Take a look below for our list of 10 of the most scandalous popes in history.
1. Pope Paul IV
Pope Paul IV, born Gian Pietro Carafa, C.R. was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 May 1555 to his death in 1559. While serving as papal nuncio in Spain, he developed an anti-Spanish outlook that later coloured his papacy.
2. Pope Leo X
Pope Leo X was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 March 1513 to his death in 1521. Born into the prominent political and banking Medici family of Florence, Giovanni was the second son of Lorenzo de’ Medici, ruler of the Florentine Republic, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1489.
3. Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 1503 to his death in 1513. Nicknamed the Warrior Pope or the Fearsome Pope, he chose his papal name not in honour of Pope Julius I but in emulation of Julius Caesar.
4. Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 11 August 1492 until his death in 1503. Born into the prominent Borgia family in Xàtiva under the Crown of Aragon, Rodrigo studied law at the University of Bologna.
5. Pope Innocent VIII
Pope Innocent VIII, born Giovanni Battista Cybo, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 29 August 1484 to his death. Son of the viceroy of Naples, Battista spent his early years at the Neapolitan court.
6. Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV, born Francesco della Rovere, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 9 August 1471 to his death. His accomplishments as pope included the construction of the Sistine Chapel and the creation of the Vatican Archives.
7. Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII was the head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 24 December 1294 to his death in 1303. The Caetani family was of baronial origin, with connections to the papacy. He succeeded Pope Celestine V, who had abdicated from the papal throne.
8. Pope Benedict IX
Pope Benedict IX, born Theophylactus of Tusculum in Rome, was bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States on three occasions between October 1032 and July 1048. Aged approximately 20 at his first election, he is one of the youngest popes in history.
9. Pope Urban VIII
Pope Urban VIII, born Maffeo Barberini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 6 August 1623 to his death in 1644. As pope, he expanded the papal territory by force of arms and advantageous politicking, and was also a prominent patron of the arts and a reformer of Church missions.
10. Pope Stephen VI
Pope Stephen VI was the bishop of Rome and ruler of the Papal States from 22 May 896 to his death. He is best known for instigating the Cadaver Synod, which ultimately led to his downfall and death.