It appears every institution in existence has undergone scandals and controversies. And the Vatican is no exemption to it. Being the main office of the largest religious institution in the world and at the same time an independent state, the Vatican is very prone to leaders who could be so frail to succumb to the wayward side of this world. Among the pontiffs who have turned remiss in their papal duties are listed below.
Pope Stephen VI
Pope Stephen VI held the pontifical office from May 22, 896 to August 897. He is chiefly remembered for his conduct towards his predecessor – Pope Formosus. For frail reasons he harbored hatred towards Formosus, so when Stephen ascended the throne he immediately ordered the exhumation of the latter. The corpse was put to trial (shown above), with a clergy answering on behalf of the deceased pontiff. He was found guilty for doing the function of a bishop while deposed and for receiving the pontifical office while he was bishop of Porto. The corpse was then stripped of his sacred vestment, had his three fingers cut off and was immediately buried but was later re-exhumed where his body was thrown in Tiber. All ordinations performed by Formosus were annulled. This grim act of Stephen ignited a tumult that resulted to his imprisonment and death by strangling.
Pope John XII
Pope John XII was Pope from December 16, 955 to May 14, 964. He could be the most evil man that ever occupied the highest office at the Vatican. He was accused of multiple diabolical acts by his enemies. He was said to have given lands to his many mistresses that include his father’s concubine and even his niece. He made the sacred palace into a whorehouse and ordained many incompetent people into a bishop that include a 10-year old boy. His enemies accused him further of committing multiple murders. Pope John XII was eventually killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife according to allegations. Albeit, the pope was never seen to have done such evil acts but his accusers confessed with certainty. For this reason, many church scholars of today remain uncertain regarding the true story of this beleaguered Pope.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI was Pope from 1492 to 1503. His administration at first was marked by strict administration, in contrast to the previous pontificate. But it did not last long when he begun to fill the Vatican with his relatives. He had a mistress with whom he had three sons and a daughter. His daughter was later given a magnificent marriage at the Vatican. Alexander himself indulged in the chase, arranged dancing sessions, and stage plays while Rome became a haven of criminals. Assassinations, prostitution, robberies have been committed with impunity. He was said to have died unattended until his corpse swelled and barely fit in a coffin.
Pope Clement VII
Pope Clement VII held the pontificate from 1513 to 15 23. He was not linked to something sensual in contrast to other Popes who were considered bad. His remiss was his power-politicking with France, Spain and Germany. At first he sent an archbishop to those European nations to bring the war. Soon he went friendly with France and it became the beginning of his wavering politics. It all resulted to the fall of Vatican and of Rome thereafter. Series of murders, rapes and vandalism followed and ended forever the Renaissance Rome. Pope Clement was later held prisoner.
Pope Benedict IX
Pope Benedict IX was Pope from 1032 to 1044, again in 1045, and reclaimed the papacy for the last time from 1047 to 1048. His ascent to the throne a number of times was due to his being a nephew of two former Popes. His father acquired the pontifical office for him while he was around 18 to 20 years old, making him very incompetent for the sacred office. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, he led an extremely immoral life and called him a disgrace to the chair of Peter. St. Peter Damian described him as “feasting on immorality” and “a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest.”
Based on the records of their primary deeds while in office, one can safely say that these Popes were really remiss in their sacred duties. In defense of the Catholic Church and in which every sensible individual will likely agree, the brunt of culpability entirely belongs to these people, not on the religious institution where they have served with incredible failures.