“Call No one Father except your own [natural] father.’
(Speech by Jesus, Gospel According to Matthew, Ch: 23: 9)
In Christianity, this title is given to two (and in some cases three) separate entities, both of whom are not the biological fathers of every human being. The first is God, who in Christianity is the Father of only one child, Jesus, and not any one else, hence according to the above maxim no one, except Jesus, should call him Father.
The second is the office of the Pope (and third in some sects and denominations, Church priests are also called ‘Father’). As a position and seat of Christian authority and not a patriarch of a family tree, popes are also not entitled to the title of ‘Father’ either.
The ‘Pope’ (Latin Papa/ Papas) is officially the Bishop of Rome and ‘Vicar of Christ’ (meaning someone who upholds power on behalf of or represents someone else in this case Jehovah/Yahweh and Jesus) and derives his supreme status above other churches and Christian ministers due to the belief it is the only religious institution to be founded and established by the apostles of Jesus.
His office is known as the Pontificate and as such, he is also known as ‘The Pontiff’. As a general designation, the Pope’s power, legitimacy and religious privilege are known as the Papacy.
As head of the ‘Catholic’ (General or Universal) Church, he is also accorded political status as a sovereign leader over Vatican City State, the smallest country in the World, although it is under the military protection of Italy and is an unofficial enclave of Rome.
The Pope is Head of the Church only of the Catholic Faith. His authority, exercise of powers and judicial authority is not recognised as divinely inspired, spiritually guided or worth considering by all Christians.
Interestingly, however the first Head of the [Jerusalem] Church after the crucifixion of Jesus was not Simon Peter, the closest disciple to Jesus but instead was another man ‘James the Just’.
‘James the Just’ was the so-called ‘brother’ of Jesus. James was at first a non-disciple and someone who joined the Christian faith after the crucifixion and even refused to believe in Jesus, his blood relative, during the former’s lifetime.
It is said that after the crucifixion, Jesus appeared to his followers and when asked what they should do now, he replied that they should seek out James and he will instruct them.
Simon Peter, a close disciple as is often and wrongly supposed, was ‘a rock’ but not the head that privilege belonged to James.
The Roman Catholic Church believes the Pope is infallible while in office. He is not necessarily free from blemish on account of his personal actions; beliefs or values even during the tenure of his papal term and may commit errors and make misjudgements.
A separation exists and is recognized as being valid between the pope as the individual and the pope as the spiritual head and universal leader of the Catholic Church, although no clear boundary has yet been defined to describe it.
Theoretically the fine line is where he speaks, acts and behaves specifically in matters assigned and relevant to the pontificate, not himself as an individual. He may impart wrong or incorrect advice, state false assertions and misconstrue specific situations and circumstances in his professional capacity as pope, yet still retain his infallible stature.
His exercise of authority, personal style, means of enforcement of powers’ [available to him], political interest in global affairs and influence on legal decisions carry weight in this instance to the governance of his career and future reputation.
The first Pope of Rome is said to have been a personal disciple of Jesus and someone who was foreseen and selected by Jesus to be the first priest [or rock] to inaugurate the first temple different from the Jewish synagogue. ‘You are the rock on which I will build my Church.’
Simon Peter (33-67 CE), [Sham’oon in Hebrew and Kephas or Kepha in Greek] one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, who is also thought to have also died in Rome [although this is now in dispute], hence in part to its claim in the first convention pronouncing the Pope as infallible whilst speaking and representing the Church.
As the closest disciple to Jesus and one who was personally rescued by an angel whilst in prison, Simon Peter, was duly accepted as the first leader and it was he, according to tradition (though not fully proven to this day) that Christianity be preached to Gentiles as well as Jews, thus overturning an integral message and theme of Jesus ministry in only preaching to the Jews alone.
At the time, neither the title nor the office, the robes, the priestly functions or official designation and representation as head of Christianity from Rome was in existence or clearly defined.
The first few popes had little history are in reality shadowy figures with no personality or thought and beyond a few fragments of information little or nothing about them is available other than the years of their reign and the occurrences of events around them.
Pope Clement, a later Pope, was said to be Peter’s handpicked successor and if true, didn’t materialise as he was not the second Pope, but the third and something more damaging, if true was allegedly Pope Clement’s writings known as ‘homilies’.
The ‘homilies’ spoke against Paul and denounced him as a non-believer and enemy of Jesus. If true, this is the biggest assault on the chief propagator of Christianity by someone said to be infallible.
Nevertheless, the following show an interesting insight into the lives and careers of Popes, who are deemed pious and are elected in part due to their loyalty to the Church-
1252 Pope Innocent IV, under the influence of the revival of Roman law, officially sanctioned the use of torture to extract the truth from suspects.
1208 Pope Innocent III when asked by a soldier how to recognize Christian heretics [the Albigenses] in a crusade against them amongst other Christians. The Pope responded ‘Kill them all, God will know his own.’
One pope deemed that Pico Della Mirandola, Giovanni, Conte (1463-94), an Italian humanist, with some of his theses dealing with cabalistic magic were heretical and forbade him to carry on his projected discussions.
In 1489, Pico completed the Heptaplus, a mystical account of the creation of the universe. His library was one of the largest and most comprehensive of his day. A wealthy man, he eventually decided to give away all his possessions and become a wandering preacher, but he died before he could carry out his plan. The year before his death, Pope Alexander VI absolved him of any imputations of heresy.
Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) Pope 1572-1585. Criticised for celebrating St Bartholomew's Massacre in 1572 whilst at Rome. Massacre of Huguenots (Protestants).
Gregory I (540-604) Pope 590-604. Known as Gregory the Great. Gregory I is seen as the pope most responsible for desiring to see Britain become Christian after witnessing a slave auction in which some British slaves were sold. He later sent Augustine to Britain in 596 who met a local English monarch, King Ethelbert, whose wife was a Christian, and converted him to Christianity. Gregory I however, also sanctioned the use of force to convert ‘heathens’ to Christianity.
He also said the following, ‘Woman has the poison of a wasp, the malice of a dragon.’
Pope Gregory IX 1241. Started the Inquisition.
1378 Bartolomew Prignano. Pope described as 'Autocratic'. The people who elected him; the cardinals said they later regretted it.
882 Pope John VIII assassinated by his disgruntled entourage. He was first poisoned then clubbed to death.
Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and Leo X (1513-1521) encouraged the sale of indulgencies (absolution from all sins) for money.
896 Pope Stephen VII had the body of his predecessor Pope Formosus, disinterred from its grave (by then he was a skeleton with no flesh at all) and dressed in full Pontifical costume.
Charges were then read against the deceased former pope before three of his fingers were cut off. He was then stripped of his attire and the naked body was thrown into the River Tiber. Stephen is officially recognised, even as pope, as having been jealous of his predecessor and was mentally imbalanced. He was later murdered himself.
Sixtus IV Pope 1471-1484. Made six nephews Cardinals. His favourite nephew, the future Julius II was also made Archbishop of Avignon and Bologna, Bishop of Lausanne, Coutances, Viviers, Mende, Ostia and Velletri and holder of scores of lesser benefits.
Leo XIII was a ‘Socialist Pope’ who issued a mass circulated letter in 1891 known as ‘Rerum Novarum’ (of modern things). It said socialism was Christian when it tried to remove poverty, insecurity and degradation.
He added Socialism was only unchristian in denying God. The document asked Catholics to form Socialist parties and labour unions in order to seek a greater measure of social justice.
Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) publicly stated there is no such place as Hell in 1999, when the Bible describes it as a physical reality and location.
Pope ANTERUS (235-236) had a Greek name, whose definition was the very pagan and Un-Christian meaning of ‘Son of Venus and Mars’.
In November 1964, the reigning Pope (Pope Paul VI, 1963-1978) from his retreat in the Vatican exculpated the Jews of crucifying Jesus thereby reversing the charge made by all his predecessors who held it so stringently.
Pope Damasus I (366-384). When his predecessor, Pope Liberius, died in 366, riots broke out in Rome. Damasus (not then pope) hired thugs to massacre supporters of his rival, the antipope, URSINAS. The massacres lasted 3 days. The violence continued even after Damasus became Pope.
John XIX (1024-1032) was widely criticised and condemned for his greed, especially in demanding money for ecclaesticcal (priestly) posts.
Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) insisted that Muslims and Jews in Christian societies should wear distinctive clothing to mark them out from the rest.
Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) turned to magic for protection. He had astrologers cast the horoscopes of cardinals resident in Rome to find out when they would die and commissioned Tommaso Campanella to perform a magical ceremony to protect him from the effects of an imminent lunar eclipse.
The pope violated the commandment in the Bible which reads as follows-
“Don’t let your people practice divination or look for omens or use spells or charms and don’t let them consult the spirits of the dead. The Lord your God hates people who do these disgusting things… Be completely faithful to the Lord.”
(Commandment by God to Moses, Deuteronomy 18: 10-13)
It can be seen as granted Christianity no longer believes in Old Testament Case Law with the crucifixion of Jesus, but look at the last sentences ‘The Lord your God hates people who do these disgusting things… Be completely faithful to the Lord.’
If God hated those practices then, He still hates them now and always will and He definitely would not want ‘perfect popes’ to engage in them just as much he wouldn’t want ordinary Christians to do so either.
If ‘perfect popes’ can turn to God for help and protection, why the need to turn to magic and astrology? Is God not sufficient unless the pope in question felt this was actually the case by going to such extremes?
Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492) ordered an inquisition in Germany to destroy witchcraft that led to the ruthless massacres and genocide of witches there. Pope Innocent VIII also provided for his illegitimate children by marrying them off to princely families.
Pope Marcellinus (296-304) turned apostate and left Christianity. The Roman Emperor, DIOCLETIAN, ordered churches to be destroyed, sacred books to be delivered to secular authorities and sacrifice be offered to pagan gods by anyone attending a law court.
This pope bowed to the authorities demands by handing over Christian scriptures and is said to have offered incense to the pagan gods in early 303 (while still pope]. It’s likely according to the Christians he was deposed soon after. Despite these actions including apostasy, he was later canonised as a saint.
Pope Honorius I (625-638). When asked to look at a letter, which seemed heretical, he agreed with it (the letter) saying Christ had only ‘One Will’ not three.
His view that he formulated and published known as ‘MONOTHELITISM’, was condemned by the 3rd Council of Constantinople (680-681). The theory is Jesus did not possess simultaneously a divine will and a human will but only one will which he exercised through both his divine and human natures.
Despite his views, he retained the pope’s crown and continued to rule as the spiritual head of the Christian World who disagreed with him over a key doctrinal issue. He was excommunicated by another Pope 42 years after his death.
At least two popes were illegitimate sons and this has embarrassed the Christian religion due to the maxim in the Bible, which states that-,
‘A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord’.
(Speech by God to Moses, Deuteronomy 23: 2)
They were Pope John XI (931-935): He was the illegitimate son of Pope Sergius III (904-911), Pope John XII (955-963): He was the illegitimate son of Alberic II (Prince of Rome 905-954)
Under the same maxim however, Jesus qualifies for this rank as well as between Judah (someone who committed adultery with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, and this unholy alliance produced two children) and Jesus is nine generations.
Pope Symmachus (498-502). This pope was a fornicator and his regular lover was Conditrea. A synod of bishops convened in 502 to discuss his fornication and cheating.
Pope Julius II (1503-1513). Julius is known to have bribed his way into the office of Pope and fathered at least 3 illegitimate daughters.
Pope Leo X (1513-1521). He was known as a lavish spender. Most of his wealth came from the licensed brothels in Rome. The City of no less than 50, 000 residents had 7, 000 registered brothels during his reign. It came as no surprise that syphilis was so common a disease among ecclaestical preachers, priests and Church members at the time.
Pope Julius ? (1550-1555). He spent so much of his time in carnal pleasures and was a heavy gambler.
Pope Benedict IX. The only person to have occupied the seat as Pope on three separate occasions, (1032-1044), (1045) and (1047-1048).
Pope Benedict IX was accused by Bishop Benno of Placenta of ‘many vile adulteries and murders’.
Pope Victor III (?-?) referred to Benedict IX’s reign in the following way-
‘His rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.
Pope Benedict IX was also a bisexual and turned the Vatican into a male brothel. He was the first pope known to be a homosexual. His scandalous life was too much for the people of Rome and they revolted against him in 1044.
Clement V (1305-1314). He was an eager practitioner of nepotism and made five of his family members into cardinals.
Benedict XII (1334-1342). He bribed the brother of the poet, Petrarch, in order to sleep with his sister.
Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484). He was indirectly involved in the assassination of GIULIANO de MEDICI (1478).
Pope Sixtus was also the first pope to license brothels in the City of Rome. Money from this activity brought 30, 000 Ducats a year to the Papacy.
Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) was head of the Christian Catholic World, but seen as insignificant when it came to warfare politics. He drew up a peace plan in 1917, this was accepted by the Germans but rejected by the ‘allied’ governments.
In 1919 the Christian ‘Allies’ didn’t invite him when arranging settlements for what would happen after the war and completely ignored his personal opinions on the matter.
Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) signed a concordat with Adolf Hitler in 1933.
Pope Pius XII (1939-1958). Also known as ‘Hitler’s Pope. He knew of Hitler’s killings, executions and slaughter of the Jews throughout Eastern Europe, some very close to his living quarters, but refused to condemn him and stayed silent.
At times, appeals were made to him personally, informing him of specific details so that he could use his papal influence to do what he could to save them. His one and only statement about Hitler’s policy (and even that was under a great deal of pressure) was very mild and soft and mentioned no one by name nor spelled out anything major.
Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) expressed a desire and announced publicly he wished to cannonise Pope Pius XII as a saint.
Pope Vigilus (537-555). He placed his predecessor, Pope Silverius, in exile on the order of Empress Theodora. When Emperor Justinian (483-565) ordered the deposed pope be tried fairly and with justice, Pope Vigilus blocked the trial and re-exiled the ex-pope to the island of Palmyra where he died of starvation.
POPE ALEXANDER VI (1492-1503)
The most infamous and notorious Pope in history. He is known to have had mistresses both before and during his reign as Pope.
Originally Rodrigo Borgia, he was made Vice-Chancellor of the Papal Curia by his uncle, Pope Callistus III in 1457. The appointment led him to amass an enormous fortune that he very soon became one of the richest cardinals in the Church.
The ambitious Rodrigo ensured his election to the office of Pope by bribing cardinals with money and promises of appointment to lucrative posts once he succeeded to the pontificate.
Summary: Pope Alexander VI is known to have bribed his way to securing the Papal throne and whilst he was there, he had a mistress and participated in orgies involving naked women. He also helped his sons have positions of authority whilst they lacked official qualification for the roles allocated.
1.) He once sold a right or permission to a nobleman to commit incest with his sister for 24, 000 gold pieces.
2.) One of Pope Alexander VI’s mistresses was a 16 year old married woman and he she remained with him throughout his reign as pope.
3.) He had at least 10 illegitimate children.
4.) Once held an orgy party in a religious room.
5.) When the Dominican monk. Savondrola, denounced his immoral behaviour, Alexander excommunicated him, had him tortured and burnt him at the stake.
BANQUET OF CHESTNUTS (BALLET OF CHESTNUTS)
The banquet was thrown by the Pope’s illegitimate son, Cesare, for his father (the Pope) The date was October 30th 1501.
Up to 50 (fifty) prostitutes, only the finest and best in the City of Rome, attended the event along with a sizeable number of male guests. According to Johann Burchand, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, an orgy ensued after guests finished their meals.
Naked prostitutes were encouraged to crawl around certain places in the room and pick up chestnuts placed on the floor while the men watched. Later the prostitutes danced naked at the papal table.
According to William Manchester, ‘Servants kept score of each man’s orgasms for the Pope greatly admired virility and measured man’s machismo by his ‘ejaculative capacity’. After everyone was exhausted, his holiness [the pope] distributed prizes- cloaks, boots, caps, and fine silken tunics.
The winners [according to Burchard] were those who made love with these coutesians [prostitutes] the greatest number of times.’
(Source: ‘A World lit by fire’ by William Manchester, London 1992 and
(Source: ‘Pope Alexander VI and his Court. Extracts from the Latin diary of the Papal master ceremonies 1484-1506’ by John Burchard)
‘Pornocracy’ refers to a dark period of Papal history in the early tenth century between 904-963. It is so-called because a few women, at least two in number, who started as mistresses of the Popes, dominated, shaped and influenced the Papacy very strongly during this time.
Beginning with Pope Sergius III from 904, it ended only after fifty-nine long years in 963 until the death of Pope John XII the same year.
The same period is also known as or called the ‘Rule of the Harlots’.
Sergius III (904-911) Sergius regarded three Popes; John IX, Benedict IV and Leo V, his immediate predecessors as interlopers and set about overturning their actions. He is also said to have had a lovechild by his 15-year old mistress, the high-ranking woman of his time, MAROZIA. The child was a future Pope, John XI (931-935).
Pope John XI (931-935) officiated the theoretically incestuous wedding of his mother, Marozia to Hugh, the King of Italy, who at the same time was also her brother-in-law as well.
Pope John XII (955-963). In addition to being a lovechild of a former pope, John XII was addicted to sex and went after every female he could. He was reputed to have slept with his niece, his father’s ex-lover and even his own mother. He died of a stroke in bed while making love to a [married] woman who wasn’t his wife.
John XII was also best known for his heterosexual excesses. He might also have been a homosexual. His lateran was openly described as a brothel.
Leo VIII (963-965) Leo may have come after the pornocracy collapsed, but his actions were very much in line with that of his predecessors during the time. He also died of a stroke whilst in the midst of committing an act of adultery with a married woman.
POPE BONIFACE VIII (1294-1303)
As Cardinal Benedetto Caetani, during the reign of his predecessor, Pope Celestine, he persuaded the latter to abdicate, drafted the abdication formula and then promptly became pope himself when Pope Celestine finally abdicated.
He then imprisoned his predecessor at the castle of Fumone the same year, where Pope Celestine died in 1296.
As pope, he led an Un-Christian life and when questioned about his excesses by the Collanas Family, the Pope organised a holy war against them and managed to reduce them to one stronghold, the single town of Palestrina.
The Pope then ordered the complete destruction of the town with the result that all 6, 000 (six thousand) residents of the town were slaughtered without mercy.
The Oxford Dictionary of Popes summarises Pope Boniface’s pontificate, actions and behaviour in the following words-
‘Singularly unsympathetic, combining exceptional arrogance with cruelty, insatiable acquisitiveness for his family, and insensitive contempt for his fellow men; feared and hated, he could not keep a friend.’