List of sexually active popes

Since the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church has formally required priests and bishops to be celibate. Celibacy is a practice and discipline, however, going back to the early Church, even if it were not absolutely required of all ordained previously. In this context, celibate is not synonymous with sexually abstinent; celibate means not married; it entails sexual abstinence because of a separate church doctrine requiring sexual abstinence outside of marriage. The discipline of celibacy is not considered one of the infallible immutable dogmas, but Catholic doctrine does say that virginity and celibacy, lived out as abstinence, are higher than marriage, following the Letters of Paul of Tarsus and confirmed by a dogma in the Council of Trent (see clerical celibacy). For example, in some cases a married Protestant minister or Anglican priest who becomes a Catholic may be ordained to the priesthood. In particular, present-day church law allows the College of Cardinals to elect a married man to the papacy. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, married men are routinely ordained to the priesthood, but not to the episcopate. According to the Gospels, Saint Peter was married. According to early Catholic tradition, St. Peter founded the Christian community in Rome and became its bishop.

Some popes were sexually active before their election as pope; and it has sometimes been claimed that other Popes were sexually active during their papacies.

Periods in parentheses refer to the years of their papacies.

Allegedly and factually sexually active popes

There have been 254 popes. There are various classifications for those who were sexually active at some time during their life:

Popes married before receiving Holy Orders

Popes sexually active in violation of Catholic teachings on sexual morality

Sexually active only before receiving Holy Orders

Sexually active after receiving Holy Orders

Sexually active during their pontificate

Along with other complaints, the activities of the popes between 1458 to 1565, helped to bring about the Reformation.

Popes who have been accused of being sexually active since the Counterreformation (1565)

There have been forty-one popes since 1565. None of them are known to have been sexually active during their papacy.

See also


Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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