Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gregory VI Was True Pope

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MYTH
Gregory VI (John Gratian) was simoniacally elected and therefore an antipope

The wicked Pope Benedict IX{1} abdicated and his godfather John Gratian gave him monetary compensation.{2} John Gratian was canonically elected Pope Gregory VI on 5/1/1045 because of his reputation for holiness.{3} We know John Gratian did not "buy the papacy" from the following facts: (1) he gave all his money to Benedict IX, who kept it for himself (i.e., Gregory VI did not buy any votes); and (2) he accepted his election reluctantly.{4} Gregory VI was not deposed; rather, he voluntarily abdicated before Christmas 1046 when he decided he had no choice but to step down in order to avoid a scandal of an outward appearance of simony and bring peace to the Church.{5}
Notes & References
{1} a) Bishop Benno of Piacenza accused Pope Benedict IX (10/1032-9/1044, 4/1045-5/1045, 11/1047-7/1048) of "many vile adulteries and murders" ("post multa turpia adulteria et homicidia manibus suis perpetrata, postremo…"). Liber ad amicum in Dümmler, Ernst Ludwig, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite, vol. 1. Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 1891, p. 584. 27 Nov. 2009 <http://www.uan.it/alim/letteratura.nsf/(volumiID)/A9E60829767DA2D2C1256D6B0074177B/$FILE/AlimBonizoAdamicum.doc?openelement>.
b) Bl. Pope Victor III, while Abbot Desiderius of Monte Cassino, referred to "his rapes, murders, and other unspeakable acts. His life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it" ("cujus vita quam turpis, quam freda, quamque execranda extiterit, horresco referre"). Dialogi de miraculis Sancti Benedicti Liber Tertius in Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Libelli de lite. Hannover: Deutsches Institut für Erforschung des Mittelalters, 1934, p. 141. 27 Nov. 2009 <http://www.uan.it/alim/letteratura.nsf/(volumiID)/D8115E7BB6446DC9C1256D660075CE62/$FILE/AlimDesiderioDialogi.doc?openelement>.
c) While Benedict IX was very evil during his reign as pope, one tradition reports that after abdicating for good, Theophylact of Tusculum "died in penitence at Grottaferrata." Mann, Fr. Horace. "Pope Benedict IX." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 30 Nov. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02429a.htm>.
{2} Brusher, Fr. Joseph, S.J. "Gregory VI." Popes Through the Ages. 27 Nov. 2009 <http://cfpeople.org/Books/Pope/POPEp147.htm>.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid.

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