Benedict Xiv., Pope

, whose name was Prosper Lambertini, was born in 1675, at Bologna. He was appointed canon of the Basilicon, or great church of St. Peter, then successively archbishop of Theodosia, and bishop of Ancona. He received the cardinal’s hat in 1728, was deputy of the congregation of the holy office the same year, became archbishop of Bologna in 1731, and succeeded pope Clement XII. August 17, 1740. He then took the name of Benedict XIV. zealously endeavoured to calm the dissensions which had arisen in the church, patronised arts and sciences, founded several academies at Rome, and declared openly in favour of the Thomists. This pope did justice to the memory of the celebrated cardinal Noris; published the bull “Omnium sollicitudinum” against certain ceremonies, and addressed a brief to cardinal Saldanha for the reformation of the Jesuits, which was the foundation of their destruction. He had also established a congregation to compose a body of doctrine, by which the troubles of the church might be calmed. This pontiff was a very able canonist, and well acquainted with ecclesiastical history and antiquities. Though he governed with great wisdom, and was very zealous for religion, he was lively in his conversation, and fond of saying bonmots. He died 1758, aged 83. His works were published before his death in 16 vols. 4to, by Azevedo. The four last contain his briefs, bulls, &c. The five first are, “A treatise on the Beatification and Canonization of haints,” in which the subject is exhausted; an abridgement of it was published in French, 1759, 12mo. The sixth contains the actions of the saints whom he canonized. The two next consist of supplements, and remarks on the preceding ones. The ninth treats on the “Sacrifice of the Mass,” and the tenth on the “Festivals instituted in honour of Jesus Christ and | the Holy Virgin.” The eleventh is entitled “Ecclesiastical Institutions;” an excellent work, containing his instructions, mandates, letters, &c. while he was hishop of Ancona, and afterwards archbishop of Bologna. The twelfth is a “Treatise on Diocesan Synods.” All the above are in Latin. Caraccioli published his life at Paris, 1784, 12mo. It was begun in the life time of Benedict, and part of it submitted to him by the author, to whom the pope said, “If you were a historian, instead of a panegyrist, I should thank you for the picture you have drawn, and with which I am perfectly satisfied.1


L’Avocat’s —Dict. Hist.—Walch and Bower’s Lives of the Popes.—Mosheim, vol VI. edit. 1811.