More on popes named Benedict

Benedict III (September 29, 855 - April 17, 858)

Little is known about his pontificate. He was not the first choice for Pope. The first choice refused the job.

Benedict IV (February 900-July 903)

He was Pope during a time of politcal and social chaos in Rome. He was known as a Pope who was generous to the poor and those in distress. It is believed that he was murdered. Records of the time period, due to the upheaval, were mostly destroyed.

Benedict V (May 22 to June 23, 694)

He had only a month long pontificate. He was a "learned, reformist cardinal-deacon." He was stripped of his position due to a conflict with the former Pope. It was nothing of his wrongdoing. The former Pope was politically powerful and was on the in with the Roman empereror, Otto I. "Benedict was still widely admired and respected for the holiness of his life."

Benedict VI (January 19, 973 - July 974: January 19, 973 - June 974 in the Vatican's official list)

He forbid bishops from charging fees for ordinations and consecrations. He promoted the reform of monasteries. He was strangled to death by a Priest under the orders of the antipope Boniface VII.

Benedict VII (October 974 - July 10, 983)

He "was primarily a spiritual rather than a political pope. He promoted monasticism and monastic reform in France, Germany, and Italy." He also prohibited the buying and selling of church offices and spiritual benefits.

Benedict VIII (May 18, 1012 - April 9, 1024)

He was a layman elected pope. He was militaristic in his pontificate. He used military force to crush his opponents. He passed legislation prohibiting clerical marriage. "Some have referred to this pope as more powerful than all of his immediate predecessors, but he wielded a power - political and military especially - that is far removed from the original meaning and purpose of the Petrine ministry."

Benedict IX (October 21, 1032 - September 1044, March 10 - May 1, 1045, November 8, 1047 - July 16, 1048: These dates are in dispute)

He was also a layman like his uncle, Benedict VIII. He was the only pope to hold the office three seperate times. He was removed from the papal throne by order of the emperor. Later, He was accused of buying and selling of spiritual goods and church offices. He refused to appear at his trial and was excommunicated. He "is said to have been one of the most profligate ever to occupy the post and degradation seemed again to triumph."

Benedict X (April 5, 1058 - January 24, 1059)

He was an antipope. Apparently he wasn't regarded as such by the church at the time because the next Benedict was Benedict XI and not Benedict X. You will see that there were two Benedict XIII because he was also an antipope.

Benedict XI (October 22, 1303 - July 7, 1304)

His pontificate was marred by acquiescence to the king of France. He improved the rights of Dominican and Franciscan monks.

Benedict XII (January 8, 1335 - April 25, 1342)

"Benedict XII had come into office with a reputation as a learned theologian and an indefatigable inquisitor, skilled at extracting confessions from alleged heretics, some of whom were burned at the stake...He also prohibited the transfer of money when spiritual services were rendered, limited the fees that could be charged for documents, and banned the drawing of revenue from vacant beneifces (except in the case of cardinals and patriarchs)...He regulated the temporal authority of the Cistercians, Franciscans, and Benedictines, mandated regular chapters (formal house meetings) and visitations of monasteries, established houses of study, and reformed the training program for novices."

He settled a controversy on whether saints had to wait after death to see God or whether they saw him immediately. "Benedict XII ruled in Benedictus Deus (1336) that souls have an intuitive, face-to-face vision of the divine essence, which theologians call the Beatific Vision, and that this vision of God occurs immediately after death in the case of those who die in the state of grace."

He was pope at the beginning of the Hundred Years' War.

Benedict XIII (1394-1417)

An antipope. The papacy was divided between the powers of Germany and England against the powers of France. Benedict XIII was the French pope. He refused to abdicate his throne and was declared "a perjurer, a heretic, and an obstacle to the union of the Church...Benedict continued to insist that he was the rightful Pope" until his death in 1423.

Benedict XIII (May 29, 1724 - February 21, 1730)

"He criticized the lifestyle and fastidious appearance of cardinals (their use of wigs, for example) and banned the profitable lottery in the Papal States." His papacy was marred by corruption among his underlings. He was extremely unpopular.

Benedict XIV (August 17, 1740 - May 3, 1758)

He focused on the roles of bishops. "He promoted clerical training, episcopal residentiality (evidently many bishops were still living away from their dioceses), and pastoral visitation." He wrote what is considered the first papal encyclical. "He founded four scholarly academies, purchased manuscripts and books for the Vatican Library, and imprvoed the University of Rome. Montesquieu described him as 'the scholar's pope,' even though Benedict XIV had condemned his The Spirit of Laws. His book on the making of saints, De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione [Lat., 'On the beatification of the servants of God and the canonization of the blessed'], was often reprinted and remained the classic treatment of the subject for many years. He also composed another enduring work on diocesan synods in 1748. The great Voltaire even deciated his tragedy Mahomet to the pope." He was greatly respected.

Benedict XV (September 3, 1914 - January 22, 1922)

Upon appointment, he "took stock of the financial status of the Holy See, determined to dispense as much money as possible to those in need."

"During and after World War I Benedict XV again and again addressed the world, calling to its attention principles for establishing peace and urging the belligerents to compose their differences. He used the facilities of his church to alleviate the sufferings from the war through negotiating the exchange of prisoners and civilians in occupied countries, aiding the sick, furthering the repatriation of prisoners of war and the correspondence of prisoners with their families, and promoting the relief of devastated areas."

"On the missionary front, he also pursued a more creative course...urging that missionaries receive a better spiritual and theological preperation and that missionary bishops form a native clergy as quickly as possible and never place the interests of their native countries ahead of the pastoral needs of their people."

"In the end, he was a pope dedicated to healing and reconciliation, even if, on the political front, his ministrations were unappreciated."

Benedict XVI

The new pope. With so many Benedict's before him, there are many traits that would be great to mimic. It is my prayer that he would listen to God and do for the church what needs to be done in order to help bring about unity among all believersq and restoration of biblical doctrine in all areas that the Bible addresses. I also pray that the world might see the love of Christ through him. May he always be sensitive to the guidance of God.

Watch out for the potholes.