Pope Benedict XV

Article

November 28, 2021

Pope Benedict XV (in Latin: Benedictus PP. XV, born Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa; Genoa, November 21, 1854 - Rome, January 22, 1922) was the 258th bishop of Rome and pope of the Catholic Church from 1914 until his death. He was a staunch opponent of the First World War.

Biography

Christmas and education

Giacomo della Chiesa was born in Genoa in a building in Salita Santa Caterina and was baptized in the parish church of Nostra Signora delle Vigne (even if the Genoese delegation of Pegli, then an autonomous municipality, claims his birthplace based on an oral tradition) from a noble family but no longer particularly wealthy, the third of four children of Giuseppe and Giovanna of the Migliorati marquises. The family of the Church, descended from families that had given birth to Berengario II d'Ivrea and to another pontiff, Callisto II, was part of the Genoese patriciate, in which it had reached, in the sixteenth century, a position of particular importance. The maternal family was equally aristocratic: the Migliorati di Napoli, who, too, had already given birth to a pope, Innocent VII. In Genoa he was able to train in a fertile environment both on the level of faith and on that of culture: in particular, the frequentation of blessed Tommaso Reggio, future cardinals Gaetano Alimonda and Giorgio Rea, the latter author of numerous works against homosexuality and the decay of morals in the Christian West, and of the future first bishop of Chiavari Fortunato Vinelli. At the pressure of his father, who had opposed Giacomo's desire to enter the diocesan seminary as soon as possible, he enrolled in the law faculty of the Royal University of Genoa in 1872, where he graduated with a degree in law in 1875. Only then did his father consent to make him undertake an ecclesiastical career; he nevertheless forced his son to continue his studies, begun at the seminary of Genoa, in Rome at the Capranica College and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where Giacomo della Chiesa obtained a degree in theology.

Ecclesiastical career

After being ordained a priest on 21 December 1878 by Cardinal Raffaele Monaco La Valletta, he entered the Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles to prepare for a diplomatic career, and later in the diplomatic service of the Holy See. In 1883 he left for Madrid as secretary of the apostolic nuncio Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, whom he had met during his time at the Academy, and returned to Rome in 1887 when he was appointed secretary of state and cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Della Chiesa became papal minutante (clerk in charge of drafting minutes) and substitute for the Secretariat of State, with Rampolla and then with Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val. In this period he joined the Catholic Youth and the Circolo San Pietro. When Cardinal Rampolla, after the election of Pius X, was replaced by the equally talented Merry del Val of the Church, he initially held his post, esteemed by the new Pope for his abilities. Nonetheless, precisely because of his close relationship with Cardinal Rampolla - the main architect of Leo XIII's policy of openness, as well as rival of Pius X in the conclave of 1903 - the career of the Church in the Vatican came to a rapid halt, due to the more conservative of the new papacy. In fact, Pius X decided, while esteeming him, to remove him from the Roman Curia, and on 16 December 1907 he appointed him archbishop of Bologna, according to the well-known Latin maxim promoveatur ut amoveatur. He arrived in Bologna by surprise on the evening of February 17, 1908. Monsignor della Chiesa will support the Italian intervention in Libya, in accordance with the doctrine of the just war. Although the see of Bologna was traditionally titled for a cardinal's hat, the Church was created a cardinal of the Holy Roman Church by Pius X only six years old

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