Thursday, December 11, 2008

Apologia Pro Papa Sergius Tertius

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Pope Sergius III murdered Pope Leo V and Antipope Christopher, conducted a Second Cadaver Synod, and fathered Pope John XI with Marozia

1. Pope Sergius III indeed imitated Pope Stephen VI and annulled the ordinations of Pope Formosus,{1} and he indeed praised Stephen VI on his tombstone.{2}
Phantom Flaws
2. (1) Sergius III did not murder or order the murder of Pope Leo V and Antipope Christopher.{3} (2) Sergius III did not father Pope John XI with Marozia. Horace Kinder Mann,{4} Reginald L. Poole,{5} Peter Llewelyn (Rome in the Dark Ages), Karl Josef von Hefele, August Friedrich Gfrörer,{6} Ludovico Antonio Muratori, and Francis Patrick Kenrick{7} maintain that Pope John XI was sired by Alberic I of Spoleto, Count of Tusculum. (3) Sergius III did not conduct a Second Cadaver Synod as Platina alone claims.{8} Joseph Brusher, S.J. says that "Sergius [III] indulged in no resurrection-man tactics himself"{9} and Schaff, Milman,{10} Gregorovius,{11} von Mosheim,{12} Miley,{13} Mann,{14} Darras,{15} John the Deacon of Naples, Flodoard, and others make no mention of this story.

3. Pope Sergius III defended Archbishop John of Ravenna from the Count of Istria and ratified the establishment of several new English sees,{16} and he also completely restored the Lateran Palace and opposed Greek heresies.{17} Other contemporaries describe him respectfully, a point on which I will elaborate soon.

Notes & References
{1} "Sergius at once declared the ordinations conferred by Formosus null; but that he put his two predecessors to death, and by illicit relations with Marozia had a son, who was afterwards John XI, must be regarded as highly doubtful. These assertions are only made by bitter or ill-informed adversaries, and are inconsistent with what is said of him by respectable contemporaries [such as Flodoard]." Mann, Horace. "Sergius III." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2008. <>. See Will R. Huysman (12/10/2008), "Pope Stephen VI and the Cadaver Synod" @
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Poole, Reginald L. (1917). "Benedict IX and Gregory VI". Proceedings of the British Academy 8: 230.
{6} Gfrörer, August Friedrich, Allgemeine Kirchengeschichte, vol. III, Stuttgart: A. Krabbe, pp. 1133-1275, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
{7} Kenrick, Francis Patrick (1855), The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated, Baltimore: John Murphy & Co., p. 418, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
{8} "Nor was he [Sergius III] content with thus dishonouring the dead Pope [Formosus], but he drags his carcass again out of the grave, beheads it as if it had been alive, and then throws it into the Tiber, as unworthy the honour of human burial." Platina, Bartolomeo, The Lives of the Popes From The Time Of Our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII, vol. I, London: Griffith Farran & Co., p. 243, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{9} Brusher, Joseph, S.J. (1959). Sergius III. Popes Through the Ages. Neff-Kane. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
{10} Milman, Henry Hart (1867), History of Latin Christianity, vol. III (4th ed.), London: John Murray, pp. 287-290.
{11} Gregorovius, Ferdinand (1903), The History of the City of Rome in the Middle Ages, vol. III (2nd ed.), London: George Bell & Sons, pp. 242-248, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08. Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. notes that Gregorovius was "a bitter enemy of the popes." See Hardon, John (1998). "IV. Recognizing the True Church". Christ to Catholicism. InterMirifica. Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
{12} von Mosheim, Johann Lorenz (1852), Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, vol. II (5th ed.), New York: Stanford and Swords, pp. 120-121, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{13} Miley, John (1850), The History of the Papal States From Their Origin to the Present Day, vol. II, London: T.C. Newby, pp. 269-281, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{14} Mann, Horace Kinder (1910), The Lives of the Popes In The Early Middle Ages, vol. IV, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co., Ltd., pp. 119-142, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{15} Darras, Joseph-Epiphane (1898), A General History of the Catholic Church, vol. II, New York: Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, pp. 560-564, <>. Retrieved on 2008-01-08.
{16} Mann, Horace. "Sergius III." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 22 Dec. 2008 <>.
{17} Ibid.

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