Pope Benedict IX

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Pope
Benedict IX
Pope Benedict IX Illustration.jpg
Papacy began October 1032 (first term)
April 1045 (second term)
November 1047 (third term)
Papacy ended September 1044 (first term)
May 1045 (second term)
July 1048 (third term)
Predecessor John XIX (first term)
Sylvester III (second term)
Clement II (third term)
Successor Sylvester III (first term)
Gregory VI (second term)
Damasus II (third term)
Personal details
Birth name Theophylactus of Tusculum
Born c. 1012
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Died c. December 1055/January 1056 (age 43)
Grottaferrata, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
Other popes named Benedict
Papal styles of
Pope Benedict IX
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style none

Pope Benedict IX (Latin: Benedictus IX; c. 1012 – c. 1056), born Theophylactus of Tusculum in Rome, was Pope on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048.[1] Aged approximately 20 at his first election, he is one of the youngest popes in history. He is the only man to have been Pope on more than one occasion and the only man ever to have sold the papacy.

Biography[edit]

Benoit IX.jpg

Benedict was the son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum, and was a nephew of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope John XIX. His father obtained the Papal chair for him, granting it to his son in October 1032.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia[2] Benedict IX was about 20 when made pontiff, although other sources state 11 or 12.[3] He reportedly led an extremely dissolute life and allegedly had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family. In terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox. St. Peter Damian is alleged to have described him as "feasting on immorality"; the anti-papal historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote that in Benedict, "It seemed as if a demon from hell, in the disguise of a priest, occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses."[4] The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter."[2] The first pope said to have been primarily homosexual,[5] he was said to have held orgies in the Lateran palace.

He was also accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries and murders".[6] Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."[7]

He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036, but returned with the help of Emperor Conrad II.

In September 1044 the opposition forced him out of the city again and elected John, Bishop of Sabina, as Pope Sylvester III. Benedict IX's forces returned in April 1045 and expelled his rival, who returned to his previous bishopric.

Later in 1045, in order to rid the Church of the scandalous Benedict, his godfather, the pious priest John Gratian, persuaded Benedict to resign the papacy for a sum of money, thus allowing Gratian to become Pope Gregory VI. Some also say that Benedict wanted to marry.

Benedict IX soon regretted his resignation and returned to Rome, taking the city and remaining on the throne until July 1046, although Gregory VI continued to be recognized as the true pope. At the time, Sylvester III also reasserted his claim.

German King Henry III intervened, and at the Council of Sutri in December 1046, Benedict IX and Sylvester III were declared deposed while Gregory VI was encouraged to resign because the arrangement he had entered into with Benedict was considered simoniacal; that is, to have been paid for. The German Bishop Suidger was crowned as Gregory's successor, Pope Clement II.

Benedict IX had not attended the council and did not accept his deposition. When Clement II died in October 1047, Benedict seized the Lateran Palace in November, but was driven away by German troops in July 1048. To fill the power vacuum, Bishop Poppo of Brixen was elected as Pope Damasus II and universally recognized as such. Benedict IX refused to appear on charges of simony in 1049 and was excommunicated.

Benedict IX's eventual fate is obscure, but he seems to have given up his claims to the papal throne. Pope Leo IX may have lifted the ban on him. Benedict IX was buried in the Abbey of Grottaferrata c. 1056. According to the abbot, he was penitent and turned away from his sins as pontiff.[8]

Benedict is usually recognized as having had three terms as pope:

  • the first lasting from his election to his expulsion in favour of Sylvester III (October 1032 – September 1044)
  • the second from his return to his selling the papacy to Gregory VI (April – May 1045)
  • the third from his return after the death of Clement II to the advent of Damasus II (November 1047 – July 1048)

Family tree[edit]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum
864–924
 
Theodora
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hugh of Italy
887-924-948
(also married Marozia)
 
Alberic I of Spoleto
d. 925
 
 
Marozia
890–937
 
 
Pope Sergius III
904–911
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alda of Vienne
 
Alberic II of Spoleto
905–954
 
David or Deodatus
 
Pope John XI
931–935
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gregory I, Count of Tusculum
 
Pope John XII
955–964
 
Pope Benedict VII
974–983
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pope Benedict VIII
Pope 1012–1024
 
Alberic III, Count of Tusculum
d. 1044
 
Pope John XIX
Pope 1024–1032
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peter, Duke of the Romans
 
Gaius
 
Octavianus
 
Pope Benedict IX
Pope 1032-1048

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coulombe, Charles A. (2003). Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes. Citadel Press. p. 198. ISBN 0806523700. 
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg "Pope Benedict IX". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  3. ^ Russel, Bertrand (1945). History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 412. 
  4. ^ History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages - Ferdinand Gregorovius - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  5. ^ Fletcher, Lynne Yamaguchi (1992). First Gay Pope and Other Records. Boston: Alyson. ISBN 1555832067. 
  6. ^ “Post multa turpia adulteria et homicidia manibus suis perpetrata, postremo, etc.”Dümmler, Ernst Ludwig (1891), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin) I (Bonizonis episcopi Sutriensis: Liber ad amicum ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 584, retrieved 2008-01-03 
  7. ^ Victor III, Pope (1934), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin) (Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius auctore Desiderio abbate Casinensis ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 141, retrieved 2008-01-03, "Cuius vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit, horresco referre" 
  8. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John XIX
Pope
1032–1044
Succeeded by
Sylvester III
Preceded by
Sylvester III
Pope
1045
Succeeded by
Gregory VI
Preceded by
Clement II
Pope
1047–1048
Succeeded by
Damasus II