This is a list of sexually active popes, Catholicpriests who were not celibate before they became popes, and popes who were legally married. Some candidates were sexually active before their election as pope, and others were accused of being sexually active during their papacies. Such relationships were often undertaken outside the bond of matrimony and each sexual act thus committed is considered a mortal sin by the Catholic Church. The Second Lateran Council (1139) made the promise to remain celibate a prerequisite to ordination, abolishing any sanctioned married priesthood.
There are various classifications for those who were sexually active at some time during their lives. Periods in parentheses refer to the years of their papacies.
For many years of the Church's history, celibacy was considered optional. Based on the customs of the times, it is assumed by many that most of the Apostles, such as Peter, were married and had families. It is clear from the New Testament (Mk 1:29–31; Mt 8:14–15; Lk 4:38–39; 1 Tim 3:2, 12; Tit 1:6) that at least Peter had been married, and that bishops, presbyters and deacons of the Early Church were often married as well. It is also clear from epigraphy, the testimony of the Church Fathers, synodal legislation, papal decretals and other sources[not specific enough to verify] that in the following centuries a married clergy, in greater or lesser numbers, was a normal feature of the life of the Church. Celibacy was not required for those ordained, but still was a discipline practised in the early Church, particularly by those in the monastic life.
Although various local Church councils had demanded celibacy of the clergy in a particular area, it was not until the Second Lateran Council (1139) that whole of the Latin (Western) Rite of the Catholic Church decided to accept people for ordination only after they had taken a promise of celibacy.
Mother-in-law is mentioned in the Gospel verses Matthew 8:14–15, Luke 4:38, Mark 1:29–31 and who was healed by Jesus at her home in Capernaum. 1 Cor. 9:5 asks whether others have the right to be accompanied by Christian wives as does "Cephas" (Peter). Clement of Alexandria wrote: "When the blessed Peter saw his own wife led out to die, he rejoiced because of her summons and her return home, and called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, 'Remember the Lord.' Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition toward those dearest to them."
Later legends, dating from the 6th century onwards, suggested that Peter had a daughter – identified as Saint Petronilla. This, however, is likely to be a result of the similarity of their names.
Held off ordination in order to continue a promiscuous lifestyle, fathering four illegitimate children (three sons and one daughter) by Silvia Ruffini after his appointment as Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosimo and Damiano. He broke his relations with her ca. 1513. He made his illegitimate son Pier Luigi Farnese the first Duke of Parma.
Received the ecclesiastical tonsure in Bologna in June 1539, but subsequently had an affair which resulted in the birth of Giacomo Boncompagni in 1548. Giacomo remained illegitimate but Gregory later appointed him Gonfalonier of the Church, governor of the Castel Sant'Angelo, as well as governor of Fermo.
Three illegitimate daughters, one of whom was Felice della Rovere (born in 1483, twenty years before his election as pope, but twelve years after his enthronement as Bishop of Lausanne). The schismatic Conciliabulum of Pisa, which sought to depose him in 1511, also accused him of being a "sodomite".
Popes alleged to be sexually active during pontificate
Accused by opponents of being the illegitimate father of Pope John XI by Marozia. Such accusations found in Liutprand of Cremona's Antapodosis, as well as the Liber Pontificalis. The accusations are disputed by another early source, the annalist Flodoard (c. 894–966): John XI was brother of Alberic II, the latter being the offspring of Marozia and her husband Alberic I, so John too may have been the son of Marozia and Alberic I. Fauvarque emphasizes that contemporary sources are dubious, Liutprand being "prone to exaggeration" while other mentions of this fatherhood appear in satires written by supporters of Pope Formosus.
Accused by adversaries of adultery and incest.Benedict of Soracte noted that he had "a collection of women." According to Liutprand of Cremona, "they testified about his adultery, which they did not see with their own eyes, but nonetheless knew with certainty: he had fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father's concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse." According to Chamberlin, John was "a Christian Caligula whose crimes were rendered particularly horrific by the office he held". Some sources report that he died 8 days after being stricken by paralysis while in the act of adultery, others that he was killed by the jealous husband while in the act of committing adultery.
According to Stefano Infessura, Sixtus was a "lover of boys and sodomites" – awarding benefices and bishoprics in return for sexual favours, and nominating a number of young men as cardinals, some of whom were celebrated for their good looks. However, Infessura had partisan allegiances to the Colonna family and so is not considered to be always reliable or impartial.
(1032– became pope in 1044, again in 1045 and finally 1047–1048).
Accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries." Pope Victor III referred in his third book of Dialogues to "his rapes... and other unspeakable acts." His life prompted Peter Damian to write an extended treatise against illicit sex in general, and homosexuality in particular. In his Liber Gomorrhianus, Damian accused Benedict IX of routine sodomy and bestiality and sponsoring orgies. In May 1045, Benedict IX resigned his office to get married.
^Ridolfi, Roberto (1959). The Life of Girolamo Savonarola.
^George L. Williams, Papal Genealogy: The Families And Descendants Of The Popes, page 74: "Clement now made Alessandro de Medici "his illegitimate son by a slave" into the first duke of Florence" , McFarland & Company, 1998, ISBN0-7864-2071-5
^Jean de Pins, Letters and Letter Fragments, page 292, footnote 5 (Libraire Droze S.A., 2007) ISBN978-2-600-01101-3
^Katherine McIver, Women, Art, And Architecture in Northern Italy, 1520–1580: Negotiating Power, page 26 (Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2006) ISBN0-7546-5411-7
^Liber Pontificalis (first ed., 500s; it has papal biographies up to Pius II, d. 1464)
^Reverend Horace K. Mann, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Volumes 1–13 quote: "Was John XI the son of Pope Sergius by the abandoned Marozia? Liutprand says he was, and so does the author of the anonymous catalogue in the Liber Pontificalis in his one-line notice of John XI." (1928)
^Anura Gurugé, The Next Pope: After Pope Benedict XVI, page 37: "John XI (#126) would also appear to have been born out of wedlock. His mother, Marozia, from the then powerful Theophylacet family, was around sixteen years old at the time. Liber Pontificalis, among others, claim that Sergius III (#120), during his tenure as pope, was the father." (WOWNH LLC, 2010). ISBN978-0-615-35372-2
^Fauvarque, Bertrand (2003). "De la tutelle de l'aristocratie italienne à celle des empereurs germaniques". In Y.-M. Hilaire (Ed.), Histoire de la papauté, 2000 ans de missions et de tribulations. Paris:Tallandier. ISBN2-02-059006-9, p. 163.
^Joseph McCabe, Crises in The history of The Papacy: A Study of Twenty Famous Popes whose Careers and whose Influence were important in the Development of The Church and in The History of The World, page 130 (New York; London: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1916)
^"Vita Pauli Secundi Pontificis Maximi", Michael Canensius, 1734 p. 175
^Leonie Frieda, The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of Women, Power, and Intrigue in the Italian Renaissance, 1427–1527, chapter 3 (HarperCollins, 2013) ISBN978-0-06-156308-9
^Karlheinz Deschner, Storia criminale del cristianesimo (tomo VIII), Ariele, Milano, 2007, pag. 216. Nigel Cawthorne, Das Sexleben der Päpste. Die Skandalchronik des Vatikans, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln, 1999, pag. 171.
^Claudio Rendina, I Papi, Storia e Segreti, Newton Compton, Roma, 1983, p. 589
^The Book of Saints, by Ramsgate Benedictine Monks of St. Augustine's Abbey, A.C. Black, 1989. ISBN978-0-7136-5300-7
^"Cuius vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit,horresco referre." Victor III, Pope (1934). "Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite" (Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius auctore Desiderio abbate Casinensis ed.). Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters: 141. Archived from the original on 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2008-01-03.