Pope Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX

Infobox Pope
English name=Benedict IX

term_start=1. October, 1032
2. April, 1045
3. November, 1047
term_end=1. September, 1044
2. May, 1045
3. July, 1048
predecessor=1. John XIX
2. Sylvester III
3. Clement II
successor=1. Sylvester III
2. Gregory VI
3. Damasus II
birth_date=c. 1012
birthplace=Rome, Italy
dead=dead|death_date=death date|1065|105|5|mf=y, or 1085
deathplace=Grottaferrata, Italy

Pope Benedict IX (c. 1012 – 1055, 1065, or 1085), born Theophylactus, was Pope from 1032 to 1044, again in 1045, and finally from 1047 to 1048, the only man to have served as Pope for three discontinuous periods and the only man ever to have sold the papacy. He was also one of the youngest Popes.


Benedict was born in Rome, the son of Alberic III, Count of Tusculum, and the nephew of Pope Benedict VIII (1012–1024) and Pope John XIX (1024–1032). His father obtained the Papal chair for him, granting it to his son in October 1032.

According to the "Catholic Encyclopedia"1913CE|Pope Benedict IX] and other sources, Benedict IX was around 18 to 20 years old when made pontiff, although some sources claim 11 or 12. He reportedly led an extremely dissolute life, and also allegedly had few qualifications for the papacy other than connections with a socially powerful family, although in terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox. St. Peter Damian described him as "feasting on immorality" and "a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest" in the Liber Gomorrhianus. The "Catholic Encyclopedia" calls him "a disgrace to the Chair of Peter."

He was also accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries and murders." [ “Post multa turpia adulteria et homicidia manibus suis perpetrata,postremo, etc.” Citation
last = Dümmler
first = Ernst Ludwig
authorlink = Ernst Dümmler
title = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite
publisher = Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters
year = 1891
location = Hannover
pages = 584
volume = I
edition = Bonizonis episcopi Sutriensis: Liber ad amicum
url = http://www.uan.it/alim/letteratura.nsf/(volumiID)/A9E60829767DA2D2C1256D6B0074177B/$FILE/AlimBonizoAdamicum.doc?openelement
accessdate= 2008-01-03.
] Pope Victor III in his third book of Dialogues, referred to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it." [“Cujus vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit,horresco referre.” Citation
last = Victor III
first = Pope
authorlink = Pope Victor III
title = Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite
publisher = Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters
year = 1934
location = Hannover
pages = 141
edition = Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius auctore Desiderio abbate Casinensis
url = http://www.uan.it/alim/letteratura.nsf/(volumiID)/D8115E7BB6446DC9C1256D660075CE62/$FILE/AlimDesiderioDialogi.doc?openelement
accessdate= 2008-01-03

He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036 and needed the support of Emperor Conrad II (1024–1039) to return. In September 1044 he was forced from the city again and replaced by Pope Sylvester III (1045), who is sometimes considered an antipope, though generally Benedict's abdication for a financial reward is recognized as valid.Fact|date=April 2007 Benedict IX's forces returned in April 1045 and expelled his rival. There is debate as to whether Sylvester validly acquiesced to his deposition, and thus as to who was true pope from this point until the reign of Pope Clement II when Sylvester had definitely accepted abdication. However, Benedict's second term as Pope is often recognized as valid. Benedict IX then resigned in May 1045, possibly to marry, selling his office to priest John Gratian, his godfather (possibly for over 650 kg /1450 lb of gold).Fact|date=April 2007 Gratian apparently became Pope Gregory VI (1045–46) in May, 1045, though if Sylvester never validly resigned, neither Benedict nor Gregory were true Pope during this period. Benedict IX apparently soon regretted the sale and returned to try to depose Gregory VI. Sylvester III also re-emerged to make a claim.Fact|date=April 2007

Benedict IX retook Rome and remained on the throne until July 1046, although Gregory VI continued to be recognized as the true Pope. Emperor Henry III (1039–1056) intervened, and at the Council of Sutri in December 1046 Benedict IX and Sylvester III were deprived of their offices and Gregory VI was encouraged to resign, which he did. Sylvester accepted this, but Benedict IX did not actually attend. The German Bishop Suidger was crowned Pope Clement II (1046–1047), which Benedict IX rejected, though his abdication to Gregory VI was incontrovertible. After Clement II died in October 1047, Pope Benedict IX seized the Lateran Palace in November 1047, but was driven away in July 1048. During this period he is generally recognized to have had his third term as true Pope. Poppo of Brixen finally drove him out for good and was elected as Pope Damasus II (1048). Benedict IX refused to appear on charges of simony in 1049 and was excommunicated. Benedict is universally regarded to have validly acquiesced to his third deposition, and Damasus II is universally recognized as Pope.Fact|date=April 2007

Benedict IX's eventual fate is obscure. He may have given up and resigned the pontificate, dying around 1065 in the Abbey of Grottaferrata. Other sources say he died in 1085. Pope Leo IX (1049–1054) may have lifted the ban on him. Another report is that he continued to seek support for a return but died in January 1055 or 1056.Fact|date=April 2007


ee also

*List of sexually active popes
*List of ages of popes

External links

* [http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/01_01_1032-1045-_Benedictus_IX.html Opera Omnia by Migne Patrologia Latina with analytical indexes]

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