|Birth name||Theophylactus of Tusculum|
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
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
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. 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.
Benedict was the nephew of his immediate predecessor, Pope John XIX. In October 1032, his father obtained his election through bribery. However, his reputed dissolute activities provoked a revolt on the part of the Romans. Benedict was driven out of Rome and Pope Sylvester III elected to succeed him. Some months later, Benedict and his supporters managed to expel Sylvester. Benedict then decided to abdicate in favor of his godfather, the Archpriest of St. John by the Latin Gate, provided he was reimbursed for his expenses. Gratian then became Pope Gregory VI. Benedict subsequently had second thoughts and returned, and attempted to depose Gregory. A number of prominent clergy appealed to Henry, King of the Germans to restore order. Henry and his forces crossed the Brenner Pass into Italy, where he summoned the Council of Sutri to decide the matter. Benedict, Sylvester, and Gregory were all deposed. Henry then nominated the bishop of Bamberg, Suidger von Morsleben, who was consecrated and became Pope Clement II in December 1046, thus clearing the way for Henry to be immediately crowned Holy Roman Emperor by a pope recognized as legitimate.
While Benedict IX has an execrable reputation as pope, R.L. Poole suggests that some of the calumnies directed against him be understood in the context that they were perpetrated by virulent political enemies.
Benedict was the son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum, and was a nephew of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope John XIX. He was also a grandnephew of Pope John XII. His father obtained the Papal chair for him by bribing the Romans.
Horace K. Mann, writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia says Benedict IX was about 20 when made pontiff in October 1032.Other sources state 11 or 12, based upon the unsubstantiated testimony of Rupert Glaber, a monk of St. Germanus at Auxerre. Benedict IX 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.
His life was incredibly scandalous, and factional strife continued.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." Horace K. Mann calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter". He was the first pope rumoured to have been primarily homosexual. Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts of violence and sodomy. His life as a pope was so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."
According to Reginald Lane Poole, "In a time of acute political hostility accusations, as we know too well, are made and are believed, which in a calmer time would never have been suggested."He further suggests the credibility of such accusations was determined by probability rather than proof, and a reaction to the Tusculum hegemony.
Poole observes that "we have to wait until he had discredited himself by his sale of the Papacy before we hear anything definite about his misdeeds; and the further we go in time and place, the worse his character becomes". Poole considers Benedict "a negligent Pope, very likely a profligate man",but notes that the picture presented of Benedict is drawn at a time when the party opposed to him was in the ascendant, and he had neither friends nor supporters.
He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036, but returned with the help of Emperor Conrad II, who had expelled the bishops of Piacenza and Cremona from their sees.Bishop Benno of Piacenza accused Benedict of "many vile adulteries and murders".
In September 1044, opposition to Benedict IX's dissolute lifestyle 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.
Doubting his own ability to maintain his position, and wishing to marry his cousin, Benedict decided to abdicate,and consulted his godfather, the pious priest John Gratian, about the possibility of resigning. He offered to give up the papacy into the hands of his godfather if he would reimburse him for his election expenses. With a desire to rid the See of Rome of such an unworthy pontiff, John Gratian paid him the money and was recognized as pope in his stead, as Gregory VI. St. Peter Damian hailed the change with joy and wrote to the new pope, urging him to deal with the scandals of the church in Italy, singling out the wicked bishops of Pesaro, of Città di Castello and of Fano.
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. A number of influential clergy and laity implored Emperor Henry III to cross the Alps and restore order.
Henry 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.
Benedict is usually recognized as having had three terms as pope:
| Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum |
| Hugh of Italy |
(also married Marozia)
| Alberic I of Spoleto |
| Marozia |
| Pope Sergius III |
|Alda of Vienne|| Alberic II of Spoleto |
|David or Deodatus|| Pope John XI |
|Gregory I, Count of Tusculum|| Pope John XII |
| Pope Benedict VII |
| Pope Benedict VIII |
| Alberic III, Count of Tusculum |
| Pope John XIX |
|Peter, Duke of the Romans||Gaius||Octavianus||Pope Benedict IX|
Pope Clement II, was Pope from 25 December 1046 until his death in 1047. He was the first in a series of reform-minded popes from Germany.
Pope Gregory VI, born John Gratian in Rome, was Pope from 1 May 1045 until his abdication at the Council of Sutri on 20 December 1046.
Pope Sylvester III or Silvester III, born Giovanni dei Crescenzi-Ottaviani in Rome, was pope from 20 January to March 1045.
Pope Gregory VII, born Hildebrand of Sovana, was pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085.
Pope Damasus II was Pope from July 17 1048 to his death on 9 August that same year. He was the second of the German pontiffs nominated by Emperor Henry III. A native of Bavaria, he was the third German to become Pope and had one of the shortest papal reigns.
Pope/Antipope Benedict X was born Giovanni, a son of Guido, a brother of the notorious Pope Benedict IX, a member of the dominant political dynasty in the region at that time. He reportedly later was given the nickname of Mincius (thin) due to his ignorance.
Pope John XIX was Pope from May 1024 to his death in 1032.
Saeculum obscurum is a name given to a period in the history of the Papacy during the first two-thirds of the 10th century, beginning with the installation of Pope Sergius III in 904 and lasting for sixty years until the death of Pope John XII in 964. During this period, the popes were influenced strongly by a powerful and allegedly corrupt aristocratic family, the Theophylacti, and their relatives.
A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal renunciation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, there are disputed claims of four popes having resigned, dating from the 3rd to the 11th centuries; a fifth disputed case may have involved an antipope.
Benedict may refer to:
The Council of Sutri was called by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III and opened on December 20, 1046, in the hilltown of Sutri, at the edge of the Duchy of Rome. The Catholic Church does not list this as an ecumenical council.
The counts of Tusculum were the most powerful secular noblemen in Latium, near Rome, in the present-day Italy between the 10th and 12th centuries. Several popes and an antipope during the 11th century came from their ranks. They created and perfected the political formula of noble-papacy, wherein the Pope was arranged to be elected only from the ranks of the Roman nobles. The Pornocracy, the period of influence by powerful female members of the family, also influenced papal history.
The Bad Popes is a 1969 book by E. R. Chamberlin documenting the lives of eight of the most controversial popes :
In nomine Domini is a papal bull written by Pope Nicholas II and a canon of the Council of Rome. The bull was issued on 13 April 1059 and caused major reforms in the system of papal election, most notably establishing the cardinal-bishops as the sole electors of the pope, with the consent of minor clergy.
Papal appointment was a medieval method of selecting a pope. Popes have always been selected by a council of Church fathers, however, Papal selection before 1059 was often characterized by confirmation or "nomination" by secular European rulers or by their predecessors. The later procedures of the papal conclave are in large part designed to constrain the interference of secular rulers which characterized the first millennium of the Roman Catholic Church, and persisted in practices such as the creation of crown-cardinals and the jus exclusivae. Appointment might have taken several forms, with a variety of roles for the laity and civic leaders, Byzantine and Germanic emperors, and noble Roman families. The role of the election vis-a-vis the general population and the clergy was prone to vary considerably, with a nomination carrying weight that ranged from near total to a mere suggestion or ratification of a prior election.
There was no uniform procedure for papal selection before AD 1059. The bishops of Rome and supreme pontiffs (popes) of the Catholic Church were often appointed by their predecessors or by political rulers. While some kind of election often characterized the procedure, an election that included meaningful participation of the laity was rare, especially as the popes' claims to temporal power solidified into the Papal States. The practice of papal appointment during this period would later result in the jus exclusivae, i. e., a right to veto the selection that Catholic monarchs exercised into the twentieth century.
The history of the papacy from 1048 to 1257 was marked by conflict between popes and the Holy Roman Emperor, most prominently the Investiture Controversy, a dispute over who— pope or emperor— could appoint bishops within the Empire. Henry IV's Walk to Canossa in 1077 to meet Pope Gregory VII (1073–85), although not dispositive within the context of the larger dispute, has become legendary. Although the emperor renounced any right to lay investiture in the Concordat of Worms (1122), the issue would flare up again.
The Tusculan Papacy was a period of papal history from 1012 to 1048 where three successive Counts of Tusculum installed themselves as pope.
Cuius vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit, horresco referre
|Catholic Church titles|
| Pope |
| Pope |
| Pope |