20 Reasons Why Pope John XII was the Worst Pope in History
20 Reasons Why Pope John XII was the Worst Pope in History

20 Reasons Why Pope John XII was the Worst Pope in History

Tim Flight - April 29, 2019

20 Reasons Why Pope John XII was the Worst Pope in History
The death of John XII by Franco Cesat, Rome, 1861. Wikimedia Commons

1. Thankfully, only a few months later he was fatally injured by another man after being caught in bed with his wife

As well as keeping a low-profile, John tried one last gamble: he sent Otgar, Bishop of Speyer, a member of Otto’s beloved German church, to broker an agreement with the king. But before Otgar managed to catch up with the Holy Roman Emperor, John was dead anyway. All sources agree that he was in bed with a married woman when his 9 years of stupidity and incompetence ended. Death came either in the form of a blow from the woman’s irate husband or simply a stroke: either the hand of a man or the Hand of God, in other words.

One can only imagine what would have happened to John if Otto had got his massive hands on him. Given his strong Catholic faith, it’s unlikely Otto would have had the Pope executed, for he was content to sack John rather than arrested and slain after the Synod of 963. Nonetheless, medieval prisons were notoriously unhygienic, and so perhaps Otto would have chucked him in one and let him contract dysentery. But it’s here our story ends: Pope John went out doing what he loved best, and has proved a headache for defenders of Papal Infallibility ever since.

 

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Dynes, Wayne R., ed. Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. London: St. James, 1990.

Herbermann, Charles George, ed. The Catholic Encyclopedia. London: Caxton, 1907-1922.

Kelly, J.N.D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Mann, Horace K. The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Forgotten Books, 1910.

McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to John Paul II. San Francisco: Harper, 2000.

Wickham, Chris. Early Medieval Italy: Central Power and Local Society, 400-1000. London: Macmillan, 1981.

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