BENEDICT XII. (Jacques Fournier), pope from 1 334 to 1342, the son of a miller, was born at Saverdun on the Arriege. Entering the Cistercian cloister Bolbonne, and graduating doctor of theology at Paris, he became in 1311 abbot of Fontfroide, in 1317 bishop of Pamiers and in 1326 of Mirepoix. Created cardinal priest of Santa Prisca in 1327 by his uncle John XXII. he was elected his successor on the 20th of December 1334. Benedict made appointments carefully, reformed monastic orders and consistently opposed nepotism. Unable to remove his capital to Rome or to Bologna, he began to erect a great palace at Avignon. In 1336 he decided against a pet notion of John XXII. by saying that souls of saints may attain the fulness of the beatific vision before the last judgment. In 1339 he entered upon fruitless negotiations looking toward the reunion of the Greek and Roman churches. French influence made futile his attempt to come to an understanding with the emperor Louis the Bavarian. He died on the 25th of April 1342.
See the source publications of G. Daumet (Lettres closes, patentes et curiales, ... Paris, 1899 ff.), and J.-M.Vidal(Lettres communes, ... Paris, 1903 ff.). (W. W. R.*)
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