On the Legitimacy of Several Medieval Popes

Originally posted 6/11/2010.

A good-faith proposed solution to the rivalry between (1) Leo VIII and Benedict V and (2) Sylvester III and Benedict IX.

John XII, Leo VIII, & Benedict V
1. Leo VIII (12/6/963-3/1/965) was rivals with John XII (12/16/955-5/14/964) and Benedict V (5/22/964-7/4/965); John XII was certainly not validly deposed,{1} and Benedict V was most likely forcibly “degraded”{2}; for sundry reasons, I cannot rationally sustain the thesis that Leo VIII was ever true pope.{3}

John X, Leo VI, & Stephen VII
2. We need not question the legitimacy of Leo VI and Stephen VII, because John X died in 6/928, according to Kirsch, McKenna, and Fr. Brusher, which means that John X died before Leo VI and afterward Stephen VII sat on the Chair of St. Peter. Leo VI ruled from 6/928 to early 929, according to Fr. Mann, Fr. Brusher, Zimmermann, and Jaffé [I:312-313]. Stephen VII (1/929-2/931) was the successor of Leo VI.
Benedict IX, Gregory VI, Sylvester III, Clement II, & Damasus II
3. It seems that the infamous Benedict IX did not have three terms as pope. Sylvester III (1/20/1045-3/10/1045; †1063) was an intruder, because he usurped the throne of Benedict IX. Dr. Warren Carroll says, “there is no power on earth which may depose a Pope. Any duly elected Pope remains therefore in office until he dies or resigns.”{4} Benedict remained true pope from 10/21/1032 until his abdication on 5/1/1045. At that point John Gratian gave him a pension to support his post-abdication livelihood, and Gratian reluctantly accepted election as Gregory VI; he abdicated to avoid the scandal of outward appearance of simony on 12/20/1046.{5} Since Benedict IX was not re-elected to the papacy after he abdicated,{6} he was antipope from 11/8/1047 to 7/16/1048 and any later time he claimed to be supreme pontiff. Therefore Clement II (12/25-1046-10/9/1047) and Damasus II (7/17/1048-8/9/1048), and all post-1045 popes who reigned while the ex-pontiff was alive, were certainly legitimate popes.
4. I pray that the next Annuario Pontificio will clear up the various medieval parties’ irreconcilable claims to the papal throne, namely, (1) Leo VIII vs. Benedict V; and (2) Sylvester III vs. Benedict IX.
Notes & References
{1} “Antipope Leo VIII?” The Banana Republican. 9 Dec. 2009. 11 Jun. 2010 <https://thebananarepublican1.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/antipope-leo-viii/>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Carroll, Dr. Warren H. “Anti-Popes.” Eternal World Television Network. 11 Jun. 2010 <http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/ANTIPOPE.TXT>. Cf. “Can a Legitimate Pope Be Deposed?” The Banana Republican. 18 Jan. 2010. 12 Jun. 2010 <https://thebananarepublican1.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/can-a-legitimate-pope-be-deposed/>.
{5} “Gregory VI Was True Pope.” The Banana Republican. 29 Nov. 2009. 11 Jun. 2010 <https://thebananarepublican1.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/gregory-vi-was-true-pope/>. More details about the pension from a reliable Catholic source are coming soon.
{6} “Benedict IX.” The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, with new material by Michael Walsh. J. N. D. Kelly. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Fordham University. 11 Jun. 2010 <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t99.e163>. While I disagree with certain statements in Kelly’s entry (e.g., the accusations of simony against the pious Gregory VI), I accept his statement that “the restoration of Benedict [occurred] on a wave of popular enthusiasm assisted by bribery, on 8 Nov. 1047; the evidence sometimes adduced for a fresh election by the Roman clergy and people cannot hold water.” Fr. Mann describes Benedict as having “seized Rome,” which implies that Benedict IX was not re-elected. See Mann, Rev. Fr. Horace Kinder. “Pope Benedict IX.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 11 Jun. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02429a.htm>.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: