How Do You Solve a Problem Like Jesuit Sex Abuse?

Historians remember the orgy-loving Borgia pope, Alexander VI, as the protagonist of the raunchiest soap opera in papal history. In 1501, on the Sunday before All Hallows, the pope’s bastard, Cardinal Cesare Borgia, hosted his scandalous “Banquet of Chestnuts.”

At the bacchanalia held in the Apostolic Palace, the 70-year-old pontiff and his clergy were entertained by 50 “honest whores” who were asked to disrobe and forage on the floor for the chestnuts as a prelude to what spoilsports today would label “clerical sex abuse.”

“Servants kept score of each man’s orgasms, for the pope greatly admired virility and measured a man’s machismo by his ejaculative capacity,” writes award-winning author William Manchester in his 1993 book A World Lit Only by Fire. “After everyone was exhausted, His Holiness distributed prizes.”

Renaissance chronicler Bishop Johann Burchard records in his Diarium Sive Rerum Urbanarum Commentarii how the winners were those “who made love with those courtesans the greatest number of times.”

Five hundred years later, Rodrigo Borgia’s Argentinian successor is presiding over another X-rated soap opera involving his friend and fellow Jesuit, Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik. In December 2022, Italian nun “Anna” revealed that during the 1990s the celebrity mosaic artist had forced nuns into a ménage à trois, claiming they were imitating the Holy Trinity.

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