Pope Benedict XIII

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
term_start=May 29, 1724
term_end=February 21, 1730
predecessor=Innocent XIII
successor=Clement XII
birth_date=birth date|1649|2|2|mf=y
birthplace=Gravina in Puglia, Italy
dead=dead|death_date=death date and age|1730|2|21|1649|2|2|mf=y
deathplace= Rome, Italy

Pope Benedict XIII (February 2, 1649 – February 21, 1730), born Pietro Francesco Orsini, later Vincenzo Maria Orsini, was pope from 1724 until his death. He succeeded Pope Innocent XIII (1721–1724).

He was born in Gravina in Puglia to 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 Order and 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 Cesena and 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 lottery in 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 Portugal and the Jansenists

In 1727 he inaugurated the famous Spanish Steps and founded the University of Camerino.

Benedict died in 1730 and was buried in a tomb in Santa Maria sopra Minerva completed by Pietro Bracci and 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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