Boniface VIII

Boniface VIII, Pope, originally named Benedictus Cajetanus or Gaetanus, so called from Gaeta, a town of Naples, where his parents had resided. He himself was born at Anagni, and was raised to the papacy upon the abdication of Celestine V, Dec. 24, 1294. He had been previously canon of Paris and Lyons, and made cardinal by Pope Martin IV, and is suspected of having by his artifices compelled the resignation of his predecessor, Celestinus, whom he kept imprisoned until his death. He had a bold, avaricious, and domineering spirit, and carried his schemes for the enlargement of the papal power to the verge of frenzy. Happily he found a bold antagonist in Philip le Bel of France, against whom he thundered the celebrated bull Unam Sanctam, and who caused him, in 1303, to be seized and imprisoned. Being liberated by an insurrection of the people, he returned to Rome, but became insane, and died a miserable death. Boniface was a skilful civil and canon lawyer, and to him we owe the collection of decretals entitled the Sextus Decretalium, so called because it was supplementary to the five volumes of decretals previously published by Gregory IX.-Tosti, Storia di Bon. VIII (Romans 1846); Drumann, Geschichte Bon. VIII (K6nigsb. 1852, 2 vols.); History of the Popes, p. 255, 262; Neander, Ch. Hist. v, 3-10. SEE UNAM SANCTAM.

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