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BENEDICT


433


BENEDICT


Pope Benedict XIV


cause of his wonderful gifts and his extraordinary success as Bishop of Ancona, Pope Benedict XIII wislied to transfer him to some position of greater responsibility affording a wider field for the display of his powers and activity, but he replied in his usual jocose vein that no change of place could make him ot her t han he was , cheerful, joyous, and the friend of the pope. When he was transfer- red to Bologna in 1731 liis energies and activities seemed to redou- lile. He became all things to all men and is said to have never al- lowed anyone to leave his pres- ence dissatisfied or in anger, and without being strengthened and refreshed by his wisdom, advice, or admonitions. His efforts were largely directed to the improvement of clerical education in his diocese. He reformed the programme of studies in his seminary and drew up a new cm-ricuhmi in which special stress was laid on the study of Sacred Scripture and patrology.

When Clement XII died (6 February, 1740) the fame of Lambertini was at its highest. Through in- trigues of various kinds the conclave which com- menced on 17 February lasted for six months. It was composed of fifty-four cardinals of whom forty- six were Italians, three French, four Spanish, and one German. These were split into several parties. One was composed of tliose who had been appointed by Clement XI, Innocent XIII, and Benedict XIII; another of those appointed by Clement XII who were known as the new college. The long, tedious session and the intense heat did not improve the temper of the cardinals; after six months of fruitless effort and constant intrigue, the election seemed no nearer than in the beginning. Various expedients were suggested, such as the withdrawal of the names of the leading candidates and the substitution of others, but without avail. After several plans had been tried to end the deadlock, Lambertini, v.hose name had been proposed as a compromise, addressed the conclave, saying: "If you wish to elect a saint, choose Gotti; a statesman, Aldobrandini; an honest man, elect me." These words spoken as much per- haps in jest as in earnest helped to end the difficulty. Lambertini was chosen and took the name of Bene- dict XIV in honour of his friend and patron Bene- dict XIII. As pope, Lambertini was no less energetic, brave, and unassuming than before his election. His great learning placed him in a position to deal successfully with ecclesiastical situations that needed reformation, and tlie broad Christian spirit which animated his dealings with foreign powers removed the pressure and hostility of even Protestant courts and rulers. He was undoubtedly liberal in his political dealings, though he never lost sight of the essential interests of the Church and religion.

Public Policy. — To go to the extreme limit of concession and conciliation seems to have been the principle that dominated all Benedict's actions in his negotiations with governments and rulers, so much so, indeed, that he has not escaped criticism even from those within the Church as being too prone to settle difficulties by making concessions or com- promises. However his actions may be judged, and


whatever may be thought of his motives, it cannot be denied that he aimed constantly at peace and that few causes of friction remained after the close of his administration. Moreover, in estimating the value and effect of his concessions, it is seen that in nearly every case he strengthened the moral influence of the papacy even though some rights of patronage or other material interests were abandoned. Nor was his influence less potent among Protestant than Catholic rulers; the universal esteem in which he was held throughout the world meant much in an epoch, the close of which was to witness the disruption of many time-honoured institutions, social and political as well as religious. An enumeration of his principal dealings with the heads of states will show that Benedict wisely abandoned, in most cases, the shadow of temporal authority to maintain the substance of spiritual supremacy.

The King of Portugal received the right of pat- ronage over all the sees and abbeys in his kingdom (1740) and was further favoured with the title of Rex Fidelissimus (1748). In the matter of church revenues and the allotment of ecclesiastical benefices Spain was also treated very generously. In 1741 permission was granted to tax the income of the clergy, and in 1753 the Government received the right of nomination to nearly all the Spanish bene- fices; in 1754 an agreement was ratified by which the revenues from all the benefices in Spain and in the American colonies were paid into the govern- ment treasury to carry on the war against the African pirates. The King of Sardinia received the title of Vicar of the Holy See which carried with it the right of nomination to all ecclesiastical benefices in nis dominions and the income of the pontifical fiefs in lieu of which a yearly indemnity of one thousand ducats was to be paid. Through the mediation of the pope a tribunal was established in Naples consisting of an equal number of clerical and lay members pre- sided over by an ecclesiastic, which formed the final court for the trial of ecclesiastical cases. As mediator between the Ivnights of Malta and the King of Naples the pope brought a long standing controversy to a happy termination. By the Encyclical "Ex omnibus christiani orbis" (16 October, 1756), the bitter con- troversy regarding the question of admittingto the sac- raments persons who would not accept the Bull "Uni- genitus" was brought to a close. While insisting on the authority of the "L'nigenitus" and pointing out that it was the duty of all the faithful to accept it with veneration, the |)ope decrees that only those per- sons should be excluded from the sacraments whose opposition to the pontifical constitution was public and notorious, and who tlierefore should be regarded as public enemies. The title of King of Prussia, taken in 1701 by the Elector of Brandenburg, was recognized by Benedict against the vigorous opposition of many members of the Curia. He was referred to as the sage par excellence by Maria Theresa, and re- ceived many encomiums from the sultan to whom he plaj-fully referred in his writings as the "Good Turk". At the close of his pontificate the only ques- tion of importance in the foreign relations of the Holy See which had not been successfully settled was that concerning the Patriarchate of Aquileia over which the Republic of Venice and the emperor claimed control. Benedict decided that the rights of the patriarchate should be divided between the Arch- bishopric of Gorz, in Austria, and that of Udine in the Venetian States. This decision was regarded as unjust by Venice, which in retaliation decreed that no Bull, Brief, or communication of the Holy See should be promulgated within the jurisdiction of the Republic without the supervision and approval of the Government.

Temporal and Spiritual Riileh. — As temporal sovereign Benedict governed the States of the Church