Spirituality for Today – May 2016 – Volume 20, Issue 10

The 117th Pope
Pope Benedict IV

An image of Pope Benedict IV, the 117th PopePope Benedict IV, the 117th Pope

Pope Benedict IV (900-903) – Little is known in certainty about the pontificate of Pope Benedict. One reason for this is that Rome and Italy itself was thrown into political turmoil during these years. Pope Benedict did call a synod to continue the rehabilitation of the papacy of Pope Formosus made notorious by the infamous Cadaver Synod. Various dioceses were in need of propping up through the confirming the legitimacy of episcopal appointments.

On the political scene, Pope Benedict crowned as emperor, Louis II. Unfortunately, Louis was defeated by Berengar of Friuli. Thus, Pope Benedict was in the uncomfortable position of dealing with the man who ousted the pope's newly crowned choice for emperor. Without his protector, the pope had to cope with a chaotic political reality in Rome.

One laudatory note regarding the reign of Pope Benedict was his reputation for being very generous to the destitute and downtrodden of the city. The pope died in 903. There is a suspicion that Berengar might have been responsible. Pope Benedict IV is entombed in the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam