“Two families of Catholic popes ”

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TO THE MEMBERS of the Elective Synod of the Diocese of Barbados:

I am a history buff, interested in arcane nuggets of history. Recently, while reflecting on the ongoing matter for the election of a bishop which merited an iconic front page photograph in the DAILY NATION of May 15, I recalled that in the Catholic Church, two families, the Borgias and the Medici, produced a number of popes.

Subsequent research disclosed that there were three Borgia popes and four Medici, who reigned during the period known as the Renaissance.

The Borgias were of Spanish origin and that family’s first pope was Pope Callixtus 111 who served as the 209th pope from April 8, 1455, until his death on August 6, 1458. The second Borgia was Pope Alexander VI (born Rodrigo Lanzol Borgia) who served as the 214th pope from August 11, 1492, until his death on August 18, 1503; his maternal uncle was Pope Callixtus III.

According to Wikipedia, Rodrigo Borgia first studied law at Bologna and after the election of his uncle Pope Callixtus III, he was ordained deacon and created cardinal-deacon of San Nicola in Carcere at the age of 25 in 1456.

The following year he was appointed vice chancellor of the Holy Roman Church, nepotistic appointments which were characteristics of the age.

Within the Medici family, Pope Clement VII (1523-1534), the 219th pope, was a cousin of Leo X who was the 217th pope from March 9, 1513, until his death on December 1, 1521.

It is interesting that notwithstanding his earlier preferment, it was 34 years before Rodrigo Borgia achieved the papacy. The lesson to be taken away, as I sought to say in my last letter, is that what God wills, will come to pass in the fullness of time.

For your prayerful consideration.

 

– CHRISTOPHER BLACKMAN, QC