Church history question on the "pornocracy"


#1

I've been doing some research on the Church leading up to the year AD 1000, and will be writing up an article in the next month. I'm curious if anyone can recommend any good Catholic sources that give an accurate treatment to the so-called "pornocracy" period of the Papacy. The term means "rule by prostitutes" and refers to period when Popes came under the influence of a woman named Theodora. She is reputed to have mistress and mother to Popes. Some sources I read say the woman of Rome were afraid to go to Mass for fear of being sexually assaulted. Pope John XII alledgedly turned the Lateran Palace into a brotherl and died while in the very act of adultery.

If all that is true, it's true. It doesn't change the Holy foundation and mission of the Church or Christ's promise to preserve it. My question is how much is true? I know a good deal of propaganda use has been made of the era by opponents of the Church- "pornocracy" was coined by Protestants several centuries later. So while I'm not shy about acknowledging true history, I don't want to relate things that simply aren't true.

So can anyone recommend a book that would give a fair and accurate account of the topic.

Pax Christi and God bless


#2

Theodora was the Byzantine empress who started off life as a prostitute and influenced her husband Justinian. Nothing to do with the papacy.

Pope John XII was reportedly involved in adultery, but as far as turning the Lateran in a brothel, that was just poetic license in describing the pope’s reputed immorality. I’ve heard the same about the white house, but no president actually changed the white house into a bordello regardless of how many mistresses he might have had. It is just an expression.


#3

For accurate **info - read "CATHOLICISM for DUMMIES**" by Frs. Trigilio and Breghenti.
12 Popes (of the 266) were listed as "Soundrals", and this book explains why, and why it did not affect the teachings of the Church.

Let's not repeat false rumors.
Much of your info is wrong, and since you asked the question, it appears you want accuracy without errors and lies on any paper you put your name on.

As you indicated: - Protestantism (which started many false statements) was not started until the 1500's. They have no reliable documentation for the statements you pose in your posting.
This was not even in the statements by Luther, Calvin or Henry VIII.


#4

[quote="Dan_Daly, post:1, topic:262055"]
I've been doing some research on the Church leading up to the year AD 1000, and will be writing up an article in the next month. I'm curious if anyone can recommend any good Catholic sources that give an accurate treatment to the so-called "pornocracy" period of the Papacy. The term means "rule by prostitutes" and refers to period when Popes came under the influence of a woman named Theodora. She is reputed to have mistress and mother to Popes. Some sources I read say the woman of Rome were afraid to go to Mass for fear of being sexually assaulted. Pope John XII alledgedly turned the Lateran Palace into a brotherl and died while in the very act of adultery.

If all that is true, it's true. It doesn't change the Holy foundation and mission of the Church or Christ's promise to preserve it. My question is how much is true? I know a good deal of propaganda use has been made of the era by opponents of the Church- "pornocracy" was coined by Protestants several centuries later. So while I'm not shy about acknowledging true history, I don't want to relate things that simply aren't true.

So can anyone recommend a book that would give a fair and accurate account of the topic.

Pax Christi and God bless

[/quote]

Eamon Duffy's Saints and Sinners is a general history of the Popes by a respected Catholic scholar. John O'Malley's History of the Popes *andJohn Julius Norwich's *Absolute Monarchs *are other accessible general treatments. O'Malley is a Jesuit scholar (he wrote an excellent history of the early Jesuits); Norwich is a self-proclaimed "agnostic Anglican." J. N. D. Kelly's *Oxford Dictionary of the Popes (Kelly was an Anglican scholar) is a solid reference source for individual popes.

Edwin


#5

Just a note that Theodora is revered as a saint by the Orthodox.

orthodoxwiki.org/Theodora_(wife_of_Justinian)


#6

It’s a different Theodora, as the period being discussed was around the 900s, and the Theodora you’re referring to lived in the 500s.


#7

Please post the source for your claim.


#8

[quote="Like, post:7, topic:262055"]
Please post the source for your claim.

[/quote]

He is right...

Theodora of the 10th century.... (Theodora, wife of Theophylact, count of Tusculum and mother of …guess who? None other than whore# 1, yes, Marozia. Theodora is the mistress of Pope John X (reigns 914-928)

Is different from St Theodora ....(Theodora was a Byzantine Empressc. 815 – after 867 as the spouse of the Byzantine emperor Theophilos)

Who is different from St Theodora ...(Theodora (c. 500 – June 28, 548), was empress of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the wife of Emperor Justinian I. )

;)

And in fact...there are even more Theodora's in history.


#9

Pics or it didnt happen


#10

That’s what they say about Our Lord, too. :thumbsup:


#11

I don’t really know how accurate any of this is but I think it at least shows that the claims about Theodora and the papacy that the OP was bringing up are referring to the period from 904-962 AD, several centuries after Justinian’s wife Theodora.

books.google.com/books?id=LWtbAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=pornocracy+of+papacy&source=bl&ots=7hST_PTKTX&sig=M-sEvtdElWfgA_IQDIkBpvTcQAs&hl=en#v=onepage&q=pornocracy%20of%20papacy&f=false

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saeculum_obscurum

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodora_(senatrix)


#12

Thank you!


#13

Thanks for the correction and clarification!


#14

Thank you for the help all.

Pax Christi


#15

Try to get hold of Warren H Carroll's excellent "History of Christendom" series. I believe the time period you are wondering about would be in Volume 2. That book will contain honest, but historically accurate, information about the Popes, even the worst of them.


#16

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