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Recent criticisms of Donnie Johnston's column on the papacy ["Pope knows that a job for life doesn't have to be until death," Feb. 22] seem excessive to me. I, for one, enjoy most of his musings but have long ago learned to take them with a grain of salt. One of his critics pointed with pride that there have been Hispanic popes ["Don't you look foolish," March 4]. One of the examples cited was Pope Alexander VI, an unfortunate choice. His real name was Rodrigo Borgia, who was made a cardinal at the ripe age of 25 by his uncle, Pope Callixtus III. Alexander VI had six illegitimate children, to include the infamous Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. He ascended to the papacy by buying the votes of nearly all of the College of Cardinals.
Excesses such as this were prevalent in the 15th and 16th centuries and were instrumental in the rise of the Reformation. As we know, moral "lapses" by religious leaders are not confined to any one religion.