Why teenagers make bad Popes

Posted by on April 16th, 2008


Gambling, incest, whorehouses, invoking the devil and Jupiter, our modern day troublemaking celebrities have nothing on Popes of a bygone age. Check out this account of the teenaged Pope John XII (elected at 18, pope from 955 – 964). FYI, his dad, Albrec the II got him the gig.

Then, rising up, the cardinal priest Peter testified that he himself had seen [John XII] celebrate mass without taking communion. John, bishop of Narni, and John, a cardinal deacon, professed that they themselves saw that a deacon had been ordained in a horse stable, but were unsure of the time. Benedict, cardinal deacon, with other co-deacons and priests, said they knew that he had been paid for ordaining bishops, specifically that he had ordained a ten-year-old bishop in the city of Todi… 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. All, clerics as well as laymen, declared that he had toasted to the devil with wine. They said when playing at dice, he invoked Jupiter, Venus and other demons. They even said he did not celebrate Matins and the canonical hours nor did he make the sign of the cross.

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The Wikipedia entry on Pope John XII

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