Pope Benedict IX
October 1032 (first term)|
April 1045 (second term)
November 1047 (third term)
September 1044 (first term)|
May 1045 (second term)
July 1048 (third term)
John XIX (first term)|
Sylvester III (second term)
Clement II (third term)
Sylvester III (first term)|
Gregory VI (second term)
Damasus II (third term)
|Birth name||Theophylactus of Tusculum|
Rome, Papal States, Holy Roman Empire
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.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia Benedict IX was about 20 when made pontiff, although other sources state 11 or 12. He 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. St. Peter Damian is alleged to have described him as "feasting on immorality"; 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." The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter." The first pope said to have been primarily homosexual, he was said to have held orgies in the Lateran palace.
He was also accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries and murders". 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."[dead link]
He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036, but returned with the help of Emperor Conrad II.
In September 1044 the opposition 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.
Later in 1045, in order to rid the Church of the scandalous Benedict, his godfather, the pious priest John Gratian, persuaded Benedict to resign the papacy for a sum of money, thus allowing Gratian to become Pope Gregory VI. Some also say that Benedict wanted to marry.
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.
German King Henry III 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:
- the first lasting from his election to his expulsion in favour of Sylvester III (October 1032 – September 1044)
- the second from his return to his selling the papacy to Gregory VI (April – May 1045)
- the third from his return after the death of Clement II to the advent of Damasus II (November 1047 – July 1048)
|Theophylact I, Count of Tusculum|
|Hugh of Italy|
(also married Marozia)
|Alberic I of Spoleto|
|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|
- Coulombe, Charles A. (2003). Vicars of Christ: A History of the Popes. Citadel Press. p. 198. ISBN 0806523700.
- 12px "Pope Benedict IX". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Russel, Bertrand (1945). History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 412.
- History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages - Ferdinand Gregorovius - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
- Fletcher, Lynne Yamaguchi (1992). First Gay Pope and Other Records. Boston: Alyson. ISBN 1555832067.
- “Post multa turpia adulteria et homicidia manibus suis perpetrata, postremo, etc.”Dümmler, Ernst Ludwig (1891), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin) I (Bonizonis episcopi Sutriensis: Liber ad amicum ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 584, retrieved 2008-01-03
- Victor III, Pope (1934), Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite (in Latin) (Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius auctore Desiderio abbate Casinensis ed.), Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, p. 141, retrieved 2008-01-03,
Cuius vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit, horresco referre
- Catholic Encyclopedia
|Catholic Church titles|
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