After Pope Benedict IX made a holy mess of the Papacy,causing three Popes at once,King Henry III made his way from Germany to Rome to try to set things right. Accompanying him on his journey was the Bishop of Bamberg,Suidger von Morsleben. Popes Sylvester III,Pope Benedict IX and Pope Gregory VI all laid claim to the Papacy(thanks to that rotten Benedict and all of his shenanigans). Henry called a synod and immediately disposed Sylvester(who didn’t want it) and Bendict(who didn’t deserve it),and Gregory(who bought it)was forced to resign. In their place,Henry elected his Bishop(who we already mentioned)to the Papacy. Now we had one Pope and one Pope only and he took the name Clement II. Clement’s first act was to crown Henry III the new Holy Roman emperor. Clement was a reforming Pope and he enacted degrees against simony(looking at you,Pope Gregory VI). Sadly,he didn’t live very long as he soon died from poisoning from lead sugar,but we don’t know if it was murdered or if the lead sugar was used as some sort of medicine. Clement’s body was transferred back to Bamberg,Germany and he is the only Pope buried north of the Alps.
Since I’m falling behind on my weekly Popes,I’ve enlisted my children to help me draw my Popes. This week’s guest artist is my 12 year old son Jack! I paid him in peanut butter cups and Dr Pepper for his trouble.
Many men have bribed their way into the Papacy but Pope Gregory VI literally bought the office. Like bought. From another Pope.(This is all terrible)
Pope Benedict IX was all of 20 when he became Pope and he’s the chief culprit for causing a mess of the Papacy from 1032 to around 1048. Benedict IX was Pope three different times and one of those times,he left the office to marry a girl. Benedict went to his godfather for advice of what to do and his godfather,John Gratian, the Archpriest of St. John by the Latin Gate,suggested he abdicate. Benedict agreed,in exchange for money for his upcoming wedding,which was gladly paid so Rome could hopefully be rid of him. His wealthy godfather paid him the money and promptly made himself the new Pope in his stead,taking the name Gregory VI. Trouble was that the was still another man claiming to be Pope(Sylvester III),and once Benedict tired of marriage,he returned to Rome assuming he could take up where he left off. This meant a possible three Popes at once and this required the Holy Roman emperor,Henry III,to enter Rome in order to call a synod to clear up all of this mess. Henry III disposed both Sylvester and Benedict,and ordered Gregory to resign,on charges of simony. With these three gone,Henry would appoint his own pick,a German Bishop who took the name Clement II.
Sylvester III was briefly Pope during the huge mess that was caused by his predecessor,Pope Benedict IX. When the Romans grew sick of Benedict and his tawdry ways,they ran him out of town and quickly elected Giovanni de’ Crescenzi,the Bishop of Sabina,who took the name Sylvester III. Sylvester was by all accounts a very devout and holy man who didn’t even want to be the Pope,but he stepped up to the plate to try to help bring order to the chaos caused by Benedict. Unfortunately,Benedict didn’t stay gone long and returned with a force to reclaim his title. Sylvester was confined to a monastery and later on he was officially disposed by Holy Roman emperor Henry III. Due to the massive confusion caused by Benedict’s three separate terms as Holy Father(!),Sylvester was sometimes thought to be an anti-Pope but he’s still officially listed as a rightful Pope.