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A Brief History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church


Popes who were the sons of other Popes or clergy

Name of Pope Papacy Son of
St. Damascus I 366-348 St. Lorenzo, priest
St. Innocent I 401-417 Anastasius I
Boniface 418-422 son of a priest
St. Felix 483-492 son of a priest
Anastasius II 496-498 son of a priest
St. Agapitus I 535-536 Gordiaous, priest
St. Silverus 536-537 St. Homidas, pope
Deusdedit 882-884 son of a priest
Boniface VI 896-896 Hadrian, bishop
John XI 931-935 Pope Sergius III
John XV 989-996 Leo, priest


306 Council of Elvira, Spain: a priest who sleeps with his wife the night before Mass will lose his job.

325 Council of Nicea: decreed that after ordination a priest could not marry.

352 Council of Laodicea: women are not to be ordained.

385 Pope Siricius leaves his wife in order to become pope.

Decrees priests may no longer sleep with their wives.

567 2nd Council of Tours: any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state.

580 Pope Pelagius II: married priests prohibited from handing over church property to wives or children.

598 Pope Gregory declares all sexual desire is sinful in itself.

836 Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admits abortions and infanticide take place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics.

St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.

964 Pope Benedict V rapes a young girl and abscondes to Constantinople with the papal treasury only to reappear when the money ran out.

1032 Papal miter purchased for the 11-year old Benedict IX.

Upon reaching his 14th year, a chronicler writes Benedict has already surpassed in wantonness and profligacy all who had preceded him.

Benedict often had to leave Rome in a hurry.

1073 Gregory VII is a master forger, surpassing even the great fraud known as the 'Donation of Constantine,' which forged the Papal States.

Gregory has an entire school of forgers turning out document after document bearing the papal seal of approval.

These documents are later systematized in the mid-1100s in Bologna by Gratian, a Benedictine monk.

He calls his work the Decretum, or Code of Canon Law.

The Code of Canon Law is peppered throughout with several centuries of forgeries along with fictional additions by Gratian.

Gregory formalizes the celibacy doctrine in order to curtail gifts of church lands to illegitimate children of priests and bishops.

1181 The first medieval inquisition, the episcopal inquisition, is established in the year 1184 by a papal bull of Pope Lucius III entitled Ad abolendam, "For the purpose of doing away with."

It is a response to the growing Catharist movement in southern France.

1227 Pope Gregory IX is known for issuing the Decretales and instituting the Papal Inquisition in response to the failures of the episcopal inquisitions established during the time of Pope Lucius III through his papal bull Ad abolendam issued in 1184.

1316 John XXII sets indulgence prices for crimes ranging from incest to sodomy.

According to Catholic historian Peter de Rosa in his book Vicars of Christ:

"Popes had mistresses as young as fifteen years of age, were guilty of incest and sexual perversions of every sort, had innumerable children, were murdered in the very act of adultery."

1484 Innocent VIII grants a 20-year Butterbriefe indulgence (letters of indulgence allowing the enjoyment of butter, cheese, milk, etc., during Lent) to persons who meet his price.

One can purchase the privilege of eating favorite dishes during Lent.


1492 Alexander VI (formerly Rodrigo Borgia) commits his first murder at the age of 12.

Upon assuming the Papal miter he cried, "I am Pope, Vicar of Christ!"

Like his predecessor Innocent VIII, Alexander sired many children, baptized them personally and officiated at their weddings in the Vatican.

He had ten known illegitimate children (including the notorious Cesare and Lucrezia), by his favorite mistress Vannoza Catanei.

When she faded, Borgia took the 15-year old Giulia Farnese.

Farnese obtained a Cardinal's red hat for her brother who became Paul III.

1503 Julius II purchases the Papacy with his own private fortune.

He doesn't even pretend to be a Christian.

Julius, eventually eaten away by syphilis, sires a number of bastards.

1513 Under Leo X specific fines are enumerated by the Roman Chancery for every imaginable crime.

A deacon accused of murder could be absolved for 20 crowns.

Once the indulgence was paid, he could not be prosecuted by civil authorities.

Leo X curses and excommunicates Martin Luther.


"Leo X (Giovanni de Medici) commissioned the Dominican friar Tetzel to sell indulgences which released one from purgatory.

Tetzel's famous refrain went, "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs!"

Pope Sixtus IV charged Roman brothels a Church tax.

According to historian Will Durant, in 1490 there were 6800 registered prostitutes in Rome.

Pius II declared that Rome was the only city run by bastards (the sons of Popes and Cardinals)." - Mark Owen

1563 Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage.


Popes who had illegitimate children after 1139

Innocent VIII 1484-1492 several children (not so innocent)

Alexander VI 1492-1503 several children (more than the III)

Julius 1503-1513 3 daughters

Paul III 1534-1549 3 sons, 1 daughter

Pius IV 1559-1565 3 sons

Gregory XIII 1572-1585 1 son


Paul V 1605 - 1621

Urban VIII 1623 - 1644




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