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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/19/20

The Borgias: Holy Murderers

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While they posed as pillars of piety, some medieval popes were depraved criminals.

Sergius III (reigned 904-911) allegedly had two papal rivals strangled in prison. His illegitimate son later became pope.

John XII (955-964) openly had mistresses, gave them church treasure, castrated one opponent, blinded another, and donned armor to lead the papal army.

Benedict V (May 964-June 964) reportedly dishonored a girl and looted Vatican treasure.

Boniface VII (974-985) apparently murdered a rival pope, was driven from Rome stealing Vatican treasure as he left then returned to murder a second rival and regain the papacy. Later, he was branded an antipope.

Benedict IX (1032-1048) sold the papacy to a successor for 1,500 pounds of gold, and later used troops to seize power again.

Boniface VIII (1294-1303) sent troops to kill 6,000 residents of Palestrina and raze the city. He decreed that salvation requires "that every human creature be subject to the Roman pontiff".

Clement VI (1342-1352) cavorted with mistresses on ermine bedspreads.

Urban VI (1378-1389) tortured and murdered cardinals who opposed him.

Clement VII (1378-1394) was a rival pope at Avignon, France. A year before his papacy, he ordered troops to massacre 4,000 residents of Cesena.

A previous John XXIII (not the 1950s reformer) was removed by a council in 1414, and Edward Gibbon sardonically recorded in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: "The most serious charges were suppressed: the Vicar of Christ was accused only of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy and incest."

Innocent VIII (1484-1492) flaunted his illegitimate children and gave them church riches. He launched the infamous witch hunts.

But the grandmaster of papal barbarity was Rodrigo Borgia, who became Alexander VI.

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Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached by phone at 304-348-5199 or e-mail at Email address.)James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's (more...)
 

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