The POPE Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

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POPE from 1032 to 1044, again in 1045,  once  once  more  in
1047-1048.  One  of  the  most  corrupt and notorious of all
popes, Benedict IX is distinguished for selling  the  throne
of  St.  Peter  and  for being the only pontiff to reign for
three different periods. The nephew  of  the  two  Tusculani
popes  Benedict  VIII  and John XIX, he was the son of Count
Alberic II of Tusculum, receiving an  arranged  election  as
pope  through  the  bribes  of  his  father.  Consecrated on
October 21,1032, he was reportedly only  ten  or  twelve  at
that time --this is probably not accurate; he was most likely
in his twenties. Regardless,  the  next  twelve  years  were
spent  in  utterly  dissolute  fashion.  He  was scandalous,
sensual, and violent, remaining on the throne  only  by  the
threat of arms. Finally, in 1044, the Romans rose up against
him through the conspiring of the Crescenti family.
Benedict was driven from the city, and on January 20,  1045,
the  Crescenti  installed  John  of Sabina as Sylvester III.
Benedict refused to give up, excommunicating  Sylvester  and
returning  to  power  on  Marxh 10. This time, he could last
only two months. On May 1, he took the  outrageous  step  of
selling  the  throne  to  his godfather Giovanni Graziano, a
priest  who  took  the  name  Gregory  VI;  technically,  he
accepted  a  bribe  to  step down, but realistically, he had
given the money in return of the office.
By the next year, Benedict had come to regret  his  act.  He
thus reappeared in Rome, marking the presence of three pope,
himself, Gregory VI, and  Sylvester  III.  Summoned  to  the
Synod  of  Sutri in 1046, he refused to go, remaining behind
the walls of the fortress  of  Tusculum.  Nevertheless,  the
synod,  under  the  ruler  Henry III of Germany, deposed all
three and  appointed  Suidger  of  Bamberg  as  Clement  II.
Clement soon died (perhaps by poison) and Benedict installed
himself on November 8, 1047.
He was forced out yet again at the command of Emperor  Henry
on  July  16, 1048, in favor of Damasus II. Benedict refused
to recognize his deposition, spouting vitriol at Damasus and
his  succesor  Leo  IX  from  his  fortress. There is a long
tradition that just before his death, Benedict renounced his
terrible  life and died a penitent at Grottaferrata in Alban
Hills. His date of death is uncertain. Successors: Sylvester
III, Gregory VI, Clement II, and Damasus II.

(sebelum, sesudah)

Published by Crown Trade Paperbacks
201 East 50th Street, New York
New York 10022, USA
ISBN 0-517-88256-6

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