The Bad Popes; Russell Chamberlin
The Roman Catholic Church has been in existence for two millennia and has withstood assaults from all manner of secular enemies. And she may still stand when, as Macaulay wrote, "some traveler from New Zealand shall stand upon a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St Paul's". This institutional longevity is all the more remarkable given that a number of its leaders were, frankly, bad. In this book, E.R. Chamberlin examines the dark side of the papacy, concentrating on seven pontiffs whose reigns were marked by scandal, mayhem and corruption. They include John XII, who was elected Pope before he was 20. This sensual youth died, probably murdered, in the act of adultery. There is Urban VI who was responsible for the Great Schism and Alexander VI, the father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. And the two Medici Popes who were responsible for the division of the Church under Lutheran assault the Epicurean Leo X ("since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it") and Clement VII.
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