The Last Resignation
Unless you’ve been under a rock longer than Lazarus, you know that the Pope resigned today. And many of us know that it’s the first papal resignation in 600 years. But how much did you know about Pope Gregory XII, the last pope to resign?
Gregory came to power in 1405 and departed in 1415 over controversy surrounding a break in at the Portam Aquarum Inn, where his rival cardinals held their papal election documents. But that wasn’t the first trouble to hit his papacy. As one of the least popular popes since Mezdok The Malodorous Blasphemer, Gregory’s reign was a cornucopia of sin and scandal:
1405- Gregory wins the Papacy when all other cardinals in the college die of natural causes during the election, including naturally stabbed hearts, naturally poisoned soup, natural beheadings and one case of lymphoma that was probably actually natural.
1406- Gregory’s vice-pope, Spiro Ignacius, resigns in disgrace when implicated in tax evasion and accepting bribes to grant clemency for those sentenced to hell. De-helling bribes were common in his time but were not the station of the vice-pope, whose only power was to cast the tie breaking vote in the nightly Nun-Mud-Wrestling championships.
1409- Despite the required celibacy of the pope, Gregory appears on the Marius Povicci stage accused of fathering no less than seven children with five women, two of them nuns and one of them a known witch. Acquitted when the accusers had to admit DNA wouldn’t be discovered for another 500 years, the Pope survives the accusations despite all the children sharing his famous mutant 11th finger.
1410- Gregory reaches new heights of unpopularity when at Midnight Mass, he sings a song about having seen the breasts of all Bernini’s sculptures in various cathedrals. Bernini and his models are not amused, though the controversy is taken from Gregory’s shoulders when Machiavelli on the same evening calls the Virgin Mary a cunt.
1414- He orders 1,500 women put to death on a whim, unconditionally pardons 227 priests and bishops accused of unspeakable sex crimes, declares all the Muslims in Turkey “evil” and funds their genocide, and declares Italians to be the only race chosen of god to rule over the rest of the nations. None of this was actually considered bad at the time I just thought I’d mention it.
In any case, his reign ended soon after and the Vatican enjoyed a few peaceful years until 1492, when Rodrigo Borgia, AKA Pope Alexander VI came to power. I’ll leave you to research his exploits on your own, as nothing I could ever make up could come close to the shit that guy actually did.