Rodrigo de Borja y Borja—The Devils Advocate Who Become Pope!
Rodrigo de Borja y Borja (1431-1503) was anything but pious, he hungered for power, wealth, but above all, he was a lecher, womanizer, seducer, who cared not for celibacy or any Church Tenets. Simony and Nepotism were wide-spread and part of the structure of the Church of Rome’s tenets. Born in Xàtiva, Valencia, Spain in 1431. Taken under the wing of his maternal uncle who was then Bishop of Valencia, however, from 1455 his uncle became Pope Callistus III (1455-58), and they move from Valencia to Rome.
The name Borja later mutated to Borgia in Italy. They came from a small Spanish landowning family to become a dominant wealthy and noble medieval Italian family of Spanish descent. His uncle Pope Callistus III showered young Rodrigo in church benefices. (A benefice specifically from a church is called a precaria (pl. precariae) such as a stipend.) Which in layman’s language is gifts to family members, although we know it better as Nepotism! The patronage did not stop there, at age 25, in 1456, Callistus III made Rodrigo a Cardinal Deacon, as well as holding a string of Bishoprics and abbeys. Although church policy meant nothing to Rodrigo, he would use the fake authority of the forged Donation of Constantine in 1493 to give half of the World (the Americas) to Spain. He also put an anathema on anyone who tried to claim those lands form Spain.
Rodrigo became vice-chancellor of the Holy See in 1457, a lucrative office he held under the next four popes, amassing such vast wealth that he was reckoned the second richest cardinal. At the same time, he lived an openly licentious life, fathering children; fondest of those born to the aristocratic Roman Vannozza del Catranei—Juan, Cesare, Lucrezia, Goffredo. In 1460 his scandalous behaviour earned him [Rodrigo] a sharp but unheeded rebuke from Pope Pius II (1454-64). …He was unsuccessful in 1484 for the election as the successor of Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84). …At the conclave (6-11 Aug.) following Innocent III’s death, as a Spaniard not at first regarded as a serious candidate, he eventually emerged as victor. He had swung several cardinals over to his cause by barefaced bribery and promises of rich preferments.[J.N.D. Kelly (1986), The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, pp. 252-53, Oxford University Press, London, and New York] Bkt ( ) are mine.
(The famous illegitimate son and daughter: Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), who thanks to his father—who became Pope Alexander VI in 1471 – Cesare was made a bishop at the age of 15 and a cardinal at the age of 18. At this point in history, the Pope-king directly ruled over a kingdom that dominated central Italy from its capital of Rome. His death in 1507. Enemy knights, discovering that he was alone, trapped him in an ambush. Where he received a fatal injury from a spear—then stripped of all his luxurious garments, valuables and a leather mask covering half his face (disfigured by syphilis during his late years). Itis also said that the modern images of Jesus are based on Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI.
Lucrezia Borgia (1480–1519) was a famous beauty, notorious for the suspicious deaths and political intrigue that swirled around her and her family and her many marriages.)
“On Sunday evening, October 30th, Don Cesare Borgia gave a supper in his apartment in the apostolic palace, with fifty decent prostitutes or courtesans in attendance, who after the meal danced with the servants and others there, first fully dressed and then naked. Following the supper too, lampstands holding lighted candles were placed on the floor and chestnuts strewn about, which the prostitutes, naked and on their hands and knees, had to pick up as they crawled in and out amongst the lampstands. The pope, Don Cesare and Donna Lucrezia were all present to watch. Finally, prizes were offered—silken doublets, pairs of shoes, hats and other garments—for those men who were most successful with the prostitutes. This performance was carried out in the Sala Reale and those who attended said that in fact the prizes were presented to those who won the contest.
“Another incident took place on November 11th, when a countryman entered Rome by the Porta Viridaria, leading two mares loaded with wood. When they reached the Piazza di San Pietro, some of the palace men-at-arms came up, cut through the straps and threw off the saddles and the wood in order to lead the mares into the courtyard immediately inside the palace gate. Four stallions were then freed from their reins and harness and let out of the palace stables. They immediately ran to the mares, over whom they proceeded to fight furiously and noisily amongst themselves, biting and kicking in their efforts to mount them and seriously wounding them with their hoofs. The pope and Donna Lucrezia, laughing and with evident satisfaction, watched all that was happening from a window above the palace gate” (At the Court of the Borgia, p. 194, The Folio Society-London).
Rodrigo was not the first or the last pope to use simony or Nepotism or break the vow of celibacy or to give lands away that the Church of Rome did not have title deeds to—nor rightfully possessed. As for its claim of Apostolic Succession, history is full of popes that bought or sold their so-called Throne of Peter or of belligerent leaders of Rome who chose who was to be pope. What do you say?
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