The Criminal History of the Papacy pt1-3 (Nexus Magazine articles) by Tony Bushby.pdf

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M ost Catholics go through life and never hear a word of reproach for any pope
or member of the clergy. Yet the recorded history of the lives of the clerical
hierarchy bears no resemblance to its modern-day portrayal, and the true
stories of the popes in particular are among the most misrepresented in
religious history.
The Catholic historian and Archbishop of New York, John Cardinal Farley (d. c. 1916),
subtly admitted that the "old legends of their dissolute lives may be partly true...that they
didn't sternly insist upon sexual virtue and injustice was a general licence of the papal
court, but it is probable that moral improvement was at the vanguard of their thinking"
( Catholic Encyclopedia , Pecci ed., 1897, iii, p. 207). The real character of the popes as a
rule has been so falsely represented that many people don't know that so many popes were
not only decadent but were also the most savage and perfidious of military strategists ever
known. Cardinal Farley added this comment:
"The popes were temporal rulers of the civil territory and they naturally had recourse to
force the re-establishment or extend the States of the Church until the conclusion of peace
was confirmed ... their attempts to purify particularly the Duchy of Rome caused them
considerable distress and the need to resort to violence, but always on the side of mercy ...
lives were lost in the service of truth but the legal basis for the Christian Church to hold
and transmit properties for the benefit of revenues was given to them [the popes] by
Emperor Constantine in 312."
The papal office has
an unparalleled
record of
corruption and
criminality over the
centuries, and the
true history of the
popes is one of
scandals, cruelty,
debauchery, reigns
of terror, warfare
and moral
( Catholic Encyclopedia , Pecci ed., ii, pp. 157–169)
The comments of the cardinal warrant our attention, for within them rests a little-known
story of the leaders of the Christian religion and reveals that today's presentation of popes
as incorruptible moral oracles is untrue. The hidden history of doctrinal foundations that
permitted a papal alliance with conflict and licentiousness, and to what degree decadence
among the clergy is "partly true", provides for an extraordinary story—one that has no
precedent or parallel in the history of world religions. In the preface to an official papal
record commissioned for publication by the Holy See, called The Popes: A Concise
Biographical History , the Christian reader is tactfully prepared for some upcoming and
unpleasant facts about popes with this apologetic admission:
"Some Catholics may find surprises when they read the papal biographies in this book.
The part we are accustomed to think of the pope playing in the Church may need a little
Part 1 of 3
( The Popes: A Concise Biographical History , Eric John, ed.,
Burns & Oates, Publishers to the Holy See, London, 1964, p. 19,
published under the imprimatur of Georgius L. Craven)
by Tony Bushby
© November 2006
This comment provides readers with a note of caution in dealing with papal history, but
in this biographical history the Holy See did not think it prudent to publish full details of
the true nature of the papal court. Its real history is intermingled with "centuries of
trafficking in ecclesiastical appointments, deceit, scandals, immorality, aggression, frauds,
murder and cruelty, and the true disposition of the popes is knowingly falsely presented
by the Church today" ( A History of the Popes , Dr Joseph McCabe [1867–1955], C. A.
Watts & Co., London, 1939).
For centuries, the Church maintained a comprehensive account of the lives of the popes
who, up until the 11th century, called themselves "ecumenical patriarchs", and amazing
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NEXUS • 33
excesses are recorded. Official Catholic records provide
extraordinary confessions of wickedness in the whole Christian
clergy, and the implications surrounding this knowledge begin to
assume major new proportions when considered in light of the
central Church claim of unquestionable piety in the clerical
The editorial committees of the Catholic Encyclopedia c l a i m
that their volumes are "the exponent of Catholic truth" (preface),
and what is presented in this overview is assembled primarily
from those records and without prejudice . In the same spirit, we
also have available several papal diaries, letters and reports from
foreign ambassadors at the Holy See to their governments,
monastic documents, senatorial Roman records as well as access
to the official and ancient registers of the ecclesiastical courts of
London. Also of great help in this investigation was the
availability of an original version of
Diderot's E n c y c l o p é d i e , a tome that Pope
Clement XIII (1758–69) ordered destroyed
immediately after its publication in 1759.
These documents uniformly report a
condition of centuries of extraordinary
debasement in the papal hierarchy and, when
considered in conjunction with the
circumstances of their production, their
contents can only be classed as astounding.
The pretended holiness and piety of popes as
publicly presented today is not represented in
the records of history, and that provides
proof of the dishonesty of the Church's own
Pious Catholic historian and author
Bishop Frotheringham extended this
summary of Christian leaders up to his
"Many of the popes were men of the
most abandoned lives. Some were
magicians (occultists); others were
noted for sedition, war, slaughter and
profligacy of manners, for avarice and
simony. Others were not even
members of Christ, but the basest of
criminals and enemies of all godliness.
Some were children of their father, the
Devil; most were men of blood; some
were not even priests. Others were
heretics. If the pope be a heretic, he is ipso facto no pope."
( The Cradle of Christ , Bishop Frotheringham, 1877;
see also Catholic Encyclopedia , xii, pp. 700-703, passim,
published under the imprimatur of Archbishop Farley)
presentation of their character, and in trying to portray them with
a pious past the Church developed a doctrinal façade that brazenly
and deceptively presents them as devout.
With the late-20th-century model of the papacy in one's mind, it
is difficult to imagine what it would have been like in the 16th or
14th centuries, let alone the 10th or the eighth. The now-called
expounders of "Christian virtue" were brutal killers, and "crimes
against the faith were high treason, and as such were punishable
with death" ( Catholic Encyclopedia , Farley ed., xiv, p. 768).
Popes waded through rivers of blood to attain their earthly
objectives and many personally led their episcopal militia into the
field of battle. The Church ordered its "secular arm" to force its
dogma upon humanity by "mass murder" ( The Extermination of
the Cathars , Simonde de Sismondi, 1826), and "the clergy,
discharging in each district the functions of local state officials,
seem never to have quite regained the
religious spirit" ( Catholic Encyclopedia ,
Farley ed., i, p. 507). Apologetic
contributors to Christian history vainly try to
portray an air of sophistry about a papal past
that scandalised Europe for centuries and
one that is clearly unsophisticated and
As the line of popes begins obscurely, we
shall begin our assessment in the year 896
when "a body of nobles with swinish and
brutal lusts, many of whom could not write
even their own names" (Annals of Hincmar,
Archbishop of Reims; pub. c. 905), captured
the papacy and drew it to a close 631 years
later in 1527 when, under the
subterfuges of Pope Clement VII
(1523–1534), Rome fell to the army of
Emperor Charles V.
In this brief evaluation of just a few
popes of these centuries, we read:
"On the death of Pope Formosus
(896) there began for the papacy a time
of the deepest humiliation, such as it
has never been experienced before or
since. After the successor of
Formosus, Boniface VI, had ruled only
fifteen days, Stephen VII [VI] was
raised to the papal chair. In his blind
rage, Stephen not only abused the
memory of Formosus but also treated his body with indignity.
Pope Stephen was strangled in prison in the summer of 897, and
the six following popes (to 904) owed their elevation to the
struggles of the rival political parties. Christophorus, the last of
them, was overthrown by Sergius III (904–911)."
( Catholic Encyclopedia , ii, p. 147)
The pretended
holiness and piety of
popes as publicly
presented today is not
represented in the
records of history, and
that provides proof of
the dishonesty of the
Church's own
And heretics they were, with many popes publicly admitting
disbelief in the Gospel story, as we shall see. These facts are well
known to Catholic historians who dishonestly tell their readers
that the popes were virtuous and competent men with "soaring
religious minds" ( The Papacy , George Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Ltd, London, 1964). The reality of the matter is that they were
intent only upon their own interests, not those of God, and
cultivated a system of papal vice more assiduously than Catholic
writers of Church history dare to reveal openly. They were
resented by the laity and, when better economic conditions
awakened the minds of a developing European middle class, there
was widespread rebellion against them. Christian records show
that popes were clearly a long way removed from the modern-day
Such periods of "deepest humiliation" to the papacy were quite
recurrent, and have been even into the 21st century when the
extent of priesthood paedophilia was publicly exposed (Apology
of Pope John Paul II, March 2002). It was Pope Stephen VII (VI),
"a gouty and gluttonous old priest" (Bishop Liutprand of
Cremona, c. 922–972), who ordered the rotting corpse of Pope
Formosus to be exhumed from its grave of eight months, tied
upright in a chair and put on trial for transgressions of the canons.
In front of his putrefying body and dressed in purple and gold
regalia stood the pope, his bishops, the nobles of Rome and
Lamberto of Tuscany.
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The "trial" was a grotesque and obscene farce. The pope paced
backwards and forwards and shrieked at the corpse, declaring it
guilty. A deacon, standing beside the decomposing body of the
ex-pope, answered on its behalf. In this macabre incident, today
piously called the "Cadaver Synod", the deceased pope was duly
condemned, stripped of his vestments, three fingers cut from his
right hand and his remains dumped into the River Tiber.
"In this disgusting business, he [Pope Stephen VII (VI)] cannot
be excused for what followed. In declaring the dead pope
deposed he also annulled all his acts, including his ordinations.
His grim and grisly role provoked a violent reaction in Rome, and
in late July or early August Pope Stephen was imprisoned and
later strangled."
( The Popes: A Concise Biographical History , ibid., p. 160)
Theodora then married Guido, Marquis of Tuscany, and together
they carried out a coup d'état against John X. Theodora died
suddenly by suspected poisoning, and John X entered into a bitter
quarrel with Marozia and the leading nobles of Rome. John had
brought his brother Peter to Rome, raised him to the rank of
nobility, and heaped upon him the profitable offices which the
elder nobles had come to regard as their preserve. It was an
internal struggle for power. The nobles, led by Marozia, drove
Peter, Pope John and their troops from the city. The pope and his
brother increased their army and returned to Rome, but a body of
Marozia's men cut their way into the Lateran Palace and murdered
Peter before the pope's eyes. John was captured, declared
deposed in May 928 and smothered to death with a pillow in the
Castel Sant' Angelo.
Marozia and her faction then appointed Leo VI (928) the new
pope, but replaced him seven months later with Stephen VIII
(VII). He ruled for two years and then Marozia gave the papacy
to her son, John XI (c. 910–936; pope 931–35). He was
illegitimately fathered by Pope Sergius III, as "confirmed by
Flodoard, a reliable contemporary writer" ( The Popes: A Concise
Biographical History , ibid., p. 162). Sergius had previously taken
the papacy by force with the help of Marozia's mother, Theodora.
Both Theodora and Sergius took a leading part in the earlier
outrage on the corpse of Formosus, and Sergius was later accused
of murdering his two predecessors. The Church defended itself,
but in doing so revealed that he wasn't the only pope sexually
involved with Marozia:
"It is commonly believed that Pope Sergius, although a middle-
aged man, formed a union with the young Marozia and by her had
a son, the future Pope John XI. Most of the information we have
on the career of Marozia and the Roman scandals in which she
and a series of popes were involved is derived from hostile
sources and may be exaggerated."
( The Popes: A Concise Biographical History , ibid.)
Morbid in its realism, the mental limitations of ancient popes is
thus shown. From these and similar displays, we understand why
the monks at the Eulogomenopolis monastery, today called Monte
Cassino, described the Asinarian Station (later renamed the
Lateran Palace) as "an abode of wrath, a charnel-house...a place of
exotic vice and crime".
The Unholy Reign of the Whores
Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, whose Antapodosis treats papal
history from 886 to 950, left a remarkable picture of the vice of
the popes and their episcopal colleagues, maybe with a little
jealousy: "They hunted on horses with gold trappings, had rich
banquets with dancing girls when the hunt was over, and retired
with these shameless whores to beds with silk sheets and gold-
embroidered covers. All the Roman bishops were married, and
their wives made silk dresses out of the sacred vestments." Their
lovers were the leading noble ladies of the city, and "two
voluptuous Imperial women", Theodora and her daughter
Marozia, "ruled the papacy of the tenth century" ( A n t a p o d o s i s ,
ibid.). Renowned Vatican historian
Cardinal Caesar Baronius (1538–1607)
called it the "Rule of the Whores", which
"really gave place to the even more
scandalous rule of the whoremongers"
( Annales Ecclesiastici , folio iii, Antwerp,
1597). All that Bishop Liutprand reveals in
detail about Theodora is that she compelled
a handsome young priest to reciprocate her
passion for him and had him appointed
Archbishop of Ravenna. Later, Theodora
summoned her archiepiscopal lover from
Ravenna and made him Pope John X (pope
914–928, d. 928).
John X is chiefly remembered as a
military commander. He took to the field in
person against the Saracens and defeated
them. He indulged in nepotism, or the
enrichment of his family, and his conduct
prepared the way for a deeper degradation
of the papacy. He invited the Hungarians,
who at this time were still half-civilised
Asiatics, to come and fight his enemies and
thus he brought a new and terrible plague
upon his country. He had no principles in
his diplomatic, political or private conduct.
He spurned Theodora and enticed the
charming young daughter of Hugh of
Provence into his papal bedroom. Spurned,
This rare painting is reproduced from a 17th-century edition of A n t a p o d o s i s , a
1,000-year-old text written by Bishop Liutprand of Cremona who died c. 972. It
purports to show Pope Stephen VII (VI) overseeing the exhumation of Pope
Formosus's corpse in readiness for its trial. An interesting aspect of this painting is
the pope's headgear, reminiscent of the "crown of horns" worn by the Caesar clan.
NEXUS • 35
922279055.006.png 922279055.001.png
With sacerdotal dictatorship, Marozia ruled Christianity for
several decades from the papal castle near St Peter's, and dealt
with everything Christian except routine matters. She could not
sign her own name, yet she was the head of the Christian
Church—a fact known to historians who have at least an
elementary acquaintance with the papal record. She was
amorously aggressive, callous, densely ignorant and completely
unscrupulous. She appointed ruthless warrior-bishops to
strengthen her factions, and she triumphed in her rule over
opponents. To translate the words of the Roman people literally,
they called her "the Popes' whore" (plural) and she was directly
responsible for selecting and installing at least four popes.
Modern-day apologists say her promotions were "scandalous", but
those popes are now accepted by the Church as "legitimate"
successors of St Peter. At the time, however, large bodies of good
folk deeply resented the obscene farce the papal religion had
become and turned upon it with disdain and
Later in his papacy, Pope John XI took ill
and Marozia temporarily installed an elderly
monk in the papal chair. He subsequently
refused to resign and was forcibly removed
to a prison cell to be starved to death. John
XI then resumed his position and exhausted
his remaining wealth hiring soldiers to
restore order in Rome. The city was heavy
with a feeling of revolt against the Church
and the appalling clerical morals that existed
throughout Italy. John XI then set out to
recover and secure the rich temporal
domains of the papacy, but in 936 he died.
Thus, in this condensed description, we
learn with amazement of the days
when loose women ruled the Holy See
and a Christian doctrine had not yet
been developed.
average life of a pope was two years, he held the throne for 10
years. However, his life came to a sudden and violent end when,
according to pious chroniclers, he was killed by the Devil while
raping a woman in a house in the suburbs. The truth is that the
Holy Father was thrashed so severely by the enraged husband of
the woman that he died of injuries eight days later. Emperor Otto
then demanded that the clergy select a priest of respectable life to
succeed John XII, but they could not find one. The new pope,
Leo VIII (963–965), was a layman drawn from the "civil service
who was put through all clerical orders in one day" (ibid.). Leo
VIII is reckoned by the modern-day Church to be "a true Pope",
but "his election is a puzzle"—one that canonists have not cared
to unravel (ibid.).
The Catholic Encyclopedia gives additional accounts of papal
"The Popes 'Benedict' from the fourth to the ninth inclusive
(IV–IX) belong to the darkest period of
papal history... Benedict VI (973) was
thrown into prison by the anti-pope Boniface
VII (d. 983), and strangled by his orders in
974. Benedict VII was a layman and became
pope by force, and drove out Boniface VII.
Pope Benedict IX [c. 1012–1055/1065/1085;
pope 1032–45, 1047, 1048] had long caused
scandal to the Church by his disorderly life.
His immediate successor, Pope Gregory VI
[1044–46], had persuaded Benedict IX to
resign the Chair of Peter, and to do so
bestowed valuable possessions on him."
( Catholic Encyclopedia , i, p. 31)
...according to pious
chroniclers, he was
killed by the Devil while
raping a woman in a
house in the suburbs.
The truth is that
the Holy Father was
thrashed so severely by
the enraged husband
of the woman that he
died of injuries eight
days later.
Anti-pope Boniface VII was
described by Gerbert (to become Pope
Sylvester II, 999–1003) as "a horrible
monster that in criminality surpassed
all the rest of mankind", but the
"scandal" of Pope Benedict IX
deserves special mention. His name
was Grottaferrata Teofilatto
(Theophylact, in some records) and in
1032 he won the murderous scramble
for the wealth of the papacy. He
immediately excommunicated leaders
who were hostile to him and quickly
established a reign of terror. He
officially opened the doors of "the
palace of the popes" to homosexuals and turned it into an
organised and profitable male brothel ( The Lives of the Popes in
the Early Middle Ages , Horace K. Mann, Kegan Paul, London,
1925). His violent and licentious conduct provoked the Roman
people, and in January 1044 the residents of the city elected John
of Sabine, under the name of Pope Sylvester III, to replace him.
But Sylvester was quickly driven out by Benedict's brothers and
fled for his life into the Sabine hills.
Benedict IX then sold the papacy to his godfather, Giovanni
Graziano, who assumed the papal chair as Pope Gregory VI, but
in 1047 Benedict reappeared and announced he was reclaiming
the papacy. The Church added that he was "...immoral...cruel and
indifferent to spiritual things. The testimony to his depravity
shows his disinterest in religious matters, and his disrespect for an
ascetic life was well known. He was the worst pope since John
XII" ( The Popes: A Concise Biographical History , ibid., p. 175).
Upon his death, undertakers refused to build him a coffin. He was
The Papacy Sold amidst New
Depths of Wickedness
As incredible as it may seem, the
papacy then sank to a lower depth of
wickedness and remained in this
condition for nearly a thousand years.
Christian historians airily brush aside
the true nature of the popes, saying that
they never regarded them as
"impeccable" and ignoring the fact that they committed outrages
against every standard of human decency.
Pope John XII (Octavian, c. 937–964, pope 955–964, T h e
Popes, A Concise Biographical History , ibid., pp. 166-7) was
another in the succession of impious popes and he opened his
inglorious career by invoking pagan gods and goddesses as he
flung the dice in gambling sessions. He toasted Satan during a
drinking spree and put his notorious mistress/prostitute Marcia in
charge of his brothel in the Lateran Palace ( A n t a p o d o s i s , ibid.).
He "liked to have around him a collection of Scarlet Women",
said the monk-chronicler Benedict of Soracte, and at his trial for
the murder of an opponent his clergy swore on oath that he'd had
incestuous relations with his sisters and had raped his nuns
(Annals of Beneventum in the Monumenta Germaniae , v). He
and his mistresses got so drunk at a banquet that they accidentally
set fire to the building. It would be difficult to imagine a pontiff
who was farther removed from saintliness, yet in an age when the
36 • NEXUS
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