April 29, 2009

Papal Errors as Documented by Catholics

Disclaimer: i hate to sound redundant. This is at least my third post listing various errors and sins of the popes, the self-proclaimed "infallible" leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. (The other two are found here and here. My other recent posts made use of Biblical and/or logical reasoning.)

But there seem to be people who still don't get it --- and so here goes. These are MORE papal contradictions and errors, as documented by Catholics themselves. Some left, others stayed, and at least one is appealing for reforms. (See footnotes.)

My point, as always, is to appeal to the Catholics to listen to God Himself, through the Bible that you recognize as His Word...to hold the Bible infallible and supreme over any human, even popes...to test doctrines and traditions against the authority of the Bible and not the other way around.

" by Mary Ann Collins (A Former Catholic Nun), October 2002. (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/robin.brace/1papal.htm). (Thanks to Sir Auggie of TheDisciplers.Com for the reference.)

  • Pope Honorius reigned from 625 to 638 A.D. He was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681). He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century. [Note 1]
  • In 769, Pope Stephen IV came to power with the help of an army which conquered the previous Pope. Stephen gave orders for his papal rival to be flogged, have his eyes cut out, have his kneecaps broken, and be imprisoned until he died. Then Pope Stephen sentenced a second man to die a slow, agonizing death. He had pieces of his body cut off every day until he finally died. [Note 2]
  • Pope Leo V only reigned for one month (July 903). Cardinal Christopher put Leo in prison and became Pope. Then Christopher was put in prison by Cardinal Sergius. Sergius killed Leo and Christopher while they were in prison. He also killed every cardinal who had opposed him. [Note 3]
  • Pope John XII reigned from 955 to 964. He was a violent man. He was so lustful that people of his day said that he turned the Lateran Palace into a brothel. He drank toasts to the devil. When gambling he invoked pagan gods and goddesses. He was killed by a jealous husband while in the act of committing adultery with the man's wife. [Note 4]
  • In the tenth century, a wealthy Italian noblewoman named Marozia put nine popes into office in eight years. In order to do that, she also had to get rid of reigning popes. Two of them were strangled, one was suffocated, and four disappeared under mysterious circumstances. One of the popes was Marozia's son; he was fathered by a Pope. [Note 5]
  • In 1003, Pope Silvester II was murdered by his successor, Pope John XVII. Seven months later, John was poisoned. [Note 6]
  • Pope Benedict VIII reigned from 1012 to 1024. He kept a private force of "pope's men" who were known for torture, maimings, and murder. The Pope personally ordered many assassinations. He enjoyed cutting the tongues out of living men and he had a reputation for blood lust. [Note 7]
  • When Benedict VIII died, his brother seized power and became Pope John XIX. He had himself ordained a priest, consecrated as a bishop, and crowned as pope, all in the same day. John died under suspicious circumstances. [Note 8]
  • Pope Benedict IX reigned from 1032 to 1044, in 1045, and from 1047 to 1048. He became Pope through bribery. He had sex with men, women and animals. He gave orders for people to be murdered. He also practiced witchcraft and Satanism. The citizens of Rome hated Benedict so much that on two occasions he had to flee from Rome. Benedict sold the papacy to Pope Gregory VI. As part of the deal, he continued to live in the Lateran Palace, with a generous income. Benedict filled the Lateran Palace with prostitutes. [Note 9]
  • In 1298, Pope Boniface ordered that every man, woman, child and animal in the Italian town of Palestrina be slaughtered. He was known for torture, massacre, and ferocity. [Note 10]
  • Pope Clement VI reigned from 1342 to 1352. He ordered the slaughter of an entire Italian town. He lived a life of luxury and extravagance. He openly admitted that he sold church offices and he used threats and bribery to gain power. Clement purchased a French palace which became known as a papal brothel. [Note 11]
  • Pope Alexander VI reigned from 1492 to 1503. He was known for murder, bribery and selling positions of authority in the Church. He was grossly licentious. On one occasion he required 50 prostitutes to dance naked before him and to engage in sexual acts for his entertainment. He had cardinals killed so that he could confiscate their property and sell their positions to ambitious men. He died of poison after having dinner with a cardinal. It was rumored that the cardinal suspected that the Pope would try to poison him and he therefore switched wine goblets with the Pope. [Note 12]
  • Pope Julius II reigned from 1503 to 1513. He became Pope through bribery. He was extremely ruthless and violent. He had a reputation for lust, drunknness, rages, deception, and nepotism. [Note 13]

  • Pope Leo X reigned from 1513 to 1521. He put a statue of himself in Rome's Capitol to be saluted by the public. He had statues of Greek gods and goddesses put in Rome. [Note 14]
  • Pope Gregory VII reigned from 1073 to 1085. He required kings and emperors to kiss his foot. Gregory and his successors used forged documents in order to expand the power of the papacy. Some Roman Catholics tried to expose these forgeries but they were excommunicated for it. However, the Orthodox Church kept records and wrote detailed information about the forgeries. [Note 15] (For more information about this, see my article "Forged Documents and Papal Power".)
  • Simony was rampant among clerics. It was commonplace for priests to pay money in order to become bishops and abbots. Pope Gregory VII said that he knew of more than 40 men who became Pope by means of bribery. [Note 16]
  • Pope Innocent III reigned from 1198 to 1216. He said that the Pope is the ruler of the world and the father of princes and kings. He claimed that every priest and bishop must obey the Pope even if the Pope commands something evil. Pope Innocent wanted to get rid of the Albigensian heretics who lived in France. He forced the King of France to kill hundreds of thousands of French citizens. The Albigensians lived mingled among the French Catholics. Pope Innocent commanded that every person in the region, including the Catholics, be killed. This was called the Albigensian Crusade, or the Albigensian Massacre. The Pope gave the Albigensian Crusaders a special indulgence which was supposed to guarantee that if they died in battle then their sins would be remitted and they would go to Heaven. [Note 17]
  • Sometimes two or more men would claim to be Pope at the same time. All of these claimants to the papacy had followers. Eventually one contender would be declared to be Pope, and the other would be declared to be an antipope. For centuries, Roman Catholic books differed as to which men they considered to be the genuine popes. However, today there is much more agreement about which men were popes and which men were antipopes. According to the "Catholic Encyclopedia," there were thirty antipopes. [Note 18]
  • The Apostle Paul said, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife..." (1 Timothy 3:1, emphasis added) "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:4-5, emphasis added) ...Pope Gregory VII wanted to increase the power of the papacy. For reasons of politics and power, he abolished clerical marriage. In 1074 he passed laws requiring that priests be celibate, and he got rid of married priests. [Note 19] As a result, since 1074 no Pope has been able to meet the Apostle Paul's requirement for bishops. Now I realize that some individuals ........ are called to be celibate. I could understand a few exceptions to the rule. But for nearly a thousand years, not one Pope or cardinal or bishop has ever been able to meet Paul's qualifications for being a bishop.


1. William Webster, "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History" (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), pages 63-71. The author is a former Catholic.
Peter de Rosa, "Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy" (Dublin, Ireland: Poolbeg Press, 1988, 2000), pages 208-209. The author is a practicing Catholic and a former Catholic priest. While he was a priest, he did research in the Vatican Archives.
Hans Kung, "The Catholic Church: A Short History" (translated by John Bowden) (New York: Modern Library, 2001, 2003), page 60. The author is a Catholic theologian.
2. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church" (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1981), pages 85-89. Martin recently died. He was a Catholic priest, a Vatican insider, and the personal confessor of Pope John XXIII. He did research in the Vatican Archives. His books are a plea for reform within the Catholic Church.
3. Malachi Martin, page 123.
4. Peter de Rosa, pages 211-215. Hans Kung, page 79.
5. Malachi Martin, page 119. Hans Kung, page 79.
6. Malachi Martin, page 131.
7. Malachi Martin, pages 130-131.
8. Malachi Martin, pages 131-132.
9. Malachi Martin, page 132. Peter de Rosa, pages 54-56.
10. Paul Johnson, "A History of Christianity" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976, 1995), pages 191, 218-219. Johnson is a Catholic and a prominent historian. Malachi Martin, page 175.
11. Peter de Rosa, pages 84-88.
12 .Paul Johnson, pages 280, 363. Peter de Rosa, pages 103-110. Hans Kung, pages 119-120.
Two articles about Pope Alexander VI (the Borgia Pope). The second one also discusses the Pope's son, Cardinal Cesare. If the links don't work, then go to www.crimelibrary.com and search for "Borgia".
13. Paul Johnson, pages 274, 280. Hans Kung, pages 125-126.
14. Malachi Martin, pages 202-203.
15. Paul Johnson, pages 194-198, 161. Peter de Rosa, pages 57-66. Hans Kung, pages 85-92.
William Webster, "Forgeries and the Papacy: The Historical Influence and Use of Forgeries in Promotion of the Doctrine of the Papacy". The author is a former Catholic.
16. Malachi Martin, pages 141-142.
17. Paul Johnson, pages 199-201, 252. Peter de Rosa, pages 66-74, 152-155. Hans Kung, pages 87-103. The Albigensian Crusade (the Albigensian Massacre)
18. "Antipope" in the "Catholic Encyclopedia," Volume I, 1907 (on-line edition 1999).
19. Malachi Martin, "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Church, pages 141-142.
John Shuster, "A Concise History of the Married Priesthood in Our Roman Catholic Tradition."


  1. Hi Maria,

    Your list seems to include only one instance of a Pope teaching error (Pope Innocent III), and I could not verify this (I could not find a primary source for Paul Johnson's statements). Do you have a primary source of Innocent declaring that a Pope's evil commands must be obeyed?

    Did you know that the Catholic Church admits to having popes and other clerics who behaved wretchedly? Papal infallibility only claims what Christ promised to Peter in Matthew 16:17-19, that the Church would be protected from Hell (in this case, the Pope making false doctrinal claims concerning faith and morals). Other Scripture sources include Matt 18:18 and Luke 10:16.

    In Christ,

  2. Dear Phil,

    Thank you for your comments, and apologies for the lateness of my reply.

    "The gates of hell shall not prevail against [Jesus' Church]." (Matthew 16:18) - "Gates" refers to hell being on the defensive, and the Church being on the attack. But I agree that God protects us even when we make mistakes. I am just, in my own way, seeking to make those mistakes known. Not to malign any institution or anybody, but to help each other walk towards the right path.

    You quote Matthew 18:18 and Luke 10:16, where Jesus bestows authority on His followers. You have rightly pointed out that church/spiritual leaders have authority, and they are protected. But remember also that to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). Likewise, the apostle Paul draws up numerous criteria for those who aspire to lead God's flock (1 Timothy 3:1-13).

    Regarding the references: please recall that I am only reprinting this article, but that the references are clearly cited for verification. Frankly, I do not have any primary source for Paul Johnson or Pope Innocent; but then again, would anyone really have a document saying that "my evil commands must be obeyed"?

    Yes, I am aware that the Catholic Church has admitted to un-Christian behavior of its leaders. (This happens to ALL groups of Christ-followers - Romans 3:23, Mark 10:18.) The issue here is when mistakes are propagated; when leaders use their authority, particularly infallibility, and draw their flock to follow such mistakes.

    We have the Bible, that we Christ-followers recognize as the Word of God. Much confusion would be removed if we go back to the Source of Truth, from the One who explicitly speaks it. Yes, we have leaders in the here and now and we are thankful for their guidance and instruction, but whose word and authority will we place our complete trust on?

    Thank you again Phil. You are much welcome to continue this discussion or comment on the other posts.

    Your sister in Christ,