We know popes can be super fucked up in TV and film (we're looking at you Jude Law), but these ideas had to come from somewhere. Turns out a whole bunch of those guys (and gals, you'll see) had a whole bunch of dirt they were covering up. Fortunately for us, they didn't do such a good job. From the shady to the downright evil, these dudes put the "hell" in "evangelical".
Pope Benedict has been called "a demon from hell", which was coincidentally also a cute pet name my ex gave me. After being charged with sodomy, rape, and murder, Benny was forced out of Rome a couple times because the douche kept coming back. Finally, he grew tired of being under so much pressure to not be a shithead and became the first pope to ever sell the papacy.
Benedict traveled to and from Rome three times; seriously, the dude was more indecisive than Jesus when he died. When he decided it was time to GTFO the throne, he paid his godfather some cash money and the latter became the new pope. What resulted was a scramble for the position by several different wannabes, most of whom were probably more qualified than Benny the Brute.
The OG Young Pope, Lil' Johnny could have been as young as eighteen when he took the throne. Johnny was associated with many vile acts including killing a cardinal after first castrating him, and I'm not talking about a bird. In addition to that, Lil' Johnny was spending a bit too much time in the sheets rather than the church seats; he even used his own palace as a whorehouse.
That's right, the own home of the pope was a brothel. Meanwhile, John had sex with countless females, including his father's girlfriend and his own niece. One critic of his stated "This abominable priest soiled the chair of St. Peter for nine entire years." Either John was truly fucked up, or the dude was never properly potty trained. Perhaps most interesting about John XII is that out of his many mistresses, one was called Joan. Some believe that this was the same woman from the legend of Pope Joan.
A woman? As pope? Whaaaaat???According to popular legend, Joan disguised herself as a man in order to follow her true love into the world of the Church. However, she was so capable and talented that she rose through the ranks, even with her vagina dragging her down, and she was eventually elected Pope. However, her true identity was discovered when she gave birth during a church procession.
Joan was impregnated by one of her attendants and, obviously, her female identity enraged the cardinals of the Vatican. Supposedly after that event, they designated a ritual to ensure that future popes were indeed male (dicks out for the clergy!!!!!). Most historians assert that Pope Joan's story is a fictional one, but isn't that exactly what the patriarchy would want us to think?
Alexander was known for being handsome, a smooth talker, and for drawing in the ladies in the way "iron is drawn to a magnet" which sounds pretty fucking rapey. Alex admitted to not only having several mistresses, but to fathering multiple children by them. Think of the Maury Show, but without Maury and in the Vatican and your dad's the Pope.
Four of these children were the product of Alex and his first love, Vannozza, but he pretended they were his nieces and nephews. That's one way to avoid paying child support. The remaining five children claimed by our Pope were of unknown maternal origin. That's right, a majority of his kids didn't know who their mother was. And I'll go ahead and guess that he didn't either.
Julius was a respected diplomat for a time, but he decided to get all shady once he became pope. Well, he did spend a little bit of time genuinely trying to bring about reform, but, like sex with my ex, that didn't last long. For one thing, he spent papal money on a lavish palace and arts and entertainment for himself rather than helping the poor. Furthermore, Jules made moves on young boys, specifically, his adopted nephew.
Innocenzo, the aforementioned boy, was aged somewhere between fourteen and seventeen. Some Cardinals close to Julius attempted to warn him against an inappropriate relationship with, you know, his nephew, but Jules responded by actually bragging about the boy's skills in bed. After Julius' death, Innocenzo was temporarily banished from Rome for killing two men and raping two women. And none of them lived happily ever after.
For most of his life, Stephen was just a regular-ass dude. We tried to dig up some dirt about the guy, but it looked like he'd already done some sketchy digging on his own. That's right, Steve was a grave digger, and not for the reasons you might expect.
When Steve became pope, he decided it was time to get back at a previous pope, Formosus, for a bunch of shit he was still bitter about. So, Steve decided to try Formosus for his crimes in court. Only problem was, the dude had kicked the bucket nine months ago, and not because kicking stuff was the closest thing to a sport in 897.
So dead-as-a-doornail Formosus was the defendant in a fight for his life, er, well, you get it. He was somehow found guilty (even though he pled the fifth), and his papal term was declared null. In addition, Stevie cut off the three fingers that Formosus had used for blessings, in a very twisted rendition of giving someone the finger. Believe it or not, the public wasn't too chill about this whole corpse trial thing and they threw our main man in jail, where he was strangled. If you're superstitious, you might say Formosus finally got even, Stephen.
Perhaps because he looked like an egg wearing a jacket, Sergius was in many ways, cracked. That corpse trial you just heard about? You can bet Serge was involved in that. But when it came to his own two predecessors, he skipped any sort of trial and simply had them strangled to death. It was no secret that Sergius would use essentially any sort of tactic to get what he wanted, be it exile, violence, or bribery. But he is probably most known for being the only pope to have an illegitimate pope-son.
Sergius allegedly had some sexy times with his rich pal's wife, Theodora, who also happened to be a Roman senator. This didn't quench Serge's thirst, though, and he also went for her 14-year-old daughter, Marozia. Talk about a fucked up family affair. To make things even more disgusting, his relationship with the girl was actually suggested by Theodora herself, and their activities resulted in a son named John XI. Johnny Boy grew up to also become pope, because clearly his father was a wonderful role model.
However, things didn't work out so well for this Pope fam, as Marozia's other son Alberic eventually took all power away from John. Sergius himself died in 911, which certainly would be the number I would call if I ever met him.
Pope Greggers was over eighty years old when he took the throne, and he was one fucked up geezer. For one thing, his anti-Semitism shone through when he ordered the seizure and burning of Jewish books in several countries. Come on dude, I wasn't invited to any bar mitzvahs either, but you gotta relax. An interesting fact about Greg is that he received his education at the University of Paris and Bologna, since he was so clearly full of the latter. Want some more proof? He openly thought cats were spawns of the devil, a belief that potentially killed millions of people.
You read that right. Gregory is credited with creating Vox in Rama, which was the first official church document that called black cats "an incarnation of Satan" and demanded their death. Aside from the obvious ridiculousness and cruelty of these crimes against kittens, historians believe Greg's doctrine could have contributed to cat-astrophic conditions for humankind. For instance, less cats meant more rats, and more rats usually means more disease. So is it possible that the decline of the feline led to an even worse Bubonic Plague (during which, by the way, over 25 million people died)? It's certainly possible, and so we can put some of the blame on Gregory. Being a dog person has never been so deadly.