Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010

Benedict IX

Pope Benedict IX was not exactly beloved. St. Peter Damian, for one, called him a "demon from hell in the disguise of a priest." In his third book of Dialogues, Pope Victor III wrote of Benedict IX as having a "life as a pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it." No wonder Benedict IX decided to stick it to all of them, resigning in 1045 — and becoming the first man in history to sell the papacy. The buyer: the priest John Gratian (Pope Gregory VI). Benedict IX later refused to face charges of simony and was excommunicated.