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Some of the more interesting Benedicts

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_IX Benedict IX (1032-1045) apparently was made Pope by his father, count of Tusculum. He may have been as young as
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 19, 2005
      Benedict IX (1032-1045) apparently was made Pope by
      his father, count of Tusculum. He may have been as
      young as twelve at the time, though there's dispute
      about his exact age. He was almost certainly the
      youngest pope ever though. He "was entirely unsuited
      to be pontiff" and "led an extremely dissolute life."
      He was twice forced out of Rome, and needed help from
      an emperor and soldiers to return. He later resigned,
      apparently in order to marry, and sold the papacy to
      his godfather, who actually was a priest. He later
      unsuccessfuly tried to retake the papacy, and was

      Benedict XIII (1724-1730) for a while "called himself
      Benedict XIV (due to the superstition alleging that
      the number thirteen brings bad luck), but afterwards
      altered the title."

      Benedict XIV (1740-1758) issued several official
      statements that "denounced the custom of accommodating
      Christian words and usages to express non-Christian
      ideas and practices of the native cultures, which had
      been extensively done by the Jesuits in their Indian
      and Chinese missions. An example of this is the
      statues of the ancestors - is honor paid to the
      ancestors to be considered the unacceptable 'ancestor
      worship' or something more like the Catholic
      veneration of the saints - and can a Catholic
      legitimately 'venerate' an ancestor known to not have
      been a Christian? The choice of a Chinese translation
      for the name of God had also been debated since the
      early 1600s.

      The consequence of these bulls was that many of these
      converts left the church."

      The most recent Benedict, Giacomo della Chiesa:

      "On May 25, 1914 Chiesa was appointed a cardinal and,
      in this capacity, on the outbreak of World War I�with
      the papacy vacant upon Pius X's death on 20 August�he
      made a speech on the Church's position and duties,
      emphasising the need for neutrality and promoting
      peace and the easing of suffering. The conclave opened
      at the end of August, and, on 3 September 1914, Chiesa
      was elected Pope, taking the name of Benedict XV.

      His pontificate was dominated by the war, which he
      termed "the suicide of Europe", and its turbulent
      aftermath. His early call for a Christmas truce in
      1914 was ignored, and though he organised significant
      humanitarian efforts (establishing a Vatican bureau,
      for instance, to help prisoners of war from all
      nations contact their families) and made many
      unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace, his
      effectiveness even in Italy was undermined by his
      pacifist stance. The best known was the seven-point
      Papal Peace proposal of August 1917, demanding a
      cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments,
      guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international
      arbitration. Only Woodrow Wilson responded directly,
      declaring that a declaration of peace was premature;
      in Europe each side saw him as biased in favour of the
      other and were unwilling to accept the terms he
      proposed. This resentment resulted in the exclusion of
      the Vatican from the Paris peace conference of 1919;
      despite this, he wrote an encyclical pleading for
      international reconciliation, Pacem, Dei Munus

      In the post-war period Benedict was involved in
      developing the Church administration to deal with the
      new international system that had emerged.

      In internal Church affairs, Benedict calmed the
      excesses of the campaign against "modernist" scholars
      within the Church that had characterised the reign of
      Pius X, though his first encyclical condemned errors
      in modern philosophical systems and no excommunicated
      scholars were returned to the faith.

      Benedict also promulgated a new Code of Canon Law in
      1917 and attempted to improve relations with the
      anticlerical Republican government of France by
      canonising the French national heroine Joan of Arc. In
      the mission territories of the Third World, he
      emphasised the necessity of training native priests to
      replace the European missionaries as soon as possible,
      and established a Coptic college in the Vatican.

      In his private spiritual life, Benedict was devoted to
      the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the modern Popes
      was the most fervent in propagating the wearing of the
      Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, endorsing
      the claim that wearing it piously brings "the singular
      privilege of protection after death" from eternal
      damnation, and giving an indulgence for every time it
      was kissed.

      Benedict XV died of pneumonia at the age of 67 in
      1922. Although one of the less remembered Popes of the
      twentieth century, he deserves commendation for his
      humane approach in the world of 1914-1918, which
      starkly contrasts with that of the other great
      monarchs and leaders of the time. Thus, when Cardinal
      Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, his choice
      of the title Benedict XVI may have been intended to
      convey a promise of humanitarian diplomacy and a firm
      stance against modernism."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict has a list
      of all the popes and antipopes named Benedict.
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