compiled by Russell
Lives of the Popes
A History of the
Edward McNall Birms
Compiled by Russell Earl Kelly, April 30, 2008,
to show the problems and weaknesses of the popes who claimed such great authority and power over rulers. McBrien is a top Catholic historian.
Chapter 11 is the most important chapter in this book.
Newly improved July 2008. http://www.tithing-russkelly.com/sda/id51.html
30-313: Christianity was first a part of Judaism,
next an “outlaw” religion until A. D. 80 and then an “illegal” religion persecuted by pagan Rome.
Marcellinus (296-304) was pope when Diocletian began
general persecution in February 303. He complied with orders to hand over copies of Sacred Scriptures and to burn incense
to pagan gods. Persecution ended when Diocletian died.
3 1/2 years without a pope during persecution.
Marcellus I (308-309) was banished from Rome
by Emperor Maxentius because he stirred up so much opposition against allowing those who had repudiated Christianity back
into the church without severe penances.
Eusebius (309-310) was deported to Sicily
along with his opponent, Heraclius, over the lapsarian controversy which created too much dissention in Rome.
Melchiades (311-314) was pope when Maxentius granted
toleration in 311, when Constantine defeated Maxentius in 312 and when Constantine
granted acceptance in 313. Constantine gave the empress Fausta’s palace, the Lateran, for the pope’s home.
313: The Roman Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity
to unify and lessen dissention in the empire. It became one of many legal religions which were controlled by the pagan Roman
Emperor Constantine who was not baptized until on his deathbed. Twice in 313 the church in North Africa
asked Constantine to mediate its disputes. Constantine called the synods, personally
nominated three Gallic bishops and made his decision concerning church matters more important than the pope’s decisions.
This was the first instance of an emperor using lay investiture authority and acting as a mediator of church disputes!
Sylvester (314-335) did nothing to interfere with
Constantine’s rule over the church. Constantine
called a third council in 314 to mediate the Donatists’ lapsarian dispute in Africa. The emperor
called the council to meet (not in Rome under the pope) but Arles
under the supervision of the Bishops of Arles and Syracuse.
325: The Council of Nicea (in Turkey)
was called and ruled by (still pagan) Roman Emperor Constantine to settle doctrinal issues which caused dissention in the
empire. Again the pope did not attend. The Council defined the deity of Christ and rejected Arianism (that Christ was not
equal to God).
Marcus (336) saw Arianianism regain strength primarily
because of Constantine’s half sister, Constantia.
Julius (337-352) saw Athanasius of Alexandria
and other orthodox bishops forced into exile until Constantine died in 337. Athanasius
was again expelled in 339 and Julius exonerated him in 341.The Arian controversy intensified.
346: Christianity became the only legal religion
of the Roman Empire. Paganism became illegal but its punishment was not enforced.
Liberius (352-366) was deposed by the Eastern Emperor
Constantius II for not condemning Athanasius and for disagreeing with the Arians. The Council of Tyre
in 335 affirmed Arianism. After a period in exile he was restored after affirming Arianism but recanted again after Constantius
II died in 361. He contended with and jointly ruled with anti-pope Felix II who died in 365.
Damasus I (366-384) was aggressively outspoken on
the authority of the pope. He was elected by the followers of anti-pope Felix II after much controversy and another group
elected Ursimus. Damasus’ followers shocked the bishops of the church by their violence towards the followers of Ursimus
which lasted throughout his papacy. At one point the prefect of the city of Rome
exiled Ursimus. Damasus was an upper-class rich ladies’ man who was liked by the Roman nobility. He took no part in
the Council of Constantinople in 381. Latin became the liturgical language and Jerome wrote the Latin
Vulgate Bible during his reign as pope.
Siricius (384-399) was the first to issue legally
binding directives called decretals in 385 in the West and Africa. His requirement for clerical celibacy
was ignored. Emperor Valentinian II officially confirmed his election. In 386 Priscillian was the first person executed for
heresy. He agreed with the expulsion of Jerome from Rome in 386 (over monasticism?).
396: Arian Christian Germanic Visigoths plundered
Constantinople in the East and headed West to settle in Spain.
Anastasius I (399-401) was the father of his own successor,
Innocent I. He condemned Origen (d254) as a heretic. Jerome’s pro-monastic supporters elected him.
406: Arian Germanic Vandals, Alans and Suevi invaded
northern Gaul and Spain and eventually
settled in North Africa to attack Italy
and Rome from Carthage.
406: Franks invaded eastern Gaul.
406: Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded England
and destroyed most of Christianity there.
410-412: Visigoths plundered Rome
and invaded all of Italy and southern Gaul
Innocent I (401-417) was vocal about the authority
of the papacy in the face of a power vacuum caused by invading Germanic tribes. He failed to get W. Emperor Honorious in Ravenna
to talk Alaric into a truce. In 410 Vandals under Alaric plundered Rome.
Relations with the East were broken when he tried to support Chrysostom who had been deposed and exiled. In 416 Jerome’s
monasteries in Jerusalem were attacked and its members brutalized. Also in 416
Augustine and other African bishops asked him to discipline Pelagius (over works-salvation).
Zosimus (417-418) was “temperamentally impulsive,
politically inept and culturally unprepared” (LP). He revoked Innocent I’s condemnation of Pelagius. The African
bishops, including Augustine, were outraged and succeeded in getting the Emperor
Honorious to agree with them against the pope and exile the Pelagians. Then the pope reversed his position. Another incursion
into the authority of African bishops was also rebuffed.
Boniface I (418-422) was the son of a priest. Zosimus’
supporters had elected Eulalius, had him officially ordained by the Bishop of Ostia
and had the approval of the prefect of Rome. When the Emperor in Ravenna
asked both to leave the city until a council decided the issue, Eulalius refused to leave and was exiled. Boniface reversed
the rulings of Zosimus. He also originated the idea that a papal decision cannot be reversed.
Celestine I (422-432) was pope during the Council
of Ephesus in 431 which called Mary the “Mother of God” to refute
the Nestorians who claimed that Christ had two distinct persons. Emperor Theodosius II convened the council and did not submit
its results for the pope’s approval. He confiscated Novatianist churches in Rome
which insisted on rebaptism of heretics. This angered the bishops of North Africa by meddling into
their authority – forbidden by the Council of Nicea of 325.
Sixtus III (432-440) was the son of a priest. He received
imperial money to rebuild Rome from the destruction of 410. In exchange for not
allowing the East to interfere with one of his areas of authority, he refused o interfere when an Eastern church asked him
to intervene and settle a dispute.
Leo I (the Great) (440-461) filled a power vacuum
because barbarians were invading Italy in waves and the Western
Emperor was contained to Ravenna. In 452 he paid tribute to keep the Huns from
plundering Rome although they plundered the rest of Italy.
In 455 the Vandals plundered Rome from North
Africa. Mostly because of his claims of papal authority he is seen by Catholics as “great”
and as a major turning point in papal power. He failed to influence the Eastern Roman Emperor who called the Council of Chalcedon
in 451. Although it condemned the Monophysite doctrine that denied Christ had a human nature, the dispute continued long afterwards.
Hilarus (461-468) had to contend with the spread of
Arianism, especially in North Africa, which had endured since 325. He convinced the very weak W. Emperor
Anthemius to promise that heretics could not meet in Rome.
Simplicius (468-483) saw the last Western Roman Emperor,
Romulus Augustulus, replaced by a German general as king of Italy and the establishment of barbarian kingdoms in the Western
empire. From 476 to 493 Heruli ruled Italy. They had been
army leaders paid to protect the papacy. Simplicius disputed with the East over the Monophysite doctrine. He had considerable
influence in Spain.
Felix III (483-492) [schism with East] was a widower
with two children and the son of a priest. He caused a schism between West and East from 484 until 519 when he excommunicated
the patriarch of Constantinople over attempts to reconcile the Monophysite doctrine. His election was
influenced by the Arian king of Italy. Arianism was strong
in North Africa.
493-552: Arian Ostrogoths rule Italy
Gelasius I (492-496) [schism with East] was the first
pope to be called the “Vicar of Christ” which became common for all bishops until 1145. He firmly opposed the
Monophysite doctrine. He encouraged Arian King Theodoric to stay out of church affairs. He used his own fortunes to feed the
poor during famine. He lowered standards in order to encourage more to become priests. Eastern Emperor Anastatius I did not
like him because of the doctrine. In a power vacuum, he asserted that church and secular authority are independent of each
Anastatius II (496-498) [schism with East] was the
son of a priest. In exchange for the Eastern Emperor recognizing Theodoric as King of Italy,
the pope agreed to compromise concerning the Monophysite heresy. Many of the pope’s bishops broke fellowship with him
and he died suddenly. Dante portrays him in the sixth circle of hell.
481-496: The Visigoths (Alemans) were pushed out of
southern France by Clovis
who was still a pagan. In 496 Clovis converted.
496: Visigoths settle in Spain.
Symmachus (498-514) [schism with East] was chosen
by the Roman clergy while the Roman Senate and aristocracy wanted Lawrence. Arian
King Theodoric settled the dispute by choosing Symmachus. Symmachus convened a synod which declared that the pope could
designate his own successor and laity were excluded from voting. Aristocrats planned to accuse the pope of unchastity and
King Theodoric called a synod. The pope’s party was attacked en route to the synod and some were killed. The synod ruled
that no secular court could judge the pope. Not agreeing with the synod, King Theodoric recalled Lawrence who ruled as pope
for four years while Symmachus was confined to St. Peter’s and rioting was in the streets of Rome.
In 506 Theodoric reversed himself and restored Symmachus. He was the first Western pope to ordain a bishop outside of Italy!!!
Because of riots the Eastern emperor was forced to call a general council to settle the Monophysite issue.
Hormisdas (514-523) [schism ended 519] had been married
before ordination and had a son, Silverius, who later became pope. Eastern Emperor Anastatius I then refused to accept the
pope’s conditions to assure reconciliation. Anastatius I died and Emperor Justin I, an Orthodox, ended the schism by
making the Council of Chalcedon’s decision of 431 law. However, the pope’s
jurisdictional primacy in the East was rejected (as always). Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon
made the patriarch of Constantinople and the pope of Rome
John I (523-526) Emperor Justin I had harshly treated
Arians which angered Theodoric, the Arian king of Italy. Theodoric
forced John to go to Italy to reverse the harsh treatment.
Angered by his failure to change the emperor’s mind, Theodoric had John I imprisoned in Ravenna
and he died soon.
Felix IV (526-530) struggled with semi-Pelagians in
Arles. On his deathbed he ordered the election of his successor,
Boniface II (530-532) was the first German pope and
was named by his predecessor on his deathbed. He also named Vigilius as his pro-Gothic successor but was forced to change
John II (533-535) (Goth named Mercury) was elected
by bribery and the (non-Catholic) Ostrogoth king of Italy
was forced to forbid such politics (although it got much worse over the centuries).
Agapitus I (535-536) disagreed with Emperor Justinian
over accepting Arian bishops. Theodahad, the last Ostrogoth king of Italy
forced him to pawn church property to pay for a trip to Constantinople to beg Justinian not to invade
Silverius (536-537) was the son of Pope Hormisdas
and one of the few popes to resign. Eastern Empress Theodora urged him to resign in favor of Vigilius. Upon refusal he was
accused of plotting with the Ostrogoths who were besieging Rome.
By implication the Vatican admits that the Emperor had authority
to depose a pope (LP). He resigned under threat.
Vigilius (537-555) “was clearly one of the most
corrupt popes in the history of the church” (LP). (1) He had plotted with the Empress Theodora to repudiate the Council
of Chalcedon (451) and reinstate the deposed patriarch of Constantinople.
(2) He was elected purely by secular bullying. (3) He then opposed Emperor Justinian and blocked the trial of Agapitus. (4)
He had Agapitus kidnapped and taken away against the Emperor’s orders. (5) He was arrested and brought to Constantinople
in 547. (6) He excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople and then reversed it. (7) He excommunicated
Justinian’s theological adviser. (8) After being physically beaten by Justinian’s police, he hid in 551. (9) He
was forced to convene a council in 553. (10) He was jailed again while resisting Justinian., (11) He reversed his theological
position again in 554. (12) He was not buried in St. Peter’s because of his unpopularity.
Pelagius I (556-561) was promoted from a deacon to
pope as Emperor Justinian’s personal choice. Unrest resulted in Rome when
told no papal election was needed. Later only two bishops confirmed him as pope.
The people of Rome never accepted him.
John III (561-574) was also elected with the pressure
of Justinian. In 568 the Lombards invaded much of northern Italy
after Justinian died in 565. He fled as the Lombards and Empire fought for northern Italy.
LOMBARDS: As soon as Justinian died in 568 another
Germanic tribe, the Lombards, invaded Italy, was never repulsed and eventually blended into the Italian people. However, before
they became obedient Catholic Christians they ruled most of Italy
until 772. During that time they besieged and plundered Rome in 579, 590, 604-606,
715, 733, 739-743, 751, 754-756 and 768-772. They controlled all of Italy
except Rome, Ravenna and the “heel”
The Eastern Roman Empire in
Constantinople would continue to rule the “heel,” “boot-tip,” Corsica,
Sardinia and Sicily. Its main garrison under an exarch
was in Ravenna in northeast Italy
and continued to provide very weak imperial troops to Rome which were often paid
by the papacy.
Benedict I (575-579) saw the Lombards
besiege Rom in 579. He died during the siege and famine.
Pelagius II (579-590) was elected during the Lombards’
siege of Rome. He was the second Germanic pope. Appeals to the Empire
and Franks failed until the Empire’s exarch in Ravenna managed a four-year
truce. He failed to regain authority over most churches in northern Italy.
He saw the Visigoths in Spain converted (only to fall to the
Muslims). He disputed with Constantinople over the title of its spiritual leader as “ecumenical
patriarch.” He died when plague resulted from flooding in Rome.
Gregory I (the Great) (590-604) is considered the
second of two “great” popes (after Leo: 440-461) even though his reign began and ended during the 590 and 604
sieges by the Lombards and even though he had no secular power outside of Rome and never left Rome. He promoted monasticism.
The achievements which make him “great” were in his moral and liturgical reformation of the church and in mission
work to England. He still claimed to be a servant of the Eastern
emperor and yielded to its approval of his nomination. In order to get the Lombards to lift their first
siege he paid bribes and tribute for years. During a second siege at the end of his reign famine resulted and the people of
Rome turned against him.
Sabinian (604-606) [Lombard
rule] “was one of the most unpopular popes in history” (LP). He reversed Gregory’s policy of favoring monks. During the famine caused by siege he sold food rather than giving it away. This caused
him to be hated. His funeral procession had to make detours to avoid hostile demonstrators.
Boniface III (607) [Lombard
rule] was pro-Gregorian and favored monasticism. Pro and anti Gregory factions would choose many succeeding popes. There were
also pro-asceticism versus pro-secular-wealth struggles among popes.
Boniface IV (608-615) [Lombard
rule] was pro-Gregorian and favored monks. His reign was occupied with famines, plagues and natural disasters.
Deusdedit (615-619) [Lombard
rule] was only a priest when elected. He was anti-Gregorian asceticism.
Boniface V (619-625) [Lombard
rule] was anti-Gregorian but was moral and humble and gave his large fortune to the poor.
Honorius I (625-638) [Lombard
rule] was later condemned by an ecumenical council in 680 for heresy. He was an efficient administrator and paid the imperial
troops who guarded Rome.
Severinus (640) [Lombard rule]
was anti-Gregorian. He had to wait 20 months for imperial approval because he disagreed over the Monothelite doctrine (that
Christ only had one will). His own imperial guards plundered his treasury.
John IV (640-642) [Lombard
rule] sent money to ransom hostages from Avar and Slav tribes. He also contended with the Irish about when to celebrate Easter.
Theodore I (642-649) [Lombard
rule] was a Greek who had fled Jerusalem from Muslims. He traded excommunications
with the patriarch of Constantinople over doctrine. His papal nuncio in Constantinople
Martin I (649-654) [Lombard
rule] infuriated the Eastern Emperor by being consecrated without his approval. He then excommunicated an Eastern bishop.
When ordered to arrest Martin, the imperial exarch defected and sided with the pope. A new imperial exarch located the pope
in hiding, deposed him and sent him to Constantinople for trial. He was beaten and died in exile.
Eugenius (654-657) [Lombard
rule] was elected pope while Martin was in exile. He angered the Roman people by refusing to condemn Monothelitism. Attacks
on Constantinople by Muslims kept the emperor from punishing the pope for disagreeing with his theology.
Vitalian (657-672) [Lombard
rule] was accepted by East and West because he took no position regarding Monothelitism. The emperor made Ravenna
(an Eastern stronghold on the NE coast of Italy) independent
of the papacy. The date of Easter was still an issue in England.
Adeodatus II (672-676) [Lombard
rule] was a monk who re-instigated bad relations with Constantinople by opposing Monothelitism.
Donus (676-678) [Lombard rule]
restored power over Catholic churches in Ravenna.
Agatho (678-681) [Lombard rule] saw the Emperor call
the Church Council of Constantinople which ended Monothelitism, condemned former Pope Honorius as a heretic and restored the
practice that popes must be approved by the emperor. (This practice had ceased while the Emperor was busy fighting
Muslims.) He died during an epidemic.
Leo II (682-683) [Lombard rule]
had to wait 18 months before being approved. The Emperor Constantine IV lowered taxes paid to him from papal territories.
Benedict II (684-685) [Lombard
rule] : The strongly independent Visigothic Catholic Church in Spain
did not approve the 680-681 council’s decisions until 684. The archbishop of Toledo
(Spain) sent the pope a “blistering protest” over
theological differences (LP).
John V (685-686), a Syrian, [Lombard
rule] accomplished nothing noteworthy.
Conon (686-687) [Lombard rule]
had been a compromise choice after the local militia prevented free elections. He nominated a non-Roman for a lucrative post
in Sicily normally filled by Romans and angered the Romans. The nominee was
found guilty of extortion and was arrested and deported by the governor of Sicily.
Sergius I (687-701) [Lombard
rule] was strong enough to stand up against Emperor Justinian II. When the imperial commander from Ravenna
went to Rome to arrest the pope for the emperor his own troops prevented the arrest.
Political factions in Rome had elected three popes at the same
time! After one resigned the imperial exarch from Ravenna had been bribed
to support Paschal but switched sides and kept the money.
(708-715) [Lombard rule] was a Syrian. He spent a year in Constantinople trying
to untie the two churches. The emperor was murdered by his own troops and replaced by a Monothelitist. He demanded the pope
accept his theology. When the emperor’s exarch from Ravenna tried to enforce
the edict the Roman citizens rebelled and there were bloody battles in the streets (LP). This emperor was also overthrown
and replaced by an orthodox one. In 715 the Lombards plundered Rome.
Gregory II (715-731) [Lombard
rule] followed 7 popes from Eastern Empire territories. He disputed with the emperor over iconoclasm
(which forbade veneration of images). Italy was in rebellion
against the emperor for trying to enforce it. He sent missionaries to the growing German churches. Both the Lombards and Eastern
imperial armies had joined to besiege Rome during his papacy without
success. Emperor Leo III was forced to remove some taxes on the papacy. (The East was weakened by Muslim threats.) He died
Gregory III (731-741) [Lombard
rule] was a Syrian elected by popular acclaim by cheering crowds at his predecessor’s funeral. He was the last pope
to seek imperial approval for his nomination. He opposed iconoclasm and condemned anybody who taught it. The Emperor seized
papal territories in Calabria and Sicily.
The Empire recaptured Ravenna from the Lombards in 733.
After the pope had made military alliances against the Lombards, the Lombards
retaliated and plundered Rome. Since the Lombards
had helped the Franks defeat the Muslims in 733, the Franks were unwilling to fight them. The Lombards
controlled Rome from 739-743.
Zacharias (741-752) [Lombard
rule] was the last Greek pope and the last pope to notify the Eastern Emperor of his election. He diplomatically stopped the
Lombards in 743 only to have them capture Ravenna
and Rome in 751. The Empire still controlled southern Italy.
Zacharias anointed Pepin III King of France in 751.
II (752-757) [Lombard rule] had been a Roman priest. After conquering Ravenna
in 751 the Lombards heavily taxed Rome until 756. When
appeals to Emperor Constantine V failed he begged the French King Pepin III in penitential garb to defeat the Lombards
who had besieged Rome. The French crushed the Lombards
and gave the former imperial territory to the papacy to rule as the Papal States. They would
be ruled (off and on) by the papacy until 1870.
Paul I (757-767) [Lombard rule]
succeeded his older brother. He disputed with the new Lombard king, Desiderius over the Papal
States. Pepin refused to settle the dispute. Pepin made a theological stand in favor of the pope regarding its
Stephen III (768-772) [Lombard
rule] was a Sicilian born in Rome whose reign “began in a cloud and ended
in disaster” (LP). He declared papal independence from the Eastern Empire and placed its protection
under the French. A layperson, Constantine, was acclaimed pope by a mob of
soldiers. Street fighting with Lombard troops caused him to flee and hide while the Lombards
chose another pope, Philip, who was quickly rejected. When Constantine was found
he was deposed, imprisoned and had his eyes gouged out. Stephan’s reign “was marked with vacillation, intrigue
and stupendous blunders” (LP). By allowing the Lombard king to destroy his enemies he was reduced
to complete subservience to the Lombards from 768-772. In 771 Charles (Charlemagne)
, the new French king, divorced the daughter of the Lombard king and Stephen’s pontificate ended
in total failure.
Charlemagne the Great of France.
Hadrian I (772-795) [French rule] began with
Charles (Charlemagne) defeating the Lombards in 774 and formally declaring the Papal States
as territories for papal secular rule. Charlemagne was angry for not being invited to the Council of Nicea in 787. He held
his own synod in 794 which condemned the adoration of images.
Leo III (795-816) [French rule] is best known for
crowning Charlemagne as the first and new Western Emperor in 800. He is also
the first pope to vow obedience to a Western emperor. The day after his consecration he was attacked by a mob who wanted
to cut out his tongue and blind him. He was deposed, escaped and fled to Charlemagne. He did not reign for five years and
was charged with perjury and adultery. A few days after being exonerated he crowned Charlemagne in 800 as emperor and bowed
“Charlemagne did as he pleased not only in the
temporal realm but even in the ecclesiastical realm” (LP). When another conspiracy charge was made against Leo he personally
condemned scores of his opponents to death in 815.
In 814 Muslim Saracens plundered Rome
and even St. Peter’s Cathedral. They were in turn defeated by a papal league in 855 but that can hardly be defined
as “wearing out the saints.”
Paschal I (817-824) [French rule] governed so harshly
that the Roman people would not allow his body to be buried in St. Peter’s.
Eugenius II (824-827) [French rule] was censored for
encouraging error and superstition. In 825 King Louis I (Fr) forced a council of French theologians to condemn the Second
Council of Nicea and censor him.
Sergius II (844-847) [French rule] did not wait for
the king to approve his election and King Lothair (Fr) sent his son, Louis, to plunder the Papal States
and become king over the Lombards. In 845 Sergius also
experienced the Danes destroying the Catholic town of Hamburg in Germany.
Leo IV (847-855) [French rule] angered both France
and Constantinople by interfering in their church appointments (without his permission).
Benedict III (855-858) [French rule] was opposed by
another pope-claimant with French approval.
Nicholas I (858-867) [French rule] caused French
troops to be sent to Rome when he refused to allow Lothair to divorce.
After failing to take over churches in the East, he and the patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated
Hadrian II (867-872) had been married before ordination.
The Duke of Spoleto plundered Rome. Hadrian’s daughter was raped and then murdered along with her mother, the
pope’s wife, by a brother of the former pope-claimant Anastatius.
John VIII (872-882) was the first pope to be assassinated.
His personal military leadership against the Saracens failed and he ended up bribing the Saracens and rulers he had urged
to help him. When French Emperor Louis II died in 875 the pope hastily crowned the wrong successor and Carloman marched
into Italy for revenge but withdrew because
of illness. The dukes of Sopelo and Tuscia occupied Rome and
imprisoned the pope. In order to get aid in fighting Saracens he compromised on doctrine. He was poisoned and then
clubbed to death by friends.
Hadrian III (884-885) had a crooked official blinded
and had a noblewoman whipped naked through the streets of Rome. While traveling
to coronate a new German Emperor the pope was killed.
Stephen V (885-891) [French & Sopelo rule] was
forced to repel a Salvic threat to Rome. He angered the French ruler by not obtaining
approval of his own election. He had to endure riots in Rome and Saracen raids.
When the French empire collapsed in 889 the pope crowned the duke of Spoleto as emperor and the duke then claimed
supremacy over the Papal States.
Formosus (891-896) [German rule] Formosus got Arnulf,
king of the East Franks (Germany), to invade remove the duke
of Spoleto and then crowned Arnulf emperor. Having angered co-emperor Lambert his body was dug up after death, put on trial
and thrown into the Tiber River.
Steven VI (896-897) belongs among the infamous for
ordering the exhumation of Pope Formosa’s body. Stephen
himself was later deposed, stripped of his papal insignia, imprisoned and strangled to death.
John IX (898-900) had to depose an anti-Formosan pope
by appealing to the Emperor Lambert (king of Italy from Spoleto).
The existence of three emperors caused total chaos after John’s death. (Lothair, Arnulf and Lambert),
900: Feudalism was at its height. There was a great
power vacuum with the lands divided into many small protectorates. Land was given in return for military service. Churches
and monasteries become largely the prey of local nobles or barely defended their rights with armies of their own.” Abbeys
and bishops no less than local parish churches came under secular control and lay investiture became common where laity chose
Benedict IX (900-903) sided with the wrong successor
and is believed to have been murdered by agents of Berengar.
Leo V (903: 2 months) was overthrown by anti-pope
Christopher who was in turn overthrown by the next pope, Sergius. Both Leo and Christopher were murdered in
904-928: The next six popes were controlled by the
Theophylact family of Rome. Sergius (904-911), Anastatius III (911-913), Lando
(913-914), John X (914-929), Leo VI (929), John XI (931-936).
Sergius (904-911) was responsible for the murder of
his predecessor, Leo V, and his papal opponent, Christopher. He fathered an illegitimate son who became Pope John XI. Sergius
had previously been elected as an anti-pope in 897. When Christopher deposed Leo V, Sergius marched into Rome
with an army and had himself acclaimed pope. After fathering an illegitimate son with Theophylact’s 15-year-old
daughter, the following decades were called the “pornocracy of the papacy” (LP).
John X (914-929) tried to distance himself from the
noble families of Rome and was eventually deposed, imprisoned and murdered.
Saracens were still raiding central Italy.
John XI (931-936) was Pope Sergius III’s illegitimate
son. He was replaced by Alberic, the family head, and treated like a slave.
Stephen VIII (939-942) was elected by
Alberic II the absolute ruler of Rome.
After conspiring against Alberic he was imprisoned
Agapitus II (946-955) was made to swear to the dying
Alberic that the next pope would be Alberic’s son Octavian.
Otto the Great: Holy Roman Empire
***John XII (955-964) was Alberic’s son, Octavian,
who was elected in obedience to an oath made to his father by Agapitus II. Berengar II, King of Italy, plundered the Papal
States. His request for aid from Otto I resulted in Germany
occupying northern Italy and entering Rome.
In 962 he established the Holy Roman Empire by crowning Otto I. This allowed the emperor to reassert influence over
papal elections. John XII was grossly immoral and some accused him of turning the Lateran
Palace into brothel. A Roman synod called upon him to mend his personal
ways and deposed him in 963 by the emperor’s urging. Otto selected a layman replacement pope (Leo VIII) and left. As
soon as the emperor’s troops had left, Leo VIII’s behavior was not any better. Two months later John XII joined
with Berengar and was reinstated. John XII next inflicted severe persecution on Otto’s partisans. Otto marched back
into Rome once again and John XII fled. John XII died at age 28 of a stroke suffered
allegedly while in the bed of a married woman” (LP).
Leo VIII (963-965) [German rule] was the layman chosen
by German Emperor Otto to replace John XII. The Romans elected Benedict V. The emperor besieged the city and re-instated
Leo VIII. Leo held a synod which deposed Benedict who then fled.
John XIII (965-972) [German rule] had been chosen
by the German Emperor and was exiled by the Romans three months after his election. Otto severely punished his opponents,
restored John XIII and remained in Rome until mid 972.
***Benedict VI (973-974) was murdered by the
Crescenti family of Rome. Otto I had died and Otto II was preoccupied. The Crescenti
family inserted its pope-claimant Boniface VII. When the imperial troops attacked Rome
Boniface VII fled with a lot of the papal treasury. Benedict VII was elected and excommunicated Boniface VII. Boniface VII
returned 6 years later in 980 and murdered Benedict VII. When Otto II named John XIV (Dec 983-Aug 984) as pope Boniface VII
went into exile again until Otto II died. Boniface VIII imprisoned John XIV who died from starvation or poison in August 984.
Boniface VII was probably murdered in August 985. His body was dragged through the streets before being trampled upon by
citizens and stabbed with spears. Until 1904 Boniface VII had been classified as a legitimate pope (LP).
John XV (985- 996) was controlled by the Crescenti
family. He angered French bishops who claimed they were independent from the papacy. The Crescenti family gained dictatorial
control of the Papal States. After fleeing Rome he called
for Emperor Otto III to rescue him and was reinstated before Otto arrived.
Gregory VII (996-999) was chosen by his relative Otto
III at age 24. When the German army left the Crescenti family drove him out of Rome
and Gregory made two unsuccessful armed tries to recapture the city. He excommunicated the Crescenti leaders. The Crescenti
family installed anti-pope John XVI with Byzantine support. German troops restored Gregory VII as pope, blinded and
mutilated the anti-pope and beheaded the leader of the Crescenti family.
John XVII (1003) was married before being ordained
and had three sons. He was probably another Crescenti family choice. Nothing is known of how he died.
John XVIII (1003-1009) was probably a Crescenti choice
since they ruled Rome until 1012. He may have abdicated.
Sergius IV (1009-1012) disappeared when the Crescenti
family was overthrown by the Tuscan family in 1012. He and the head of the Crescenti family were probably murdered.
Conquer Southern Italy; Align with Eastern Empire in Constantinople
Benedict VIII (1012-1024) was chosen by the Tusculan
family and used armed force to destroy the Crescenti family.
John XIX (1024-1032) succeeded his older brother,
Benedict XIII through bribery.
After crowning Conrad II emperor, Conrad did not give
the pope any traditional promises of protection and treated him with no respect.
Benedict IX (Oct 1032-Sept 1044; Mar-May 1045; Nov
1047-Jul 1048) a Tuscan, was the third consecutive layman to become pope and was the only person to be pope during
three separate periods. He was the nephew of the two previous popes and was also chosen by bribery. In September 1044
there was a revolt against Tuscan rule and the immorality of the pope which resulted in his flight. In January 1045
the Crescenti family installed Sylvester III who was expelled two months later in March 1045. In May 1045 Benedict IX abdicated
in favor of his god-father Gregory VI. In the fall of 1046 Emperor Henry III came to be anointed, called a synod, had
all three claimants deposed and had a fourth pope, Clement II installed (who died 8 days later). Benedict IX was reinstated
the third time in November 1047.
Benedict IX was deposed in June 1048 by the emperor
(4th exit) and replaced with Damasus II. Benedict IX would later challenge Leo IX’s papacy and be excommunicated (5th
Sylvester III (Jan-Feb: 1045) probably should be listed
as an anti-pope.
Gregory VI (May 1045-Dec 1046) should also be listed
as an anti-pope. He was installed after his god-son had abdicated and was accused by Emperor Henry III of simony.
Clement II (Dec 1046-Oct 1047) was the first of four
German popes chosen by Emperor Henry III. He replaced three other papal claimants. When his remains where examined
in 1942 it was discovered he had been poisoned by lead.
Damasus II (Jul-Aug 1048) was the 2nd of 4 German
popes chosen by Henry III. With the support of the count of Tuscany, Benedict
IX reasserted himself and prevented Damasus II from reaching Rome. Threatened
by the Emperor, the Count of Tuscany removed Benedict IX in July 1048. Damasus
II died 23 days later either from malaria or poison.
Leo IX (1049-1054) was the 3rd of 4 popes chosen by
Emperor Henry III. In 1053 he led a disastrous military expedition against the Normans
in southern Italy and was held captive for 9 months. Angered
by his incursion into Byzantine territory, the Eastern Emperor closed Western churches in Constantinople
and vehemently attacked Western traditions and theology. The East-West schism between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox
churches began in 1053.
Victor II (1055-1057) was the 4th of 4 German popes
chosen by Emperor Henry III. The emperor and pope held another synod to condemn simony, clerical marriage and violations
of clerical chastity.
were threatening again from southern Italy and the pope was
visiting Henry III as he died and put Victor II in charge of his 5-year-old son in 1057.
Stephen IX (Aug 1057-Mar 1058) died while trying to
gather support to resist the Normans.
Nicholas II (1058-1061) contended with another papal-claimant,
Benedict X. Nicholas II occupied Rome with the duke of Lorraine’s
troops. With a child-emperor (age 6), the synod asserted itself to try and remove some imperial authority with the
first formal declaration against lay investiture. It also ruled against clerics having concubines! With Germany
weak, Nicholas made an alliance with his former enemies, the Normans. A synod of German bishops declared Nicholas II’s
acts to be null and void and broke off communion with him. (LP) [Henry IV was born in 1052]
Alexander II (1061-1073) used Norman troops to quell
disturbances in Rome. German imperial leaders chose anti-pope Honorius II whose
army defeated Alexander’s Norman army in 1062 [Henry IV is 10] and installed Honorius II. The duke of Lorraine
intervened and forced both claimants to wait until the German courts decided the matter (for Alexander II) in December 1062.
In May 1063 Honorius II occupied territory near Rome. In 1071 German Emperor Henry
IV (now 19 years old) began to assert his authority by disputing with the pope over the right of lay investiture. This
time the “strong” pope won against the young Henry IV.
Gregory VII (1073-1085) is promoted as the “greatest
example of papal power in all of history” yet he reigned only 12 years and his reign ended by him being deposed by the
German Emperor. And he was both preceded and followed by incompetent failures. Typical of “great” popes he and
his immediate predecessor took advantage a political power vacuum in Germany
because of the emperor’s age and inexperience. Gregory VII would not have been any different than most other popes if
Henry IV had been ten years older at the beginning of his reign as seen by his strength at the end of Gregory’s reign
when Henry prevailed and deposed Gregory.
Catholics claim that Gregory VII was the first pope
effectively to claim universal over the whole church. Yes, but, again, this great power only lasted from 1074 (or 1077) until
1080. He was able to make the Holy Roman Emperor kneel at his feet in the snow during a civil war once, but he could not repeat
the feat after the Emperor had won that civil war.
Gregory VII began by successfully violating the papal
vow to get the emperor’s approval – a vow reaching back to Constantine (325), the Eastern Roman Emperor (476-752),
Charlemagne (800), Otto (1016) and almost every other secular ruler over the papacy.
Gregory’s predecessor, Nicholas II (1058-1061),
called a synod to condemn lay investiture (secular authority to chose church leaders) while the emperor was still six years
old. The angry German leaders then selected their own pope which Alexander II (1061-1073) had to contend with. Gregory VII
was attempting to be the third pope in a row to refute the lay investiture authority of the German Emperor and eventually
failed. This kind of challenge to Germany and France
almost always resulted in a military march on Rome with plundering of papal territories
and tribute to pay the expenses.
In 1074 Gregory forced bishops to swear allegiance
to himself and forbade lay investiture (at least outside of France).
In 1075, as almost all kings and emperors had done before him, Henry IV of Germany refused to give up lay investiture and
even nominated bishops in Spoleto and Milan inside Italy (probably to prove his authority). When Gregory VII rebuked him,
Henry IV convened a synod of 26 German bishops in January 1076 which deposed Gregory VII as pope. At Piacenza
the Lombard bishops in Italy did the
same and deposed Gregory. Gregory then excommunicated Henry and released his subjects from obeying him (this is called an
interdict). The timing was bad for Henry because he was in the midst of a civil war in Germany
and did not need the negative atmosphere of excommunication and an interdict.
Therefore a year later, in January 1077 the Holy Roman
Emperor, Henry IV, did the unthinkable. He met Gregory in the Alps in the winter and repented in sackcloth
(probably as a political ploy). Pope Gregory VII made him wait outside barefooted. The excommunication and interdict were
removed and Henry yielded to the pope.
Gregory VII’s papal supremacy lasted only
three years. By 1080 Henry IV had defeated his opponents and was in a position of strength. Gregory’s position was
now weak because he had supported Henry’s opponent, Rudolf of Swabia, as king. In June 1080 Henry IV again deposed
Pope Gregory and a council of imperial bishops chose another pope, Clement III. And Gregory again excommunicated Henry and
placed his subjects under interdict.
Gregory was inflexible and lost the support of 13
cardinals. Henry IV marched on Rome. After a 2-year siege he captured Rome
in March 1084 and the Roman clergy enthroned Clement III officially.
Henry and Clement both left Rome
temporarily when the duke of Apulia marched on Rome with
Norman troops and removed Gregory. However when the Norman troops destroyed and plundered Rome
the Roman people turned against Gregory and he died the next year in exile.
Clement III (1080?-1100) was a pope-claimant chosen by Henry IV in 1080 to replace Gregory VII and
was enthroned in March 1084. He reigned until forced out by Normans in May 1087
and hid in the Pantheon. He returned with German imperial power to challenge several more popes until his death in September
Victor III (May-Sept 1087) was forced to flee Rome
four days after being elected to replace Gregory in March 1087 because of riots. He resigned and left Rome
until May 1087. Since the city was still in the control of Clement III’s supporters he left again for one month and
returned when Tuscan forces retook the entire city. Upon hearing Emperor Henry IV’s soon arrival he left a third
time. From exile he excommunicated Clement III again and reaffirmed Gregory VII’s prohibition against lay investiture
(for the countless time in vain).
Urban II (1088-1099) is praised by Roman Catholics
as being another great pope who inspired the First (very successful) Crusade. Yet he yielded and allowed lay investiture
as long as elections and ordinations were proper (which were never the contentious points). Urban’s papacy began while
Henry IV had forcibly restored anti-pope Clement III in 1087 and Clement would remain as a contender against Urban until after
Urban’s death. Henry was still not satisfied with his concessions and forced him to leave Rome
in 1090 and hide among the Normans in southern Italy.
When Henry IV’s son, Conrad, sided with Urban, he was able to return to Rome
in late 1093. Although Clement III was still supported by Henry IV, Urban regained the Lateran
Palace in 1094 by bribery and regained the Castel Sant’Angelo by bribery
in 1098, one year before his death. His fame was gained only through his ability to organize the First Crusade which re-channeled
the hostility of feudal knights chiefly in France and southern
Italy towards the Muslims.
“Because of the pope’s distractions with
the schism at home the rulers of Germany, England, France, Spain and Sicily were able to ignore at will the papacy’s
reformist regulations” such as simony, clerical marriages and lay investiture (LP).
Paschal II (1099-1118) began his reign contending
with anti-pope Clement III who was supported by Henry IV. Clement stepped down after receiving bribes from the Normans
and died in September 1100. Paschal then had to contend with three different anti-popes. Henry IV disputed with Paschal over
lay investiture. After Henry V overthrew his father in 1105 the investiture dispute became much worse. The pope cited
four recent synods which had forbidden lay investiture (1106, 1107, 1108 and 1110).
In February 1111 Henry V promised to stop lay investiture but the papacy must give up all properties, rights and privileges
not bestowed by the emperor except for strictly ecclesiastical revenues.
In January 1111 the pope agreed and the next
month the people of Rome protested. German troops marched on Rome
and the pope was imprisoned for two months until he agreed in April. The reformers protested again. Paschal
excommunicated Henry V and withdrew his assent of lay investiture in 1112 and again in 1116. During his last days he fled
Rome twice when Henry V arrived and installed anti-pope Gregory
VIII to oppose him. A few days after returning in 1118 he died and was quietly buried because the German imperial army was
in Rome once again. France
and England ceased lay investiture but it was only for a short
time until they got angry over papal interference again.
Galasius II (Jan 1118-Jan 1119) was attacked and imprisoned
by the Frangipani family in Rome. He fled to France.
When he would not return to Rome Henry V declared Gregory VIII as pope again.
Galasius excommunicated Henry V and Gregory VIII. When Henry V returned to Germany,
Galasius returned to Rome and found Gregory VIII in charge. He was again attacked
and fled to France until his death.
Callistus II (1119-1124) quickly reaffirmed Paschal
II’s excommunication of Henry V because of lay investiture. He expelled anti-pope Gregory VIII after publicly
humiliating him. In 1122 Henry V and Callistus signed the Concordat of Worms which
replaced lay investiture with imperial oversight and imperial veto power over nominated bishops. The pope swore
allegiance to the emperor. A Roman Catholic history book boasts “The long struggle between Church and state over lay
investiture was finally over” (LP). Yet this great achievement only lasted 19 years until 1141 and still gave the emperor
oversight and veto power which meant he could still prevent bishops from being elected.
Honorius II (1124-1130) was proclaimed pope by the
Frangipani family on the same day in which the Pierleoni family had proclaimed Celestie II as pope. While Celestine was being
installed the Frangipani family severely stabbed him and he resigned. Honorius II was consecrated following substantial bribes.
Once again, in the vacuum of Emperor Henry V’s death in 1125 Honorius was able to promote his reform agenda. In 1128
the Albigenses (Cathari) began multiplying in northern Italy
and northern Spain and may have gained a majority of the population
in southern France. Honorius supported Lothair III as the
new German king. He had good relations with France
and England but not with the Normans
of southern Italy. His
death was kept from the public until a successor could be chosen.
Innocent II (1130-1143) was elected in secret by a
small group of cardinals. A much larger group of cardinals elected Anacletus II. Both Innocent and Anacletus were consecrated
on the same day in different parts of Rome.
The result was an 8 year schism. Innocent fled to gather support from Louis VI of France, Henry I of England
and Lothair III of Germany. Anacletus had the support of Roger
II, king of the Normans. In 1133
Lothair marched on Rome and installed Innocent. When Lothair left,
Innocent again fled. Anacletus died in 1138 and was replaced by anti-pope Victor IV who quickly resigned and Innocent returned.
In July 1139 Innocent led a military attack against Norman King Roger II, was captured and lost control of Sicily.
In 1141 he disputed with French Louis VII over lay investiture (because the matter had not been finally settled in
1122). In 1143 Roman citizens asserted themselves and established a Senate independent of the papacy.
Celestine II (Oct 1143-Mar 1144) reversed positions
taken by his predecessor concerning France and the Normans. In response the Normans
threatened the Papal States.
Lucius II (Mar 1144-Feb 1145) was elected during serious
political strife in Rome. The Pierleoni family controlled the Senate and the
laity demanded that the papacy confine itself to spiritual functions. Neither
Norman Roger II nor German Conrad III would rescue him. He was killed leading a military attack on the Senate building
Eugenius III (1145-1153) was the last of the period’s
(lay investiture) reform popes. He was elected secretly, hid, at first was accepted by the Senate, was finally rejected by
the Senate and fled to France. The Second Crusade of
1147-1148 was a failure. While in hiding he proclaimed papal supremacy in temporal and spiritual matters!!! He returned
to Rome again in 1149 and 1152 under the protection of Frederick I of Germany.
At his death disharmony remained concerning the Roman Senate and the Normans.
Anastasius IV (Jul 1153-Dec 1154) made peace with
the Roman Senate.
Hadrian IV (1154-1159) (English) used German King
Frederic’s backing to have the leader of the Roman Senate executed in 1155. Hadrian then angered Frederic by referring
to him as his vassal and by not approving one of his nominations (lay investiture). Frederic had to put down a Roman revolt
when he refused to let its Senate crown him as emperor. Hadrian made a treaty with William I of Sicily
and gave him lay investiture rights. When Frederick claimed northern Italy
and Corsica, Hadrian fled from Rome and hid until
1154-1189: The papacy won and lost fights with Henry
II of England. Afterwards Henry II still controlled the church
in England through lay investiture.
Alexander III (1159-1181) saw a 20-year schism
between himself and 3 German anti-popes supported by Frederick Barbarosa. Alexander was attacked and forced to hide
while being selected by one faction. The German faction chose anti-pope Victor IV. Supported by Louis VII of France and Henry
II of England, Alexander moved to France
from April 1162 to November 1165. Antipope Paschal III replaced deceased anti-pope Victor IV and he was replaced by a third
anti-pope Callistus III who stayed in Rome from 1168-1178.
The Lombard League of Italian
Cities defeated Frederick in 1176 and Alexander returned. He presided over the
Third Lateran Council of 1179 which punished heretics such as the Cathari. Later in 1179 he was forced to flee Rome
again and the Senate installed anti-pope Innocent III. Alexander spent 1180-1181 wandering the Papal States
and his body was desecrated before burial. During his reign the Waldensians emerged teaching extreme asceticism and monasticism.
Alexander refused them permission to preach.
Lucius III (1181-1185) joined with the Emperor to
suppress and kill heretics such as the Waldenses. Because of hostility his coronation was held outside of Rome.
He was only allowed to stay in Rome from November 1181 to March 1182 and fled
afterwards. He and the emperor did not reach agreement on any secular issues in 1184 and Rome
remained unfriendly to both. However, while at odds with each other, they took out their frustrations by agreeing that the
Waldensian heretics were to be excommunicated by the Church and punished by the state. Just before Lucius died relations broke
Urban III (1185-1187) resisted the German Emperor
Frederick ‘Barbarosa’ (1152-1190) in every possible way. Germany
invaded, occupied the Papal States and isolated the pope and Curia. Urban supported two rebellions
against the emperor and both failed by 1186 at which time he capitulated and allowed lay investiture. While again plotting
against the emperor he became sick and died.
Gregory VIII (Oct-Dec 1187) was 87 when elected. He
obeyed the emperor and was treated well. He did not live in Rome because
of riots there.
Clement III (1187-1191) returned the papacy to Rome
after a 6-year exile. The Roman senators restored papal revenues. In exchange the papacy had to pay taxes to the city’s
secular leaders and allow them to run the secular business.
Celestine III (1191-1198) was 85 when elected. His
first act was to crown Henry VI as German Emperor who immediately began lay investiture and kidnapped the English king,
Richard the Lion-hearted for ransom.
1197: The first real legitimate killing of non-Catholic
Christina began when Peter of Aragon began having the secular
rulers kill Christian heretics.
Innocent III (1198-1216), along with Gregory VII (1073-1085),
“was one of the most important and powerful popes in the entire history of the church and his pontificate is considered
the [18 year] summit of the medieval papacy” (LP). Only 37 and only
a cardinal-deacon when elected, he was ordained a priest on one day and ordained as Bishop of Rome
on the following day. In Rome he immediately replaced officials of the empire
with men loyal to himself. As was often the case when a pope was strong, a power vacuum existed because Henry VI had died
(Sept 1197) and a power vacuum existed. Otto IV and Philip of Swabia (Henry VI’s brother) had
both been elected as king. When both sought Innocent’s approval, he boasted of his importance to choose emperors.
Innocent III would favor the one who gave him the
greatest concessions but his plans were frustrated when Philip was murdered in 1207. After receiving tremendous concessions,
Innocent crowned Otto as emperor in 1209. Otto immediately ignored all of his promises and invaded southern Italy.
Innocent deposed Otto and, in 1212 named Frederic II of Sicily (another son
of Henry VI) as emperor. Frederick renewed all of Otto’s broken promises.
In 1214 French King Philip II defeated Otto’s forces. Thus Innocent’s choice of the emperor survived. Innocent
also forced a very weak King John of England (1198-1216) to
submit concerning lay investiture and revoked the Magna Charta. From 1209 to 1229 a full-scale crusade was mounted against
the Waldenses which resulted in many deaths and the beginning of the Inquisition.
The “great” Innocent III’s many
successes are almost nullified by his many failures. Between 1202-1204 Germany,
England and France
all alternated between making and breaking promises to the pope who made many concessions in order to encourage his fiasco
of a crusade. Rather than fighting Muslims, armies from these Catholic countries plundered and killed fellow Christians in
Constantinople during the 4th Crusade which ended in failure. He also started strong and ended weak
with French King Philip II. Local bishops disliked being treated as mere subordinates to the pope (LP). In 1212 the
papacy suffered a horrible catastrophe when the Childrens’ Crusade ended in the slaughter an enslavement of thousands
of Catholic children. And the great accomplishment of placing Emperor Frederic II into office turned into a fiasco when Frederic
became the worst enemy of papal power towards Innocent III’s successors.
In the spiritual realm, Innocent’s Fourth Lateran
Council of 1215 defined the Eucharist, condemned heresies, asked for secular suppression of heresies, banned new religious
orders and required Jews to wear distinctive clothing. He died suddenly of a fever in 1216. The very next pope ignored
the Council and authorized three new orders.
Honorius III (1216-1227) saw the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221)
end in failure. He re-crowned Frederick II as German Emperor for his promise to help in the crusade. Instead Frederick II
spent his time trying to restore territory taken from him by Pope Innocent III and selected his own church leaders (lay
investiture). While Fredederic had been away fighting the Crusade the pope was taking his property in Italy.
Frederick manipulated the pope into arbitrating between himself and the Lombards
in northern Italy. Honorius used the French and German kings
to severely punish heretics in southern France. In defiance
of Innocent’s Lateran Council of 1215 he authorized three new orders: Dominicans, Franciscans and Carmelites.
Gregory IX (1227-1241) began the Inquisition in 1231
under Dominican supervision. He was infuriated when German Emperor Frederick II had a successful crusade while under excommunication
for not leaving earlier and did not remove it. Gregory gathered an army to oppose the emperor and personally led it into
defeat. They tolerated each other for a few years. In 1234 the emperor offered helped when the pope fled uprisings
in Rome. In 1236 the emperor asked the pope to condemn the Lombards
but the pope refused and reminded the emperor that he was the pope’s subject. In 1238 Frederic II defeated the Lombard
In 1239 Gregory excommunicated Frederic for invading
his territory of Sardinia and they exchanged
accusatory writings. Frederic then invaded the Papal States, surrounded Rome and prevented Gregory from assembling
a council against him. Gregory died in the August heat during the siege.
Innocent IV (1243-1254) was the first pope to approve
of torture by the Inquisition to extract a confession. In 1244 he fled to France
and never lifted Emperor Frederic II’s excommunication. After Frederic II died in 1250, Innocent returned to Rome
in 1251 only to conflict with Conrad IV, Frederic’s son who died in 1254. Innocent annexed Sicily
and moved to Napes (part of its kingdom). When he died in December 1254 the people of Sicily
were uprising against papal rule there.
Alexander IV (1254-1261) was selected while in captivity
in Sicily and soon lost control of the Papal States
to Manfred of Sicily. He also fled Rome
because it was too dangerous for his residence. He died while Manfred was being installed as a senator in Rome.
Urban IV (1261-1264) was French and unsuccessfully
tried to persuade the French king to occupy southern Italy
and Sicily to make them pay tribute. Manfred of Sicily
renewed military action and he died in exile from Rome.
Clement IV (1265-1268) (French) never resided in
Rome because of its hostile anti-papal conditions. With French help
the Germans were pushed out of Italy by 1266-1268. Manfried
of Sicily was replaced by French Charles of Anjou
who was made emperor and controlled much of Italy afterwards.
1268-1272 was a period without a pope because of contention.
It ended when the civil authorities locked the cardinals in a room, removed the roof and threatened them with starvation until
a pope was selected.
Gregory X (1272-1276) was neither a priest nor a deacon
when elected. In 1273 he crowned Rudolf King of Germans and Romans. He held the Second Council of Lyons
(1274) in France because the (French) king of Sicily
was a threat and ruled most of Italy. He did not live in
Innocent V (1276) served 5 months. He made Charles
of Anjou, (French), already ruler of Sicily
and most of Italy, a Roman senator.
Hadrian V (1276) served 5 weeks. He suspended the
rules for papal elections laid down by Gregory X.
John XXI (1276-77) served 9 months. He was the only
Portuguese and only medical doctor to become pope. He died when a ceiling fell on him in his study.
Nichols III (1277-1280) was first to reside in the
Vatican Palace. He was condemned to Hell
in Dante’s Inferno. He achieved success in restoring relations between Germany
Martin IV (1281-1285) was elected by pressure
from Charles of Anjou, king of Sicily
and turned over the Papal States to him. Sicily
revolted against French control and Martin refused to accept it as his fief. When the German/Spanish Emperor Peter (the Great)
took over Sicily, Martin excommunicated him and alienated many Catholics, especially
Honorius IV (1285-1287) was pressured by French cardinals
to launch a crusade against the German/Spanish rule of Sicily which resulted
in defeat and the death of the French king, Philip III, and the King of Sicily,
Peter III. He was unable to obtain financial contributions from Germans to pay for the German King, Rudolf’s, coronation.
Nicholas IV (1288-1292) was a compromise choice after
11 months of squabbling during which 6 cardinals died in the summer heat. He was unable to reside in Rome
because of civil disorder caused by his own blatant favoritism. Unrest in the
Papal States forced him to appoint offices and distribute income more fairly.
1292-1294: 27 months without a pope due to disputes
between Italian noble families.
Celestine V (1294: 5 months) eventually resigned from
the papacy. His election was forced by the king of Sicily and Naples
and because of disorder in Rome. He was uneducated, inept, befuddled and did not
even speak Latin (LP).
Boniface VIII (1295-1303) was the last of the three
“great” medieval popes [per Catholic sources]. He was accused of idolatry because he had so many statues of
himself built. He failed to remove the Spanish from Sicily and restore Charles
II. He failed to mediate a dispute between Venice and Naples.
He failed to defend Scotland’s independence from England.
He made matters worse by trying to stop a war between France
(Philip IV: 1285-1314) and England (Edward I: 1272-1307).
He failed to stop France and England
from taxing clergy to finance their war. When Boniface threatened excommunication to stop the taxation, Philip replied
by forbidding money from leaving France to the
papacy and Philip prevailed. Philip later won every other argument with Boniface.
Boniface suffered financially when the Colonna family
who had secured his election rejected his high-handed methods. When Philip eventually used the Colonna family to captured
Boniface he was rescued by the Orsini family a month before Boniface died. His greatest mistake was the excommunication of
French leaders and landowners who had confiscated church property.
The French now controlled the papacy much more than
the Germans had for 200 years before them and in 1305 the French would move the papacy to France
for over 70 years.
Benedict XI (1301-1304) (in France)
was completely controlled by the French king and was taken to France
to live. He even assigned church tithe income to the French king for two years and revoked all of Boniface VIII’s
penalties against the French king.
Clement V (1305-1314) (in France)
began the “Babylonian Captivity of the Church” which lasted until 1377. Philip IV forced the pope to torture the
Knights of Templar to allow him to control their fortunes. He also depleted the papal treasury by excessive personal use.
1314-1316: No pope because of disputes. Armed Frenchmen
broke into the voting conclave and shouted “Death to the Italians. We want a [French] pope.”
John XII (1316-1334) (in France)
shamelessly promoted relatives to high-income offices. After being excommunicated for calling the pope a heretic, Louis IV
of Germany issued a decree and symbolically deposed him. John built the papal treasury.
Benedict XII (1335-1342) (in France)
was not allowed by the French king and cardinals to move back to Rome –blaming
political unrest. He could not prevent the Hundred Years’ War between England
and France (1337-1453). Much papal land
in Italy was lost to Germany
during his papacy while he was absent.
Clement IV (1342-1352) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453]
purchased Avignon rather than return to Rome.
After first supporting Cola di Rienzo as ruler of Rome he later excommunicated
him when Cola asserted independence of the Roman people from both pope and German emperor. The archbishop of Milan
became more powerful than the pope in Italy. Benedict lived
very lavishly and depleted the papal treasure again. High taxes made the kings of Germany
and England angry. In 1351 King Edward III restored lay
investiture to stop excessive papal spending. From 1348-1349 the Black Death devastated Avignon,
Innocent VI (1352-1362) (in France)
[Hundred Years War: 1337-1453] was cruel enough to have some Franciscans burned. He was unable to regain the Papal
States and kept the treasury bankrupt. German kings asserted their independence from the pope at coronation.
All of his political attempts at reconciliation failed. Avignon itself was attacked
by mercenary troops during lulls in the war with England.
In 1360 the mercenaries were bribed by the pope to stop a siege of Avignon.
Urban V (1362-1370) (in France)
[Hundred Years War: 1337-1453] stayed in Rome from 1367-1370 but returned to France
when Roman nobility, rebels and forces under the archbishop of Milan were massing
to attack him.
Gregory XI (1371-1378) (in France)
(last French pope) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453] ran out of money and support in 1373 when he wanted to attack his opponent,
the Viscount of Milan. He failed to mount another crusade against Muslims. German
Emperor Charles IV made his own 15 year-old son king of Romans without his permission. After briefly returning to Rome
Gregory returned to France in March 1378 because of resentment
against him in the Papal States and Florence.
Urban VI (1378-1389) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453]
“was one of the most unstable popes in history” “whose intransigence and unreasonableness provoked the cardinals
to elect an antipope thus beginning the Great Western Schism of 1378-1417” (LP). He was elected after riots and
demands to have a Roman pope. This resulted in two popes who excommunicated each other and sent mercenary troops to fight
one another. After leading a failed attack on Naples, executing five cardinals
and creating anarchy in the Papal States he died of probable poisoning.
Boniface IV (1389-1404) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453]
ruled during the period of two popes. He abolished Rome’s
republican government and declared himself absolute ruler. He was then forced to flee to live in Assisi.
He practiced “blatant nepotism and financial skullduggery” (LP).
Innocent VII (1404-1406) (during Schism) [Hundred
Years War: 1337-1453] was unable to have a council in Rome because of civil unrest.
His nephew murdered leading citizens and rioters stoned the Vatican.
The King of Naples ruled Rome for
several months after stopping the riots.
Gregory XII (1406-1415) (during Schism) [Hundred Years
War: 1337-1453] caused three popes to reign at the same time by lying to the council which elected him. The kings of Naples,
Hungary and Bohemia called the Council of Pisa in 1409 which deposed Gregory and anti-pope Benedict XIII as “schismatics,
heretics and perjurers” (LP) After two more councils and two more depositions all three popes had been replaced.
Martin V (1417-1431) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453]
replaced one pope and two anti-popes. He was successful as a military leader but failed to mount a crusade against the followers
of Hus in Bohemia.
Eugenius IV (1431-1447) [Hundred Years War: 1337-1453
ended] forced Martin V’s relatives in the Colonna family to give back vast land holdings. He then had to flee
the Colonnas and hide in Florence 1434-1443. In 1435 the Council of Basel
ended annual papal taxes and limited the power of the pope. Disagreement at the council led to the election of another
anti-pope in 1439. In 1444 a crusade against Turks ended in defeat.
Nicholas V (1447-1455) was a successful Renaissance
political leader. He left Rome briefly because of a plague. In 1453 a plot
to assassinate him was stopped and Constantinople fell to the Turks. Although he personally failed
to unite Italy, the Italian League formed soon afterwards.
Callistus III (1455-1458) (1st Spanish pope) organized
a crusade which eventually failed due to indifference. His monetary policies angered France,
Germany and Spain.
He was stubborn and did not tolerate opposition. He angered many by placing a Spanish army leader over the Papal
States. He also angered many with his harsh anti-Jewish decrees. At his death the Italians rioted against his
supporters and they fled Rome.
Pius II (1458-64) was a Renaissance pope who promoted
lavish pageantry. He had fathered several illegitimate children before becoming
pope. He was angry when twice he could not summon support for a new crusade.
He angered the French by supporting a Spanish king of Naples. The French re-asserted
independent rights of its Church. Pius also had bad relations with the Kings of Germany
***Paul II (1464-1471) (Renaissance) was “one
of history’s least popular popes” and was “absorbed in luxury, sport and entertainment.” He was a
“vain intellectually shallow ostentatious playboy” (LP). He angered Jews by forcing them to contribute
to carnivals. He angered humanists and scholars by abolishing their financial support. Instead of seeking the King of Bohemia’s
support in a crusade, the pope excommunicated him in fear that he might be a supporter of Hus.
Sixtus IV (1471-1484) prepared the way for the Protestant
Reformation by turning the Vatican into a Renaissance
showpiece. He practiced blatant nepotism. He was involved in a murder-conspiracy against the Medici family. He caused a war
with Florence (1478-1480) because he had named a Spaniard as grand inquisitor
and begun the Spanish Inquisition. He incited war between Florence and Ferrara
which ended with him losing several Papal States. He began the sale of indulgences.
***Innocent VIII (1484-1492) sank the papacy to the
“depths of worldliness” (LP). He created new offices to be sold to the highest bidder. He lost two wars
with Ferdinand I of Naples over increased taxes.
He made his thirteen year-old illegitimate son a cardinal. While dying he begged the cardinals to elect a successor
better than himself (which they did not do).
***Alexander VI (1492-1503) “was the most
notorious pope in all of history. His pontificate was marked by nepotism, greed and unbridled sensuality.”
The “second richest cardinal, he openly lived an openly promiscuous life, fathering several children before and after
his election to the papacy” (LP). He was elected with “the help of generous bribes and promises of lucrative
appointments” (LP). When away, he left his mistress in charge of the Vatican.
He caused several battles between France and Spain
over Naples. He used assassins to make the Papal States
family-controlled. He angered Portugal by favoring Spain’s
rights to explore. He died by poisoning.
Pius III (Oct 1503) only lived 17 days.
Julius II (1503-1513) sold indulgences to build St.
Peter’s Basilica which angered Martin Luther and incited the Protestant Reformation. As a cardinal he fathered three
daughters and was elected as a result of bribes. He was thoroughly political and military and wore full armor in battle. French
King Louis XII in 1511 called a council to depose him but Spain
and England pushed France
out of Italy. He allowed Henry VIII to marry his brother’s
widow, Catherine of Aragon. He spent great sums commissioning
works of art from such as Michelangelo and Raphael.
1517: PROTESTANT REFORMATION BEGAN
Leo X (1513-1521) saw the outbreak of the Protestant
Reformation in 1517 because of abusive indulgences and simony. A Medici, he traded two cities to the French in exchange for
Florence. He signed an agreement that the French king had lay investiture right
to select all church offices. His nepotism and wasteful spending caused him to suffer political and financial setbacks
both among Catholics and followers of Luther. When he died Europe was in political turmoil.
Hadrian VI (1522-1523) was the only Dutch pope and
the last non-Italian until 1978. He was supported by the German emperor and the Roman people did not like him. He angered
both Germany and France.
France prepared to invade Italy.
Clement VII (1523-1534) saw the Protestant Reformation
spread across Europe and to England
when he refused to allow Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon.
He was an illegitimate Medici son and spent his time strengthening Florence and
the Papal States. He reversed loyalties between Germany
and France. Instead of fighting Protestants, Emperor Charles
V invaded and sacked Rome in 1527. After being a prisoner
of France for six months he returned after allowing France
to occupy major parts of the Papal States and paying France
a huge indemnity. His delaying actions actually helped the Protestant Reformation and caused England
to become Protestant.
Paul III (1534-1549) was the first Roman pope since
1431 and was opposed by the Colonna and Medici families. “He had held off his ordination in order to continue his promiscuous
lifestyle, fathering four illegitimate children by a noble Roman mistress” (LP). After censoring Michelangelo
for nude [what a contrast] figures, Michelangelo pictured him among the damned with donkey’s ears and a serpent around
his body (LP). He was a Renaissance spender and practiced nepotism. He excommunicated Henry VIII of England.
When the pope tried to move the Council of Trent to Bologna
the Emperor Charles V (of Germany and Spain)
prevented it. Fights over which family members would rule the Papal States filled his last years.
Julius III (1550-1555) “created a scandal because
of his infatuation with a fifteen-year-old boy” whom he elevated to a cardinal and Secretary of State before
the boy was imprisoned for criminal activity (LP). The pope provoked the Emperor and France into war and he lost prestige
when Spain won the war.
He was too self-occupied to slow down the Protestant Reformation in Germany
Paul IV (1555-1559) condemned innocent cardinals,
began the List of Forbidden Books and was harsh towards Jews. He was hated by Romans who rioted, attacked the Inquisition
prisons, released prisoners and tore down statutes of the pope. He also lost a war with Spain.
Pius IV (1559-1565) limited the Inquisition and re-established
friendly relations with the Emperor (of Spain and Germany).
He executed the previous pope’s nephews for causing war with Spain.
He refused to take a position on married priests. Calvinism spread because he was unable to slow the spread of Protestantism.
Attempts to rebuild finances in the Papal States led to riots and attempts on his life.
1562-63; 1567-68; 1568-70: French – Huguenot
Pius V (1566-1572) enforced the Council of Trent
and excommunicated Catholic Queen Elizabeth I of England which
caused English Catholics to be persecuted. He restricted the use of indulgences. He was harsh towards Jews and forced them
to move out of the Papal States. Enforcement of banned books forced printers to move out of Italy.
After giving money to French Catherine de Medici to fight the French Huguenots, she instead granted them religious freedom
in 1570. He angered Maximilian II of Germany
by trying to appoint a civil ruler. He argued with Phillip II of Spain
by trying to curtail royal control over the Church (lay investiture).
1573 – 1580: French – Huguenot Wars
Gregory XIII (1572-1585) was elected with the pressure
of Phillip II of Spain. (The right of imperial veto lasted
until 1904.) In August 1572 he celebrated the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Calvinistic Huguenots in France.
He encouraged Phillip II of Spain to invade England
and encouraged plots to assassinate Elizabeth. By rejecting Sweden’s
request that priests be allowed to marry, it became Protestant. His final years saw nobles in the Papal States
in rebellion because of high taxation and Rome was plagued with bandits.
Sixtus V (1585-1590) had suffered early retirement
and loss of finances from the previous pope. A financial genius, he became one of the richest popes. He ended an insurrection
in the Papal States with harsh measures and beheadings. As usual he practiced simony and nepotism. In 1588 he saw the Spanish Armada defeated and the growth of French Protestantism.
When he died Roman mobs toppled his statue.
Urban VII (September 1590) died of malaria.
Gregory XIV (1590-1591) was one of the least popular
and least successful popes. He endured the plague, food shortages and lawlessness in Rome.
His pro-Spanish favoritism angered the French. And his stance against Henry IV, Protestant King of France,
caused French Catholics to side with their Protestant king which (inadvertently) affected his conversion to Catholicism. He
was also not liked because of his incompetent appointment of relatives in Rome.
Innocent IX (Oct-Dec 1591) continued war against Protestant
King Henry IV of France and Rome
was still lawless.
Clement VIII (1592-1605) expanded the List of Forbidden
Books to include all Jewish books. He practiced nepotism and intensified the Inquisition which killed over 30 people. (Oddly)
by accepting (now-Catholic) Henry IV as king of France he
was forced to grand religious freedom and civil equality to the Huguenots in France.
War between Spain and France
ended in 1598. James I of England made that country Protestant
again without further change.
Leo XI (1565; 26 days) was supported by France
and opposed by Spain.
1618-1648: Thirty Years War in Germany
Paul V (1605-1621) had an inflated view of papal authority.
Venice forbade the construction of new churches without permission from its senate.
Venice also allowed secular courts to try a bishop and abbot which resulted in
excommunication of its senate and interdiction. Venice said the pope
had no temporal authority. King Henry IV of France
interceded and kept Venice from going Protestant. Venice
kicked all Jesuits out (Jesuits were strongly pro-papal). Paul V argued with England
over the pope’s right to depose secular leaders. He argued with the French whose secular authorities said that the French
Church and king were independent from the pope. He made his own
Borghese family as wealthy as the Orsini and Colonna families. He had Galileo and Copernicus condemned by the Inquisition
and their books placed on the List of Forbidden books (until 1984).
Gregory XV (1621-1623) was the first Jesuit pope who
declared secret ballots for the pope and saw some success in the Jesuit-led Counter-Reformation.
Urban VIII (1623-1644) “was a reckless nepotist
who too-often placed his family’s interests ahead of the Church” (LP). The Thirty-Years War (1618-1648) was in
Germany. On one side were German Protestants, (Catholic) France,
and Denmark. On
the other side were Hapsburg Catholics of Germany, Spain,
Bohemia, most of Italy
and southern Netherlands. Oddly, the pope sided with France
(and Protestants) because he feared Hapsburg domination of Italy
even though France kept its religious independence from Rome.
This effectively ended the Counter-Reformation! His last days saw a military and financial defeat when France
and Venice denied his attempted expansion of the Papal States.
The Roman people were jubilant at this death.
Innocent X (1644-1655) was forced by French Cardinal
Mazarin to pardon the Barberini family of the previous pope. His ambitious and greedy widowed sister-in-law, Donna Olympia,
controlled him. Though unhappy with the results of the Thirty Years’ War, he was helpless to affect it. He next
favored Spain in its renewed war with France.
After death his remains remained unburied for several days because his sister-in-law refused to pay the funeral expenses.
Alexander VII (1655-1667) was not liked by the French.
Cardinal Mazarin prevented him from attending the peace treaty between France
and Spain in 1659. He was forced to apologize to French King
Louis XIV (d1714) because of lack of allies. He was also forced to allow Louis XIV to make church appointments (lay investiture).
He left positions unfilled in Spain rather than allow
its king to appoint church leaders. He obeyed Louis XIV and condemned the more-Calvinistic Jansenist interpretation of Augustine.
Clement IX (1667-1669): “Probably the only real
achievement of his pontificate is that he gave very little to his relatives” (LP). He was forced to allow the French
Louis XIV a free hand in lay investiture. His campaign to free Crete from the Turks failed; this
caused great debt to Venice, Spain and
Clement IX (1670-1676) was a compromise choice after
both France and Spain
vetoed previous choices. His relatives enriched themselves at his expense. King Louis XIV of France
continued his complete control of its church and confiscated church property and finances to pay for his military. He
was also pressured to appoint French cardinals.
Innocent XI (1676-1699) is regarded as the best pope
of the 17th century. His prohibition of carnivals was ridiculed and ignored. In 1682 Louis XIV re-asserted the old Gallican
Articles which repudiated papal secular authority over kings, declared that general councils are superior to the pope and
reaffirmed the independence of the French Church.
The pope rejected the articles and was “appalled at the inhumanity of the king’s persecution of the Huguenots”
(LP). The pope excommunicated Henry XIV and France
occupied two papal cities in France. The
accession of William of Orange in England
caused Henry XIV to back off to protect France.
Alexander VIII (1689-1691) renewed nepotism after
two popes who did not. He forced an army-draft from Venice and the citizens did
not like it. His efforts to be friends with Louis XIV angered the German emperor. He reversed all of his concessions to France
on his deathbed.
Innocent XII (1691-1700) compromised with French Louis
XIV and ratified many bishops nominated by the king in return for the king easing up on the Gallican Articles (but the French
Church’s autonomy remained until the French Revolution in 1814). Peace with
France meant problems for the Germans through papal interference.
Clement XI (1700-1721) hurt the Church in China
by forbidding rites in Chinese. This resulted in persecution and closed churches there. He was ordained a priest just before
becoming the pope. Under pressure from Louis XIV (d1714) he condemned the Catholic Jansenists again but it was ignored. After
being forced to side with the Germans over the Spanish in choosing the new emperor, relations with Spain
were broken. The Germans had invaded Italy,
captured Naples and threatened Rome.
The Spanish also excluded him from decisions in Sardinia, Sicily,
Parma and Piacenza. The Spanish fleet
he had instructed to fight the Turks instead captured Sardinia from Germany.
Innocent XIII (1721-1724) disliked both Jesuits and
their religious enemies, the Jansenists in France and asked
the king of France to punish French bishops who sided with
them. He gave concessions to the French and German rulers and failed to stop Spanish Charles VI from claiming supreme
authority over the Church in Sicily.
Benedict XIII (1724-1730) was an Orsini who influenced
corruption in Benevento. He was a compromise candidate because the French, Spanish
and Germans failed to elect their choices. The corrupt Coscia of Benevento isolated
the pope and became wealthy selling offices and taking bribes. Benedict was
hated by the Roman people because he did not discipline Coscia. In 1730 the Romans rioted and forced the Coscians to leave.
Clement XII (1730-1740) was a Corsini who was sick
with gout and blind since 1732. He revived the papal lotteries in a vain attempt to finance the Papal States,
taxed imports and printed paper money. Catholic powers continued to ignore the papacy (since 1700). The Spanish Emperor
Charles VI occupied many of the Papal States and recruited soldiers from Rome.
In 1738 Clement condemned freemasonry and forbade Catholics from joining them.
Benedict XIV (1740-1758) gave political concessions
to Sardinia, Naples, Spain
and Austria. He allowed Spain
and Portugal to make all church appointments
(lay investiture). Because he sided with the wrong successor to Emperor Charles VI in Austria
he caused the loss of all papal money producing offices in Austria
and caused the occupation of the Papal States by Austria.
Clement XIII (1758-1769) was a compromise choice after
a French veto. France, Spain, Naples and Parma
were in full rebellion against the Jesuits. From 1759-1767 Portugal,
France and Spain
deported (strongly pro-papal) Jesuits. When the pope took no action against the Jesuits, France
occupied two papal lands inside France. He also failed to
stop German rulers from assuming more papal powers.
Clement XIV (1769-1774) was elected by the influence
of Bourbon rulers in France, Spain,
Naples and Parma. Under much pressure
he completely dissolved the Jesuits in 1773. France
and Portugal’s secular leaders suppressed
more Church-associated functions. On the other hand he lost support among cardinals and Roman nobility in the Papal
States because they had supported the Jesuits. He could not stop the partition of Poland. His last year was spent in depression, fear of assassination and an acute skin disease.
Pius VI (1775-1799) revived nepotism (favoring relatives)
and bankrupted the treasury. He lacked intellect or diplomacy (LP). Naples rejected
him as its feudal lord even though he allowed Naples the right of lay investiture.
Emperor Joseph II of Austria (1765-1790)
proclaimed total religious liberty, forbade bishops from appealing to Rome
and curtailed Catholic institutions. In 1786 German cardinals said they could run German churches without his interference.
Joseph II announced plans to make local churches independent of Rome
and the Synod of Pistoia in 1786 adopted the (French) Gallican Articles
of 1682. He failed in requests to have (non-Catholic) Frederick II of Prussia
and Catherine II of Russia suppress Jesuits. In 1790 the pope
did not object when Catholic clergy were made paid employees of the state in France.
In 1791 he denounced the oath of loyalty French Catholic leaders were made to give to the state and he denounced the Declaration
of the Rights of Man. Diplomatic relations between France and the papacy were broken. France
annexed Avignon and Venaissen where its citizens had revolted against papal leadership.
“The French Church
became split between those loyal to the revolution and those loyal to the monarchy” (no loyalty to Rome
involved) (LP). When Pius VI denounced the “new France” Napoleon occupied Milan.
When he continued to resist, Napoleon occupied many of the Papal States after warfare. In 1797 the
papacy lost parts of the Papal States and was forced to pay huge spoils of war including valuable manuscripts
and art. In Feb 1798 France occupied all of the Papal
States and Rome itself. Pius VI died a prisoner in August 1799.
Pius VII (1800-1823) was crowned in Venice
while the kingdom of Naples occupied
Rome. Because the French had stolen the papal regalia he was crowned with a
paper mache’ tiara. While the papacy was under Austrian protection Napoleon defeated Austria;
Austria and Naples
left Rome. In 1801 an agreement was signed with Napoleon which re-established
Catholicism in France but lessened its authority. For the
first time in many centuries the papacy was given power over bishops in France.
[It had zero authority in secular affairs.] A similar agreement was made with the new Italian
Republic but not with Germany.
The pope took part in Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 but refused to support the blockade of England.
In February 1808 Napoleon occupied Rome and occupied the Papal States
in May 1809. The pope was arrested, imprisoned and forced to allow Napoleon to appoint bishops (lay investiture). When
Napoleon abdicated in 1814 the pope renounced everything he had been forced to do under threat.
Leo XII (1823-1829) reinforced the List of Forbidden
Books and the Holy Office (formerly the Inquisition), reestablished the feudal aristocracy in the Papal States
(LP). Austria had vetoed the first election (vetoes by heads
of states would last until 1904). In 1825 he condemned religious toleration of the revolution and Freemasonry. In 1826
Jews were confined to ghettos in the Papal States and their property was confiscated. He revoked previous
(liberal) reforms and established a police state with secret societies, press censorship and capital punishment. As a result
many skilled laborers moved out of the Papal States, its economy suffered and it had the reputation
of being the most backward in Europe. Oddly, though, he adopted a more conciliatory
position with European nations than with the Papal States. He had an overriding fear and hostility
towards the modern world.
Pius VIII (1829-1830) returned to the more liberal
policies of Pius VII (1800-1823). He blamed the breakdown of religion and the social order on indifferentism, Protestant Bible
Societies’ attacks on Catholic dogma, and secret societies. He allowed more Catholic-Protestant marriages. Against the
advice of his nuncio and Curia he accepted the overthrow of French King Charles X in favor of Louis-Philippe.
Gregory XVI (1831-1846) was one of the most reactionary
popes. He opposed Italian nationalism, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience and the separation of Church and
State. He banned street lights in the Papal States and banned railways. He was greeted
with a rebellion in Rome wanting more freedom and an Italian
Republic. After the Austrians had crushed the revolts Russia,
and Prussia demanded reforms from the papacy.
New disorders erupted and Austrian troops crushed the riots again. France
then occupied the Papal States for seven years. Rather than use excommunication against
Catholic leaders who opposed him (as in the past) he merely condemned or censored them. He then was ignored as Spain
and Portugal passed anti-Church secular legislation. H opposed
Switzerland for removing papal authority over Swiss Catholics
and Poland for breaking with the czar of Russia.
He had to yield to the French request than Jesuits be withdrawn. When he died the papal treasury was empty because of war
Pius IX (1846-1878) called the First Vatican
Council which defined papal infallibility, papal primacy and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1869-1870. His Syllabus
of Errors concerned modern thinking. At first the Romans thought he was going to be in agreement with new reforms and nationalism;
as he changed the Romans disliked him because they wanted an Italian
Republic. In 1848 he angered the people by refusing to support the war
to expel Austria from Italy.
He fled Rome when revolutionaries besieged it. In February
1849 Mazzini declared the Italian Republic. After a papal appeal for help France restored papal rule in July 1849 and the
pope returned in April 1850. By 1860 all of the Papal States had been lost in battle except Rome. France protected the
papacy in Rome until 1870 when it had to withdraw to fight Prussia. By 1871 the papacy was left with only the Vatican and
a few buildings.
“Regarding papal infallibility .... No definitions
could have been further removed from the teachings of the Council of Constance (1414-1418) ... from the practice of the universal
Church, West and East alike, of the first Christian millennium” (LP). A schism developed in Holland and elsewhere (the
Old Catholics, who rejected the dogma of papal infallibility) and a wave of anti-clericalism erupted throughout Europe. Protestant
German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck ridiculed the German Church. Austria repudiated its concordat with the Vatican and disputes
broke out in Switzerland. When Pius IX died he was extremely unpopular with the people of Rome but liked by many outside
of Rome. A mob tried unsuccessfully to disrupt the funeral procession and throw the body into the river.
Leo XIII (1878-1903) was the first of the truly modern
popes seeking to bring the Christian into dialog with the modern world. In 1883 he opened the Vatican library to all faiths
by stating ‘the Church has nothing to fear from the truth’ and urged Church historians to write objectively
about the Church. He also laid down guidelines for the scientific study of Sacred Scriptures. In 1881 he gave tentative
recognition to democracy. In 1891 he acknowledged workers’ rights to form trade unions. As a protest against the loss
of the Papal States he made matters worse by prohibiting Catholics from voting in the Italian Republic. However he
improved relations with most nations. The French were usually outraged at his actions and passed even more anti-clerical legislation.
He was the first pope to speak of non-Catholic Christians as “separated brethren but retained the insistence that re-unification
could only come through recognition of the pope’s leadership. Towards the end of his papacy his attitudes had hardened
about non-Catholics. In 1897 he added to the List of Forbidden Books and in 1902 began investigating the writings of Catholic
Pius X (1903-1914) was canonized a saint in 1914 although
his papacy was very controversial. He was negative towards democratic governments and also severely curtailed “modern”
writings of Catholic theologians, Bible scholars and historians. He was elected after the Emperor of Austria had vetoed his
competition. Such vetoes were prohibited after this election. His conservative reversals of predecessors caused a political
break with France. He made enemies of most nations over the separation of church and state but did allow Italian Catholics
to vote again. In his fight against Modernism he stated that doctrines cannot
change and used informants to spy on Church teachers. This had a devastating effect on Catholic scholarship. German leaders,
however, did not impose the anti-Modern teachings on its Catholic clergy. He
began the modern practice of not embalming popes.
Benedict XV (1914-1922) was pope during WWI. His greatest
achievement was to stop the anti-Modern intra-Church war stated by his predecessor. He was neutral in the war which caused
charges of partiality. The Allies thought he was pro-German because Germany had promised to restore Roman independence after
the war and the pope feared the growth of Greek Orthodoxy if the Russians were victorious.
Pius XI (1922-1939) was an avid mountain climber.
He feared communism so much that he gave full support to fascists Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. He required every order to send out missionaries. He forbade any Catholic participation in ecumenical services.
He condemned artificial birth control as immoral. His “subsidiarity” principle that “nothing should be done
by a higher agency which can be done by a lower agency” has backfired in that Catholics are using it to define papal
powers also. He reinstated pro-Modern teachers who had been removed by his predecessors, opened a program of archaeology,
enhanced the observatory and began a radio station in the Vatican. In 1929 Rome lost its designation as a holy city.
He founded the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1936 and opened it to other faiths. He condemned Catholics in France who
wanted a return to rule by a monarchy. He compromised with Mussolini (for the first time since 1870) to recognize Italy as
a sovereign state and was financially reimbursed for loss of the Papal States. Catholicism became the official religion of
Italy. Many anticlerical laws were repealed and religious education began in public schools (until 1985). The Vatican was
recognized as a separate nation. Clergy were paid from public funds (until 1985). In order to fight communism in Russia he
entered into an agreement with Hitler in 1935 which raised Hitler’s prestige and lowered that of the Church. His 1937
condemnation of Nazism as racist and anti-Christian resulted in persecution of Catholics. Although he never had a problem
with Spanish fascism and never complained when Mussolini helped Franco in Spain, he later fully supported Spain’s transformation
away from Church-State rule to democracy. His burial accidentally led to discovery of first century tombs beneath the floor
Pius XII (1939-1958) was pope during WWII and spent
much time combating communism. He was the first native Roman pope since 1721. He opposed both Germany’s attack on Russia
and the Allies’ attack on Casablanca. Hitler occupied Rome in September 1943. The prevailing opinion is that this pope
could have and should have spoken much stronger than he did about the abuses against Jews in Germany. In 1943 he defined “church”
as the “Mystical Body of Christ” which opened the way for a much more liberal view to come at Vatican II. In 1943
he also encouraged Catholic scholars to make use of all the modern tools of critical scientific scholarship in the interpretation
of the Word of God. In 1950 he attacked some of the Church’s “most distinguished theologians” (LP) because
of their liberal writings. He warned that “once the pope had spoken on a controversial matter theologians were no longer
free to discuss it” (LP). In 1950 he also declared the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven in order to focus on her
power to combat communism. Though he opposed the ecumenical movement he allowed Catholic theologians to debate Protestant
MODERN POPES: 367
John XXIII (1958-1963) was perhaps the most beloved
pope in all history. He emphasized the authentic faith and goodness of non-Catholic Christians and the dignity of all human
beings. He said that he was not a “prince” but “a priest, a father, and a shepherd.” He visited hospitals,
jails, and many other public places often. He ordered that all cardinals must be bishops. Instead of punishment of those in
error he endorsed mercy. In 1962 he wrote that the “recognition of human rights and responsibilities is the foundation
of world peace” (LP). In 1961 he approved Catholic delegates attending the World Council of Churches. “It is not
that the gospel has changed; it is that we have begun to understand it better.” In 1963 after his death he was awarded
the U. S. Medal of Freedom.
Paul VI (1963-1978) was progressive in theology and
social thought but condemned use of contraceptive. He was elected after a very contentious conclave. He chose the name “Paul”
to indicate that he wanted to reach out to the Gentiles and to the world. He was the last pope to be crowned with the tripe
tiara and chose to only wear the bishop’s miter. He admitted both laymen and women to audit the Vatican Council II.
Many conservatives were disappointed when the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church stated that the pope governed with the advice
of the bishops. He also declared on his own authority that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the Church. He authorized
vernacular in the Mass. He reduced the Eucharistic fast to one hour before communion. His declaration against birth control
resulted in a storm of protest from Europe and the U.S.; this was contrary to the Papal Birth Control Commission recommendation
of 1966. His reaction was to never publish another encyclical. He requested to be buried, not with a tiara or miter, but with
the open Gospels at his head.
John Paul I (Aug 26 –Sept 28, 1978) was the
first pope to change a 1000 year-old tradition and refuse to be crowned with the triple tiara (ruler of heaven, earth and
John Paul II (Polish) (1978- ) was the first Slavic pope in history and the first non-Italian pope since 1523. ?? He contained
and somewhat repressed progressive implementations and implementations of Vatican II. Like his predecessor he was inaugurated
rather than being crowned. In 1979 at the Conference of Latin American bishops he cautioned against direct involvement in
politics and opposed liberation theology. He was socially liberal but theologically and doctrinally conservative. He was a
champion of the poor, condemned excessive consumerism and condemned capital punishment. In 1995 he invited dialog with non-Catholics
on the subject of how to use the papal office to teach the gospel. He also hoped that the new millennium would result in more
unity against atheism, materialism and individualism. He alienated many Catholic women by strongly opposing ordination of
women as priests. In 1996 he ended the 800 year tradition by changing the 2/3 majority for papal election to a simple majority
after 33 attempts. In 1994 he visited Rome’s chief synagogue and acknowledged Catholic sins against the Jews. He was
strict with liberal Catholic theologians and disciplined many of them worldwide. He suspended the Jesuits temporarily until
a conservative leader met his approval. His legacy will be the large amount of conservatives he placed into office.
“Few if any traditions associate with the papacy
have anything at all to do with the Apostle Peter, of with the Lord Himself for that matter” (LP).