|Bishop of Rome|
|Papacy began||30 December 1334|
|Papacy ended||25 April 1342|
by Niccolò Alberti
|Created cardinal||18 December 1327|
by John XXII
|Birth name||Jacques Fornier|
Saverdun, Kingdom of France
|Died||25 April 1342 (aged 57)|
Avignon, County of Provence
|Coat of arms|
|Other popes named Benedict|
|Papal styles of|
Pope Benedict XII
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Benedict XII (Latin : Benedictus XII; 1285 – 25 April 1342), born Jacques Fornier, was Pope from 30 December 1334 to his death in April 1342. He was the third Avignon Pope. Benedict was a careful pope who reformed monastic orders and opposed nepotism. Unable to remove his capital to Rome or Bologna, he started the great palace at Avignon. He decided against a notion of Pope John XXII by saying that souls may attain the "fulness[ sic ] of the beatific vision" before the Last Judgment. Whilst being a stalwart reformer, he attempted unsuccessfully to reunite the Orthodox Church and Catholic Church, almost 3 centuries after the Great Schism; he also failed to come to an understanding with Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor.
Little is known of the origins of Jacques Fournier. He is believed to have been born in Canté in the Comté de Foix around the 1280s to a family of modest means. He became a Cistercianmonk and left the countryside to study at the University of Paris. In 1311 he was made Abbot of Fontfroide Abbey and quickly became known for his intelligence and organizational ability. In 1317 he was made Bishop of Pamiers. There he undertook a rigorous hunt for Cathar heretics, such as Guillaume Bélibaste, which won him praise from religious authorities, but alienated the local people.
His efforts against the Cathars of Montaillou in the Ariège were carefully recorded in the Fournier Register, which he took to Rome and deposited in the Vatican Library.His transcription was edited by Jean Duvernoy and has been documented by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's pioneering microhistory, Montaillou, village occitan.
In 1326, upon the successful rooting out of the last – it was believed – heretics of the south, he was made Bishop of Mirepoix in the Ariège, and, a year later, in 1327, he was made a cardinal.
Fournier succeeded Pope John XXII as Pope, after being elected in the Conclave of 1334. The Conclave opened on 13 December, and it appeared that there might be a quick election. A two-thirds majority were prepared to elect Cardinal Jean-Raymond de Comminges, the Bishop of Porto, if he would only swear in advance to agree not to return the Papacy to Rome. Comminges refused to make any promises in order to get elected. The Conclave therefore ground on through lengthy discussions. As Fournier himself said, "... in the discussion held over the election of a future pope, they could certainly have agreed on others more conspicuous for the repute of their great merits...",in other words, there were a number of possible candidates. The Cistercian cardinal, Jacques Fournier, was elected on the evening of 20 December 1334, after Vespers, on the eighth day of the Conclave.
Benedict XII was a reforming pope who did not carry out the policies of his predecessor. He chose to make peace with Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV, and as far as possible came to terms with the Franciscans, who were then at odds with the Roman See. He tried to curb the luxuries of the monastic orders, though without much success. He also ordered the construction of the Palais des Papes in Avignon.
Benedict spent most of his time working on questions of theology. He rejected many of the ideas developed by John XXII. In this regard, he promulgated an apostolic constitution, Benedictus Deus, in 1336. This dogma defined the Church's belief that the souls of the departed go to their eternal reward immediately after death, as opposed to remaining in a state of unconscious existence until the Last Judgment.Though some claim that he campaigned against the Immaculate Conception, this is far from clear. He engaged in long theological debates with other noted figures of the age, such as William of Ockham and Meister Eckhart.
Though born a Frenchman, Benedict felt no patriotism towards France nor her king, Philip VI.From the start of his papacy, relations between him and Philip were frigid. After being informed of Philip's plan to invade Scotland, Benedict hinted that Edward III, King of England would most likely win, regardless.
Pope Clement VI, born Pierre Roger, was Pope from 7 May 1342 to his death in 1352. He was the fourth Avignon pope. Clement reigned during the first visitation of the Black Death (1348–1350), during which he granted remission of sins to all who died of the plague.
Pope John XXII, born Jacques Duèze, was Pope from 7 August 1316 to his death in 1334.
The Avignon Papacy, also known as the Babylonian Captivity, was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon rather than in Rome. The situation arose from the conflict between the papacy and the French crown, culminating in the death of Pope Boniface VIII after his arrest and maltreatment by Philip IV of France. Following the further death of Pope Benedict XI, Philip forced a deadlocked conclave to elect the French Clement V as pope in 1305. Clement refused to move to Rome, and in 1309 he moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years. This absence from Rome is sometimes referred to as the "Babylonian captivity of the Papacy".
Montaillou is a commune in the Ariège department in the south of France. Its original, medieval location was abandoned and the current village is a short distance away.
Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord was a French Cardinal, from one of the most aristocratic families in Périgord, south-west France. Hélie was born at Périgueux, third son of Elias VII, Count of Périgord, and Brunissende of Foix, daughter of Roger Bernard III, comte de Foix. His elder brothers were Archambaud (IV), who inherited the County, and Roger-Bernard ; his younger brother was Fortanier, and his sisters were Agnes, Jeanne, Marguerite, and Rosemburge. As a third son Hélie was destined for an ecclesiastical career. His brother, Roger Bernard, too, had an ecclesiastical career, becoming Canon of Lyon. But then, the eldest son died, and Roger-Bernard became the Count of Périgord. Hélie became a major figure in the Avignon papacy, and also a diplomat engaged in the negotiations of the Hundred Years' War, having friendships in both English and French royal families. In his last months he had been appointed Papal Legate for a crusade against the Turks.
The papal conclave of 1342 – the papal conclave convened after the death of Pope Benedict XII, it elected Cardinal Pierre Roger, who became the fourth Pope of the period of Avignon Papacy under the name Clement VI.
Pierre Desprès was a French Cardinal during the period of Avignon Papacy. He was son of Raymond II Desprès, seigneur of Montpezat, and Aspasie de Montaigut, the heiress of Bertrand, seigneur de Montaigut. He had a brother, Raymond, who was ennobled in 1325. Pesserat points out that Montpezat was an important town, being the seat of the Archdeacon of Montpezat in the diocese of Cahors, who was also Sacristan of the Cathedral. Not at all coincidentally, Pope John XXII was a native of Cahors, and his father had been Sieur de Saint-Félix en Quercy. With his expertise in the law as a teacher and practitioner, and with his experience as a judge in the Roman Curia, Pierre Desprès was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Church by John XXII, where he served from 1325 to 1361. He was thus head of the Papal Secretariat, in charge of the drafting of papal bulls and letters, and a principal papal advisor. The post was also one of the most lucrative in the Roman Curia, since a fee was charged for every document and the Vice-Chancellor received a share of every fee.
The papal conclave of 1314–16, held in the apostolic palace of Carpentras and then the Dominican house in Lyon, was one of the longest conclaves in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the first conclave of the Avignon Papacy. The length of the conclave was due to the division of the cardinals into three factions: Italian, Gascon, and French/Provençal.
Bertrand du Pouget was a French papal diplomat and Cardinal.
Napoleone Orsini was a Roman Cardinal. His ecclesiastical career lasted 57 years, 54 of them as a cardinal, and included six conclaves.
The papal conclave of 1334 elected Jacques Fournier as Pope Benedict XII to succeed Pope John XXII.
Giovanni Colonna was a Roman Catholic cardinal during the Avignon papacy and was a scion of the famous Colonna family that played an important role in Italian history.
Gaillard de La Mothe was a fourteenth-century prelate and Cardinal, of Gascon extraction. Gaillard was born towards the end of the 13th century, either in Toulouse or Bordeaux, and died in Avignon on 20 December 1356. He was the son of Amanieu Levieux de La Motte, seigneur de Langon et de Rochetaillé. His mother was Elips (Alix) de Got, daughter of Arnaud-Garsale de Got, brother of Bertrand de Got. He was therefore a nephew of Pope Clement V. Gaillard had a brother, Bertrand. Another uncle, his father's brother, Guillaume de la Mothe, was Bishop of Bazas from 1303-1313, when he was transferred to Saintes, and again from 1318 to 1319.
Guillaume d'Aure, OSB, was born in Toulouse, and died on 3 December 1353 in Avignon. He was a French Benedictine monk and Cardinal. He was the son of Bernard VII Dodon, Count of Comminges, and Bertrande, Countess d'Aure, daughter of Arnaud, Vicomte de l'Arboust. He had a brother Raymond Roger d'Aure.
Imbert du Puy was a French Cardinal of the fourteenth century. He was a nephew of Pope John XXII.
Bernard d'Albi, was born at Saverdun in the diocese of Pamiers in the Pyrenees foothills, south of Toulouse, and died on 23 November 1350 at Avignon. He was a French cardinal of the 14th century.
Bertrand de Déaulx was a French bishop, diplomat and Cardinal. He was born, perhaps around 1290, in Castrum de Blandiaco in the diocese of Uzès; or in Déaulx. He died in Avignon in 1355. Trained as a lawyer and teacher of law, he practiced in the papal courts, and became an arbitrator and diplomat for the Papacy. He had several assignments in Italy and one in Catalonia. He was responsible for the reorganization of the University of Montpellier and the granting of revised charters.
Pasteur de Sarrats was a French Franciscan friar, bishop and Cardinal. He was born in the village of Aubenas in the Vivarais, or he took his monastic vows in the monastery of Aubenas. Pasteur may have had a brother. A bull of Benedict XII, dated 13 April 1337, grants the parish church of S. Martin de Valle Gorgia in the diocese of Viviers to Pierre de Serraescuderio, Canon of Viviers since 1333, who held a parish of S. Pierre de Melon in the diocese of Uzès. Pasteur died in Avignon in 1356.
Raymond de Canillac was a French lawyer, bishop, and cardinal. He was born at Roche de Canilhac, the family castle, in the diocese of Mende in the Gevaudan in central France, the son of Guillaume de Canillac and a sister of Cardinal Bertrand de Déaulx. Both of his uncles, Pons and Guy, were successively abbots of Aniane, as was a nephew of the Cardinal, also called Pons. In 1345 his niece Garine, the daughter of his brother Marquis and of Alixène de Poitiers-Valentinois, married Guillaume Roger, Vicount of Beaufort, the brother of Cardinal Pierre Roger de Beaufort, who became Pope Clement VI. Raymond became a member of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine (CRSA). He studied law at the University of Montpellier, and obtained the degree of Doctor in utroque iure.
Arnaud de Via was a French cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Arnaud's brother Jacques was also a cardinal and their mother was sister to pope John XXII.
Murphy, Cullen. God's Jury, - The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012.[ better source needed ]
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|Catholic Church titles|
| Pope |
30 December 1334 – 25 April 1342
Pilfort de Rabastens
| Bishop of Pamiers |
1317 – 1326