- Pope Benedict XIII
Infobox pope|English name=Benedict XIII [Pope Benedict X is now considered an
antipope. At the time, however, this status was not recognized and so 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.]
Latin name=Benedictus PP. XIII
birth_name=Pietro Francesco Orsini
May 29, 1724
February 21, 1730
Gravina in Puglia, Italy
dead=dead|death_date=death date and age|1730|2|21|1649|2|2|mf=y
Pope Benedict XIII (
February 2, 1649– February 21, 1730), born Pietro Francesco Orsini, later Vincenzo Maria Orsini, was popefrom 1724 until his death. He succeeded Pope Innocent XIII(1721–1724).
He was born in
Gravina in Pugliato Ferdinando III Orsini, duke of Gravina, and Giovanna Frangipani della tolfa, from Toritto. He was a member of the Orsini of Rome, the third and last member of that family to become Pope. He entered the Dominican Orderand received the name Vincenzo Maria. He was named cardinal on February 22 1672(allegedly, against his will); later he was bishop of Manfredonia, bishop of Cesenaand then archbishop of Benevento.
At first, he called himself Benedict XIV, but afterwards altered the title to Benedict XIII. (The previous Benedict XIII having been considered an antipope.) He endeavoured to put a stop to the decadent lifestyles of the Italian
priesthood and of the cardinalate. He also abolished the lotteryin Rome. A man fond above all of asceticism and religious celebrations, according to Cardinal Lambertini (later Pope as Benedict XIV) he "did not have any idea about how to rule". [Rendina, p. 590] The government was effectively held in his lieu by Cardinal Niccolò Coscia, who had been Benedict's secretary when he was archbishop of Benevento, and who committed a long series of financial abuses at his own advantage, causing the ruin of the Papal treasure. According to Montesquieu, "All the money of Rome go to Benevento... as the Beneventani direct [Benedict's] weakness" [Rendina, p. 592] .
In foreign politics, he struggled with
John V of Portugaland the Jansenists
In 1727 he inaugurated the famous
Spanish Stepsand founded the University of Camerino.
Benedict died in 1730 and was buried in a tomb in
Santa Maria sopra Minervacompleted by Pietro Bracciand others. Coscia fled from the city in the circumstance, being excommunicated under the new Pope Clement XII. He was later restored and took part to the conclaves of 1730 and 1740.The comment to Benedict's death by Pasquino, the popular satirist of Rome, was::"This tomb encloses:the bones of a little friar::more than a saint's lover:a protector of brigands"
*cite book|first=Claudio|last=Rendina|title=I papi. Storia e segreti|publisher=Newton Compton|location=Rome|year=1993
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