Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/711

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


694

LEO THE THIRTEENTH.

with a marvelloTifl facility. Haying entered the College of Noble Eccle- siastics, the Abbate Pecci fre- quented the schools of the Boman University to learn canon and civil law. Pecci and Duke Sisto Biario Sforza (afterwards Cardinal Arch- bishop of Naples) were the two brilliant youths who eclipsed aU the rest of their companions in study. Cardinal Antonio Sala took much interest in Pecci, and assisted him with advice and instruction. Becoming a doctor in laws, he was made by Pope Gregory XVI. a domestic prelate and Referendary of the Segnatura, March 16, 1837. Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi, famous for his humility in renouncing the purple to enter the Society of Jesus, gave Pecci holy orders in the chapel of St. Stanislas Eostka, in S. An- drea al Quirinale, and on Dec. 23, 1837, conferred the priesthood upon him in the chapel of the Vicariate. Gregory XVI. bestowed upon him the title of Prothonotary Apostolic, and appointed him ApostoUc Dele- gate at Benevento, Perugia, and Spoleto in succession. In these important posts he ruled with firm- ness and prudence, and while at Benevento he, by his energy, put a stop to the brigandage which had before infested that district. In 1843 he was again promoted by Pope Gregory XVI., being sent as Nuncio to Belgium, and on Jan. 17 in that year he was created Arch- bishop of Damietta, in partibus infideliwn, to qualify him for his office of Nuncio. He remained at Brussels for three years, and was then nominated Bishop of Perugia on Jan. 19, 1846, about four months previous to the death of Gregory XVI. The aasertion that that Pon- tiff created Pecci a Cardinal in pectore before he died, and that Pius IX. allowed seven years to elapse before he gave effect to the nomination made by his predecessor in pectore has been often made, but the statement has no foimdation in fact. He was created and pro-

claimed a Cardinal by Pius IX. in the Consistory of Dec. 19, 1853. He was a member of several of the Congregations of Cardinals — among them those of the Council, CKf Bites, and of Bishops and Regu- lars. In Sept., 1877, he was se- lected by Pope Pius IX. to fiU the important office of Cardinal Camer- lengo of the Holy Boman Church, which post had become vacant by the death of Cardinal De Angelis. In that capacity, after the death of the late Pope (Feb. 7, 1878), he acted as Head of the Chur<^ in temporal matters, made the az^ rangements for the last solemn obsequies of the Pontiff, received the Catholic ambassadors, and superintended the preparations for the Conclave. Sixty-two Cardinals attended the Conclave, which was closed in the Vatican on Monday, Feb. 18. 1878. In the first scru- tiny, made on the following morn- ing, Pecci had 19 votes, the others being scattered among various Cardinals, such as Franchi, Bilio, De Luca, MartineUi, and Ferrieri. In the second scrutiny, on the evening of Tuesday, Cardinal Pecci's votes rose to 34, and in the scrutiny on Wednesday (Feb. 20) morning to 44. The election was then at an end, and Uie Cardinal Camerlengo was made Pope by the acclamation of all. The news was officially proclaimed to the outside world at a quarter past one o'clock, from the gallery of St. PeterV, when it was announced that his Holiness had assumed the name of Leo XIII. On March 3 he was crowned in the Sistine Chapel, all the ancient ceremonies being ob- served, save the benediction Urbi et Orbi, from the loggia of St. Peter*?. One of the first acts of his Pontifi- cate was the restoration of the hierarchy in Scotland. While Bishop of Perugia Cardinal Peed addressed several pastoral letters to his fiock. One of these, written on the occasion of the Lenten Indult for the year 1868^ has been printed.