The shadows and mysteries on the Catholic Church have marked the history of humanity. From The Vatican Not only is the center of religious power exercised, but also political threads capable of reaching the most remote corners of the earth are woven. The institution that has been entrusted with the mission of helping humanity in solidarity, approaching God’s mandates, has not always played such an exemplary role. The struggles and intrigues, in the very core of the “city of God”, leave much to think about. The figure of the Supreme Pontiff would have to be that of the authentic emissary of God on earth. However, the most depraved Popes in history well demonstrate how questionable this slogan is.. Today in Supercurioso we will tell you about who were the worst Popes in history.
The 7 most depraved Popes in history
take a walk around all the Popes in history leads us to meet figures of great kindness and neat image, as is the case of John Paul II. But we also come across the names of figures who contributed to throwing a cloak of shadow, darkness and terror over the Christian faith. Political actions, intrigues, alliances and corruption mark the history of the Holy See. Let’s discover together who were the worst Popes in history and why they are considered in this way.
1. Stephen VI (896-897)
We begin this journey through the stories of the most corrupt Popes of the Catholic Church, with Esteban VI. He was elected Pope with the support of the King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor Lambert of Spoleto. He is especially remembered for the exhumation of the body of Pope Formosus, previously dead, in what has been called the “cadaveric council” or “synod of terror”.
Stephen VI stripped the corpse of its sacred garments, ordered two fingers of its right hand to be cut off, and ordered the body to be thrown into the Tiber. Those gruesome actions generated such a scandal that he was not only imprisoned, but later starred in one of the worst and most terrible deaths of Popes in history, by cruel strangulation.
2. Sergius III (904-911)
Another of the worst Popes in history was Sergio III. It is said of him that he ordered the assassination of his two immediate predecessors, Leo V and Cristóbal., and also that he had an illegitimate son who would later also become Pope (John XI). He wielded his power unabashedly to favor his kind.
In addition, he maintained a licentious and scandalous sexual life, his romance with a lover thirty years younger. His pontificate was described as “regrettable and sad.” From him, the church began “the dark centuries.”
3. John XII (955-964)
Another of the names that stands out among the most depraved Popes in history is that of John XII. Without a doubt, he went down in history as one of the most nefarious of the Church, characterized by his passion for war, persecution and carnal instincts. So much so was he, that he was known as “the fornicator Pope.”
Morally poor, he was fond of carnal pleasures and a dissolute life, without any kind of inhibition. They say that he practically turned the papacy into a brothel, and Rome suffered a moral corruption as few times in its history.
In the political sphere, he allied himself with Otto I, whom he crowned as emperor in the year 962 of the Holy Roman Empire. This alliance, known as Privilegium Othonis, gave the emperor the power to approve the consecration of the popes. But John XII also betrayed him. He broke his oath of fidelity and called the Byzantines, the Hungarians and the Italian princes to fight against Otto. There are two versions of his death: one, that he was assassinated by the husband of one of his lovers – who had caught him red-handed in bed with his wifeand another, of a stroke in the middle of the sexual act.
4. Benedict IX (1032-1048)
Another of the worst Popes in history was Benedict IX, who has even come to be considered “a disgrace for the chair of Saint Peter.” Although he was the nephew of those who preceded him, his behavior was totally different: very little is known, but It is known that he liked to pervert small children in the Lateran palace. His secular name was Theophylact.
He was elected pope at a very young age (not at 12, as some legends say, but probably at 20 or 25), and held the pontificate in three different periods: from 1032 to 1044, from April to May 1045, and from November from 1047 to July 1048, during which he was expelled from Rome and attacked the city in order to become pope again. Saint Peter Damion wrote of him: “He was a wretch who celebrated immorality, a demon from hell disguised as a priest.”
Between the things that are not known about the Popesit is said that the Seventh-day Adventist Church and other evangelical movements they believe that the Antichrist will be precisely a man to whom the distinction of Supreme Pontiff is granted, and that will begin the Apocalypse. A pedophile Pope could perfectly fit such a despicable description.
5. Innocent IV (1243-1254)
Another inevitable name in the list of the worst Popes in history is that of Innocent IV. His name was Sinibaldo dei Fieschi, and He was the one who approved torture to obtain confessions of heresy. He also excommunicated Frederick II Hohenstaufen, who controlled the papal states at the time, for not organizing a new crusade, and issued the bull Agni sponsa nobiliswhere he declared the supreme power of the Church against any ruler.
Through intrigues and wars, he recovered the kingdom of Sicily for the Papacy and offered it to various princes. He also intervened in the politics of England, Austria, Hungary and Portugal. he was also who proclaimed the death penalty for the relapsed heretics, who were those who refused to renounce their beliefs.
6. Urban VI (1378-1389)
Urban VI was the protagonist of the Western Schism, when there were no less than three popes. His secular name was Bartolomeo Prignano, and the first of Italian nationality after the “Avignon Papacy”, a period of almost 70 years. He was also the last pope to be elected without first being a cardinal.
He earned inclusion as one of the worst Popes in history thanks to his tyrannical, cruel attitude and his taste for torture. He constantly reproached the college of cardinals for their lasciviousness, luxuries, and dissolute life. And he did not hesitate to apply bloody methods of torture to anyone who refused his impositions. So bloody was his character, that he even complained that the screams of his tortured weren’t loud enough.
7. Sixtus IV (1471-1484)
Sixtus IV was also one of the most depraved Popes in history. His given name was Francesco Della Rovere. He belonged to the Franciscan order, and like many others, he practiced nepotism. Although he was against the abuses of the Inquisition, which under the threat of Ferdinand II of Aragon to withdraw his military support he had to subscribe, he sold indulgences. He established the inquisition in Seville, and appointed Torquemada Grand Inquisitor of Castile, and later of Aragon.
Under his papacy the Sistine Chapel was built (in homage to him it bears his name), but also, at the same time, he imposed a tribute on Roman prostitutes for their services, courtesans who lived with members of the Curia, and nobles. who wanted to sleep with virgins from noble Roman families. He was also considered one of the most important urban planners of the Vatican. Evil tongues say that he wanted to legalize sodomy, but death took him away before he could do it.
No doubt the Catholic Church is plagued by dark times, in which it has shed more darkness than light on men. These reflections on the worst Popes in history, well they demonstrate it.
And you, have you heard of any of the most depraved Popes in history? Leave us your opinions in a comment. We will be looking forward to reading you. And if you are interested in continuing to expand your general knowledge on this deep and interesting subject, do not miss our article on symbology at the Pope’s Garment.
Now, if what you prefer is to delve into the thoughts of those people who have dared to question the Church, its methods, dark secrets and operation, do not miss this selection of Dan Brown’s best quotesone of the referential authors in the exploration of the mysteries of the Catholic Church.