Wednesday, 17 February 2016


Popes who were married

Pope John XX11

Saint Peter(Simon Peter)--mother-in-law is mentioned in the Gospel verses Matthew 8:14–15Luke 4:38Mark 1:29–31 and who was healed by Jesus at her home in Capernaum. This clearly depicts Peter as a married man, and 1 Cor. 9:5 suggests Peter's wife accompanied him on his mission. Clement of Alexandria wrote: "When the blessed Peter saw his own wife led out to die, he rejoiced because of her summons and her return home, and called to her very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, and saying, 'Remember the Lord.' Such was the marriage of the blessed, and their perfect disposition toward those dearest to them."[3]Yes[4]Later legends, dating from the 6th century onwards, suggested that Peter had a daughter - identified asSaint Petronilla. This, however, is likely to be a result of the similarity of their names.[5][6]
Pope Hormisdas(514–523)married and widowed before he took Holy OrdersYesfather of Pope Silverius.[7]
Pope Adrian II(867–872)married to Stephania before he took Holy Orders,[8] she was still living when he was elected Pope and resided with him in the Lateran PalaceYes (a daughter)His wife and daughter both resided with him until they were murdered.[9]
Pope John XVII(1003)married before his election as PopeYes (three sons)all became priests.[10]
Pope Clement IV(1265–1268)married before taking holy ordersYes (two daughters)both entered a convent[11]
Pope Honorius IV(1285–1287)married before he took Holy Orders widowed before entered the clergyYesat least two sons[12]

Fathered illegitimate children before Holy Orders

Pope Pius II(1458–1464)not marriedYesat least two illegitimate children, one in Strasbourg and one in Scotland, both born before he entered the clergy. Delayed becoming a cleric because of the requirement of chastity.[13]
Pope Innocent VIII(1484–1492)not marriedYestwo illegitimate children during his youth, both born before he entered the clergy.[14] Nepotism described as "lavish as it was shameless." [15] Married elder son Franceschetto Cybo to the daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici, who in return obtained the cardinal's hat for his 13-year-old son Giovanni, who becamePope Leo X.[16]
Pope Clement VII(1523–1534)not married. Relationship with a nubianslave girl - possibly Simonetta da CollevecchioYeshad one illegitimate son before he took holy orders, identified as Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence.[17]

Fathered illegitimate children after receiving Holy Orders

Pope Julius 11

Pope Julius II(1503–1513)not marriedYesthree illegitimate daughters, one of whom was Felice della Rovere (born in 1483, twenty years before his election as pope, but twelve years after his enthronement as Bishop of Lausanne).[18] The schismatic Conciliabulum of Pisa, which sought to depose him in 1511, also accused him of being a "sodomite".[19]
Pope Paul III(1534–1549)not married. Silvia Ruffini as mistressYesheld off ordination in order to continue a promiscuous lifestyle, fathering four illegitimate children (three sons and one daughter) by Silvia Ruffini after his appointment as Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Cosimo and Damiano. He broke his relations with her ca. 1513. He made his illegitimate son Pier Luigi Farnese the first Duke of Parma.[20][21]
Pope Gregory XIII(1572–1585)not married. Affair with Maddalena Fulchini.Yesreceived the ecclesiastical tonsure in Bologna in June 1539, but subsequently had an affair which resulted in the birth of Giacomo Boncompagni in 1548. Giacomo remained illegitimate but Gregory later appointed him Gonfalonier of the Church, governor of the Castel Sant'Angelo, as well as governor of Fermo.[22][23]
Pope Leo XII(1823–1829)not married.Yesas a young prelate was suspected of having had a liaison with the wife of a soldier of Swiss Guard and as nuncio in Germany allegedly fathered three illegitimate children.[24]
Pope Paul 111

Popes sexually active during pontificate

Pope Benedict 1X

Pope Sergius III(904–911)not marriedYesaccused by opponents of being the illegitimate father of Pope John XI by Marozia.[25] Such accusations found in Liutprand of Cremona's Antapodosis,[26] as well as the Liber Pontificalis.[27][28][29] The accusations are disputed by another early source, the annalist Flodoard (c. 894–966): John XI was brother of Alberic II, the latter being the offspring of Marozia and her husband Alberic I, so John too may have been the son of Marozia and Alberic I. Fauvarque emphasizes that contemporary sources are dubious, Liutprand being "prone to exaggeration" while other mentions of this fatherhood appear in satires written by supporters of Pope Formosus.[30]
Pope John X(914–928)not married. Affairs with Theodora and Marozia.Nohad romantic affairs with both Theodora and her daughter Marozia, according to Liutprand of Cremona in his Antapodosis.[31][32](See also Saeculum obscurum)
Pope John XII(955–963)not marriedNoaccused by adversaries of adultery and incest.[33][34] Benedict of Soracte noted that he had "a collection of women". According to Liutprand of Cremona,[26] "they testified about his adultery, which they did not see with their own eyes, but nonetheless knew with certainty: he had fornicated with the widow of Rainier, with Stephana his father's concubine, with the widow Anna, and with his own niece, and he made the sacred palace into a whorehouse." According to Chamberlin, John was "a Christian Caligula whose crimes were rendered particularly horrific by the office he held".[35] Some sources report that he died 8 days after being stricken by paralysis while in the act of adultery,[33] others that he was killed by the jealous husband while in the act of committing adultery.[36][37][38][39]
Pope Benedict IX(1032– became pope in 1044, again in 1045 and finally 1047–1048).not marriedNoaccused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries."[40][41] Pope Victor III referred in his third book of Dialogues to "his rapes... and other unspeakable acts."[42]His life prompted Peter Damian to write an extended treatise against illicit sex in general, and homosexuality in particular. In his Liber Gomorrhianus, Damian accused Benedict IX of routine sodomy and bestiality and sponsoring orgies.[43] In May 1045, Benedict IX resigned his office to get married.[44]
Pope Paul II(1464–1471)not marriedNothought to have died of indigestion arising from eating melon,[45][46] though detractors insisted that he died while engaging in sodomy with a page.[47][48][49]
Pope Sixtus IV(1471–1484)not marriedNoaccording to Stefano Infessura, Sixtus was a "lover of boys and sodomites" - awarding benefices and bishoprics in return for sexual favours, and nominating a number of young men as cardinals, some of whom were celebrated for their good looks.[50][51][52] However, Infessura had partisan allegiances to the Colonna family and so is not considered to be always reliable or impartial.[53]
Pope Alexander VI(1492–1503)not married. Relationships with Vanozza dei Catanei and Giulia Farnese.Yeshad a long affair with Vannozza dei Cattanei while still a priest, but before he became pope; and by her had his illegitimate children Cesare BorgiaGiovanni BorgiaGioffre Borgia, and Lucrezia. A later mistress, Giulia Farnese, was the sister of Alessandro Farnese, and she gave birth to a daughter (Laura) while Alexander was in his 60s and reigning as pope.[54] Alexander fathered at least seven, and possibly as many as ten illegitimate children, and did much to promote his family's interests – using his offspring to build alliances with a number of important dynasties.[55] He appointed Giovanni Borgia as Captain General of the Church, and made Cesare a Cardinal of the Church – also creating independent duchies for each of them out of papal lands.
Pope Leo X(1513–1521)not married.Noaccused, after his death, of homosexuality (Francesco Guicciardini and Paolo Giovio). It has been suggested he may have had ulterior motives in offering preferment toMarcantonio Flaminio.[56]
Pope Julius III(1550–1555)not married.Noalleged to have had a long love affair with Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte which was a cause of public scandal. The Venetian ambassador at that time reported that Innocenzo shared the pope's bed.[57]


From St. Peter to Benedict XVI, there have been 265 popes.

Only one has merited his own entry - by historian Louis Crompton, no less - in the online encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer culture: Pope Julius III (ruled 1550-1555).

Pope Julius 111
Famous as “a skilled expert in canon law,” and a patron of Michelangelo and Palestrina, Julius also “created one of the most notorious homosexual scandals in the history of the papacy.” Just before he became pope, then-Cardinal Giovanni Maria del Monte fell in love with a 15-year old ragamuffin named Innocenzo.


Two years later del Monte, now Pope Julius III, made young Innocenzo a cardinal and his “chief diplomatic and political agent." Though Church scholars insist that Julius only wanted Innocenzo to pet his monkey, Crompton agreed with the Venetian ambassador, who reported that the young “Ganymede” “shared the pope's bedroom and bed.” The “Cardinal-Monkey” Innocenzo’s glory days ended when his papal partner died in 1555. Innocenzo himself died in 1577.

Recent studies suggest that a large percentage of Roman Catholic priests are homosexual. If this is so, it stands to reason that a relatively large number of popes, who are themselves priests, were gay. According to Wayne R. Dynes, who wrote about the “Papacy,” in his Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, “given the custom of monastic sex-segregation and the extension of celibacy to the priesthood in the Western church beginning in the eleventh century, it is not surprising that a number of Roman pontiffs should have been involved in homoerotic sentiments and behavior.”

Noel I. Garde, in his gossipy 1964 book Jonathan to Gide: The Homosexual In History, included John XII (r. 955-964), Benedict IX (r. 1033-1045; 1047-1048), John XXII (r. 1316-34), Paul II (r. 1464-1471), Sixtus IV (r. 1471-1484), Alexander VI (r. 1492-1503), Julius II (r. 1503-1513) and Leo X (r. 1513-1521), along with Julius III, in his list of “gay popes.”

Pope Alexander V1

Though we must take Garde with a rock of salt - some of his “gay popes” were promiscuously heterosexual - his list provided a launching pad for other historians to study the matter and conclude that some of those pontiffs ignored their Church’s rule against homosexuality to the extent that they practiced it themselves.

John XII (r. 955-964), according to Dynes, “modeled himself on the scandalous Roman emperor Heliogabalus, holding homosexual orgies in the royal palace.” But the bisexual John also liked women, which allowed Lynne Yamaguchi Fletcher, in The First Gay Pope and Other Records, to rightly call Benedict IX (r. 1033-1045; 1047-1048) “the first pope known to be primarily homosexual.” Benedict’s pontificate, which “turned the Vatican into a male brothel,” was so scandalous that he was deposed, not once but twice.

Pope Paul 11

The Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries featured a set of intelligent, sophisticated and corrupt popes who did not let their spiritual duties get in the way of having a good time. When Pietro Barbo, who was beautiful and knew it, was elected pope in 1464 he announced that he wished to be called Formosus (“beautiful”). The appalled cardinals talked him out of it, and Barbo took the less pretentious name of Paul II.

According to Dynes, Paul II (1464-1471) “was a collector of statuary, jewelry, and (it was said) handsome youths. Given to the most sumptuous ecclesiastical drag, he was lampooned by his enemies as ‘Our Lady of Pity.’” I must add that Paul II, like most Renaissance popes, was also a skilled administrator and an avid patron of the arts.

Two Renaissance popes of the della Rovere family were accused of “sodomy” by their political and religious enemies. Sixtus IV (r. 1471-1484), born Francesco della Rovere, was notable enough to have the Sistine Chapel named after him. Like Julius III with Innocenzo, Sixtus made his lover Petro Riario - who was also his nephew - a cardinal. According to Crompton, this time writing in his monumental history Homosexuality and Civilization, Sixtus was labeled a “sodomite” in the dispatches of the Venetian ambassador and the diaries of Vatican insiders Stefano Infessura and Johann Burchard.

Another nephew, Giuliano della Rovere, later achieved infamy as the “terrible pope” Julius II (1503-1513). Best known for hiring Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of his uncle’s Chapel, the second Julius, Crompton noted, “was condemned by the Council of Pisa as ‘this sodomite, covered with shameful ulcers.’” Though the Council of Pisa, controlled by Julius’ enemies, was obviously prejudiced, it based its conclusions on “Julius’ fondness for Federigo Gonzaga, Francesco Alidosi, and other young men.” Crompton also quoted another Vatican diarist, Girolamo Priuli, who “reported that Julius disported with Ganymedes ‘without shame’ at Ostia and Città Castellana.”

Pope John XX111

In modern times Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli; r. 1958-1963) and Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini; r. 1963-1978) were thought to have been gay.

Pope Paul V1

Winston Leyland, in Gay Sunshine Interviews Vol. 2, attributes those popes’ relative tolerance of homosexuality to their own sexual orientation; though it could be argued that the Italian Church has traditionally been more tolerant of “sins of the flesh” than the Polish or German (or American) Churches.

Roger Peyrefitte

Paul VI was outed by the gay French author Roger Peyrefitte, in a 1976 interview in response to the pope’s antigay edicts. According to Peyrefitte, who knew his way around aristocratic circles in France and Italy, Paul VI had an active gay life while he was Archbishop of Milan. Recalling the incident in a Gay Sunshine interview, Peyrefitte revealed to the press that then-Archbishop Montini “had a relationship with a young movie actor” named Paul, whose name Montini took when he became pope. The future pope also visited “a discreet house” where he and other Milanese notables would “meet boys.” Peyrefitte’s revelations caused a sensation, and a sharp rebuttal from the horrified pope.


  1. The British royal family are decendants of the borgia pope

  2. Dear Bishop Buckley,
    I am the man who posted on here some time ago for your advice in seeking a liaison with a jack-the-lad priest. I have been to several priests to talk about my sexuality but none of them has taken the hint, even when I dropped a handkerchief. I have even tried going to confession, only to find myself alone in the box.
    I am wondering whether I am aiming too low (the highest I have tried so far is a monsignor) and whether I should hold out for a pope?

    1. I suppose one issue might be how "attractive" you are.

      Between 0 and 10 where would you put yourself?

      Clerics generally go for "attractive" people !!!

    2. Oh thank you, that would explain it. I personally would put myself in the 'for those who like that sort of thing' class, and a score out of ten defeats me completely.
      Would it help if I applied to the priesthood? The Bishop could cast his eye over me before finding a suitable niche for me.

    3. When gay priests are on gay dating sites they often ask for "stats".

      Apparently that means: Age, Height, Weight, Body Type, "Cut" or "Uncut", and sexual preference - "Bottom" or "Top".

      I hope this helps.

      Gay Priest D&C

    4. Father thank you for your entrée to the world of clerical dating.
      Personally I like a crusty cottage myself, although cut or not isn't really an issue as I have a breadknife.
      And my preference has always been medium-rare.
      Obviously my dating life is going to look up now. Let me just put on the Byrd for four...

    5. What about a priestly dating site-behind the

    6. With very much that sort of thing in mind, when a man asked me on grindr last night if I 'dress up', I sent him a picture of Cardinal Burke. I assumed this would be an immediate hit but strangely he blocked me.
      I'm not doing very well at this, am I?

    7. I was asked a while back in grindr what I was into . Being in a bit of a mood I said blood razorblades and needles . There was me thinking I was a quare smart arse . He messaged back wanting too meet !

    8. Theres me thinking a grinder is a kitchen utensil....

  3. While being familiar with the phrase "spank the monkey" as an allusion to masturbation, I didn't realise its historical origins.
    Now, after reading about Julius III and Innocenza all is revealed!

    But seriously, looking back in history doesn't it show the foolishness of the RC stance on celibacy?

    1. When I was in the seminary there was a fellow seminarian who used to often say:

      "I woke up this morning and there was the bishop looking up at me".

  4. "I woke up this morning and there was the bishop looking up at me".

    Perhaps he wasn't speaking metaphorically!

    1. Or perhaps he was just repeating what Annie Murphy said?

  5. In the end its all B. S. In St Pauls time there was no such thing as one "denomination" Leave them to it and let the "others" grow in numbers-cant understand why they are being so quiet

  6. Can I ask where the table at the beginning of the post comes from?