The 200 years between Pope Nicolas I (858-867) and Pope Gregory VI (1045-1046) is called by historians, the MIDNIGHT OF THE DARK AGES. Bribery, corruption, immorality and bloodshed, make it just about the blackest chapter in the whole history of the Church.
904-963 is called in history, "The Rule of the Harlots!"
Pope Sergius III (904-911). Said to have had a mistress, Marozia. She, her mother Theodora, and her sister, "filled the Papal chair with their paramours and bastard sons, and turned the Papal Palace into a den of robbers!"
Pope John X (914-928), "was brought to Rome, and made Pope by Theodora for the more convenient gratification of her passion." He was smothered to death by Marozia, who, then, in succession, raised to the Papacy, Popes Leo VI (928-929), and Stephen VII (929-931), and John XI (931-936) — her own illegitimate son!
Another of Marozia's sons appointed the four following Popes: Leo VII (936-939), Stephen VIII (939-942), Martin III (942-946), and Agapetus II (946-955).
Pope John XII (955-963), a grandson of Marozia, was "guilty of almost every crime! He violated virgins and widows; lived with his father's mistress; made the Papal Palace a brothel; and was killed while in the act of adultery by the woman's enraged husband!"
Pope Boniface VII (984-985), murdered Pope John XIV, and "maintained himself on the blood-stained Papal Throne by a lavish distribution of stolen money." The Bishop of Orleans, referring to Popes John XII, Leo VIII and Boniface VII, called them "monsters of guilt, reeking in blood and filth; Antichrist sitting in the Temple of God!"
Pope Benedict VIII (1012-1024), bought the office of Pope with open bribery. This was called SIMONY, that is, the purchase or sale of Church Office with money.
Pope John XIX (1024-1033), Bought the Papacy. He passed through all the necessary clerical degrees in one day.
Pope Benedict IX (1033-1)141), Was made Pope as a boy of 12 years old, through a money bargain with the powerful families that ruled Rome. "He surpassed Pope John XII in wickedness; and committed murders and adulteries in broad daylight! A hideous criminal — the people drove him out of Rome!" Some call him the worst of all the Popes!
Pope Gregory VI (1045-1046), Bought the Papacy. There were three rival Popes at this time: Benedict IX, Gregory VI, Sylvester III. "Rome swarmed with hired assassins!"
Pope Clement II (1046-1047), was appointed Pope by Emperor Henry III of Germany "because no Roman clergyman could be found who was free of the pollution of Simony and Fornication!"
(1073-1085). The two prevailing Sins of the Clergy were immorality and simony. The Church owned a large share of property, and had rich incomes. Practically all Bishops and Priests had paid for their office, for it gave them a chance to live in luxury. Kings habitually sold Church Offices to the highest bidder, regardless of fitness or character!
Pope Innocent III (1198-1216). He was the "most powerful of all the Popes." He claimed to be "Vicar of Christ," "Vicar of God," and "Supreme Sovereign over the Church and the World." He claimed the right to depose Kings and Princes; and that "All things on earth and in Heaven and in Hell — are subject to the Vicar of Christ."
He brought the Church into supreme control of the State. The Kings of Germany, France, England, and practically all the Monarchs of Europe, obeyed his will. He even brought the Byzantine Empire under his control. Never in history has any one man exerted more power! He . . .
ordered two Crusades,
confirmed Confession to priests,
declared Papal Infallibility,
forbade the reading of the Bible in the vernacular,
ordered the extermination of heretics,
instituted the Inquisition, and
ordered the Massacre of the Albigenses!
More blood was shed under his direction, and that of his immediate successors, than in any other period of Church history, except in the Papacy's effort to crush the Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries. One Would think Nero, the Beast — had come to life in Name of the Lamb!
Papal power was maintained by the Inquisition. The Inquisition, called the "Holy Office," was instituted by Pope Innocent III, and perfected under the second following Pope, Gregory IX. It was the "Church Court for Detection and Punishment of Heretics." Under it, everyone was required to inform against Heretics. Anyone suspected, was liable to torture, without knowing the name of his accuser. The proceedings were secret. The Inquisitor pronounced sentence, and the victim was turned over to Civil Authorities to be imprisoned for life — or to be burned! The victim's property was confiscated, and divided between the Church and the State.
In the period immediately following Pope Innocent III, the Inquisition did its most deadly work against the Albigenses — but also claimed vast multitudes of victims in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
Later on, the Inquisition was the main agency in the Papacy's effort to crush the Reformation. It is stated that in the 30 years between 1540 and 1570 — no fewer than 900,000 Protestants were put to death in the Pope's attempt for the extermination of the Waldenses.
Think of Monks and Priests, in holy garments — directing, with heartless cruelty and inhuman brutality — the work of torturing and burning alive innocent men and women, and doing it in the Name of Christ — by the direct order of the "Vicar of Christ!"
The Inquisition was the most notorious and devilish thing in human history! It was devised by Popes, and used by them for 500 years, to maintain their power. For its evil record — none of the subsequent line of "Holy" and "Infallible" Popes have ever apologized!
Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303), in his famous papal bull, "Unam Sanctam," said, "We declare, affirm, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for salvation — that every creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff!" However, he himself was so corrupt that Dante, who visited him during his pontificate, called the Vatican, "A sewer of corruption!" and assigned him, along with Popes Nicolas III and Clement V — to lie in the lowest parts of Hell!
(1305-1377), These are the 72 years in which Papal Palace was at Avignon, France. The avarice of the Avignon Popes knew no bounds! Burdensome taxes were imposed. Every Church Office was sold for money, and many new offices were created to be sold — to fill the coffers of Popes and support the luxurious and immoral Court. Petrarch accused the papal household of rape, adultery, and all manner of fornication. In many parishes, men insisted on priests keeping concubines, as a protection for their own families!
(1377-1417), During these 40 years, there were two sets of Popes — one at Rome, and one at Avignon, each claiming to be "Vicar of Christ," hurling anathemas and curses at each other!
Pope John XXIII (1410-1415), was called by some, "the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the Papal Throne!" He was guilty of almost every crime! As cardinal in Bologna, 200 maidens, nuns and married women fell victims to his amours! As Pope, he . . .
violated virgins and nuns;
lived in adultery with his brother's wife;
was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices;
bought the Papal Office;
sold Cardinal offices to children of wealthy families;
and openly denied the future life.
Pope Pius II (1458-1464), was said to have been the father of many illegitimate children, spoke openly of the methods he used to seduce women, encouraged young men to, and even offered to instruct them in methods of immorality!
Pope Paul II (1464-1471), "filled his house with concubines."
Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484). Sanctioned the Spanish Inquisition. Decreed that money would deliver souls from Purgatory. Was implicated in a plot to murder Lorenzo de Medici, and others who opposed his policies. Used the Papacy to enrich himself and his relatives. 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.
Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492). Had 16 children by various married women. Multiplied Church Offices, and sold them for vast sums of money. Decreed the extermination of the Waldenses, and sent an army against them. Appointed the brutal Thomas of Torquemada as the Inquisitor General of Spain, and ordered all rulers to deliver up heretics to him. Permitted bull-fights on St. Peter's Square.
Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503), called the most corrupt of the Renaissance Popes. He was licentious, avaricious, and depraved! He bought the Papacy; made many new cardinals, for money; had a number of illegitimate children, whom he openly acknowledged and appointed to high church office while they were yet children — who, with himself, murdered cardinals and others who stood in their way. Had for a mistress, a sister of a Cardinal.
Pope Julius II (1503-1513), the richest of the Cardinals, with vast income from numerous bishoprics and church estates — bought the Papacy. As a Cardinal he had made sport of celibacy. Involved in endless quarrels over the possession of cities and principalities, he maintained and personally led vast armies. Called the Warrior Pope. Issued indulgences for money. Luther visited Rome — and was appalled at what he saw!
Pope Leo X (1513-1521), was made an Archbishop at the age of 8; and a Cardinal at 13. Was appointed to 27 different church offices, which meant vast income, before he was 13. Was taught to regard ecclesiastical office purely as a source of revenue. Bargained for the Papal chair. Sold church honors. All ecclesiastical offices were for sale, and many new ones were created. He appointed Cardinals as young as the age of 7. He was in endless negotiations with kings and princes, jockeying for secular power, utterly indifferent to the welfare of the Church. He maintained the most luxurious and licentious court in Europe! His Cardinals vied with kings and princes in gorgeous Palaces and voluptuous entertainment, attended by trains of servants. Yet this voluptuary re-affirmed the Unam Sanctam, in which it is declared that "every human being must be subject to the Roman Pontiff for salvation." He issued indulgences for stipulated fees; and declared that the burning of heretics was a divine appointment.
Pope Paul III (1534-1549). Had many illegitimate children. He was a determined enemy of the Protestants; and offered Charles V an army to exterminate them!
Enter the Jesuits! They were an order founded by Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard, on the principle of absolute and unconditional obedience to the Pope — having for its object, the recovery of territory lost to Protestants and Mohammedans, and the conquest of the entire heathen world for the Roman Catholic Church. Their supreme aim was the destruction of heresy — that is, thinking anything different from what the Pope said. For the accomplishment of which — anything was justifiable — deception, immorality, vice, even murder! Their motto, "For the greater glory of God."
They set up schools, seeking especially the children of ruling classes, aiming in all schools to gain absolute mastery over the pupil. They used the Confessional, especially with Kings, Princes and Civil Rulers — indulging them in all kinds of vice and crime, for the sake of gaining their favor!
They used force, persuading rulers to execute Inquisition sentences. In France, they were responsible for . . .
St. Bartholomew's Massacre,
Persecution of the Huguenots (French Christians)
Revocation of the Toleration Edict,
and the French Revolution.
In Spain, Netherlands, South Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Poland and other countries — they led in the massacre of untold multitudes! By these methods, they stopped the Reformation in Southern Europe, and virtually saved the Papacy from ruin.
Pope Gregory XIII (1572-85), celebrated, in solemn mass, with thanksgiving and joy — the news of St. Bartholomew's Massacre!
Popes Clement VIII (1592-1605), Leo XI (1605), Paul V (1605-1621), Gregory XV (1621-1623), and Urban VIII (1623-1644), with aid of Jesuits — blotted out Protestants in Bohemia.
Pope Clement XI (1700-1721), declared that Kings reign only with his sanction; and issued a Bull against Bible Reading.
Pope Pius VII (1800-1820), issued a Bull against Bible Societies, restored the Jesuits, and decreed one "infallible" Pope.
Pope Leo XII ( 1821-1829), condemned all religious freedom, tolerance, Bible societies and Bible translations! He declared that "Everyone separated from the Roman Catholic Church, however unblamable in other respects — has no part in eternal life."
Pope Pius VIII (1829-1830), Denounced liberty of conscience and Bible Societies.
Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), was an ardent advocate of Papal Infallibility, and condemned Bible Societies.
Pope Pius IX (1846), decreed Papal Infallibility; proclaimed the right to suppress heresy by force; condemned separation of Church and State; and commanded Catholics to obey the Pope, rather than Civil Rulers! He denounced liberty of conscience, liberty of worship, freedom of speech and freedom of the press! He decreed the Immaculate Conception and Deity of Mary! He condemned Bible Societies; declared that Protestantism is "No form of the Christian Religion"; and that "Every dogma of the Roman Catholic Church has been dictated by Christ, through His Viceregents the Popes."
Pope Pius IX (1854), proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Its reception emboldened him to call the Vatican Council (1870), for the express purpose of having himself declared Infallible, which, under his skillful manipulation, they did. The decree reads that it is "divinely revealed" that the Pope, when he speaks "ex cathedra," is "possessed of Infallibility in defining doctrines of faith and morals," and that "such definitions are irrevocable."
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), claimed that he was appointed to be Head of All Rulers, and that he holds the place of Almighty God on this earth! He emphasized Papal Infallibility; pronounced Protestants "enemies of the Christian Name," claimed complete submission to the Roman Pontiff, and denounced Americanism.
Pope Pius X (1903-1914), denounced leaders of the Reformation as "enemies of the Cross of Christ."
Pope Pius Xl (1922-1939), in 1928, he re-affirmed the Roman Catholic church to be the Only Church of Christ; and the re-union of Christendom impossible except by submission to Rome.
The Papacy's Methods: It brought itself to power by shrewd political alliances, and by deception, and by armed force; and by armed force and bloodshed, it has maintained itself in power.
Papal Revenues: Through a large part of its history the Papacy, by the sale of ecclesiastical office, and its shameless traffic in Indulgences — has received vast revenues that enabled it to maintain, for much of the time, the most luxurious Court in Europe.
Personal character of the Popes: Some of the Popes have been good men; some of them have been unspeakably vile; the most of them have been absorbed in the pursuit of secular power.
Papal Claims: Yet, in spite of the character of the general run of Popes, their methods, and the bloody record of the Papacy — these "Holy Fathers" claim that they are the "Vicars of Christ," "Infallible" and that they "hold the place of Almighty God on this earth," and that obedience to them is necessary to salvation.
The Papacy and the Bible: Pope Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the Bible. Pope Innocent III forbade the people reading the Bible to their own language. Pope Gregory IX forbade laymen possessing the Bible, and suppressed translations. Translations among the Albigenses and Waldenses were burned, and people burned for haying them. Pope Paul IV prohibited the possession of translations without permission of the Inquisition. The Jesuits induced Pope Clement XI to condemn the reading of the Bible by the laity. Popes Leo XII, Pius VIII, Gregory XVl and Pius IX all condemned Bible Societies. In Catholic countries, the Bible is an unknown book.