Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Pope Benedict VII

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)
Pope Benedict VII

by Horace Kinder Mann


Date of birth unknown; d. c. October, 983. Acting under the influence of Sicco (see Benedict VI), the Roman clergy and people elected to succeed Benedict VI another Benedict, Bishop of Sutri, a Roman and the son of David (October, 974). His authority was opposed by Boniface VII, and, though the antipope himself was forced to fly, his party followed fiercely in his footsteps and compelled Benedict to call upon Otho II for help. Firmly established on his throne by the emperor, he showed himself both desirous of checking the tide of simony which was rising high in the Church, and of advancing the cause of monasticism, which then meant that of civilization. In response to a request of the people of Carthage "to help the wretched province of Africa", he consecrated the priest James, who had been sent to him for the purpose (see the letter of the papal legate, the Abbot Leo, to the Kings Hugh Capet and Robert). Though he did not die till about October, 983, our knowledge of his undertakings is not in proportion to the length of his pontificate.

The most important source for the history of the first nine popes who bore the name of Benedict is the biographies in the Liber Pontificalis, of which the most useful edition is that of Duchesne, Le Liber Pontificalis (Paris, 1886-92), and the latest that of Mommsen, Gesta Pontif. Roman. (to the end of the reign of Constantine only, Berlin, 1898). Jaffé, Regesta Pont. Rom. (2d ed., Leipzig, 1885), gives a summary of the letters of each pope and tells where they may be read at length. Modern accounts of these popes will be found in any large Church history, or history of the City of Rome. The fullest account in English of most of them is to be read in Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages (London, 1902, passim).

Horace K. Mann.