Pope Benedict XI
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2014)|
|Papacy began||22 October 1303|
|Papacy ended||7 July 1304|
|Created Cardinal||4 December 1298
by Boniface VIII
|Birth name||Nicola Boccasini|
Treviso, Italy, Holy Roman Empire
|Died||7 July 1304
Perugia, Papal States
|Coat of arms|
|Feast day||7 July|
|Beatified||24 April 1736 (Cultus confirmed) by Pope Clement XII
by Pope Clement XIV
|Other popes named Benedict|
|Papal styles of
Pope Benedict XI
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Benedict XI (Latin: Benedictus XI; 1240 – 7 July 1304), born Nicola Boccasini, was Pope from 22 October 1303 to his death in 1304. He was also a member of the Order of Preachers. Among the events of his brief pontificate was the reverting of his predecessor's papal bull, Unam Sanctam, on papal supremacy.
He entered the Order of Preachers in 1257 and later became a professed member of the Order of Preachers and served as a professor of theology in Venice and Treviso. He was appointed as the Master of the Order of Preachers in 1296 and issued ordinances that forbade public questioning of the legitimacy of Pope Boniface VIII's papal election on the part of any Dominican.
Boccasini was elevated to the cardinalate on 4 December 1298 by Boniface VIII as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Sabina. He was promoted to the rank of Cardinal-Bishop in 1300 and also received episcopal consecration. He also served as papal legate to France and Hungary. When Boniface VIII was seized at Anagni in 1303, Boccasini was one of only two cardinals to defend the papal party in the Lateran Palace itself.
The conclave to elect the successor of Boniface VIII was held in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and the College of Cardinals desired an appropriate candidate who would not be hostile towards Philip IV of France. After one ballot in a conclave that lasted a day, Boccasini was elected as pope.
He was also quick to revert his predecessor's bull Unam Sanctam which asserted papal supremacy over secular rulers. He was quick to release King Philip IV of France from the excommunication that had been put upon him by Boniface VIII. Nevertheless, on 7 June 1304, Benedict XI excommunicated Philip IV's implacable minister Guillaume de Nogaret and all the Italians who had played a part in the seizure of his predecessor at Anagni. Benedict XI also arranged an armistice between Philip IV of France and Edward I of England.
After a brief pontificate that spanned a mere eight months, Benedict XI died suddenly at Perugia. As original reports had it, suspicion fell primarily on Nogaret with the suspicion that his sudden death was caused by poisoning. There is no direct evidence, however, to either support or disprove the contention that Nogaret poisoned the pope. Benedict XI's successor, Clement V removed the papal seat from Rome to Avignon, inaugurating the period sometimes known as the Babylonian Captivity. He and the French popes who succeeded him were completely under the influence of the kings of France.
Benedict XI was the author of a volume of sermons and commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, the Psalms, the Book of Job, and the Book of Revelation. He also celebrated two consistories to create two new cardinals on 18 December 1303 and 19 February 1304.
Cardinal Caesar Baronius wrote that on the Monday of Easter week in 1304, Pope Benedict XI was celebrating mass, but a pilgrim interrupted it, because he wanted the pope to hear this confession. Rather than telling him to find another time or another priest to have his confession, the Pope left the mass to hear his confession and then returned to continue the mass.
Benedict XI earned a reputation for holiness and the faithful came to venerate him. Pope Clement XII approved his cultus on 24 April 1736 but it was Pope Clement XIV who beatified him in 1773. Pope Benedict XIV extended his veneration to the Republic of Venice in 1748.
A note on the numbering: Pope Benedict X is now considered an antipope. At the time of Benedict XI's election, however, this status was not recognized, thus the man the Roman Catholic Church officially considers the tenth true Pope Benedict took the official number XI rather than X. This has advanced the numbering of all subsequent Popes Benedict by one. Popes Benedict XI-XVI are, from an official point of view, the tenth through fifteenth popes by that name.
- Leonard of Port Maurice. Counsels to Confessors. Loreto Publications, 2008
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Benedikt XI., Papst (Nicolaus Boccasini)". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 1. Hamm: Bautz. col. 486. ISBN 3-88309-013-1.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Pope Benedict XI". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pope Benedict XI.|
- "St. Benedict XI., Pope and Confessor", Butler's Lives of the Saints
|Catholic Church titles|
Stephen of Besançon
|Master General of the Dominican Order
Albert of Chiavari
|Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia
22 October 1303 – 7 July 1304