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Benedict XI

Pope from October 1303 until July 1304. Born Nicholas Boccasini, he was a Dominican friar, notable theologian, and former master general of his order. Native of the province of Venetia, he had been papal legate at the court of Emperor Albert of Hapsburg. Successor to Boniface VIII, he inherited the results of a long period of avaricious secular policies. The papacy had lost prestige and power after the struggle between Boniface and Philip the Fair of France, and Benedict tried to rectify matters. He attempted to reconcile factions in wealthy Florence which, with its European revenue, made a profitable ally for the papacy. He absolved the Colonna ex- cardinals and tried to make peace between them and the Gaetani. He acquitted Philip the Fair, but was determined to see justice done for the outrage at Anagni. William de Nogaret (who was Philip’s minister), Sciarra Colonna, and others were therefore accused of criminal attack on Boniface VIII, and summoned to appear for judgment and sentence, but Benedict died at Perugia before judgment was made. He was beatified in 1736.

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