Now add another fascinating tidbit - the Catholic Church and its Pope! Now that is truly a compelling drama - no doubt shrouded in mystery, lies, fabrications, half-truths and out right cover-ups.
But today they are remembered for their corrupt rule when one of them was Pope. They have been accused of many different crimes, including adultery, simony, theft, rape, bribery, incest, and murder (especially murder by arsenic poisoning). Sounds like an Italian Opera - but even more melodramatic.
I guess the vow of Chastity meant something different back then. Besides who could resist such a
But our great Rodrigo didn't simply enjoy being a cardinal - no he wanted more. Rodrigo was raised to the papal chair in 1492 and he chose the name of Alexander VI. It is said that he bought his pontificate with bribes, and that 17 out of 22 cardinals voted for him out of greed (Has anything changed????).
But bribing your way to pontification was only half the story - he is often said to be the worst of all Popes (which is in and of itself an astounding accomplishment!).
There are many controversies connected with Rodrigo. He was not only accused of simony or nepotism, but also attending public orgies, along with his daughter Lucrezia. The "Banquet of Chestnuts" (also called the "Ballet of the Chestnuts") is considered to be one of the most disreputable balls of this kind. It was held on October 30, 1501. Not only Pope Alexander VI was present, but also both of his children: Lucrezia and Cesare. I wonder if he wore his Papal attire while watching his children have an orgy? Is there a special Papal blessing for an orgy?
Rodrigo is also remembered for other crimes, many of them included torture and execution. This is how in 1498 the famous Florentine preacher Savonarola ended his life. He accused Alexander VI of corruption and called for his removal as Pope. Savonarola was tortured and then hanged and burned publicly. Torture, hanging and burning in public is always a great way to win votes, just like Abu Ghraib and Gunitanamo.
Alexander VI is also remembered for bringing his mistresses to the papal court. One of them, Vanozza Cattanei gave him four children, and another two were born by Giulia Farnese. Giulia was taken as his mistress when she was a fifteen-year-old girl and he was over 60.
Not to give too much of the story away, but poor Rodrigo died in 1503 in Rome, supposedly from malarial fever. Sounds like exhaustion to me.
But Showtime in the Borgias raises more than simply a story of a lustful Pope - it raises the very nature of the Papacy and of the Holy Roman See.
The Pope (from Latin: papa; from Greek: πάππας (pappas), a child's word for father) is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church (which is composed of the Latin Rite and the Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the see of Rome).
ecclesiastical jurisdiction is often called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" based upon the Church tradition that the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul were martyred in Rome.
Catholics recognize the Pope as a successor to Saint Peter, whom, according to Roman Catholic teaching, Jesus named as the "shepherd" and "rock" of the Catholic Church, which according to Catholic dogma is the one true Church founded by Christ. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus personally appointed Peter as leader of the Church and is thus its "King." Papal supremacy refers to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that the pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Christian Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."
Most Christians hold that Simon Peter was the most prominent of the Apostles, called the Prince of the Apostles and favored by Jesus of Nazareth. As such, it is argued that Peter held the first place of honor and authority. In addition, in Roman Catholicism, it is also argued this primacy should extend in perpetuity to the Pope over other bishops throughout the Church through the doctrine of Apostolic succession. This doctrine is also known as the Primacy of Simon Peter or the Petrine Primacy (from the Latin Petrus for "Peter") but it is more formally known as the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. A number of traditions, most notably Roman Catholic, hold that Simon Peter (also called Saint Peter or Cephas) was the first Bishop of Antioch, as well as the first Bishop of Rome.
With the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity and the Council of Nicea, the Christian religion received imperial sanction. At the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451, Leo I (through his emissaries) stated that he was "speaking with the voice of Peter", and thus as speaking as God.
Papal infallibility is the dogma in Roman Catholic theology that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith as being contained in divine revelation, or at least being intimately connected to divine revelation. It is also taught that the Holy Spirit works in the body of the Church, as sensus fidelium, to ensure that dogmatic teachings proclaimed to be infallible will be received by all Catholics
Charlemagne (800), he established the precedent that no man would be emperor without anointment by a pope. Thus the marriage of Church and State was born. Pope's made and destroyed Kings, and Kings were beholding to the man called Pope - the ultimate in unholy reliance (ask Henry VIII of that notion).
But what "God" created he may also destroy. The low point of the Papacy was 867–1049. The Papacy came under the control of vying political factions. Popes were variously imprisoned, starved, killed and deposed by force. The family of a certain papal official made and unmade popes for fifty years. The official's great-grandson, Pope John XII, held orgies of debauchery in the Lateran palace. Emperor Otto I of Germany had John accused in an ecclesiastical court, which deposed him and elected a layman as Pope Leo VIII. John mutilated the Imperial representatives in Rome and had himself reinstated as Pope. Conflict between the Emperor and the papacy continued, and eventually dukes in league with the emperor were buying bishops and popes almost openly.
The infallibility of the pope was thus formally defined in 1870, although the tradition behind this view goes back much further. In the conclusion of the fourth chapter of its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Pastor aeternus, the First Vatican Council declared the following, with bishops Aloisio Riccio and Edward Fitzgerald dissenting:
“ We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema. (see Denziger §1839).”
— Vatican Council, Sess. IV , Const. de Ecclesiâ Christi, Chapter iv
So Showtime's Borjas is perhaps the best example of Lord Acton's most famous words.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.