BENEDICT XIII. (Piero Francesco Orsini), pope from 1724 to 1730, at first styled Benedict XIV., was born on the 2nd of February 1649, of the ducal family of Orsini-Gravina. In 1667 he became a Dominican (as Vincentius Maria), studied theology and philosophy, was made a cardinal in 1672 and archbishop of Benevento in 1686. Elected pope on the 29th of May 1724, he attempted to reform clerical morals; but neither the decrees of the Latin council (1725) nor his personal precepts had much effect. He confirmed the bull Unigenitus; but, despite the Jesuits, allowed the Dominicans to preach the Augustinian doctrine of grace. State affairs he left entirely to the unpopular Cardinal Nicolo Coscia. He died on the 21st of February 1730. His works were published in 3 vols. at Ravenna in 1 728.
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