Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/494

This page needs to be proofread.




obejnng the command of the general of his order, he allowed himself to be proclaimed pope. In honour of Benedict XI, a member of the Dominican Order, he took the name of Benedict XIV, which he shortly changed to Benedict XIII as Peter de Luna who had previously borne the name (1394-1423) was a schismatic.

His first concern as pope was to enforce rigidly ecclesiastical discipline. He issued several decrees on ecclesiastical dress and was unsparing in his efforts to aooiish any semblance of luxury or worldly pomp among the cardinals. During the Jubilee of 1725, he discharged personally the duties of Grand Penitentiary, and is said to have seriously considered the revival of public penances for certain grave offences. In order to encourage the foundation of diocesan seminaries, he organized a special com- mission (Congregatio Seminariorum). At a pro- vincial Roman Lateran synod held in 1725, he required an unqualified acceptance of the Bull "Uni- genitus" and through his eff'orts Cardinal de Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, was led to accept it in 1728. During his pontificate Benedict retained the Arch- bishopric of Benevento which he administered by a vicar-general and which he twice visited (1727, 1729).

In diplomatic matters and in his relations vrith foreign powers Benedict did not exhibit the vigour and conservatism which marked his administration in religious matters. His love of peace led him to attempt a settlement of the dispute in regard to the ecclesiastical privileges of the Kings of Naples (Monarchia Sicida) by a revocation of the constitu- tion of Clement XI (1715) and by granting to the King of Naples (and Sicily) and his successors the right to appoint a spiritual judge in ecclesiastical affairs, reserving, however, the most important cases to the Holy See. The quarrel with Victor Amadeus of Savoy was compounded by giving to the king the right of patronage over the churches and monas- teries in his dominions, without, however, conceding any claim to the incomes from vacant benefices. Towards John V, King of Portugal, the pope ex- hibited extraordinary firmness in refusing a claim based on the privilege held by other courts to pro- pose candidates for the cardinalate. This was in consequence of the protests made by the cardinals against the elevation of Vincenzo Biechi, Nuncio to Lisbon. In retaliation John recalled all Portuguese residents in Rome, forbade all communication with the Roman Curia, and attempted to prevent the sending of the customary alms from Portugal to Rome; he also interfered with applications for dis- pensations from matrimonial impediments. At many courts of Europe grave offence was taken by the extension (1728) to tne Universal Church of the Office of Gregory VII containing an account of the excommunication and deposition of Henry IV, which to Galileans and Protestants seemed offen- sive.

Although full justice can scarcely be done to the virtuous life and the fatherly zeal for the interests of religion of Benedict, his pontificate lost much of its lustre because of his misplaced confidence in Cardinal Nicolo Coscia, who had been his coadjutor at Benevento. The pope was ignorant of the pecula- tions and venality of his favourite, whose greed did much to diminish the prestige of the Holy See, and against whom a popular uprising took place on the pope's death, resulting in a ten years' imprisonment for this unworthy cardinal. Benedict's theological WTitings were published in three volumes (Ravenna, 1728).

QuETip-EcHARD, Script. Ord. Prrrd., I, 814; Cavalieri, Gallerra de' aommi ponlefici, Ptilnarcni . . . dell' O. P. (Bene- vento, 1G96), I. 668; Pittoni. Vila del sommo pontefice Bene- detto XIII (Venice. 1730); Borgia. Benedicli XIII vita (Rome, X752); GnAKNACci, Hi^t. pontij. roman., I, 39, II. 409 eqq.;

Sandini, yito pontif. roman. (Rome, 1763); Grone, Papstgc' sckichte (Ratisbon, 1875); Sentis, Die Monarchia Sicula (Freiburg, 1869), 15.9 sqq.; Artaud de Montor, History of the Roman Pontiffs (New York. 1867), II.

Patrick J. Healt.

Benedict XIV (Prospero Lorenzo L.mibertini), son of Marcello Lambertini and Lucretia Bulgarini, b. at Bologna 31 March, 1675; d. 3 May, 1758. His early education was received from tutors. At the age of thirteen he went to the Collegium Clementinum in Rome where he studied rhet- oric, philosophy, and theology. St. Thomas Aquinas was his favourite author, but the bent of his own mind was towards historical and legal studies in which latter he excelled, as well in civil as ia ecclesiastic:il law. In 1694, though only nineteen, he received the degree of Doctor of Theology and Doc- tor Utriusque Juris (canon and civil law). On the death of Innocent XII he was made con- .„..„.,„. „„.,^„,^. sistorial advocate by Clement •"■•■" -^^^ • •—"' XI, and shortly afterwards

Consultor of the Holy Office. In 1708 he was ap- pointed Promoter of the Faith; in 1712 canon theologian at the Vatican and assessor of the Congre- gation of Rites; in 1713 he was named domestic prelate; in 1718 secretary of the Congregation of the Council; and in 1725 titular Bishop of Theodosia. He was made Bishop of Ancona in 1727 and cardinal 30 April, 1728. He was transferred to the Arch- bishopric of Bologna in April, 1731, in succession to Lorenzo Corsini who had become pope as Clement XII.

Benedict XIV is best known to history as a student and a scholar. Though by no means a genius, his enormous application coupled with more than ordi- nary cle\'erness of mind made him one of the most erudite men of his time and gave him the distinction of being perhaps the greatest scholar among the popes. His character was many-sided, and his range of interests large. His devotion to science and the serious investigation of historical problems did not interfere with his purely literary studies. "I have been reproached", he once said, "because of my familiarity with Tasso and Dante and Ariosto, but they are a necessity to me in order to give energy to my thought and life to my style. " This devotion to the arts and sciences brought Lambertini throughout his whole life into close and friendly contact with the most famous authors and scholars of his time. Montfaucon, whom he knew in Rome, said of him: "Young as he is, he has two souls: one for science, the other for society." This last characterization did not interfere with his restless activity in any of the many important positions which he was called on to fill, nor did it diminish his marvellous capacity for the most arduous work.

The zeal and energy which Lambertini carried to this office infused new life into all his subjects. He himself explained his assiduity by saying that he looked on the episcopate not as an honour, but as an opportimity to do good. His administration was e.x- emplary: he visitea all parts of his diocese, held syn- ods, incited the people to piety by word and example, and supervised the affairs of his diocese so thoroughly that nothing needing change or correction escaped him. His humility and vast learning were a source of inspira- tion and strength to his clergy, and his broid firm grasp of public affairs and public questions gave him a position of unique influence among rulers and people. In liis opinion the foundation of success in episcopal administration was thorough harmony between bishop and clergy, and this he succeeded in obtaining. Be-