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Top 10 Most Wicked Popes

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Out of the 266 Popes to have ruled the Catholic Church, ten in particular stand out for their wickedness. This is a list of the ten with a description of their errors and faults.

1. Liberius, reigned 352-66 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Pope Liberius is the first Pope not to be canonised a saint. He reigned during the height of the Arian crisis during which a large majority of the Church believed that Jesus was not God, but merely a man. The Arian heresy was fought against by the Patriarch of Alexandria Saint Athanasius who consecrated Bishops without permission.

Pope Liberius, rather than defending Athanasius, signed a document that supported those against him and condemned Athanasius. Nearing the end of his pontificate he recanted his signature and reinstated Athanasius. While the Pope did not embrace the heresy himself, he did not use his power fully to put an end to it. His reign did nothing to stop the confusion spreading throughout the Church.

Pope John XII committed incest with his sisters. Pope Formosus had his body dumped in a river after his death. Read more incredible stories in Dark History of the Popes at Amazon.com!

2. Honorius I, reigned 625-638 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Like Liberius, Honorius I was condemned and excommunicated for heresy by the sixth general council in 680. The heresy in question was Montheism in which Jesus is seen as a divine-human, rather than the orthodox belief of physeis that he is both fully God and fully man. Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople wrote to Honorius asking him to decide the question that was causing much division at the time. Instead of clarifying the view of the Church, Honorius did nothing. His lack of action was so scandalous that for 3 centuries, each new Pope had to state at his coronation that he:

“smites with eternal anathema the originators of the new heresy, Sergius, etc., together with Honorius, because he assisted the base assertion of the heretics.”

The Roman Breviary contained the condemnation of Honorius on the Feast of St Leo II right up until the 18th century.

3. Stephen VI, reigned 896-89 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

Jean Paul Laurens Le Pape Formose Et Etienne Vii 1870

Pope Stephen VI was consecrated (possibly against his will) by Pope Formosus who, during his reign, was excommunicated for leaving the Papal seat and “conspiring to destroy the papal see”. He was eventually forgiven and returned to Rome. When Stephen VI came the Papal Throne, he had the body of formosus exhumed and put on trial (this is the famous Cadaver Synod). Formosus was accused of transmigrating sees in violation of canon law, of perjury, and of serving as a bishop while actually a layman. Stephen had Formosus’ papal vestments removed and two fingers from his right hand cut off. Formosus’ body was thrown in to the Tiber. After the Synod, public opinion turned against Stephen. He was deposed in an uprising and strangled to death.

4. John XII, reigned 955-964 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Through his mother Alda of Vienne, John XII was a seventh generation descendant of Charlemagne. John was the temporal and spiritual ruler of Rome and during his pontificate he virtually turned it into a whorehouse. Moral corruption in Rome became a major problem. After crowning Otto I Emporer of Germany in order to secure his support in a war against Berengar II of Itlay, he changed his mind and began communicating with Berengar. Otto learnt of John’s treachery and returned to Rome after defeating Berengar. He called a council which deposed John who was hiding in the mountains, and elected Leo VIII in his place. John, with a large group of supporters, returned to Rome to depose Leo VIII before Otto had even left. Otto pledged to assist Leo against John but before the matter went any further, John died. It is rumoured that he was killed by the husband of one of his mistresses.

An account of the charges against him in the Patrologia Latina states:

They testified about his adultery, which they did not see with their own eyes, but nonetheless knew with certainty: he had fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father’s concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse. They said that he had gone hunting publicly; that he had blinded his confessor Benedict, and thereafter Benedict had died; that he had killed John, cardinal subdeacon, after castrating him; and that he had set fires, girded on a sword, and put on a helmet and cuirass.

5. Benedict IX, reigned 1032-1048 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Benedict IX was Pope from 1032 to 1044, again in 1045, and finally from 1047 to 1048, the only man to have served as Pope for three discontinuous periods. He was also one of the youngest Popes (reigning from around age 18-20). He reportedly led an extremely dissolute life, and also allegedly had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family, although in terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox. St. Peter Damian described him as “feasting on immorality” and “a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest” in the Liber Gomorrhianus, a treatise on papal corruption and sex that accused Benedict IX of routine homosexuality and bestiality.

He was also accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of “many vile adulteries and murders.” Pope Victor III referred to “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”

Benedict gave up his papacy for the first time in exchange for a large sum of money in 1044. He returned in 1045 to depose his replacement and reigned for one month, after which he left again, possibly to marry, and sold the papacy for a second time, to his Godfather (possibly for over 650 kg /1450 lb of gold). Two years later, Benedict retook Rome and reigned for an additional one year, until 1048. Poppo of Brixen (later to become Pope Damascus II) eventually forced him out of Rome. Benedict’s place and date of death are unknown, but some speculate that he made further attempts to regain the Papal Throne.

6. Boniface VIII, reigned 1294-1303 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Due to the King of France (Philip IV) taxing the clergy of the Church to help finance his wars, Boniface VIII released one of the most important papal bulls of Catholic History: Unam Sanctum. It declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope’s jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the power of the Church.

“Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff” (Porro subesse Romano Pontifici omni humanae creaturae declaramus, dicimus, definimus, et pronuntiamus omnino esse de necessitate salutis).

This is considered to be an infallible declaration of the Catholic Church. Philip retaliated against the bull by denying the exportation of money from France to Rome, funds that the Church required to operate. Boniface had no choice but to quickly meet the demands of Philip by allowing taxation only “during an emergency.” Philip’s chief minister declared that Boniface was a heretic, and in return, Boniface excommunicated the King. On September 7, 1303 an army led by Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna of the Colonna family surprised Boniface at his retreat in Anagni. The King and the Colonnas demanded that he resign, to which Boniface VIII responded that he would ‘sooner die’. Boniface was beaten badly and nearly executed but was released from captivity after three days. He died a month later, on October 11, 1303.

7. Urban VI, reigned 1378-1389 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Urban VI was the first Pope of the Western Schism (which ultimately lead to three people claiming the Papal throne at the same time). Urban VI was the last Pope to be selected from outside of the College of Cardinals. Once elected, he was prone to outbursts of rage. The cardinals who elected him decided that they had made the wrong decision and they elected a new Pope in his place (he took the name of Clement VII and started a second Papal court in Avignon, France).

The second election threw the Church into turmoil. There had been antipopes, rival claimants to the papacy, before, but most of them had been appointed by various rival factions; in this case, the legitimate leaders of the Church themselves had created both popes. The conflict quickly escalated from a church problem to a diplomatic crisis that divided Europe. Secular leaders had to choose which pope they would recognize.

The schism was repaired forty years later when all three of the (then) reigning Popes abdicated together and a successor elected in the person of Pope martin V.

This list getting you down? Lighten things up with this Hood Pope T-Shirt at Amazon.com!

8. Alexander VI, reigned 1492-1503 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Born Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI is so famous for his debased reign that his surname has become synonymous with the debased standards of the papacy in his era. Alexander’s elevation did not at the time excite much alarm, and at first his reign was marked by a strict administration of justice and an orderly method of government. But it was not long before his passion for endowing his relatives at the church’s and his neighbours’ expense became manifest. To that end he was ready to commit any crime and to plunge all Italy into war.

Alexander VI had three sons in addition to his famous daughter Lucrezia. During his pontificate virtually everything he did was to further the position of his children and family in the world. In order to dominate the Sacred College of Cardinals more completely, Alexander, in a move that created much scandal, created twelve new cardinals, among them his own son Cesare, then only eighteen years old, and Alessandro Farnese (later Pope Paul III), the brother of one of the Pope’s mistresses, the beautiful Giulia Farnese.

The death of the Pope is well recorded by Burchard: Alexander VI’s stomach became swollen and turned to liquid, while his face became wine-coloured and his skin began to peel off. Finally his stomach and bowels bled profusely. After more than a week of intestinal bleeding and convulsive fevers, and after accepting last rites and making a confession, the despairing Alexander VI expired on 18 August 1503 at the age of 72. It is highly likely that he was poisoned, though others speculate that he may have died of malaria.

9. Leo X, reigned 1513-1521 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

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Pope Leo X is known primarily for his papal bull against Martin Luther and subsequent failure to stem the Protestant Reformation, which began during his reign when Martin Luther (1483–1546) published the 95 Theses and nailed them to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. When he became Pope, Leo X is reported to have said to his brother Giuliano: “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”

Under his pontificate, Christianity assumed a pagan character, which, passing from art into manners, gives to this epoch a strange complexion. Crimes for the moment disappeared, to give place to vices; but to charming vices, vices in good taste, such as those indulged in by Alcibiades and sung by Catullus.” Alexandre Dumas

His extravagance offended not only people like Martin Luther, but also some cardinals, who, led by Alfonso Petrucci of Siena, plotted an assassination attempt. Eventually, Pope Leo found out who these people were, and had them followed. The conspirators died of “food poisoning.” Some people argue that Leo X and his followers simply concocted the assassination charges in a moneymaking scheme to collect fines from the various wealthy cardinals Leo X detested.

Not every aspect of his pontificate was bad; he raised the church to a high rank as the friend of whatever seemed to extend knowledge or to refine and embellish life. He made the capital of Christendom the center of culture.

The Venetian ambassador (Marino Giorgi) had this to say of the Pope:

The pope is a good-natured and extremely free-hearted man, who avoids every difficult situation and above all wants peace; he would not undertake a war himself unless his own personal interests were involved; he loves learning; of canon law and literature he possesses remarkable knowledge; he is, moreover, a very excellent musician.

Having fallen ill of malaria, Leo X died on 1 December 1521, so suddenly that the last sacraments could not be administered; but the contemporary suspicions of poison were unfounded.

10. Clement VII, reigned 1523-1524 [Catholic Encyclopaedia]

Pope

Clement VII (Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici) brought to the Papal throne a high reputation for political ability, and possessed in fact all the accomplishments of a wily diplomat. However, he was considered worldly and indifferent to what went on around him, including the ongoing Protestant reformation.

The Pope’s wavering politics also caused the rise of the Imperial party inside the Curia: Pompeo Cardinal Colonna’s soldiers pillaged the Vatican City and gained control of the whole of Rome in his name. The humiliated Pope promised therefore to bring the Papal States to the Imperial side again. Soon he found himself alone in Italy too, as the duke of Ferrara had sided with the Imperial army, permitting to the horde of Landsknechts led by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, and Georg von Frundsberg, to reach Rome without harm.

Charles of Bourbon died during the long siege, and his troops, unpaid and left without a guide, felt free to ravage Rome from May 6, 1527. The innumerable series of murders, rapes and vandalism that followed ended forever the splendours of the Renaissance Rome. Clement was kept as a prisoner in Castel Sant’Angelo for six months. After having bought some Imperial officers, he escaped disguised as a peddler, and took shelter in Orvieto, and then in Viterbo. He came back to a depopulated and devastated Rome only in October 1528. Subsequently the Pope followed a policy of subservience to the Emperor, endeavouring on the one hand to induce him to act with severity against the Lutherans in Germany, and on the other to elude his demands for a general council.

Pope Clement VII is remembered for having ordered, just a few days before his death, Michelangelo’s painting of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

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Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Nice list, I knew there were some dodgy ones, but I never knew all the details.

  • Bjesomar

    But best fact is that in the First Vatican Council in Rome, 1869-70, Pope brought the doctrine of papal infallibility, meaning that the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals. And it also works retrogradly :-), so all those nice Popes were, in fact, infallible.

  • BJesomar: That is true – though remember that infallibility does not mean impeccability – it means that in certain conditions they are protected from teaching errors – but only in matters of faith and in doctrines binding on the whole Church – their actions as a person are not protected :)

  • Bjesomar

    well, yes, impeccability, schimpeccability.. :-)
    whatever the case, my fellow countryman Strossmayer made a decent speech on that Council against the doctrine, and if he had objections, i’ll side with him :-)

  • Bjesomar: From Wikipedia:

    [Strossmayer] made a three hour speech, completely in Latin, deemed heretical by many at the time, and left the Council therewith. He later yielded on the issue of infallibility, and he also headed the Slavic deputations to Rome in 1881 and 1888

    So I take you side with his final decision to accept the doctrine? :)

  • Bjesomar

    Well, you got to admire the guy, holding a 3 hour speech (on bloody latin, for crying out loud!!)against that doctrine in front of Pope himself and angry clergy, interrupted by screams Heretic!!, off with him!!
    Later it was a political decision to accept doctrine, cuz if he didn’t, he would probably be excommunicated, along with his entire flock, cuz he was very much admired by the people.

    And at the end, for me it all came down to moral dilemma: can I be both catholic, and not accept the doctrine?
    No 11. on the top 10 list :-)

  • Bjesomar: I don’t want to burst your bubble, but the entire council was held in Latin – all of the attending Bishops with the exception of a few Eastern ones were fluent. :)

  • bjesomar: I apologize for my last comment – I have removed the second part of it which was uncalled for on my part. I have very much enjoyed our discussion today on the moral dilemmas!

  • Bjesomar

    Jfrater:
    I’m sorry, i didn’t catch the insult, so in don’t know is apology in order, but i’ll take it if you insist (apology, not the insult :) )
    Well, without doubt, i agree with you, it’s not much of achievent to speak in latin, if you’re learning it all life, it’s just for me personaly amazing thing the whole picture: guy sits on the bench, speaking on the shaky subject, people shouting on him, and all that in latin, like a perfect scenario for Mel Gibson movie :) You know, Latin is for me a language of scholars and doctors, and not something used for insults.. :)

  • Bjesomar: I guess they would have to be pretty old fashioned insults – mind you, they did add a variety of new words in to Latin for the council as it was needed for the bishops to discuss non-religious topics outside of the chambers.

  • FraterPA

    I can’t believe you left Clement V off the list. Knowing that the Knights Templar were innocent of heresy–as was lately shown–he allowed Philip IV to bully him into condemning them. That’s got to count for something.

  • FraterPA: Clement V certainly did have a difficult papacy though remember – he exonerated the templars and ultimately supported Boniface VIII who had railed against Philip IV. Also, as far as I can tell, Clement did not condemn the Knights – he suppressed the order (as is the right of any Pope for any reason he sees fit – and has been done to other orders in the past).

  • Please stop by….

  • Miko

    Bizarre list. You’re leaving out a lot of whoremongerpopes and druggy murdererpopes to focus on popes whose only sin seems to have been disagreement with some of the Catholic church’s teachings?

  • ironflange

    Fun list, but some of them were not in any way wicked, just stupid and incompetent.

  • jin

    ok.. weird comment,
    you know why this list is/was boring…it lists canonical laws, very old history and words that are a little hard to understand , especially to ordinary people (and I’m catholic and I don’t comprehend have the things here).

    Nice research though :D

    It just doesn’t have enough “controversies” to rival your other lists. :D

  • Eric Gmeinder

    This list is numbered, but for some reason it is in chronological order.

  • chsrocket47

    Some of these guys aren’t necessarily “wicked,” but you did leave out one pope that deserves to be in the top 3 at least. Pope Julius II was one of the most brazenly corrupt popes. He was accused of bribing his way onto the papal throne, and not only did he NOT deny it he basically said “Yeah I did, what are you going to do about it?” He had countless illegitimate children, one of which was a princess. He tore down the, then, 1,200 year old St. Peter’s Basilica because it was built on marshy ground and had many structural flaws to it so he had it rebuilt. What’s wrong with this you may ask? Well several saints, including St. Peter the first pope, were buried there and he had no reverence for them. He basically threw them out with the rest of the ruble that was the old St. Peter’s Basilica (although St. Peter was not thrown out). He visited prostitutes on many occasions and encouraged many other priests to do so as well. He also went to battle on a number of occasions. I could go into to detail more about this but i think you got the idea by now.

  • Good Wolf

    So far it seems the only good thing that has come out of the catholic church is, ironically, Martin Luther.

  • Good Wolf: I am pretty sure that anyone who has benefited from the modern legal system, university system, or hospital system would beg to differ :)

  • Good Wolf

    Well I got put in my place. I’ll clarify then. In a doctrinal manner and general not-being-an-evil-bastard way the best thing to come out of the catholic church is Martin Luther

  • chsrocket47

    Good Wolf: you’re not too far off. if the Reformation didn’t happen the Catholic church would’ve collapsed in its own hypocrisies. After the Reformation, the Catholic church immediately changed its ways. There is nothing wrong with the modern-day Catholic church.

  • Eva

    Nice list. Wow… lots of things I didn’t know and I’m a Catholic. It’s always great to learn something new. Amazing research.

  • Vera Lynn

    I don’t know too much about this. I got lost in the language more often than not. Very wordy. What I did catch was very interesting, and in some cases, disturbing.

  • Mike

    What about Innocent III? He started the inquisitions and continued the Crusades. i think that killing over 60 million people is more wicked than simply going against the teachings of the church like most of these popes did.

  • bmccaf10

    Mike– I don’t know where you got your information from but 60 million is WAY off. Modern historians place the number around 1000-5000 for the Inquisitions.

    As to the list, what about Pope Paul VI? There are some trustworthy sources stating he was a practicing homosexual before (as Archbishop of Milan)and during his pontificate. Not to mention he presided over Vatican II which practically decimated the Church from within. Empty seminaries, empty churches, empty everything now. And dare I suggest the beloved Pope John Paul II? He let the Church continue in its free fall, and the few times he tried to help it only exacerbated the problem. Add in the clergy sex scandal which he had to be aware of and his disdain for Archbishop Lefebvre(which is eerily equivalent to the Athanasius/Liberius situation), and I think we have a contender.

  • Double

    It is very curious that there are no ‘wicked’ popes here after the 16th Century. The Papacy colluded with Mussolini’s facists in the Lateran Pacts of 1929, with Hitler’s Nazis in the Reichkonkordat of 1933, declared neutrality in 1939 and virtually stood by as 6 million jews went to the gas chambers (perhaps the Papacy saw the Nazis as fulfilling their own 2000 year ambition). There is also much evidence to show that the Catholic Church (possibly with the Pope’s knowledge) operated escape routes to South America for Nazi war crimminals after 1945. You don’t have to squint much to see that Pius XI (1922-39) and Pius XII (1939-58) could easily be added to this list.

  • Mike

    bmccaf10-

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I realize that I got my facts wrong, however, you are not quite right either. Historians say that 3000- 5000 people were killed in the Spanish Inquisition between 1560 and 1700. More even were tortured. Then there are the other Inquisitions to think about. And let’s not even get into talking about the Crusades death tolls.

    So maybe I distorted the facts a little bit before. However, 3000- 5000 people killed and tortured in only one Inquisition is still a large number. Then, you have to add on the death toll from the Crusades. You end up with a very large number, much more than any other pope has ever killed. Therefore, Pope Innocence III definitely deserves the number one spot on this list. Most of these popes are just up there for going against the Church’s teachings. None of the Popes on the list are responsible for genocide.

    The source of my numbers:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_died_from_the_Inquisition

  • Malindi

    You mean all these were popes? Then the Catholic church must be a place to get the real mercy from God.

  • Spaz

    I love your lists but this one sucked. I am not a Catholic so I don’t know much of it’s history, but I would say that some of the recent Popes or even Cardinals should be on the list. How can you not put on the list the recent Popes who have condone the child molesting that has been taken place here in America. That is worst than pretty much most of what is on the list. I can not and would not become a Catholic because of this. I do not understand why there has not been an uproar from Catholics to correct this wrong. It seems like the Pope and the Catholic leaders are gods and can do no wrong. Help me understand if I am wrong.

  • Lenny

    I think you could safely throw in every single Pope from he very beginning and every one of them would be considered wicked – for the very simple reason of perpetuating the fraud of Christianity on the world.

  • Steelman

    Lenny,

    Way to be charitable. Typical atheistic arrogance.

  • kingarmy

    I’m not christian Lenny, and I do agree that many of the popes are screwed up douchebags. But you’re just as wicked for the very simple reason of perpetuatung the fraud of atheism upon the world.

  • Alex

    I´m somehow happy both Leo X and Clement VII made the list, they´re my favourite popes! Which … is kind of inexcusable seeing how they screwed the pooch on their papacy, but at least they were great supporters of the arts? It´s kinda tragic how it turned out for Clement VII, he was an old-school Machiavellian politician and in no way prepared for the changes that came with the Reformation. It was undoubtedly more tragic for the people of Rome who got to suffer his politics, though. And I would have loved to spend a day in Leo X´s decadent Rome. Also, they were both Medici. Yum.

  • efeds662

    Cool list, we are reasearching Leo X in school.

  • Rorscach

    All popes are bad…why not list all of them

  • dbrownl

    what about urban (sorry can’t remember the number) that decreed acceptance into heaven for men and there families, bypassing acceptance of christ, if they offered their services to kill muslims in the second crusade???

  • dbrownl: contrary to popular belief (caused by a misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine), Urban II did not promise direct entry to heaven. first off though, you seem to be a bit confused based on your comment “bypassing acceptance of Christ” – Catholics don’t believe that one must “accept Jesus as their personal saviour” to get to heaven – they believe they must be baptized and not sin – or repent of their sins. Without baptism there is no heaven – even if they “accept Jesus as their personal saviour” – that concept is one that came about in the 1500s with Martin Luther.

    Now – back to Bl. Urban II – he offered a plenary indulgence (something that all Popes have done at various times) to those who fought in the crusades. A plenary indulgence remits all temporal punishment which is the punishment on earth or in purgatory for sin – but it does not remove eternal punishment (hellfire). So a person in the crusades would have still had to have complied with all of the normal requirements for salvation for the indulgence to mean anything. If a person was a sinner who had not been forgiven, they still go to hell regardless. But if a person was in a state of grace (fit to escape damnation), they would go directly to heaven rather than spending time in purgatory first.

  • deviantmiss

    well organised religion has always held a fasination for those people who feel the need to control others and tell them what to do. Organised religion is full of hypercrites that thrive on the power trip.

  • deviantmiss

    and most of these popes lived in very violent times anyway so maybe not a accurate list?

  • deviantmiss

    interesting though

  • arizonna

    well i think all pope are saint

  • awesome

    Dude, we actually had a section on this when I took European History in high school, and I remember learning about how some engaged in beastiality, and well lets just say a bubble was smashed, thanks for smashing other people’s bubbles!

  • KK

    I never really knew how evil popes could be…go Martin Luther! I’m a Lutheran :) it actually is a denomination of the Christian church, not a lot of people know it exists.

  • KK: You might want to read Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies” before you praise him too much – here is one quote:

    In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he says that the Jews are a “base, whoring people, that is, no people of God, and their boast of lineage, circumcision, and law must be accounted as filth.” They are full of the “devil’s feces … which they wallow in like swine.” The synagogue was a “defiled bride, yes, an incorrigible whore and an evil slut …”

    His anti-Jewish writings were so disgusting that he had a massive influence on Nazi anti-Semitism and they used his work in their propaganda.

  • Spange

    Well, had a skim through “On the Jews and Their Lies”. Think that pretty much fills my quota of staggeringly hateful prose for this quarter.

    This was a cool list, very interesting. Think a couple of these chaps were mentioned in Dante’s Inferno, Boniface definitely and I think Formosus. Dante lived through Boniface’s reign, I think it’s fair to say he wasn’t much impressed by him.

    A quick check reveals that Dante imagined Boniface would be condemned to being buried standing on his head and writhing in hellish flame. I suppose that says a lot about what Boniface’s contemporaries thought about his crimes.

  • glasgowjohn

    aren’t all popes wicked :)

  • Debra

    I am an ex-Catholic..especally after I learned of a few of these wonderful infallible popes. The Catholic faith…they are told not to read the Bible and to believe what ever the popes tell them too. So they believe many of the lies they were taught. The Bible teaches we should pray only to the Father and to ask in Christ’s name…and the Catholics pray mostly to Mary..who ascended into her holiness only to bring the pagans into the church. They had a goddess so Mary became the Catholics goddess.Then they had the boldnes to sell indulgences… you paid the church money and the priest would tell them that now they will spend so many days less in purgatory…a place I’m not sure exists…along with Limbo…how could a priest even have the power to do such a thing? How would he know how many days a person would be there or than money would even to such a thing. If only the Catholic would read…if you knew evil people were the most important people of your religion…yo’d think they’d reconsider…I understand most people didn’t know of these things then…be ignorant and follow blindly…I think that’s why so many illiterate people are Catholics…like sheep…not lambs…

  • Debra

    chsrocket…there’s nothing wrong with the modern day Catholic Church? Sex crimes are wrong. We had a pastor who was drunk…walked in dog poop and brought it into our house as he said we needed to give him money for the church. They never told me why my favorite priest was transfered…Father Ciemiga..spelling..they called him Father Ciemiga-beatle…it was the 60’s. I went to the Rectory and asked…Teaching lies is wrong. I guess you are one of those Catholics with your head in the sand….I didn’t said what I wanted to…Trying to be polite. There are articles about P.Paul II and JohnXXIII. Type in wicked popes…there’s more than this list…

  • OldCodge

    No# 9 look like matt lucas?

  • msuguy08

    @jfrater (45):

    Right, like the Catholic Church has never been hard on the Jews? Besides, Luther had many Catholic enemies who wrote in his name. Many of Luther’s supposed works (like his Table Talk) cannot be verified as authentic.

  • dazza

    what about pope urban the 5th who played a huge part in starting the crusades .

  • didory

    All the popes who started a crusade should be included. That was a really pointless war.

  • cjsavvy

    You could provide a list of modern day badass popes. Pius XII would be right on top. He did nothing to save Jews from Hitler’s ovens. John XXIII was an Illuminati agent and so was Paul VI. Benedict XIV is a Nazi.

  • [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Mj1bDwsTmc&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  • nicoleredz3

    The paintings of them portray them to look mean as well…

  • alias42

    Silly popes. The hats are awesome, though.

  • MAdhav

    tried reading the whole list but found it too dry, nice effort tho

  • aristotleltotsira

    dope popes

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  • John

    Man, so may things and popes to add to this list.

    Most of the ones I have wanted to mention already have been.

    The highest one on my list would be John Paul II (1978-2005) – his ignorance about AIDS and condom use has condemned how many millions of people to death because of his unwillingness to give people information to stop the spread of this disease? I hope he burns for as many years as people that could have been saved if he had just taken some proactive initiate.

  • Mike

    All but 2 are Italian of course. That nation has done nothing but taint the church in its attempt to make it part of its culture.

  • profmurrell

    This was a very helpful list. Don’t pay much attention to the comments from people with inadequate prior knowledge who could not interpret the ecclesiastical terminology so found it “boring” (the ultimate sin in an entertainment-driven society), or to those boorish twits who just like to pollute every site with inanity, or to those with personal agendas which demand everything conform to their political correctness. It was a good list. You should, however, go back over it and correct a number of capitalization errors such as in #3, and other errors. For example, in #2, was the heresy called Montheism? Didn’t you mean Monophysitism? Just check it over thoroughly and you’ll catch the little typos. Thank you so much for compiling this list.

  • it

    Number 8 should be much higher. Good list other than that.

  • Jim H

    At least get the dates right. Stephen VI (actually VII, if one counts the priest elected in 752 who was never consecrated bishop of Rome) reigned from 896 to 898, not 889. Transposition, of course, but at least get details correct.

  • Jim H

    Do not be so quick to condemn the Crusades. The Islamic world of that time was persecuting and killing off the Christians who lived in the lands they wrested from the Byzantine Empire, and also in the lands of Mesopotamia and Persia (modern Iraq and Iran).

    The same problem exists today. Sharia law, which is Islam in control of the state condemns to death any and all who leave Islam for another religion. Our secularist leaders today ignore this. Until Islam accepts as a whole the right of all people to decide for themselves what they believe, which is freedom of thought, there will be no world peace. Even among themselves, the Muslims of today still kill one another over who is right, the Shiites or the Sunnis. At least the western world has gotten beyond that sort of thing.

    If Islam continues to spread and impose Sharia law goodbye to all freedoms, especially the basic right to think and believe for oneself. Chew on that before you condemn the past for the excesses done on both sides of the Islamic versus Christian conflict, something that is almost 1400 years old and still continues, thanks to the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in the last 30 years.

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  • geronimo

    they are all dodgy even today

  • pammz

    I would like a list of how popes died…

  • Reblogged this on mistresshistory and commented:
    Well, I’ve been looking around the internet and bumped into this. Although it is centuries old.. I can’t blame the author!

  • Calmlon van mass
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