Keith Hunt - Papal Immorality - Page Nine   Restitution of All Things

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Papal Immorality!

Some were beyond wicked!



by Ralph Woodrow

     IN ADDITION TO the conclusive evidence that has been given,
the very character and morals of many of the Popes would tend to
identify them as sucessors of pagan priests, rather than
representatives of Christ or Peter. Some of the Popes were so
depraved and base in their actions, even people who professed no
religion at all were ashamed of them. Such sins as adultery,
sodomy, simony, rape, murder, and drunkenness are among the sins
that have been committed by Popes. To link such sins with men who
have claimed to be the "Holy Father", "The Vicar of Christ", and
"Bishop of bishops", may sound shocking, but those acquainted
with the history of the Papacy well know that not all Popes were
holy men.

     Pope Sergius III (904-911) obtained the Papal office by
murder. The annals of the church of Rome tell about his life of
open sin with Marozia who bore him several illegitimate children.
He was described by Baronius as a "monster" and by Gregorovius as
a "terrorizing criminal." Says a historian: "For seven years this
man ... occupied the chair of St.Peter, while his concubine and
her like mother held court with a pomp and voluptousness that
recalled the worse days of the ancient empire."
     This woman - Theodora - likened to Semiramis (because of her
corrupt morals), along with Marozia, the Pope's concubine,
"filled the papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons,
and turned the Papal palace into a den of rob bers." The reign of
Pope Sergius III began the period known as "the rule of the
harlots" (904-963).
     Pope John X (914-928) originally had been sent to Ravanna as
an archbishop, but Theodora had him returned to Rome and
appointed to the Papal office. According to Bishop Liutprand of
Cremona who wrote a history about fifty years after this time,
"Theodora supported John's election in order to cover more easily
her illicit relations with him." His reign came to a sudden end
when Marozia smothered him to death! She wanted him out of the
way so Leo VI (928-929) could become Pope. His reign was a short
one, however, for he was assassinated by Marozia when she learned
he had "given his heart to a more degraded woman than herself"!
     Not long after this, the teenage son of Marozia - under the
name of John XI - became Pope. The Catholic Encyclopedia says,
"Some, taking Liutprand and the 'Liber Pontificalis' as their
authority, assert that he was the natural son of Sergius III (a
former Pope). Through the intrigues of his mother, who ruled at
that time in Rome, he was raised to the Chair of Peter." But in
quarreling with some of his mother's enemies, he was beaten and
put into jail where he died from poisoning.
     In 955 the grandson of Marozia at eighteen years of age
became Pope under the name of John XII. The Catholic Encyclopedia
describes him as "a coarse, immoral man, whose life was such that
the Lateran was spoken of as a brothel, and the moral corruption
in Rome became the subject of general odium ... On 6 November a
synod composed of fifty Italian bishops was convened in 
St.Peter's; John was accused of sacrilege, simony, perjury,
murder, adultery, and incest, and was summoned in writing to
defend himself. Refusing to recognize the synod, John pronounced
sentence of excommunication against all participators in the
assembly, should they elect in his stead another Pope ... John
XII took bloody vengeance on the leaders of the opposite party,
Cardinal-Deacon John had his right hand struck off, Bishop Otgar
of Speyer was scourged, a high palatine official lost nose and
ears ... John died on 14 May, 964, eight days after he had been,
according to rumor, stricken by paralysis in the act of
adultery." The noted Catholic Bishop of Cremona, Luitprand, who
lived at this time wrote: "No honest lady dared to show herself
in public, for Pope John had no respect either for single girls,
married women, or widows - they were sure to be defiled by him,
even on the tombs of the holy apostles, Peter and Paul." The
Catholic collection of the lives of Popes, the "Liber
Pontificalis," said: "He spent his entire life in adultery."
     Pope Boniface VII (984-985) maintained his position through
a lavish distribution of stolen money. The Bishop of Orleans
referred to him (and also John XII and Leo VIII) as "monsters of
guilt, reeking in blood and filth" and as "antichrist sitting in
the temple of God." The Catholic Encyclopedia says he:
"overpowered John XIV (April, 984), thrust him into the dungeons
of Sant Angelo, where the wretched man died four months later ...
For more than a year Rome endured this monster steeped in the
blood of his predecessors. But the vengeance was terrible. After
his sudden death in July, 985, due in all probability to
violence, the body of Boniface was exposed to the insults of the
populace, dragged through the streets of the city, and finally,
naked and covered with wounds, flung under the statue of Marcus
Aurelius ... The following morning compassionate clerics removed
the corpse and gave it a Christian burial."

     Next came Pope John XV (985-996) who split the church's
finances among his relatives and earned for himself the
reputation of being "covetous of filthy lucre and corrupt in all
his acts."
     Benedict VIII (1012-1024) "bought the office of Pope with
open bribery." The following Pope, John XIX also bought the
Papacy. Being a layman, it was necessary for him to be passed
through all the clerical orders in one day! After this, Benedict
IX (1033-1045) was made Pope as a youth 12 years old (or some
accounts say 20) through a money bargain with the powerful
families that ruled Rome! He "committed murders and adulteries in
broad daylight, robbed pilgrims on the graves of the martyrs, a
hideous criminal, the people drove him out of Rome. The Catholic
Encyclopedia says, "He was a disgrace to the Chair of Peter."

     "Simony" the buying and selling of the Papal office became
so common, and corruption so pronounced, that secular rulers
stepped in. King Henry III appointed Clement II (1046-1047) to
the office of Pope "because no Roman clergyman could be found who
was free of the pollution of simony and fornication."
     A number of the Popes had committed murders, but Innocent
III (1198-1216) surpassed all of his predecessors in killing.
Though he did not do the killing personally, he promoted the most
devilish thing in human history - the Inquisition. Estimates of
the number of heretics that Innocent (not so innocently) had
killed run as high as one million people! For over five hundred
years, Popes used the inquisition to maintain their power
against those who did not agree with the teachings of the Romish
     In conflicts with cardinals and kings, numerous charges were
brought against Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303). Says The Catholic
Encyclopedia, "Scarcely any possible crime was omitte -
infidelity, heresy, simony, gross and unnatural immorality,
idolatry, magic, loss of the Holy Land, death of Celestine V,
etc. ... Protestant historians, generally, and even modern
Catholic writers - class him among the wicked Popes, as an
ambitious, haughty, and unrelenting man, deceitful also and
treacherous, his whole pontificate one record of evil." It is not
necessary to insist that all charges brought against him were
true, but all cannot be dismissed either. During his reign the
poet Dante visited Rome and described the Vatican as a "sewer of
corruption." He assigned Boniface (along with Popes Nicolas III
and Clement V) to "the lower parts of hell."
     Though seeking to put emphasis on certain good traits of
Boniface, "Catholic historians ... admit, however, the explosive
violence and offensive phraseology of some of his public
documents." An example of this "offensive phraseology" would be
his statement that "to enjoy oneself and to lie carnally with
women or with boys is no more a sin than rubbing one's hands
together." On other occasions, apparently in those "explosive"
moments he called Christ a "hypocrite" and professed to be an
     Yet - and this sounds almost unbelievable - it was this Pope
that in 1302 issued the well-known "Unam Sanctum" which
officially declared that the Roman Catholic Church is the only
true church, outside of which no one can be saved, and says: "We,
therefore, assert, define and pronounce that it is necessary to
salvation to believe that every human being is subject to the
Pontiff of Rome." Because there have been sinful Popes, being
"subject" to the Pope has raised a question. Should a sinful Pope
still be obeyed? The Catholic answer is this: "A sinful Pope ...
remains a member of the (visible) church and is to be treated as
a sinful, unjust ruler for whom we must pray, but from whom we
may not withdraw our obedience."

     From 1305 to 1377 the Papal palace was at Avignon, France.
During this time, Petrarch accused the Papal household of "rape,
adultery, and all manner of fornication." In many parishes men
insisted on priests keeping concubines "as a protection for their
own families!
     During the Council of Constance, three Popes, and sometimes
four, were every morning cursing each other and calling their
opponents antichrists, demons, adulterers, sodomists, enemies of
God and man. One of these "Popes", John XXIII (1410-1415) "was
accused by thirty seven witnesses (mostly, bishops and priests)
of fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, simony, theft, and
murder! It was proved by a legion of witnesses that he had
seduced and violated three hundred nuns. His own secretary, Niem,
said that he had at Boulogne, kept a harem, where not less than
two hundred girls had been the victims of his lubricity."
     Altogether the Council charged him with fifty-four crimes of
the worst kind.

     A vatican record offers this information about his immoral
reign. "His lordship, Pope John, committed perversity with the
wife of his brother, incest with holy nuns, intercourse with
virgins, adultery with the married, and all sorts of sex crimes
... wholly given to sleep and other carnal desires, totally
adverse to the life and teaching of Christ ... he was publicly
called the Devil incarnate." To increase his wealth. Pope John
taxed about everything - including prostitution, gambling, and
usury. He has been called "the most depraved criminal who ever
sat on the papal throne."

     Pope Pius II (1458-1464) was said to have been the father of
many illegitimate children. He "spoke openly of the methods he
used to seduce women, encouraged young men to, and even offered
to instruct them in methods of, self-indulgence." Pius was
followed by Paul 11 (1464-1471) who maintained a house full of
concubines. His Papal tiara outweighed a palace in its worth.

     Next came Pope Simus IV (1471-1484) who financed his wars by
selling church offices to the highest bidders and "used the
papacy to enrich himself and his relatives. He made eight of his
nephews cardinals, while as yet some of them were mere boys. In
luxurious and lavish entertainment, he rivaled the Caesars. In
wealth and pomp he and his relatives surpassed the old Roman

     Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492) was the father of sixteen
children by various women. Some of his children celebrated their
marriages in the Vatican. The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions only
"two illegitimate children, Franceschetto and Teodorina" from the
days of a "licentious youth." Like numerous other popes, he
multiplied church offices and sold them for vast sums of money.
He permitted bull fights on St.Peter's square.

     Next came Rodergio Borgia who took the name of Alexander VI
(1492-1503), having won his election to the papacy by bribing the
cardinals. Before becoming Pope, while a cardinal and archbishop,
he lived in sin with a lady of Rome, Vanozza dei Catanei; and
afterward, with her daughter Rosa, by whom he had five children,
On his coronation day, he appointed his son - a youth of vile
temper and habits - as archbishop of Valencia. Many consider
Alexander VI to be the most corrupt of the Renaissance Popes. He
lived in public incest with his two sisters and his own daughter,
Lucretia, from whom, it is said, he had a child. On October 31,
1501, he conducted a sex orgy in the Vatican, the equal of which
for sheer horror has never been duplicated in the annals of human

     According to "Life" magazine, Pope Paul III (1534-1549) as
cardinal had fathered three sons and a daughter. On the day of
his coronation he celebrated the baptism of his two
great-grandchildren. He appointed two of his teenage nephews as
cardinals, sponsored festivals with singers, dancers, and
jesters, and sought advice from astrologers. 

     Pope Leo X (1513-1521) was born December 11, 1475. He
received tonsure at age 7, was made an abbot at 8, and a cardinal
at 13! The illustration given above shows the Bull of Pope Leo X.
On one side of the leaden seal appears the apostles Peter and
Paul, on the other the Pope's name and title. The word "bull"
(from a Latin word linked with roundness) was first applied to
the seals which authenticated Papal documents and later to the
documents also.
     The Catholic Encyclopedia says that Pope Leo X "gave himself
up unrestrainedly to amusements that were provided in lavish
abundance. He was possessed by an insatiable love of pleasure ...
He loved to give banquets and expensive enter tainments,
accompanied by revelry and carousing."

     During those days, Martin Luther, while still a priest of
the papal church, traveled to Rome. As he caught the first
glimpse of the seven-hilled city, he fell to the ground and said:
"Holy Rome, I salute thee." He had not spent much time there,
however, until he saw that Rome was anything but a holy city.
Iniquity existed among all classes of the clergy. Priests told
indecent jokes and used awful profanity, even during Mass. The
Papal court was served at supper by twelve naked girls.  "No one
can imagine what sins and infamous actions are committed in
Rome," he said, "they must be seen and heard to be believed. Thus
they are in the habit of saying, 'If there is a hell, Rome is
built over it'."
     One day during Luther's visit to Rome, he noticed a statue
on one of the public streets that led to St.Peter's - the statue
of a female Pope. Because it was an object of disgust to the
Popes, no Pope would ever pass down that certain street. "I am
astonished", said Luther, "how the Popes allow the statue to
remain." Forty years after Luther's death, the statue was removed
by Pope Sixtus V.

     Though The Catholic Encyclopedia regards the story of Pope
Joan as a mere tale, it gives the following summary: "After Leo
IV (847-855) the Englishman John of Mainz occupied the Papal
chair two years, seven months and four days, he was, it is
alleged, a woman. When a girl, she was taken to Athens in male
clothes by her lover, and there made such progress in learning
that no one was her equal. She came to Rome, where she taught
science, and thereby attracted the attention of learned men - and
was finally chosen as Pope, but, becoming pregnant by one of her
trusted attendants, she gave birth to a child during a procession
from St.Peter's to the Lateran - There she died almost
immediately, and it is said she was buried at the same place." 
     Was there really a female Pope? Prior to the Reformation
which exposed so much error in the Romish church, the story was
believed by chroniclers, bishops, and by Popes themselves. The
Catholic Encyclopedia says, "In the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries this Popess was already counted as an historical
personage, whose existence no one doubted. She had her place
among the carved busts which stood in Siena cathedral. Under
Clement VII (1592-1595), and at his request, she was transformed
into Pope Zacharias. The heretic Hus, in defence of his false
doctrine before the Council of Constance, referred to the Popess,
and no one offered to question the fact of her existence." Some
have questioned how Pope Clement could have a female Pope, named
Joan, "transformed" into a male Pope, named Zacharias, centuries
after she had died!

     Having mentioned the gross immorality that has existed in
the lives of some of the Popes, we do not wish to leave the
impression that all Popes have been as bad as the ones mentioned.
But we do believe this evidence seriously weakens the doctrine of
"apostolic succession", the claim that the Roman Catholic Church
is the one true church because it can trace a line of Popes back
to Peter. Is this really an important point? If so, each of these
Popes, even those who were known to be immoral and cruel, must be
included. There is even the possibility of a female Pope to make
the succession complete! But salvation is not dependent on
tracing a line of Popes back to Peter - or even on a system of
religion claiming to represent Christ. Salvation is found in
Christ himself.


To be continued with "Are Popes Infallible?"

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