Rodrigo Borgia Reigns as Pope Alexander VI

Though corruption had long had its foothold in the Papacy, it was not until the reign of Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI that the depths of corruption in the Church became readily apparent. Having served as a Cardinal at the Vatican for 30 years prior to his election (during which time the supposedly celibate clergyman had several mistresses and fathered at least four children), Borgia leveraged his political influence for his benefit. He worked to build on his family’s economic and political successes, resorting to bribing clergymen to achieve his ends and to marrying away his daughter Lucrezia several times in repeated attempts to forge beneficial alliances. Furthermore, he often used the Church’s wealth to feed his hedonistic desires, paying for plays, lavish banquets, and personal parties and masquerades with Church funds at the expense of social and evangelical reform. Such materialism and corruption in the Church led to sparked distrust and caused many believers to question not only the leadership of the Church, but also the value of prayer and of religion as a whole. (Image Source: Cristofano dell'Altissimo [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons,  

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

11 Aug 1492 to 18 Aug 1503