Bad popes

A thing that anti-Catholics keep as trump card for every argument. I think the number is exaggerated because many popes in pope list are saints. can someone please help me know who the bad popes were, what they did? thank you!!!

There are about five really bad (meaning evil, not meaning ineffective) Popes. But the quantity is irrelevant - one evil Pope presents the same problem as 100. So never squabble over numbers - it dilutes the conversation. Accept whatever number they throw out - it doesn’t matter.

Never try to deflect criticism about bad Popes, because history is against you. They were bad and they were Popes, and this is the simple truth of the matter, so never try to explain it away or minimize it. You need to confront it and explain why it doesn’t matter.

In a way, these bad Popes have done Catholic apologists a favor. It is this favor that you need to point out to your detractors.

The Church says that a Pope may infallibly teach Doctrine, but is not personally sinless. Anti-Catholics reason that, if we can have an evil Pope, he can teach an evil Doctrine, which the Church is obliged to accept.

The Church teaches that evil Popes are prevented by the Holy Spirit from teaching evil doctrine. If we had never had any evil Popes, it would be difficult to demonstrate this teaching. We have had evil Popes, but not one of them has ever tried to codify his sins into Doctrine. That, in itself, is pretty amazing.

You have to take the bad history with the good, but this is the good part - the Holy Spirit has prevailed. Ask them to show, from any reputable historic record, where ANY of these Popes EVER taught sin as Doctrine. They can’t.

I might add that Jesus prepared us for this:

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees [we would say Bishops and Popes] have seated themselves in the chair of Moses* [we would say Peter]*; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say one thing but do another. [Matt 23:1-3]

Yes, we should obey what they teach, but not follow after their evil deeds. Jesus said that. And that is what we do - we accept the teaching of the Church (but not the sins of Her members, or even of Her Popes).

Are you more concerned about defending and being loyal to Catholicism (i.e. popes) or Christ and his teaching?

Well said.
Mary.

For a catholic, what is the difference? :shrug: Catholicism=Christ + his teachings. or rather, to defend Christ and his teachings fully is to defend catholic faith. :slight_smile:

Why does there have to be any conflict? Jesus established the Church, and endowed Peter with particular authority:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter (Greek: Rock), and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” [Matt 16:13-19]

A bit of the meaning of that passage is lost in modern English, because we have lost the distinction between singular and plural second-person pronouns (ie, “you” can be singular or plural). But this is not so in Greek (or in older English). From the KJV:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye plural] that I am?

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou singular] art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou singular], Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee singular], but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee singular], That thou singular] art Peter [Greek: Rock], and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And I will give unto thee singular] the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou singular] shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou singular] shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Peter was singled out for this authority. How can you deny it?

Yes.

Thank you. Yes, I tell why infllibility is not same as holiness. But that’s not the only place the bad popes are brought. they come up in virtually every argument, the wisdom is that catholic history is FULL of evil men holding powerful positions. But that cannot be true because the 2oth centur at least has many holy popes and I saw the list of popes first centuries were all saints. So I just want balance. I don’t think its ok to accept a distorted history that portrays the church as nothing short of evil organization. I think good to set record straight.

so I say, yes there have been some bad popes, and then I name them, and then explain the distinction between infallible and holy, but then I compare them with the vast greater number of holy popes and show that for the MOST part, the church has been inhabited by good men, sinners of course, but good men all the same.

its not ok to have a picture that your organization is prone to evil men at the helm. you may win the technical argument but the principle of knowing things by the fruit it produces is one every human has in his mind and heart. I think too often catholics capitulate on showing the world the good in our church and history and go along with the myth that we are here miraculously because we have virtually been led by incarnated demons through out. that does not convert hearts. Saints, holiness goodness converts hearts.:slight_smile:

There is actually a book on this, aptly titled: “The Bad Popes”. It details the lives of the eight “worst” popes who, according to the wiki entry about the book, are:

--Pope Stephen VI (896–897), who had his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed, tried, de-fingered, briefly reburied, and thrown in the Tiber.

--Pope John XII (955–964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.

--Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, 1045, 1047–1048), who "sold" the Papacy

--Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who is lampooned in Dante's Divine Comedy

--Pope Urban VI (1378–1389), who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured.

--Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503), a Borgia, who was guilty of nepotism and whose unattended corpse swelled until it could barely fit in a coffin.

--Pope Leo X (1513–1521), a spendthrift member of the Medici family who once spent 1/7 of his predecessors' reserves on a single ceremony

--Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), also a Medici, whose power-politicking with France, Spain, and Germany got Rome sacked.

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You’re getting yourself bogged down in historic arguments. Don’t do that.

Turn it around on them. Say, “Well, I don’t agree with your number, but it doesn’t matter, so lets say that each and every Pope has been bad, from Peter to Francis. Now I will explain why it doesn’t matter…”

You have just pulled the rug out from under them on their list of bad Popes. It is no longer a weapon.

You want to get away from the history and get to the doctrine as soon as possible. If you try to say that Pope Alexander-6 wasn’t really that bad, they will crush you and feel they won the argument. They didn’t win anything, because what they proved is irrelevant.

The minute you start debating the merits of particular Popes (even meritorious ones), you have validated their whole argument that sinful Popes undermine the Church. It’s their argument that is truly flawed, not their list of bad Popes. If their argument is not valid then none of the Popes on their list matter.

Don’t debate irrelevant things. You might loose (because you might not know your history as well as you think you do, and you thus leave your detractors feeling victorious). Debate doctrine. That’s where they can never win.

Thank you.:slight_smile:

OK. Thank you for the advice. :slight_smile:

The number of “bad” (as in immoral/evil/not very nice men at all) Popes doesn’t matter. What matters is the number of “bad” Popes who changed Church teachings to support their bad behavior. That number would be 0.

I can’t see how it’s completely irrelevant.
These men are supposed to be “vicars of christ”, Bishops of Rome, and worldwide leaders of the Catholic church who are chosen by highly respected Cardinals with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Of course it’s relevant.

OP, fyi…not that i am encouraging you to read all these, but there is another book that has all 5-star reviews on Amazon.com called: “Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy” published in 2000 and readers say it is excellent. In case you want more knowledge about this subject.

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The bad popes certainly do make for interesting reading!

Pretty much any organization is at least occasionally going to have people who abuse their authority to get away with bad behavior, or who are just bad people who happen to worm their way into authority.

But in the end, no matter how bad some of the popes were, how deceitful or immoral, the teachings of the Church are not immoral. Period.

No where does the Church teach that cheating, fornication, murder, wrath, gluttony etc are ok or encouraged. Nowhere.

I’m not even a Catholic but I can see that.

There have always some very bad leaders of God’s people. Even before Christ there were bad leaders of the Hebrew people. That didn’t stop them from being the means of revaluation and the source of Scripture.
Even though Jesus chose Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles, does that mean we should stop following Jesus because of Judas?

Being a disciple of Christ is not the same as being a Catholic. Do you not see the traditions of men have attached to Christ and the apostles teachings over time to create various Christian religion(s)?

The Pharisees and Sadducees were more concerned about protecting Jewish religion than Moses and the prophets teachings that they couldn’t believe in Christ.

To be a true disciple of Christ you have to unlearn what is the tradition of men versus Word of God in any generation.

Evidence please.

Do you not see the traditions of men have attached to Christ and the apostles teachings over time to create various Christian religion(s)?

What would these be? How is it relevant to the OP?

The Pharisees and Sadducees were more concerned about protecting Jewish religion than Moses and the prophets teachings that couldn’t believe in Christ.

To be a true disciple of Christ you have to unlearn what is the tradition of men versus Word of God.

There have always some very bad leaders of God’s people. Even before Christ there were bad leaders of the Hebrew people. That didn’t stop them from being the means of revaluation and the source of Scripture.
Even though Jesus chose Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles, does that mean we should stop following Jesus because of Judas?
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In order stick to the salient issue in the OP and not to get side tracked by off topic postings, I would like to ask One Point to respond to RBushlows comments. Thank you.

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