Pope Clement XII

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Pope

Clement XII
Bishop of Rome
Pope Clement XII, portrait.jpg
Papacy began12 July 1730
Papacy ended6 February 1740
Predecessor Benedict XIII
Successor Benedict XIV
Orders
Ordination7 May 1706
by  Pope Clement XI
Consecration18 June 1690
by  Flavio Chigi
Created cardinal17 May 1706
by Pope Clement XI
Personal details
Birth nameLorenzo Corsini
Born(1652-04-07)7 April 1652
Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Died6 February 1740(1740-02-06) (aged 87)
Rome, Papal States
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Coat of arms C o a Clemente XII.svg
Other popes named Clement

Pope Clement XII (Latin : Clemens XII; 7 April 1652 – 6 February 1740), born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to his death in 1740.

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Contents

Clement presided over the growth of a surplus in the papal finances. He thus became known for building the new façade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, beginning construction of the Trevi Fountain, and the purchase of Cardinal Alessandro Albani's collection of antiquities for the papal gallery. In his 1738 bull In eminenti apostolatus , he provides the first public papal condemnation of Freemasonry, helping bring about the Catholic Church's longstanding opposition to the order.

Trevi Fountain fountain in Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain is a fountain in the Trevi district in Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini and several others. Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including Roman Holiday, Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, the eponymous Three Coins in the Fountain, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and Sabrina Goes to Rome.

Alessandro Albani Collector of antiquities, Roman Catholic cardinal

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In eminenti apostolatus specula is a papal bull issued by Pope Clement XII on 28 April 1738, banning Catholics from becoming Freemasons. It arose from Jacobite-Hanoverian rivalry on the continent.

Early life

Lorenzo Corsini was born in Florence in 1652 as the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Elisabetta Strozzi, the sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo. Both of his parents belonged to the old Florentine nobility. He was a distant relative of Saint Andrea Corsini. [1]

Florence Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Corsini family Florentine princely family

Corsini is the name of a Florentine princely family.

Strozzi family florentine noble family

Strozzi is the name of an ancient Florentine family, who like their great rivals the Medici family, began in banking before moving into politics. Until its exile from Florence in 1434, the Strozzi family was by far the richest in the city, and was rivaled only by the Medici family, who ultimately took control of the government and ruined the Strozzi both financially and politically. This political and financial competition was the origin of the Strozzi-Medici rivalry. Later, while the Medici ruled Florence, the Strozzi family ruled Siena, which Florence attacked, causing great animosity between the two families. Soon afterwards, the Strozzi married into the Medici family, essentially giving the Medici superiority.

Corsini studied at the Jesuit Collegio Romano in Rome and also at the University of Pisa where he earned a doctorate in both civil law and canon law.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

Roman College building in Rome, Italy

The Roman College was a school established by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1551, just 17 years after he founded the Society of Jesus (1534). It quickly grew to include classes from elementary school through university level. It moved to several different locations to accommodate its growing student population. With the patronage of Pope Gregory XIII, from 1582 to 1584 the final seat of the Roman College was built near the center of Rome's most historic Pigna district, on what today is called Piazza del Collegio Romano. The college, renamed Gregorian University in 1584 after its benefactor, remained at this location for 286 years until the Capture of Rome in 1870.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Career

Clement XII, 1730 Medaille en or a l'effigie du Pape Clement XII, 1730.jpg
Clement XII, 1730

Corsini practiced law under the able direction of his uncle, Cardinal Neri Corsini. After the death of his uncle and his father, in 1685, Corsini, now thirty-three, would have become head of the Corsini. Instead he resigned his right of primogeniture and from Pope Innocent XI (1676–1689) he purchased, according to the custom of the time, for 30,000 scudi, a position of prelatial rank and devoted his wealth and leisure to the enlargement of the library bequeathed to him by his uncle. [1] Corsini's home on the Piazza Novona was the center of Rome's scholarly and artistic life. [2]

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate son to inherit his parent's entire or main estate, in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, a child other than the eldest male, a daughter, illegitimate child or a collateral relative. In some cases the estate may instead be the inheritance of the firstborn child or occasionally the firstborn daughter. The descendant of a deceased elder sibling inherits before a living younger sibling by right of substitution for the deceased heir. In the absence of any children, brothers succeed, individually, to the inheritance by seniority of age. Among siblings, sons usually inherit before daughters. In the absence of male descendants in the male-line, there are variations of primogeniture which allocate the inheritance to a daughter or a brother or, in the absence of either, to another collateral relative, in a specified order.

Pope Innocent XI 17th-century Catholic pope

Pope Innocent XI, born Benedetto Odescalchi, was Pope from 21 September 1676 to his death. He is known in Budapest as the "Saviour of Hungary".

Italian scudo

The scudo was the name for a number of coins used in various states in the Italian peninsula until the 19th century. The name, like that of the French écu and the Spanish and Portuguese escudo, was derived from the Latin scutum ("shield"). From the 16th century, the name was used in Italy for large silver coins. Sizes varied depending on the issuing country.

In 1690 he was made titular Archbishop of Nicomedia and chosen nuncio to Vienna. He did not proceed to the imperial court, [1] because Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor, maintained that he had the right to select the nuncio from a list of three names furnished by the pope. [2]

In 1696, Corsini was appointed treasurer-general and governor of the Castel Sant'Angelo. His good fortune increased during the pontificate of Pope Clement XI (1700–1721), [1] who employed his talents as a courtier and named him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna on 17 May 1706, retaining his services as papal treasurer. [1]

He advanced still further under Pope Benedict XIII (1724–1730), who made him Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, a judicial branch of the Roman Curia. He was successively appointed as the Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli and Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati. [1]

Pontificate

Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini. Papa Clemente XII.jpg
Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini.
Papal styles of
Pope Clement XII
C o a Clemente XII.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Papal election

Under Benedict XIII, the finances of the Papal States had been delivered into the hands of Cardinal Niccolò Coscia and other members of the curia, who had drained the financial resources of the see. Benedict died in 1730, and in the conclave that followed his death, after deliberating for four months, the College of Cardinals selected Corsini, 78 years old and with failing eyesight, who had held all the important offices of the Roman Curia. [1] Clement XII was one of the oldest men to be elected pope.

As a Corsini, with his mother a Strozzi, the new pope represented a family in the highest level of Florentine society, with a cardinal in every generation for the previous hundred years.

Finances

His first moves as Pope Clement XII were to restore the papal finances. He demanded restitution from the ministers who had abused the confidence of his predecessor. The chief culprit, Cardinal Niccolò Coscia, was heavily fined and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Papal finances were also improved through reviving the public lottery, which had been suppressed by the severe morality of Benedict XIII. Soon it poured into Clement XII's treasury an annual sum amounting to nearly a half million scudi , enabling him to undertake the extensive building programs for which he is chiefly remembered, [1] but which he was never able to see.

Art and architecture

A competition for the majestic façade of the San Giovanni in Laterano was won by architect Alessandro Galilei. The façade he designed is perhaps more palatial than ecclesiastic, and was finished by 1735. Clement XII erected in that ancient basilica a magnificent chapel dedicated to his 14th century kinsman, St. Andrew Corsini. He restored the Arch of Constantine and built the governmental palace of the Consulta on the Quirinal. He purchased from Cardinal Alessandro Albani for 60,000 scudi a famous collection of statues, inscriptions, etc., and added it to the gallery of the Capitol. He paved the streets of Rome and the roads leading from the city, and widened the Corso. He began the triumphant Baroque Fontana di Trevi, one of the noted ornaments of Rome. Under his reign a port was built at Ancona, with a highway that gave easy access to the interior. He drained the malarial marshes of the Chiana near Lake Trasimeno. [1]

Bust of Pope Clement XII by Edme Bouchardon. Pope Clement XII bust.jpg
Bust of Pope Clement XII by Edme Bouchardon.

Foreign policy

Politically, however, this was not a successful papacy among the secular powers of Europe. When the attempt of papal forces to take over the ancient independent Republic of San Marino failed, Clement XII disavowed the arbitrary action of his legate, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni, in seizing San Marino, and restored its independence. He was also rebuffed in Papal claims over the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza. [1]

In August 1730 he gave permission for Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to carry out a morganatic marriage to Anna Canalis di Cumiana. Victor Amadeus II subsequently abdicated his throne causing great unrest in Savoy.

Ecclesial activities

In ecclesiastic affairs he issued In eminenti apostolatus , the first papal decree against the Freemasons on 28 April 1738. He canonized Saint Vincent de Paul and proceeded with vigour against the French Jansenists. He campaigned for the reunion of the Roman and Orthodox churches, received the Patriarch of the Coptic Church and persuaded the Armenian Patriarch to remove the anathema against the Council of Chalcedon and Pope Leo I (440–461). He dispatched Joseph Simeon Assemani to the East for the twofold purpose of continuing his search for manuscripts and presiding as legate over a national council of Maronites. [1] He created the youngest Cardinal ever when on 19 December 1735, he named Luis Antonio Jaime de Borbón y Farnesio, Royal Infant of Spain, age 8, to the Sacred College.

Though he was blind and compelled to keep to his bed, from which he gave audiences and transacted affairs of state, he surrounded himself with capable officials, many of them his Corsini relatives, but he did little for his family except to purchase and enlarge the palace built in Trastevere for the Riarii, and now known as the Palazzo Corsini (the seat of the Regia Accademia dei Lincei). In 1754, his nephew, Cardinal Neri Corsini, founded there the famous Corsini Library. [1]

Consistories

Clement XII created 35 cardinals in fifteen consistories held throughout his pontificate. The first individual he raised into the cardinalate was his nephew Neri Maria Corsini while he also raised his future successor Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico (Pope Clement XIII) to the cardinalate.

Canonizations and beatifications

The pope named five new saints during his reign with the most notable being Vincent de Paul. He also beatified eight others including his predecessor Pope Benedict XI.

Death and burial

The tomb of Clement XII. Tomb of Pope Clement XII.jpg
The tomb of Clement XII.

Clement XII died on 6 February 1740 at 9:30am due to complications from gout. His remains were transferred to his tomb in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on 20 July 1742. [1] Pope Clement XII's tomb is in the Capella Corsini of the Basilica of St. John Lateran and was completed by the sculptors Maini and Monaldi. His bust was completed by Filippo della Valle. [3]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 PD-icon.svg  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Loughlin, James (1908). "Pope Clement XII". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia . 4. New York: Robert Appleton. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Pope Clement XII", Papal Artifacts
  3. http://www.wga.hu/html/v/valle/clementx.html
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Benedict XIII
Pope
12 July 1730 – 6 February 1740
Succeeded by
Benedict XIV