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Wikipedia for the Weird: List of Sexually Active Popes

Wikipedia’s list of men who during their rise to the top also rose to the occasion goes deeper than you expect.


Mike Fenn

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 11, 2013   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 1:31 am CDT

Sometimes what’s been deemed “verified” on Wikipedia seems too strange to be true. In Wikipedia for the Weird, the Daily Dot tracks down the most bizarre and entertaining entries on the Web’s crowdsourced encyclopedia, sending you down the rabbit hole even further.

I’m sure you’ve wondered at some point how often the Pope has sex, if ever.

Thanks to Wikipedia, such pertinent information is forever at your fingertips.

List of sexually active popes” provides a thorough list of papal leaders who “were sexually active” and/or “legally married” members of the Catholic Church prior to assuming the religion’s highest office. According to the list, not a single one of the 39 men elected to the papacy since 1585 has been officially deemed sexually active. (That’s probably a good thing, since the verification process could get a little awkward.)

But Wikipedia’s list of men who during their rise to the top also rose to the occasion goes deeper than you expect, considering it clashes with the teachings of the Catholic faith. While the Church’s stance has softened a bit in recent times, the religion has historically endorsed celibacy as a key component of the papacy. And that’s been upheld by current pontiff Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John Paul II.

The list breaks the hornier holy men into several categories, including Popes Who Were Married, Popes Who Were Sexually Active (or Accused of Being Sexually Active) During Their Time As Pontificate, and even those popes who were Accused of Having Male Lovers During Pontificate. Pope Leo X, who famously challenged the teachings of Martin Luther, apparently fell into the latter category.

Pope Clement IV, on the other hand, fathered two daughters, both of whom became nuns.

And no, Benedict isn’t on it.

Photo via Hajime NAKANO/Flickr

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*First Published: Feb 11, 2013, 11:00 am CST