Ugly, Wicked Results of the Papacy - U6. 46+ Bad Popes

July 27, 2019 version


The bad Popes

Karl Keating claims of 265 popes, there are only about 6 to 7 bad popes. C&F p.316; FF p.111,137. But this is factually incorrect; there are 46+ bad popes.


How bad were some Popes? According to Austin's Topical History of Christianity, p.148,

"Then [after 904] began the so-called "pornocracy," during which Theodora and her two daughters, Theodora the Younger and Marozia, virtually controlled Rome and the church itself. Enticing harlots, these women had sold their bodies for positions, titles, and land, giving them widespread power. Marozia had an illicit affair with Pope Sergius III, from which was born a son who later became Pope John XI. When Marozia sought to have herself crowned empress, her younger son Alberic kidnapped and imprisoned his mother, incarcerated his half brother, the pope, and became emperor himself. He reigned from 932 to 954, exercising absolute control over the papacy. After Alberic's death, his son Octavian was elected as Pope John XII, and proved to be the most odious member of this depraved family.


Listing of at least 46 Bad Popes (199-1085)

Zephyrinus (199-217) Sabellian and supported Sabellians, per Hippolytus

Callistus I (218-222) Sabellian and supported Sabellians, falsifying the truth, per Caius and Hippolytus

Zosimus (417-418) Opposed by Augustine for supporting Pelagius. Zosimus backtracked and said that he had settled nothing definitely.

Stephen VI (896-897) cadaver synod. De-fingered the corpse of Pope Formosus. He was later murdered.

Innocent III made possible the future Papal States. Condemned the English Magna Carta.

Sergius III (904-911) Marozia was his mistress. He allegedly fathered Pope John XI

John XI (931-935) mother was Marozia, who was overthrown in 932.

John XII (955-964) mother was the prostitute Theodora, Marozia's sister

Benedict IX (1032-1044,1045,1047-1048) sexual immorality. He sold the papacy and abdicated.

Gregory VII (1073-1085) Failed in trying to start a crusade in northeastern Europe


Listing of at least 46 Bad Popes (1154-1285)

Adrian IV (1154-1159) papal bull allowing the English king to invade Ireland

Gregory IX (1227-1241) crusade against the Holy Roman Empire. Started the Inquisition in Languedoc, France. Endorsed the Crusades in northeastern Europe. In 1239 ordered raiding all synagogues to confiscate all Jewish Talmuds.

Innocent IV (1243-1254) 1254 gave the bull Super Extirpatione. (= ad extirpanda) authorizing torture for the inquisition. He tried to have Hole Roman Emperor Frederick II murdered. He used inquisitors and sold indulgences.

John XXI (1276-1277) Nepotism

Innocent V (1276-1276) Nepotism

Adrian V (1276-1276) Nephew of Innocent IV. Nepotism

John XXI (1276-1277) Nepotism

Nicholas III (1277-1280) Nepotism

Martin IV (1281-1285) Nepotism


Part of the Papal Bull Ad Extirpanda

24. The head of state and ruler of whatever kind are especially obliged to present all male and female heretics, under whatever name they are accused, within fifteen days after their arrest, to the Diocesan or his surrogate, or to the inquisitors of heresy, to perform the examination of themselves and their heresies. Law 24. Those convicted of heresy by the aforesaid Diocesan Bishop ,surrogate or inquisitors, shall be taken in shackles to the head of state or ruler or his special representative, instantly, or at least within five days, and the latter shall apply the regulations promulgated against such persons.7 Law 25. 26. The head of state or ruler must force all the heretics whom he has in custody, 8 provided he does so without killing them or breaking their arms or legs, as actual robbers and murderers of souls and thieves of the sacraments of God and Christian faith, to confess their errors and accuse other heretics whom they know, and specify their motives, 9 and those whom they have seduced, and those who have lodged them and defended them, as thieves and robbers of material goods are made to accuse their accomplices and confess the crimes they have committed. Law 26. 27. And the house, in which a male or female heretic shall be discovered, shall be levelled with the ground, never to be rebuilt; unless it is the master of the house who shall have arranged the discovery of the heretics. And if the master of the house owns other houses in the same neighborhood, all of the other houses shall in like manner be destroyed, and the goods that shall be found in the house and the others related to it shall be dispersed to the populace, and shall belong to whoever carries them off, unless the removers shall be appointed by law. Above all, the master of the house, besides incurring eternal infamy, must pay the government or locality fifty pounds Imperial in coin; if unable to pay, he shall suffer life imprisonment. The borough where the heretics are arrested or discovered shall pay the government of the state a hundred pounds; and a manor shall pay fifty, and the regions adjoining manors and states, fifty. Law 27. 28. Whoever shall be caught giving any male or female heretic counsel, help, or favor, besides the other punishments mentioned duly in their logical places in other passages of this decree, shall become infamous by that same law, and shall be admitted neither to public office, nor public affairs, nor the election of persons to these, nor may he testify in a legal process; to that extent shall his incapacity to testify go, that he shall neither bequeath legacies to heirs nor inherit them himself. No one shall be compelled to respond to any business dealings initiated by him but he shall be so compelled by others. If he be by chance a judge, his sentence shall prove nothing, nor shall he hear any case. If he be an attorney, his defence in court will never be allowed to prevail. If he be a notary, the legal documents drawn up by him shall be utterly without validity. Those who give ear to the false doctrines of heretics shall be punished like heretics.


Listing of at least 46 Bad Popes (1285-1455)

Honorius IV (1285-1287) Nepotism

Nicholas IV (1288-1292) Nepotism

Celestine V (1294-1294 or 1296-1296) Nearly all of his official acts nullified by his successor, the ruthless Boniface VIII. Celestine was murdered after resigning. Boniface ordered a crusade against the Colonna family.

Boniface VIII (1294-1303) involved in many wars. He wrote the Unum Sanctum. He died of "chagrin" shortly after his imprisonment.

(A good thing) Benedict XI (1303-1304) reversed Boniface VIII's 1302 papal bull Unam Sanctam.

Clement V (1305-1314) tried Boniface VIII for heresy and sodomy.

John XXII (1316-1334) Nepotism

Urban VI (1378-1389) said he did not hear enough screaming when some were tortured

Boniface IX (1350-1404) Because wars were becoming more expensive, the Vatican was extremely strapped for cash. So the pope sold clerical benefices to the highest bidder; at times voiding one sale when a higher offer came in.

Martin V 1417-1431. Nice to Jews but Crusades against Wycliffites

Nicholas V (1447-1455) 1452 bull Dum Diversas and 1455 bull Romanus Pontifex authorized capturing slaves, but only of non-Christians


Listing of at least 46 Bad Popes (1471-1644)

Sixtus IV (1471-1484) Nepotism: made three nephews, one grandnephew, and one other relative cardinals. Papal bull Exigit Sincerae Devotionis Affectus to spread the Spanish Inquisition to Castille. He had the Venetians attack the city of Ferrara, for a nephew. Sold offices and privileges for money. Promoted the immaculate conception. He confirmed Nicholas V's bulls for Portuguese to enslave non-Christians.

Innocent VIII (1484-1492) Appointed Torquemada as an inquisitor. Endorsed burning witches in the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus (1484)

Alexander VI (1492-1503) nepotism. Made 25,000 ducats by allowing the king of Hungary to divorce his wife. Allowed Charles VIII of France to marry someone betrothed to another because France was more useful to the papacy.

Leo X (1513-1521) spendthrift who emptied the treasury

Julius II (1504-1513) The Warring Pope looted Italian cities. 1511 church council suspended Julius II, but it was just ignored.

Leo X (1513-1521) granted indulgences to donors to rebuild St. Peter's Basilica. Excommunicated Martin Luther. Expanded the Spanish Inquisition into Portugal

Clement VII (1523-1534) politics with France, Spain, and Germany. Indicated he would support Henry VIII's annulment, and then forbade it, despite other kings getting around marriage laws.

Paul IV (1555-1559) Made Jews in Rome wear distinctive clothing and live in a ghetto. Set up the Roman inquisition. Opposed any dialogue with Protestants.

Pius IV (1559-1565) Rebuked to his face by Pope Pius V for Nepotism. When he wanted to make a 13-year old relative a cardinal. He let the laity have the communion cup in Austria and Bohemia

Urban XIII (1623-1644) Galileo tried under him. Last pope to expand the papal states through military action


Listing of at least 46 Bad Popes (1700-1644)

Clement XI (1700-1721) papal bull Unigenitus in 1713. (see below)

Leo XII (1823-1829) condemned Bible societies

Pius IX (1846-1848) persecuted Jews. 1864 Syllabus of Errors against separation of church and state. Catholicism should be the state religion in lands with a majority of Catholics. Against Bible societies and for the Papal States.

Pius X (1903-1914) had informants to hunt out heretics in the Catholic church. Garry Wills p.208-209 calls the pontificate the reign of terror. Many governments cut off government funds to the Catholic Church because Pius X would not recognize them because they recognized Italy, and Italy took over the papal states. In 1906 he write the Vehementer nos condemning the 1905 French law separating church and state. He at first banned tango dancing. He opposed trade unions that were not Catholic only. Refused to meet with U.S officials because they had also met with Methodist officials. His 1905 catechism taught limbo. The papal directive motu proprio banned women from singing in church choirs.

Pius XI (1922-1939) anti-Semitic. Said the state should not be totalitarian, it should be the Catholic Church

Pius XII (1939-1958) failed to speak out against the Holocaust until after WWII ended, and then lied about speaking on it. Gary Wells, Why I am a Catholic p.3.



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Pope Clement XI's 1713 papal bull Unigentus anathametizes these:

74. The Church, or the whole Christ, has the Incarnate Word as its head, but all the saints as members.

80. The reading of the Sacred Scripture is for all.

81. The sacred obscurity of the Word of God is no reason for the laity to dispense themselves from reading it.

83. It is an illusion to persuade oneself that knowledge of the mysteries of religion should not be communicated to women by the reading of Sacred Scripture. Not from the simplicity of women, but from the proud knowledge of men, has arisen the abuse of the Scripture by which heresies have been born.

84. To snatch away from the hands of Christians the New Testament, or to hold it closed against them by taking away from them the means of understanding it, is to close for them the mouth of Christ.

94. Nothing engenders a worse opinion of the Church among her enemies that to see exercised there an absolute rule over the faith of the faithful, and to see divisions fostered because of matters which do not violate faith or morals.

Quoted from the Catholic writer Garry Wills, Why I am a Catholic p.182-183

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