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

Pope Sergius III (904-911) obtained the papal office by murder. The annals of the church of Rome tell about his life of open sin with Marozia who bore him several illegitimate children.1 He was described by Baronius as a "monster" and by Gregorovius as a "terrorizing criminal." Says a historian: "For seven years this man...occupied the chair of St. Peter, while his concubine and her Semiramis- Pope Sergius III.

like mother held court with a pomp and voluptousness that recalled the worse days of the ancient empire."2

This woman—Theodora—likened to Semiramis (because of her corrupt morals), along with Marozia, the pope's concubine, "filled the papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons, and turned the papal palace into a den of rob

bers."3 The reign of Pope Sergius III began the period known as "the rule of the harlots" (904-963).

Pope John X (914-928) originally had been sent to Ra-vanna as an archbishop, but Theodora had him returned to Rome and appointed to the papal office. According to Bishop Liutprand of Cremona who wrote a history about fifty years after this time, "Theodora supported John's election in order to cover more easily her illicit relations with him."4 His reign came to a sudden end when Marozia smothered him to death! She wanted him out of the way so Leo VI (928-929) could become pope. His reign was a short one, however, for he was assassinated by Marozia when she learned he had "given his heart to a more degraded woman than herself'!5 Not long after this, the teenage son of Marozia—under the name of John XI—became pope. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "Some, taking Liutprand and the 'Liber Pontificalis' as their authority, assert that he was the natural son of Sergius III (a former pope). Through the intrigues of his mother, who ruled at that time in Rome, he was raised to the Chair of Peter."6 But in quarreling with some of his mother's enemies, he was beaten and put into jail where he died from poisoning.

In 955 the grandson of Marozia at eighteen years of age became pope under the name of John XII. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes him as "a coarse, immoral man, whose life was such that the Lateran was spoken of as a brothel, and the moral corruption in Rome became the subject of general odium... On 6 November a synod composed of fifty Italian and German bishops was convened in St. Peter's; John was accused of sacrilege, simony, perjury, murder, adultery, and incest, and was summoned in writing to defend himself. Refusing to recognize the synod, John pronounced sentence of excommunication against all participators in the assembly, should they elect in his stead another pope...John XII took bloody vengeance on the

le«it«itB of llie opposite party, Cardinal Deacon John had his right hand struck off Bishop Otgar of Speyer was wourycri, a high palatine official lost now and oars...John died on 11 May, upht days aftei lit had been, according to rumor, strickt n by paralysis in the act of adultery."7 The noted Catholic* B&liop of Cremona, 1 uitprand who Lived ,d ihi;

fillip wrote: "No honest lady d-ired to show herst It in public for Pope John had no tcspeet either for sintfjt girls, mamod worn» n, or widows - they weie yjjiv to be defiled by him, t veil on the tornbi> «if the holy apostles» Peter and Paul," The i nl hoi it colli etion of the lives of popes, the "l.iln r Ponufi-eaiis," said' "He spent his c nitre lift iii adulter, ,"n

Pope Bomfue« ¥11 (981-985) maintain« d his position through a lavish distribution of stolen money. The Bishop of Orleans rcteired to him (and also John XII and Leo ¥111) a«» "monsU rs of guilt, leeking in Wood and filth" and as "jnlK luist sitting ui tht I em pie of God.* Hn- ( a/holu In t v< h>p,'iha fays lit ' overpowered John XIV I April, 9811, thrust turn into tin dungeons of .Sant'Angelo wh» re the \v>< tehed man died tour months later „For inore than a yeai Home . adtned tint» -t steep« d in (lu Wood of his pn d-

« i"iM)is But (lie ven^t ,uice wa-. terrible. \fh r his siidrkii death in -lid) . 985, due in .ill piohabihty to viol« me, dm hodv oJ llimit.we w,t> evpased to the insults of the populace, drained through the sheets til" the citv, <ukI finally, n iked hi«. mikikI with wound».. Hung imdej the >.t.due if SIi»eth \urHfu« 1 he folkmiit;, looming compahiionaU' eleue*. ivjidrti'd I lie and f'ine it a I'liristMii burial.'''

Next came Pope John XV (985-996) who split the church's tin in» ei miong hts relai tves and emm d for hrniM It if-» i«pu tation of being "covetous of filthy lucre and corrupt in all his acts,"

Unit diet Mil < L„t ' M) "buiif-ii, (le«»iu of M with open bribery." The following pope, John XIX also bought the papacy. Being a layman, it was necessary for him '.( lt<> \ •«( tliitmi.K '! \ < it iit i' uide^ i" ou dt After this, Benedict IX (1033-1045) was made pope as a youth. 12 years old (or some accounts say 20) through a u\t <i ("t h, !e »r p Hi' • iMmei tul tannii *• IImi h'Ih' <»ut«k * He "committed murders and adulteries in broad daylight, uii} ! pii <nivi•> on fi ¡iii » i 1 Ihi itiaU\»» t tut i criminal, the people drove him out of Rome. The Catholic

Encyclopedia says, "He was a disgrace to the Chair of Peter."

"Simony"—the buying and selling of the papal office-became so common, and corruption so pronounced, that secular rulers stepped in. King Henry III appointed Clement II (1046-1047) to the office of pope "because no Roman clergyman could be found who was free of the pollution of simony and fornication"!11

A number of the popes had committed murders, but Innocent III (1198-1216) surpassed all of his predecessors in killing. Though he did not do the killing personally, he promoted the most devilish thing in human history—the Inquisition. Estimates of the number of heretics that Innocent (not so innocently) had killed run as high as one million people! For over five hundred years, popes used the ^^ffB^j^J^^A

inquisition to maintain their power „ ,

against those who did not agree with the teachings of the Romish church.

In conflicts with cardinals and kings, numerous charges were brought against Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303). Says The Catholic Encyclopedia, "Scarcely any possible crime was omitted—infidelity, heresy, simony, gross and unnatural immorality, idolatry, magic, loss of the Holy Land, death of Celestine V, etc Protestant historians, generally, and even modern ^„.^..„j Catholic writers...class him among r'S' ^e wicked popes, as an ambitious,

Po e Bon facTVIII haughty' 31111 unrelenting man, deceitful also and treacherous, his whole pontificate one record of evil."12 It is not necessary to insist that all charges brought against him were true, but all cannot be dismissed either. During his reign the poet Dante visited Rome and described the Vatican as a "sewer of

t ormpfion." lit* assigned Boniface (aioni; with Popes fin olas

HI duct Clr m. nt \ ) to 'the low« r parts of hell "

Though seeking to put emphasis on certain good trails >f itomiarc '"Catholic historians .admit howt vt i, the i xplosnr \ii>lt nc e and nlfcnsnc i)lnasei'lof,v of some c»t his public dorumt m-»."' 3 An example oi this "of ft nsive phraseology" would be his -.tati men! thai "to enjoy ohcm If and to lie carnally Willi woiimi or with boys» is no more a sin than nibbling on<'s hand.-. togelhei,"14 On wilier <x c.i;>ions,» in those "explosive ' moments lie culled Christ a •hyp«* rite" and proteose«! to be an atheist.

Tel and thi-. -»ounds almost ntbt h> ijoh'-ii was thi- pupe ¡hat in Ki02 issued the well-known "I (nam Sanctum" which officially dev lared thai the tinman Catholic Outre ii i- !l>e < nli 'nit i hiiitfi outside oi which no one can be iv< d. and >ay-. "We, then fore, absrt define ami ptouoimci that it Is M,«st(in> mi w/s at I in to believe that < v< ty human heinu Mil>j» et to the Pontiff of Home." Bwaust there have ¡wen miit'ul popes, being "«ubject" to rhe pope has raise cl a que«, lion, Should a -inful pope still he olvved'.' 11m» <'atholic answer ks tins. " \ sintul pope ..remains a luemhet ot «tie (\isihle) chuu h and is to lit« heated 4? a sinful, iiii|U<4 nth r for whom we must prav but tunn >> h, m u» >n i\ n," withdraw our obedience, 5

h«ra l.'U)r> k> 1 ,'S ¡1 the papal palace war at '\upion, f'lanee. Dining this lime, Pttrareii accused the papal house hold til ''iape, aduliei v, ind all manuu of fonm .uion." In titanv parishc «0« n insisted 011 pi jests keeping 1 oneubuics "'as <1 pmti 11 iou ior their own families'"1 c lluinig the Council of (. onstanee. three popes «ml some-hints foui were cmy morning rumiif, eaeh other ;hicI railing then opponents an hi hustj,, d< mons, aduifeiers, ifwlomislK enemits oi tuxi and man. One of these "popes" Joint Will {1 110 1411? 1 "was »reused by thirty s<m n «il fte^'se,. ¡mostly ln-hop» and of forme ation, tdulieiy, iiM >*<4„ sodeimy fimony. thett, and murder' Il was prow «1 !>> .1 lee,ion of witnesses tint he liacl sedue >'U and violate»! three Ititmln tl nuns. His own sccietary, Niem, .said that he hail al Uoulo^n*, kept a harem, when not le*ss than two hundred t'irls had beer, tl« vietuns «1 Ins lubricity. '' ' Alf.o<>< (her t!ie ( ouneil «-harmed h»m with fifty four crimes oi the worst Mud.18

A Vatican record offers this information about his immoral reign. "His lordship, Pope John, committed perversity with the wife of his brother, incest with holy nuns, intercourse with virgins, adultery with the married, and all sorts of sex crimes...wholly given to sleep and other carnal desires, totally adverse to the life and teaching of Christ., .he was publicly called the Devil incarnate."19 To increase his wealth, Pope John taxed about everything—including prostitution, gambling, and usury. He has been called "the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the papal throne."

Pope Pius II (1458-1464) was said to have been the father of many illegitimate children. He "spoke openly of the methods he used to seduce women, encouraged young men to, and even offered to instruct them in methods of, self-indul-gence."21 Pius was followed by Paul II (1464-1471) who maintained a house full of concubines. His papal tiara outweighed a palace in its worth. Next came Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) who financed his wars by selling church offices to the highest bidders2 2 and "used the papacy to enrich himself and his relatives. He made eight of his nephews cardinals, while as yet some of them were mere boys. In luxurious and lavish entertainment, he rivaled the Caesars. In wealth and pomp he and his relatives surpassed the old Roman families."2 3

Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492) was the father of sixteen children by various women. Some of his children celebrated their marriages in the Vatican.24 The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions only "two illegitimate children, Franceschetto and Teo-dorina" from the days of a "licentious youth."25 Like numerous other popes, he multiplied church offices and sold them for vast sums of money. He permitted bull fights on St. Peter's square.

Next came Rodergio Borgia who took the name of Alexander VI (1492-1503), having won his election to the papacy by bribing the cardinals. Before becoming pope, while a cardinal and archbishop, he lived in sin with a lady of Rome, Alexander VI.

Vano/zu »Im (.' »t¿u»*n, and .lftorward mth lvv ditiifthlu !ïo-a In* whom h< had 1W »*|iilil»(>n, On In» i (»od ttion d<n he fjpiminteU Iii. <on-a voulh «»1 viU mp<>r an«! (mIhIs-as iicliiHshoj» «I \'¡i|i iH'î.i ?6 M ttty »vtisfder Mrxa/id« • VS (»> be the most corrupt of the Renaissance popes. He lived in pubht' mtv>,; Willi tu* Iwo sîMct-» truf his own d.tiifihlu* 1 unH ja, Ikhii whom, i( ¡-aid, Im* I» id rtiiM» On < !Hol»n .11 1 Mt I, In» coiuiwlt d a mi\ orny in Un» V¿>í i'-.irv IIi»m»c|1?.iI ot wliidt foi she«"' houot lia- luvt\ hi'tu «litf)lraU»ii ni th<> <i«mj]*> of fmitniti h ist on' '8

Acroiclinf In I,' niav.n/iiic. Fop»- Paul fil il.Vlt 1519) .v» cardinal had lathcied ihiet «»v, ami ,i ctiiughkr. On th* (im of bis roionaiiou lie i'ck'brated flit fnptism of hi<> two grt .it pvuulchildu'n Ile \ppomtod two o i his (tenace iu'phcw> a? «»«linals, hpomcafti frstivaK with smpt'rs, ihm -

ret s and jci-ft'i «, ,uid -ou^hi advjrt* from astrologers." fl l'upo I < u \ i l.if.Mi»?! ) míu hon» Decf inbor 11, 1 Í7Í>.

fl< ru'weti r»»timi»> at iiuft »vis i»ud<¡» „» abbot at H, and a • animal at 1,1! 11m» illustration gm ii above 4io<vs flit* Bull o* Pop«» Lto \ On om side of the )i ¡uhni w nJ appears the aj>t»4l»» IVter and I* ail, on Uie otIi»»i the pope's name and •ilk, Tin woifl 4i>uír* (frcíjri a I.afin woid linked with touwi-tWt) was f yst applied I o liât' s«wls m h m h aiitlienlk at ed papal «lariiiiifiits ai ni later to Um» den tmn-nis also.

t !\> i "uih<)!'i i n> u > 'Pi'Jhi say.t thai Pop«» Leo A himself vip ti'in .¿»,?/<ieJh ta amusements that wen» provided ui lavish íiliurakmt He wa» poss« ssed by ,«i insaliahle I«w oí pleasure.. He lovt d lo give banquets and expensive ente}

Bull of Leo X.

tainments, accompanied by revelry and carousing. "30

During those days, Martin Luther, while still a priest of the papal church, traveled to Rome. As he caught the first glimpse of the seven-hilled city, he fell to the ground and said: "Holy Rome, I salute thee." He had not spent much time there, however, until he saw that Rome was anything but a holy city. Iniquity existed among all classes of the clergy. Priests told indecent jokes and used awful profanity, even during Mass. The papal court was served at supper by twelve naked girls.31 "No one can imagine what sins and infamous actions are committed in Rome," he said, "they must be seen and heard to be believed. Thus they are in the habit of saying, 'If there is a hell, Rome is built over it'."

One day during Luther's visit to Rome, he noticed a statue on one of the public streets that led to St. Peter's—the statue of a female pope. Because it was an object of disgust to the popes, no pope would ever pass down that certain street. "I am astonished", said Luther, "how the popes allow the statue to remain."32 Forty years after Luther's death, the statue was removed by Pope Sixtus V.

Though The Catholic Encyclopedia regards the story of pope Joan as a mere tale, it gives the following summary: "After Leo IV (847-855) the Englishman John of Mainz occupied the papal chair two years, seven months and four days, he was, it is alleged, a woman. When a girl, she was taken to Athens in male clothes by her lover, and there made such progress in learning that no one was her equal. She came to Rome, where she taught science, and thereby attracted the attention of learned men...and was finally chosen as pope, but, becoming pregnant by one of her trusted attendants, she gave birth to a child during a procession from St. Peter's to the Lateran...There she died almost immediately, and it is said she was buried at the same place."33

Was there really a female pope? Prior to the Reformation which exposed so much error in the Romish church, the story was believed by chroniclers, bishops, and by popes themselves. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries this popess was already counted as an historical personage, whose existence no one doubted. She had her place among the carved busts which stood in Siena cathedral. Under Clement VII (1592-1595), and at his request, she was transformed into Pope Zacharias. The heretic Hus, in defence of his false doctrine before the Council of Constance, referred to the popess, and no one offered to question the fact of her existence."34 Some have questioned how Pope Clement could have a female pope, named Joan, "transformed" into a male pope, named Zacharias, centuries after she had died!

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

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