28. The Slimy Pope Who Sold the Papacy to Fund His Retirement
Real-life Young Pope Benedict IX (circa 1012 – 1056) became the Holy Father in 1032 at the age of twenty. He holds the distinction of being the only person to have ever been pope on more than one occasion. He also held the distinction of being the only pope to have ever resigned the papacy, until Benedict XVI resigned and went into retirement in 2013. Unlike his modern successor, however, Benedict IX holds the – still – unique and slimy distinction of being the only pope to have ever sold the papacy on his way out.
A nephew of his immediate predecessor, Pope John XIX, Benedict’s father used bribery to secure his election to the papacy in 1032. He was a complete disaster as a pope, who stood out for his moral unfitness even in an era when few popes were paragons of moral virtue. Church leaders accused him of adulteries and murders. He hosted orgies in the Lateran Palace, and assaulted men, women, boys, and girls. He was also a sadist who enjoyed torturing, burning, drowning, and flaying those who angered him.