112. Pope Boniface VI 896

Pope Boniface VI

Pope Boniface VI had the second shortest Papacy in history and he’s also kind of technically sorta not a valid Pope according to Pope John IX. Boniface had a checkered history with the Church. When he was a young priest he was defrocked twice(twice!?!)due to immoral behavior. Whatever this behavior was,it’s not known to us. When Pope Formosus died,it was rumored that Holy emperor Arnulf would impose a Pope of his choosing on Rome and this caused the Romans to completely freak out and start rioting…..even though Romans never needed a good excuse to riot since they were inherently a “rioty” people anyway. In all of the confusion Deacon Boniface was somehow elected to the Papacy. This violated Canon Law that stated that it was illegal to elect a non-priest to the Papacy. By the time anyone noticed this mistake,Pope Boniface VI was all but dead only 15 days later. Whether this was by the “extreme gout” that he was said to suffer from,or if it was murder,it is not known. In 898 Pope John IX declared the election of Boniface invalid however he’s still counted among the Popes to this day.

102. Pope Sergius II 844-847

pope-sergius-ii

Pope Sergius II was a terrible Pope. He came to the chair of Peter through violent intimidation from his supporters and then spent the entirety of his term basically crippled with gout. Sergius was so indisposed that his brother Benedict actually took over running things most of the time,much to the dismay of the clergy. Benedict loved money and was not opposed to accepting bribes in exchange for high ranking jobs within the Church. Terrible. Things came to a head in 846 when an army of Muslim invaders attacked and looted St.Peter’s basilica while Sergius hid behind the walls of Rome. The Roman people looked on the Muslim invasion and subsequent destruction caused by it as Divine retribution from God for all of the Pope’s crimes. Sergius passed away shortly afterwards,but I could find no mention of what became of his sleazy brother. I hate writing about bad Popes,but these guys were still human and for all the good and even great Popes we’ve had,we still had some duds in the bunch.
The only real interesting thing about Pope Sergius II was that he was played by John Goodman in a awful sounding movie called “Pope Joan”. This movie concerns the legend of a woman who disguised herself as a man and worked her way unrecognized up through the Church and to the Papacy. This is nonsense. The elections of Popes at this time were highly contested affairs that almost always provoked riots and almost always needed intervention from kings or emperors to settle. This reason alone is enough to dispute this myth,as I doubt someone could simply sail past all of these contentious obstacles without being found out. The lack of legitimate documentation from history or even the Church’s enemies and the lack of a specific actual time frame when this all would have taken place are more reasons to dispel “Pope Joan”.

87. Pope Sisinnius 708

sinus

Pope Sisinnius,besides having a hard to pronounce name,had the fifth shortest reign as Pope with just 21 days in office. A Syrian by birth,he was known as a man of strong Holy character,but he was terribly ill when he was chosen. Whether this was known to the clergy or not is unknown,but he was so overwhelmed with gout that he couldn’t even feed himself at times. The most that he accomplished as Pope was that he ordered portions of the walls of Rome be restored,but this work didn’t start until two Popes later. I didn’t have a lot of stuff to read about him so I learned about Gout instead. Gout causes redness and the swelling of joints. It’s been called “the disease of kings”,I guess because you have to have a pretty hearty diet of meat,beer and fish to cause it most of the time,not to mention being overweight. Coffee(?),Vitamin C and increased exercise can help to reduce the chances of Gout and this is officially the weirdest ending to any of my Popes so far.