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BENEDICT


435


BENEDICT


to his hostility to the Society; on the other hand, it must be noted that it was to a Jesuit, Emmanuel Azevedo, that he committed the complete edition of his works (1747-51). He had been long urged by his friends Cardinals Passionei and Archinto to order a thorough reformation of that body, but it was not until the last year of his life that any decisive action was taken. On 1 April, 1758, he issued a Brief by which Cardinal Saldanha was commissioned to inspect all the colleges and houses of the Society in Portugal, and to undertake a reform of the same, but this authority was withdrawn by his successor, Clem- ent XIII.

Benedict XIV sought recreation in the society of learned men and artists, among whom he shone as a wit and a scholar. Gay, lively, and talkative, his conversation at times amazed, if it did not shock, the staid sensibilities of some of the dignified courtiers v.ho came in contact with him. Mild and gracious in


Tomb of Benedict XIV


his demeanour to all who approached him, the pope was at times lacking neither in energy nor spirit. On one occasion a violent scene took place in which the pope expressed in a most decided manner his dis- approval of the tactics of the French court. Choiseul, the French ambassador, called at the Vatican to re- quest that the appointment of Cardinal Archinto to succeed Cardinal Valenti as Secretary of State be deferred until after some matters in which the French king was interested were decided. Choiseul himself gives an account of this scene (Letters, p. 169), with- out, however, relating all the details. The conversa- tion was more lively than Choiseul reported, and from the "M^moires" of the Baron de Besonval (p. 106) we learn that when the pope had grown tired of the importunities of Choiseul he seized him by the arm and pushing him into his own seat said: "Be pope yourself" (Fa el Papa). Choiseul replied: "No, Holy Father, let us each do his part. You


continue to be pope and I shall be ambassador." This brusqueness, however, was not usual with Benedict. He could be gay as well as serious. The Abbate Galiani once presented him with a collection of minerals saying: Die id lapides isti panes fiant (Command that these stones be made bread), and the hint was not lost. The miracle requested was per- formed and the abb6 received a pension.

To his subjects Benedict was an idol. If they com- plained at times that he wrote too much and gov- erned them too little, they all agreed that he spoke well and wittily, and his jokes and bon mots were the delight of Rome. Cares of state, after his elevation to tlie pontificate prevented him from devoting him- self as much as he would have wished to his studies of former days; but he never lacked intellectual stimulus. He surrounded himself with such men as Quirini, Garampi, Borgia, Muratori, and carried on an active correspondence with scholars of many shades of opinion. His intellectual pre-eminence was not only a source of pride to Catholics, but formed a strong bond with many not of the Faith. Voltaire dedicated to him his "Mahomet" with the words: " \n chef de la veritable religion im 6crit contre le fondateur d'une religion fausse et barbare". On another occasion he composed for a portrait of the ]io]5e the following distich:

Lambertinus hie est, Romoe decus, et pater orbis,

Qui mundum scriptis docuit, virtutibus ornat. (This is Lambertini, the pride of Rome, the father of the world, who teaches that world by his writings and honours by his virtues.) The distich caused discussion regarding the quantity of "hie", but the pope defended the prosody of Voltaire who con- firmed his opinion by a quotation from Virgil which 111' said ought to be the epitaph of Benedict.

(ireat as a man, a scholar, an administrator, and a priest,. Benedict's claim to immortality rests princi- yy.iWy on his admirable ecclesiastical writings. The most important of them, besides those already men- tioned, are: "Institutiones Ecclesiasticte", ^v^itten in Italian, but translated into Latin by P. Ildephonsus a S. Carolo; it is a collection of 107 dociunents, principally pastoral letters, letters to bishops and others, independent treatises, instructions, etc., all of which are really scientific dissertations on sub- jects connected with church law or the care of souls; the classical work "De Synodo DioecesanA", piib- li.shed after his elevation to the papacy, an adapta- tion to diocesan administration of the general ecclesi-

isl ical law; this book is called by Schulte, because of

its influence, one of the most important, if not the most important, modern work in canon law; "Casus I 'onscientia; de mandato Prosp. Lambertini Archiep. Honon propositi et resoluti", valuable for the lawyer as well as the confessor; "Bullarium Benedicti XIV", whi(-h contains the legislation of his pontificate, many of its documents being scientific treatises. He also compiled a "Thesaurus Resolutionum Sacrae Congregationis Concilii", the first attempt at a scien- tific presentation of the "Praxis" of the Roman Con- gregations. A corhplete edition of his works appeared at Rome (1747-51) in twelve folio volumes, by Em- manuel .A.zevedo, S.J., who also translated into Latin the Italian documents. A better and more complete edition is that of Venice, 1788. The latest and most serviceable (Prato, 1844) is in seventeen volumes. Some letters of Benedict were published by Kraus: " Briefe Benedicts XIV an den Canonicus Pier Francesco Peggi in Bologna (1729-1758) nebst Bene- dicts DiariumdesConclaves von 1740" (2d ed., Frei- burg, 1888). Cf. Batiffol, "Inventaire des lettres in^dites du Rape B6nolt XIV" (Paris, 1894); R. De Martinis, "Acta Benedicti XIV" (Naples, 1884, pas- sim). In 1904 Heiner edited three hitherto unpub- lished treatises of Benedict XIV on rites, the feasts of the Apostles, and the Sacraments.