Did some research and our current papal/cardinal scandals are truly bad but, in some respects, the grand prize for having been a really awful pope goes to Rodrigo Borgia. Just the Borgia name clues one into the thought that all might not have been well with this person in charge of anything.
Ridrigo Borgia had a ‘leg up’ on climbing the papal ladder as his uncle was Pope Calixtus III. Most likely, given his papal connection, getting through the various church ranks to his highest title in the church was made easier with the nepotism involved. As he made his way through the ranks, he managed to accumulate a great deal of wealth, too. No tithing for him! In 1492 whilst Columbus was sailing the ocean blue, he greased a few palms, called in some favors and purchased his place in the papacy. Bribery came in handy for getting the better of two other ‘claims’ to the throne.
The crowned Pope Alexander was pretty rotten to the core. He provided the world with seven illegitimate children by way of his mistresses. The church paid for their expenses and he endowed them with funding at the church’s expense. Living a rather plush life at the expense of the Church was, well expensive. When he needed to replenish the cash flow, he established new cardinals in return for money. Another ‘successful’ ploy was to arrest and jail rich people on imagined charges or murder them and abscond with their wealth.
It seems that Alexander VI was never considered godly (Go figure, right?) or in line with the Church and all things lawful. The only ‘virtues’ that can be said about him was his greedy ambition and lust for money and power. The orderly government of the City of Rome he bribed his way into, was left in complete shambles and disrepair.
“Now we are in the power of a wolf, the most rapacious perhaps that this world has ever seen. And if we do not flee, he will inevitably devour us all.” By Giovanni de Medici (Pope Leo X)