in making a firm stand in the tumultuous conclave of 1378; but the deliberation with which he made up his mind as to the validity of the election of Urban VI. was equalled, when he took the side of Clement VII., by the ardour and resourcefulness which he displayed in defending the cause of the pope of Avignon; it was mainly to him that the latter owed his recognition by Castile, Aragon and Navarre. When elected pope, or rather anti-pope, by the cardinals of Avignon, on the 28th of September 1394, it was he who by his astuteness, his resolution, and, it may be added, by his unswerving faith in the justice of his cause, was to succeed in prolonging the lamentable schism of the West for thirty years. The hopes he had aroused that, by a voluntary abdication, he would restore unity to the church, were vain; though called upon by the princes of France to carry out his plan, abandoned by his cardinals, besieged and finally kept under close observation in the palace of the popes (1398-1403), he stood firm, and tired out the fury of his opponents. Escaping from Avignon, he again won obedience in France, and his one thought was how to triumph over his Italian rival, if necessary, by force. He yielded, however, to the instances of the government of Charles VI., and pretending that he wished to have an interview with Gregory XII., with a view to their simultaneous abdication, he advanced to Savona, and then to Porto Venere. The failure of these negotiations, for which he was only in part responsible, led to the universal movement of indignation and impatience, which ended, in France, in the declaration of neutrality (1408), and at Pisa, in the decree of deposition against the two pontiffs (1409). Benedict XIII., who had on his part tried to call together a council at Perpignan, was by this time recognized hardly anywhere but in his native land, in Scotland, and in the estates of the countship of Armagnac. He remained none the less full of energy and of illusions, repulsed the overtures of Sigismund, king of the Romans, who had come to Perpignan to persuade him to abdicate, and, abandoned by nearly all his adherents, he took refuge in the impregnable castle of Peñiscola, on a rock dominating the Mediterranean (1415). The council of Constance then deposed him, as a perjurer, an incurable schismatic and a heretic (26th July 1417). After struggling with the popes of Rome, Urban VI., Boniface IX., Innocent VII. and Gregory XII., and against the popes of Pisa, Alexander V. and John XXIII., Pedro de Luna, clinging more than ever to that apostolic seat which he still professed not to desire, again took up the struggle against Martin V., although the latter was recognized throughout almost all Christendom, and, before his death (29th November 1422, or 23rd May 1423), he nominated four new cardinals in order to carry the schism on even after him.
See Fr. Ehrle, Archiv für Lit. und Kirchengesch. vols. v., vi., vii.; N. Valois, La France et le grand schisme d’occident (4 vols., Paris, 1896-1902); Fr. Ehrle, “Martin de Alpartils chronica actitatorum temporibus domini Benedicti XIII.” (Quellen und Forschungen aus dem Geb. der Gesch., Görres-Gesellschaft, Paderborn, 1906).
Benedict XIII. (Piero Francesco Orsini), pope from 1724 to 1730, at first styled Benedict XIV., was born on the 2nd of February 1649, of the ducal family of Orsini-Gravina. In 1667 he became a Dominican (as Vincentius Maria), studied theology and philosophy, was made a cardinal in 1672 and archbishop of Benevento in 1686. Elected pope on the 29th of May 1724, he attempted to reform clerical morals; but neither the decrees of the Latin council (1725) nor his personal precepts had much effect. He confirmed the bull Unigenitus; but, despite the Jesuits, allowed the Dominicans to preach the Augustinian doctrine of grace. State affairs he left entirely to the unpopular Cardinal Nicolo Coscia. He died on the 21st of February 1730. His works, were published in 3 vols. at Ravenna in 1728.
Benedict XIV. (Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini), pope from 1740 to 1758, was born at Bologna on the 31st of March 1675. At the age of thirteen he entered the Collegium Clementinum at Rome. He served the Curia in many and important capacities, yet devoted his leisure time to theological and canonistic study. Benedict XIII. made him archbishop of Theodosia in partibus, then of Ancona (1727), and the next year created him cardinal priest. In 1731 Clement XII. translated him to his native city of Bologna, where as archbishop he was both efficient and popular. He published valuable works, notably De servorum Dei beatificatione et canonizatione, De sacrificio missae, as well as a treatise on the feasts of Christ and the Virgin and of some saints honoured in Bologna. In a conclave which had lasted for months he was elected on the 17th of August 1740 the successor of Clement XII. Benedict XIV. was not merely earnest and conscientious, but of incisive intellect, and unfailingly cheerful and witty. In several respects he bettered the economic conditions of the papal states, but was disinclined to undertake the needed thorough-going reform of its administration. In foreign politics he made important concessions to Portugal, Naples, Sardinia, Spain, and was the first pope expressly to recognize the king of Prussia as such. In 1741 he issued the bull Immensa pastorum principis, demanding more humane treatment for the Indians of Brazil and Paraguay, and in the bulls Ex quo singulari (1742) and Omnium sollicitudinum (1744) he rebuked the missionary methods of the Jesuits in accommodating their message to the heathen usages of the Chinese and of the natives of Malabar. In accord with the spirit of the age he reduced the number of holy days in several Catholic countries. To the end of his life he kept up his studies and his intercourse with other scholars, and founded several learned societies. His masterpiece, Libri octo de synodo diocesana, begun in Bologna, appeared during his pontificate. He died on the 3rd of May 1758.
His works, published in twelve quarto volumes at Rome (1747-1751), appeared in more nearly complete editions at Venice in 1767 and at Prato, 1839-1846; also Briefe Benedicts XIV., ed. F. X. Kraus (2nd ed., Freiburg, 1888); Benedicti XIV. Papae opera inedita, ed. F. Heiner (Freiburg, 1904). See Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie, ii. 572 ff.; Wetzer and Welter, Kirchenlexikon, ii. 317 ff.
BENEDICT OF ALIGNAN (d. 1268), Benedictine abbot of Notre Dame de la Grasse (1224) and bishop of Marseilles (1229), twice visited the Holy Land (1239 and 1260), where he helped the Templars build the great castle of Safet. He founded a short-lived order, the Brothers of the Virgin, suppressed by the council of Lyons (1274), and died a Franciscan. His writings include a letter to Innocent IV. and De constructione Castri Saphet (Baluze, Miscellanea, ii.).
BENEDICT OF NURSIA, SAINT (c. 480-c. 544), the patriarch of Western monks. Our only authority for the facts of St Benedict’s life is bk. ii of St Gregory’s Dialogues. St Gregory declares that he obtained his information from four of St Benedict’s disciples, whom he names; and there can be no serious reason for doubting that it is possible to reconstruct the outlines of St Benedict’s career (see Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, iv. 412). A precise chronology and a pedigree have been supplied for Benedict, according to which he was born in 480, of the great family of the Anicii; but all we know is what St Gregory tells us, that he was born of good family in Nursia, near Spoleto in Umbria. His birth must have occurred within a few years of the date assigned; the only fixed chronological point is a visit of the Gothic king Totila to him in 543, when Benedict was already established at Monte Cassino and advanced in years (Dial. ii. 14, 15). He was sent by his parents to frequent the Roman schools, but shocked by the prevailing licentiousness he fled away. It has been usual to represent him as a mere boy at this time, but of late years various considerations have been pointed out which make it more likely that he was a young man. He went to the mountainous districts of the Abruzzi, and at last came to the ruins of Nero’s palace and the artificial lake at Subiaco, 40 m. from Rome. Among the rocks on the side of the valley opposite the palace he found a cave in which he took up his abode, unknown to all except one friend, Romanus, a monk of a neighbouring monastery, who clothed him in the monastic habit and secretly supplied him with food. No one who has seen the spot will doubt that the Sacro Speco is indeed the cave wherein Benedict spent the three years of opening manhood in solitary prayer, contemplation and austerity. After this period of formation his fame began to spread abroad, and the monks of a neighbouring monastery induced him to become their abbot; but their lives were irregular and dissolute, and on his trying to