BENEDICT XIV, Prospero Lambertini: b. Bologna 1675; d. 3 May 1758. He applied himself with success to the canon and civil law, and became advocate to the consistory at Rome. Afterward he was appointed promotor fidei, and wrote a valuable work on the 'Ceremonies used in Beatifications' (1734). He was pas sionately fond of learning, of historical re searches, and monuments of art, and also asso ciated with the distinguished men of his time; among others with Father Mont faucon, who said of him: "Benedict has two souls; one for science and the other for society." He also made himself familiar with the best poetical works, whereby his mind became elevated and his style animated. Benedict XIII made him, in 1727, bishop of Ancona; in 1728 cardinal, and in 1732 archbishop of Bologna. In every station he displayed great talents, and fulfilled his duties with the most conscientious zeal. He opposed fanaticism even at the risk of his own safety, defended the oppressed and ex pressed himself with the greatest frankness to Clement XII without losing his favor. When, after the death of Clement XII in 1740, the election of a new Pope in the conclave was re tarded by the intrigues of Cardinal Tencin, and the cardinals could not agree, Lambertini, with his usual good nature, said to them, "If you want a saint take Gotti; if a politician, Aldo brandi; if a good old man, myself" These words, thrown out in a humorous manner. operated on the conclave like inspiration, and Lambertini, under the name of Benedict XIV, ascended the papal throne. His choice of the ministers and friends whom he assembled around him does the greatest honor to his judgment. The condition of the Church and of the Roman court had not escaped his pene tration. Since the Reformation princes no longer trembled at the thunders of the Vatican. The power of the Popes in temporal affairs had notably declined, and Lambertini knew that respect for the papal authority could be main tained only by a wise moderation. He con
stantly regulated his measures by this prin ciple, and thus succeeded, even in difficult cir cumstances, in satisfying not only the Catho lic but even the Protestant princes. The sciences were a special object of his care. He established academies at Rome; promoted the prosperity of the academy at Bologna; caused a degree of the meridian to be measured; the obelisk to be erected in the Campus Martins; the church of Saint Marcellino to be built after a plan projected by himself ; the beautiful pic tures in Saint Peter's to be executed in mosaic; the best English and French works to be trans lated into Italian; and commanded a catalogue of the manuscripts contained in the Vatican library (the number of which he had enlarged to 3,300) to be printed. His government of the papal states did equal honor to his wisdom. He enacted severe laws against usury, favored commercial liberty, and diminished the number of holidays. His piety was sincere, yet en lightened and forbearing. He strove to main tain purity of doctrine and of morals, giving in his own character the most praiseworthy ex ample. The sole reproach brought against him by the Romans was that he wrote too much and governed too little. His works compose, in the Venice edition, 16 volumes folio (1767).
The most important of his works is that on the Synods, in which we recognize the great canon ist. Other editions of his works are those issued under the editorship of Azevedo (12 vols., 1747-51) ; at Prato (17 vols., 1846). His letters were edited by F. X. Kraus (Freiburg 1884; 2d ed. as a biography by F. Scarselli, with bibliography Other letters edited by B. Manzone (Bra 1890). Consult McHilliam,