became Pope Pius XII, Montini’s position was confirmed under a new Secretary of State and then when he died, Montini worked directly for Pope Pius XII who assumed the work of the Secretary of State. Thus, Montini is tarred with the same brush that tars Pope Pius XII. There is no suggestion that they directly conspired with Hitler but no condemnation was issued of either Hitler’s invasions of other countries or of his policy of genocide and murder. If Pope Pius XII was ‘Hitler’s Pope” then Montini was his willing aide and diplomat. Montini’s repeated contacts with Count Galeazzo Ciano, Italian fascist Minister of


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Foreign affairs and son-in-law of Mussolini, remains a criticism of his Vatican behavior. Montini is suspected of having obtained from the Fascists, at the beginning of the war, promises of advantages for the Vatican, in exchange of the Church’s support of Mussolini’s fascist regime. The idea would not have been strange to Montini since his uncle, an Admiral, was a co-founder of the Italian fascist party. Fascism must have been applauded at home. Montini was an important man dealing with both sides: it seems that on one hand he amassed large sums of money to assist European Jews (although no word is provided of what happened to it) and on the other hand he assisted Nazi officers to escape the collapse of the Third Reich. He was even said that he tried to arrange a separate peace for Italy with the United States. In 1954 Montini became Archbishop of Milan, although not a Cardinal on the next possible occasion. Because of this he was not a candidate for Pope when his benefactor Pope Pius XII died. However, the next pope, Pope John XXIII did shortly appoint him as a Cardinal and this made him a favorite for election when the pope died of stomach cancer. Finally, in 1963, he was elected. He took the name Pope Paul VI.

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His career in the church would merely have been a footnote to the work of ‘Hitler’s Pope’ except for one thing. The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Ramsey, the head of the Anglican Church, visited Rome in 1965 and the two heads of separate Christian religions met. Associated Press reported the event: “In March 1966, Archbishop Ramsey and Pope Paul VI met in Rome. It was the first official visit to a Pope by a head of the Anglican Church in 400 years. Both noted the historic nature of the occasion. ‘The world observes, history will remember,’ the Pope said.” “In their conversations they discussed the practical obstacles to unity between the churches. Speaking of ''formidable difficulties of doctrine,'' the Archbishop expressed the hope that there would be increasing dialogue between theologians.” No pope has ever visited the head of the Anglican Church. The initiator of this meeting was Archbishop Ramsey (the Anglican Pope) who knew full well that religious observance was declining throughout Europe and that both Churches needed help. An alliance between these two religions would strengthen Christianity everywhere. Ramsey had made earlier visits to the United States with the same message

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of unity to Protestant groups. However, the Pope saw the offer only through a Roman-Catholic filter and apart from a promise to think about it, discussions got nowhere. Pope Paul VI missed the opportunity handed to him of a monumental alliance that might also, one day, have included the Protestant communities. In the 16th Century, the Popes Leo X and Clement VII had been guilty of allowing the Catholic Church to fracture by ignoring Martin Luther and by underestimating King Henry VIII. Now Pope Paul VI couldn’t see the wood for the trees. He certainly didn’t grasp the opportunity of renewal. Maybe it is because of this, that the Roman Catholic Church in Europe in 2008 has steadily declined. It has difficulty in even finding candidates for priesthood while the congregations of its churches have dropped to miniscule numbers of a few old people. The churches are being increasingly converted into art galleries.


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Celibacy The Catholic Church requires that its priests be celibate … an unnatural condition for any man. This may have arisen from the idea that Christ (Yeshua bin Yosef) and his disciples were celibate, carefully omitting the presence of Mary Magdalene, a probable prostitute, in their midst. Moreover, Peter had a wife and children. There is good reason to believe that Paul was homosexual. He said, “I would that all men were even as myself; but every one hath his proper gift from God.” He preached abstinence from marriage in case you spent more time thinking about your wife than about the cause. Unfortunately, forcing human beings into an unnatural state results in unnatural consequences. Priests forced to live with only other men resort to homosexuality just as those in jail or the army do. Throughout the years priests and popes have been accused, and rightly so, of sodomy and worse. Other priests have not been above abusing nuns and children in their care. The most enlightened Catholic communities turned a blind eye to their heterosexual priest having a faithful live-in housekeeper, who appears to be more than a cleaning maid. Indeed, she herself might employ cleaning maids. France in particular seems never to have had a problem with

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homosexuality amongst the clergy, perhaps because of this blind eye. The celibacy restriction also makes it much more probable that new priests are not only celibate but also active homosexuals before they even come to the priesthood. The Church is a haven for men like this. Even though this state of affairs has been going on since the Catholic Church was founded, the latter half of the 20th Century and early 21st Century has seen a raft of exposed cases of paedophilia and sex abuse in the Roman Catholic churches and their institutions. Cases abound across the world but principally in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Germany and Belgium. In most of these cases, when a priest was accused in the past, the bishop simply moved him on to a new parish … and if it happened again, to new victims. They continually put new parishioners in danger. The church, with the acquiescence of the Vatican, took care of its own. However, between 1960 and 1980, 4,392 U.S. priests (4% of those in employment) were accused of sex abuse and civil suits have resulted in fines and penalties in the millions of dollars. The initial response of the Church was that “it didn’t happen” even though the Church’s own paperwork showed that Bishops knew and simply hid the facts. Indeed, the Vatican swore them to secrecy.


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What is new is that times have changed and the harassed are willing to sue even many years later with the help of activist lawyers. In the United States some dioceses have been bankrupted by the financial penalties that have been exacted from them … the Boston and Los Angeles dioceses in particular. In late 2007, a $50 million dollar judgement was decreed against the Catholic order of Jesuits for systematic abuse in Alaska. “In some villages,” it was reported, “it is difficult to find an adult who was not sexually violated by men who used religion and power to rape, shame and then silence hundreds of Alaska Native children. Despite all this, no Catholic religious leader yet admits that problem priests were dumped in Alaska.” So, the church has been forced to acknowledge the sex abuse cases. However, the papacy still does not seem to see a problem in forcing their priests to be ‘celibate’ and thus endangering children.


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Papal proclamations Papal proclamations come in many forms: bulls, proclamations, encyclicals, and meditations and, in today’s age, even radio messages, txt messages and blogs. A Papal Bull is recognized for its leaden seals or bullae, which attest to its authenticity. It provides strict religious guidance for the faithful. This guidance is not advisory … the faithful are expected to follow the words of an infallible pope. Papal Proclamations are announcements of the actions of the church … that this person is now a saint and so on. They are not of concern outside of church members. A Papal Encyclical is, in the strictest sense, is a letter, usually treating some aspect of Catholic doctrine, sent by the Pope and addressed either to the Catholic bishops of a particular area or, more normally, to the bishops of the world. It’s a management directive. Today, however, things are different. The world is open … if you don’t have a publicity arm to your program you are doomed to oblivion. The Roman Catholic Church knows that. The church therefore encourages church


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websites and blogs … at least those with their aegis and who propagate their message. Recognizing that Papal speechwriters are bound by convention extending over 2,000 years, they have very little opportunity to be either current or honest. For example, sentences like: “Placing our hand in that of Christ, leaning on him, we have now been lifted up to steer that ship which is the Church; it is safe and secure, though in the midst of storms, because the comforting, dominant presence of the Son of God is with it,” are merely Roman Catholic church boiler-plate. This particular speaker had decided not to rock the boat. His programs: “We wish to continue … or to remind … or to pursue the same programs … or preserve the integrity of …” define his whole program. They took a page. Paying tribute to the various levels of church workers from Cardinals of the Sacred College on down took twice as long with twice as meaningless words. Take, for example, this exhortation: “My brothers and sisters – all people of the world! We are all obliged to work to raise the world to a condition of greater justice, more stable peace, more sincere cooperation. Therefore, we ask and beg all – from the humblest who are the connective fibers of nations to heads of state


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responsible for each nation – to work for a new order, one more just and honest.” It sounds very like the beauty contestant who stands and proclaims that, “I will work for World Peace.” Unfortunately the quotations are from the “Urbi et Orbi, radio message of His Holiness John Paul I on accession. We do not condemn the Church of Rome … it does a far better job of condemnation by itself.


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Pope John Paul II (1978 – 2005) … 265th Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born in 1920, the second son of a retired army officer and tailor, Karol, and his schoolteacher wife, Emilia, who had a Lithuanian background. They and his friends called Karol Jozef, Lolek. Wadowice, where he was born, was a town of 8,000 Catholics and 2,000 Jews 35 miles southwest of Krakow. The Wojtylas were strict Catholics, but did not share the antiSemitic views of many Poles. They knew Jews. One of Lolek's playmates was Jerzy Kluger, a Jew who many years later would play a key role as a negotiator between the papacy and Israeli officials, when the Vatican extended long-overdue diplomatic recognition to Israel. Lolek’s youth was very active. He skied, hiked, kayaked and swam. Unfortunately, two accidents, one with a truck and one with a streetcar left him with back problems that gave him a severe stoop when he was tired. During the war he first studied in an underground seminary and then, when the Germans were rounding up Poles, he took refuge in the Archbishop’s palace. He was ordained immediately after the war when he was 26 and he took up priestly duties three years later when his formal education leading to two master’s degrees and a doctorate was complete.

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He was appointed Cardinal in 1967. They were difficult times for a Catholic in Communist governed Poland but Lolek was astute enough not show distaste of Communism, as Pope Pius XII had shown no distaste of the Nazis or the Fascists. Cardinal John Paul II gave the impression that he was different from the prior Polish church leaders who were openly against Communism. He was elected Pope John Paul II in 1978 and immediately gained a reputation as a traveller. He travelled everywhere across the globe. He made 104 trips in 25 years covering 740,000 miles to most countries of the world … other than China. One cannot blame him for travelling and speaking across the world … except for the messages that he left. Despite his upbringing under the Nazis and his youth under a Communist regime and his extensive visits to other societies since becoming Pope, John Paul lived more in the distant past than anyone would have guessed. He was a very conservative and backward-looking Pope. He first determined that females had no part in Catholic services. It sounded as though he had uttered his deliberation in the 10th Century. Fortunately, enlightened Catholic dioceses continued using girls and boys equally in their services. However, it did


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show that John Paul was not only ‘celibate’ but thought women to be inferior creatures even in the 21st Century. Several of his edicts make no sense in a modern world. It was as if he had lost his way or was never on any path in the first place. Between 1987 and 2001, Pope John Paul II recognized 470 people as martyrs in Spain. They were all on the side of Franco’s nationalists during the civil war in which both nationalists and republicans committed an almost equal number of atrocities and executions. Yet, the Pope refused to see this mass beatification as a provocation arguing that it had nothing to do with politics. It is difficult to see whether the Pope was blind or was ignorant for the Spanish Bishops were deep in politics opposing government reforms on such matters as civil marriages. However, the greatest damage done by Pope John Paul II was his strict adherence to the idea that, at all costs, procreation was a duty of men and women and that nothing should stand in the way. The use of condoms he declared to be evil. Unfortunately, at the time of John Paul’s papacy, Africa in particular was rife with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) diseases, which were passed from one person to another through unprotected

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sexual activity including rape. The prevention of the spread of these diseases was imperative lest whole societies be eradicated. However Benedict refused to recognize existing reality and stated that the protection against AIDS is only obtainable through abstinence. Of course, at the same time he urged that men and women not abstain from procreation. Moreover, being celibate, he didn’t recognize the human compulsion towards sex.

The cartoon by Ann Telnaes published in “Women’s eNews” tells it all. The papacy under Pope John Paul II was "flatly dismissive that the Vatican (was) about to release a document that will condone any condom use.” John Paul was content to see AIDS deaths in Africa rise to


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unprecedented levels … whole families and communities having been wiped out. He did not recognize change or that he was administering an organization in a different society from that which existed in the 1st Century. It is easy to see Pope John Paul II as a murderer.


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Pope Benedict XVI (2005 - ) … 266th It was said that Joseph Alois Ratzinger was elected (in 2005) as an interim Pope because of his advanced age. The College of Cardinals expected the opportunity to consider a successor more carefully fairly soon. To date, 2010, they are still waiting while Ratzinger travels around at 82. Ratzinger was not an obvious choice for a leader of a church’s moral path. His adopted name of Benedict hides the worst of his upbringing as a prior member of the Hitler Youth. The Church announced that his membership was unavoidable, but this statement carefully ignores the fact that Catholic youth groups were allowed in Nazi Germany. It was not mandatory for a Catholic to join the ultra-right Hitler Youth. This tolerance of Catholic youth groups may have been because the Catholic Church had a special place in Germany because of Pope Pius XII’s earlier Reich Concordant and his tacit acceptance of the Nazis. Ratzinger was born in 1927 in Marktl am Inn in Bavaria, the son of a police officer. In 1932 the family moved first closer to the Swiss border since his father at least was opposed to the Nazis. Then they moved to the neighborhood of Traunstein when his father retired in 1937. At 14 Ratzinger voluntarily joined the Hitler Youth. He tried to evade military service by

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reason of sickness but at 16 he was conscripted into the army to serve in the anti-aircraft corps guarding Munich (defending the BMW factory). From there he was sent to serve in Hungary in anti-tank defense. When the allies arrived in 1945, he deserted and went home. Ratzinger, as a soldier, was put into a Prisoner-of-War camp and made to attend de-Nazification classes. After going through those he was allowed to enter a seminary from which he was ordained in 1951. After the war, every effort was made to whitewash the Pope’s membership in the Nazi Hitler Youth and the story goes that he selected the religious path for himself at a very early age based on having seen a Cardinal in his robes. Now he has a website called “The Ratzinger Fan Club” that carries the mythology forward. The sum result however is that Ratzinger gained his Papacy with a past that many, inside and outside of the Church, consider, at best, dubious. On the plus side, he was educated at the University of Bonn and has a presentable academic theological background and was well grounded in the idealistic bases of the Catholic Church … so much so that like his immediate predecessor he seemed to have forgotten that the world had moved on apace even though he had experienced reality in

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the army. His ideas and views were firmly grounded in the theories of the past. For example, as Pope, he immediately confirmed the policies and canons of Pope John Paul II, thereby becoming a collaborator in the increasing number of AIDS deaths in Africa. In 2007, he continued the “non-political” intervention in Spain started by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, by conducting a mass beatification of 498 martyrs of the civil war that ran from 1936 to 1939. They were all politically Franco’s nationalists. Even many Catholics call the mass beatification “inappropriate and discriminatory, demonstrating the inability of the Church hierarchy to review positions unchanged for 70 years.” Unfortunately, the Papacy is incapable of reviewing positions unchanged for two thousand years. A Pope usually takes the easy way not to muddy waters however dank they may be. The revelations of pedophilia rife in the celibate Catholic Church in this 21st Century has also revealed that Ratzinger, prior to becoming Pope, as Cardinal, was part and parcel of the policy of moving pedophiles, once revealed, to other dioceses where they could continue the victimization of young boys. He was also part and parcel of the policy and practice of demanding silence of

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those priests and bishops who knew what was happening. No one was allowed to speak to civil authorities. There’s no evidence that Ratzinger was a pedophile but he might as well have been one. He was as guilty as those priests that he helped to protect when they sodomized children and were moved on to sodomize more. Now, in 2010, he wants to apologize publicly for Catholic pedophilia just as on the Day of Pardon in March 2000 Pope John Paul II apologized for the Inquisition. But these apologies are not acts of contrition so much as attempts to counteract the worldwide disillusionment with the Catholic Church and to protect the church’s funds from the courts. “Can the Pope, the living embodiment of the ancient Gospel and absolute spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, publicly atone for his sins and yet preserve the theological impregnability of the papacy?” asked Jeff Israely and Howard Chua-Eoan in
TIME magazine in May 2010.

We suspect that he cannot … since the myth of theological impregnability has long been dispelled by circumstances. Ratzinger is fully implicated with church pedophilia. Not that Pope Benedict XVI neglects the poor. In 2007 he pledged $2.2 million per year to support an Italian third-division soccer club, Ancona, which is renowned, not

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for its play, but for its poverty and criminal behavior. Twice the club has lost a chairman to a prison cell. In return for the millions of dollars, players will have to spend 2 hours a week doing social work. Meanwhile in Africa, 500,000 women die of pregnancy each year where contraception is not available and abortions are heavily restricted. G-o-a-l! G-o-a-l!


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10 things that the faithful would prefer not to know about Popes and the Papacy
Summarizing what the lives of the Popes tell us, we can say immediately that their list of sins is much longer and more serious than their list of human virtues. Most Popes have been overly ambitious to reach the highest post in their profession, so much so that they have used cunning, bribery, and often direct force to attain the papal throne. There have been a few, very few, Popes who were elected against their will.

Popes live entirely in the past … usually having spent years studying ancient ideas and out-of-date canons. Since Cardinals and prelates, who have the same limited background, surround them, the problem is compounded. The idea that society develops, changes and needs revised ideas is strange to them. Sometimes change is visited upon them, close and personally, such as the loss of Rome in 1870 to the new Italian State, and the media’s 20th Century exposure of the church’s support of pedophilia. However, relegation of the Church to 150 acres of the Vatican produced no change in Papal arrogance and it is


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unlikely that 21 Century court decisions will have much effect either. Popes think more of the tenets of the Church than they do of human life. This is reflected in their application of ageold ideas to societies in which they do not apply and often result in disaster. The condemnation of condoms is such a recent prescription. Even before this, in medieval times, the Popes waged war to protect their property at the total neglect of peasants who were conscripted as battle fodder in papal armies.


Popes are men, but unnatural men, since they are required to be celibate. This colors their ideas about what is natural between men and, worse, between men and boys. However, some, in opposition to the church they governed, ignored celibacy. Some sired families, albeit secretly.

Popes consider women inferior creatures not worthy of service in the Church other than in procreation. (Many dictators, from Adolf Hitler to the Dalai Lama, have held the same philosophy.)

Popes protect their own … in the face of all that is immoral and even criminal in the societies in which they operate … they hide their sinners. More than just a blind eye, Church procedures require the protection of church officers


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from secular justice whatever their sin. Pedophiles, for example, were merely moved to other posts while their superiors were sworn to secrecy. The pope’s term of office usually is ‘until death.’ Thus, the Catholic Church is faced with the senility and the inane proclamations of older popes. Pope John Paul II was 85 when he died and his senility was clear in his later years. In contrast, the English ‘Pope’, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church, must retire at a certain age while he is still capable of clear thought.

The tenets of the Catholic Church are all presented without doubt, whereas, in reality doubt exists in almost every deliberation. Moreover, this practice, and the “absolute power and infallibility”, conferred upon an elected Pope inevitably had made the Pope, his Cardinals and the church arrogant.

Popes consider that the protection of the institution of the Catholic Church is of greater priority than truth or the relief of human suffering.
9. 10.No

Pope has tried to change the archaic teachings of the Church. Indeed, many have censored new ideas at places of learning, especially those that look on religious matters from a logical or

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rational aspect. At best, a few popes have tried to reform the sinful behavior of priests and their leaning towards luxury and sloth. And what good things can one ascribe to Popes? Some have been, individually, caring persons. However, that is faint praise to be ascribed to the highest class of Roman Catholic Church dignitaries. I leave it to the reader to discover general virtues.


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Chronological List of Popes
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 134 St. Peter (32-67) St. Linus (67-76) St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88) St. Clement I (88-97) St. Evaristus (97-105) St. Alexander I (105-115) St. Sixtus I (115-125) St. Telesphorus (125-136) St. Hyginus (136-140) St. Pius I (140-155) St. Anicetus (155-166) St. Soter (166-175) St. Eleutherius (175-189) St. Victor I (189-199) St. Zephyrinus (199-217) St. Callistus I (217-22) St. Urban I (222-30) St. Pontain (230-35) St. Anterus (235-36) St. Fabian (236-50) St. Cornelius (251-53) St. Lucius I (253-54) St. Stephen I (254-257) St. Sixtus II (257-258) St. Dionysius (260-268) St. Felix I (269-274) St. Eutychian (275-283) St. Caius (283-296) St. Marcellinus (296-304) St. Marcellus I (308-309) St. Eusebius (309 or 310) St. Miltiades (311-14) St. Sylvester I (314-35) St. Marcus (336) St. Julius I (337-52)

John Graham 135 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. Liberius (352-66) St. Damasus I (366-83) St. Siricius (384-99) St. Anastasius I (399-401) St. Innocent I (401-17) St. Zosimus (417-18) St. Boniface I (418-22) St. Celestine I (422-32) St. Sixtus III (432-40) St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61) St. Hilarius (461-68) St. Simplicius (468-83) St. Felix III (II) (483-92) St. Gelasius I (492-96) Anastasius II (496-98) 51. St. Symmachus (498-514) 52. St. Hormisdas (514-23) 53. St. John I (523-26) 54. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30) 55. Boniface II (530-32) 56. John II (533-35) 57. St. Agapetus I (535-36) 58. St. Silverius (536-37) 59. Vigilius (537-55) 60. Pelagius I (556-61) 61. John III (561-74) 62. Benedict I (575-79) 63. Pelagius II (579-90) 64. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604) 65. Sabinian (604-606) 66. Boniface III (607) 67. St. Boniface IV (608-15) 68. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18) 69. Boniface V (619-25) 70. Honorius I (625-38) 71. Severinus (640)


Papal Cupidity
72. John IV (640-42) 73. Theodore I (642-49) 74. St. Martin I (649-55) 75. St. Eugene I (655-57) 76. St. Vitalian (657-72) 77. Adeodatus (II) (672-76) 78. Donus (676-78) 79. St. Agatho (678-81) 80. St. Leo II (682-83) 81. St. Benedict II (684-85) 82. John V (685-86) 83. Conon (686-87) 84. St. Sergius I (687-701) 85. John VI (701-05) 86. John VII (705-07) 87. Sisinnius (708) 88. Constantine (708-15) 89. St. Gregory II (715-31) 90. St. Gregory III (731-41) 91. St. Zachary (741-52) 92. Stephen II (752) 93. Stephen III (752-57) 94. St. Paul I (757-67) 95. Stephen IV (767-72) 96. Adrian I (772-95) 97. St. Leo III (795-816) 98. Stephen V (816-17) 99. St. Paschal I (817-24) 100. Eugene II (824-27) 101. Valentine (827) 102. Gregory IV (827-44) 103. Sergius II (844-47) 104. St. Leo IV (847-55) 105. Benedict III (855-58) 106. St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67) 107. Adrian II (867-72)


John Graham 137
108. John VIII (872-82) 109. Marinus I (882-84) 110. St. Adrian III (884-85) 111. Stephen VI (885-91) 112. Formosus (891-96) 113. Boniface VI (896) 114. Stephen VII (896-97) 115. Romanus (897) 116. Theodore II (897) 117. John IX (898-900) 118. Benedict IV (900-03) 119. Leo V (903) 120. Sergius III (904-11) 121. Anastasius III (911-13) 122. Lando (913-14) 123. John X (914-28) 124. Leo VI (928) 125. Stephen VIII (929-31) 126. John XI (931-35) 127. Leo VII (936-39) 128. Stephen IX (939-42) 129. Marinus II (942-46) 130. Agapetus II (946-55) 131. John XII (955-63) 132. Leo VIII (963-64) 133. Benedict V (964) 134. John XIII (965-72) 135. Benedict VI (973-74) 136. Benedict VII (974-83) 137. John XIV (983-84) 138. John XV (985-96) 139. Gregory V (996-99) 140. Sylvester II (999-1003) 141. John XVII (1003) 142. John XVIII (1003-09) 143. Sergius IV (1009-12)


Papal Cupidity
144. Benedict VIII (1012-24) 145. John XIX (1024-32) 146. Benedict IX (1032-45) removed twice

147. Sylvester III (1045) 148. Benedict IX (1045) 149. Gregory VI (1045-46) 150. Clement II (1046-47) 151. Benedict IX (1047-48) 152. Damasus II (1048) 153. St. Leo IX (1049-54) 154. Victor II (1055-57) 155. Stephen X (1057-58) 156. Nicholas II (1058-61) 157. Alexander II (1061-73) 158. St. Gregory VII (1073-85) 159. Blessed Victor III (1086-87) 160. Blessed Urban II (1088-99) 161. Paschal II (1099-1118) 162. Gelasius II (1118-19) 163. Callistus II (1119-24) 164. Honorius II (1124-30) 165. Innocent II (1130-43) 166. Celestine II (1143-44) 167. Lucius II (1144-45) 168. Blessed Eugene III (1145-53) 169. Anastasius IV (1153-54) 170. Adrian IV (1154-59) 171. Alexander III (1159-81) 172. Lucius III (1181-85) 173. Urban III (1185-87) 174. Gregory VIII (1187) 175. Clement III (1187-91) 176. Celestine III (1191-98) 177. Innocent III (1198-1216) 178. Honorius III (1216-27) 179. Gregory IX (1227-41)


John Graham 139
180. Celestine IV (1241) 181. Innocent IV (1243-54) 182. Alexander IV (1254-61) 183. Urban IV (1261-64) 184. Clement IV (1265-68) 185. Blessed Gregory X (1271-76) 186. Blessed Innocent V (1276) 187. Adrian V (1276) 188. John XXI (1276-77) 189. Nicholas III (1277-80) 190. Martin IV (1281-85) 191. Honorius IV (1285-87) 192. Nicholas IV (1288-92) 193. St. Celestine V (1294) 194. Boniface VIII (1294-1303) 195. Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04) 196. Clement V (1305-14) 197. John XXII (1316-34) 198. Benedict XII (1334-42) 199. Clement VI (1342-52) 200. Innocent VI (1352-62) 201. Blessed Urban V (1362-70) 202. Gregory XI (1370-78) 203. Urban VI (1378-89) 204. Boniface IX (1389-1404) 205. Innocent VII (1404-06) 206. Gregory XII (1406-15) 207. Martin V (1417-31) 208. Eugene IV (1431-47) 209. Nicholas V (1447-55) 210. Callistus III (1455-58) 211. Pius II (1458-64) 212. Paul II (1464-71) 213. Sixtus IV (1471-84) 214. Innocent VIII (1484-92) 215. Alexander VI (1492-1503)


Papal Cupidity
216. Pius III (1503) 217. Julius II (1503-13) 218. Leo X (1513-21) 219. Adrian VI (1522-23) 220. Clement VII (1523-34) 221. Paul III (1534-49) 222. Julius III (1550-55) 223. Marcellus II (1555) 224. Paul IV (1555-59) 225. Pius IV (1559-65) 226. St. Pius V (1566-72) 227. Gregory XIII (1572-85) 228. Sixtus V (1585-90) 229. Urban VII (1590) 230. Gregory XIV (1590-91) 231. Innocent IX (1591) 232. Clement VIII (1592-1605) 233. Leo XI (1605) 234. Paul V (1605-21) 235. Gregory XV (1621-23) 236. Urban VIII (1623-44) 237. Innocent X (1644-55) 238. Alexander VII (1655-67) 239. Clement IX (1667-69) 240. Clement X (1670-76) 241. Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89) 242. Alexander VIII (1689-91) 243. Innocent XII (1691-1700) 244. Clement XI (1700-21) 245. Innocent XIII (1721-24) 246. Benedict XIII (1724-30) 247. Clement XII (1730-40) 248. Benedict XIV (1740-58) 249. Clement XIII (1758-69) 250. Clement XIV (1769-74) 251. Pius VI (1775-99)


John Graham 141
252. Pius VII (1800-23)

253. 254. 255. 256. 257. 258. 259. 260. 261. 262. 263. 264. 265. 266.

Leo XII (1823-29) Pius VIII (1829-30) Gregory XVI (1831-46) Blessed Pius IX (1846-78) Leo XIII (1878-1903) St. Pius X (1903-14) Benedict XV (1914-22) Pius XI (1922-39) Pius XII (1939-58) Blessed John XXIII (1958-63) Paul VI (1963-78) John Paul I (1978) John Paul II (1978-2005) Benedict XVI (2005-)


Papal Cupidity


Cupidity (noun) avarice, avariciousness, covetousness, (extreme greed for material wealth or power)

New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia, 2007 m

“Chronological list of 266 Popes with links to their biographies”, New Advent: Catholic Encyclopedia, 2007 m
3. 4. 5.

“The Bad Popes,” E. R. Chamberlin, Sutton Press, 2003 “Yeshua bin Yosef … the tale of an evangelist,” John Graham, “Shapers of our Age,” The Copper Beech, Denver, Colorado, 2008 “Antioch on the Orontes,” information regarding Peter’s work in Antioch, 47-54 A.D. rontes.htm 2007 “The Middle Ages,” Morris Bishop, Mariner Books, Houghton-Mifflin, 1968 “Pompeii, The History, Life and Art





John Graham 143

of the Buried City,” Edited by Marisa Ranieri Panetta, White Star Publishers, Vercelli, Italy, 2004

“The Divine Alighieri, 1600



10. “Crusades,

The Illustrated History,” edited by Thomas F. Madden, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2004 Money,” Tim Parks, W.W. Norton and Company, 2005 in the Sixteenth Century,” H.G. Koenigsberger and George L. Mosse, Longman, 1968 II”, The Web Gallery of Art, Emil Kren and Daniel Marx, 2007 y/popes/julius2.html the Edge of the World,” Laurence Bergreen, Harper Collins, 2003 Pope,” John Cornwall, Viking Penguin, 1999 Righteous Gentile: Pope Pius XII and the Jews,” Rabbi David Dalin, Catholic League, 2007 alinframe.htm to pay $50 million in Alaska

11. “Medici

12. “Europe

13. “Julius

14. “Over

15. “Hitler’s 16. “A

17. “Jesuits


Papal Cupidity

abuse cases,” Michael Conlon, Religion Writer, Reuters News Agency, November 19, 2007
18. Wikipedia,

Pope Benedict XV1,

2007 _XVI
19. Lord

Ramsey, Personal Interview with the Lord Archbishop of all England and leader of the Anglican Church (the English ‘Pope’), 1967 Ramsey, 83, Dies in England; Former Archbishop of Canterbury,” AP news release, April 1988

20. “Lord

Fan Club … the whitewashed biography of a sinner, 2007
22. “Church

21. Ratzinger

bid to save soul of Italian football,” The Guardian Weekly, p.45 October 19, 2007 clergy beatified,” The Guardian Weekly, p.6 November 2, 2007 Trial of Benedict XVI”, Jeff Israely & Howard Chua-Eoan, TIME Magazine, May 27, 2010

23. “Pro-Franco

24. “The

25. “Urbi et Orbi, radio message of His Holiness John Paul I

John Graham 145