Clement XII.

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Pope Clement XII.
Painter: Agostino Masucci

Clement XII. , actually Lorenzo Corsini (born April 7, 1652 in Florence , (Grand) Duchy of Tuscany , †  February 6, 1740 in Rome ) was Pope from 1730 to 1740.


The noble Lorenzo Corsini, whose mother was a Strozzi , was born into a family from the highest level of Florentine society. He had a law degree from the University of Pisa and was litigating according to the instructions of his uncle, Cardinal Neri Corsini. After the death of his uncle and his father, Lorenzo Corsini became head of the Corsini family in 1685 at the age of 33. In his hometown he was also a member of the Accademia della Crusca .

However, he gave up his rights as the firstborn, acquired from Pope Innocent XI. As was customary in his day, he received the rank of prelate for 30,000 scudi and devoted his wealth and time to expanding the library which his uncle had bequeathed to him.

As a lawyer and banker, he worked for several of his predecessors in the pontificate . In 1690 he became titular archbishop of Nicomedia under Alexander VIII . Under Pope Innocent XII. he was appointed apostolic treasurer and in 1696 general treasurer and administrator of Castel Sant'Angelo . Pope Clement XI. , who valued Corsini's talents, appointed him cardinal with 20 others in the consistory of May 17, 1706 so that he could continue to function as papal treasurer. Under his successor Benedict XIII. However, the financial affairs of the Curia were placed in the hands of Cardinal Niccolò Coscia and others, which significantly worsened the financial situation of the Holy See. Benedict XIII. appointed him as prefect of the “just tribunal”, the Segnatura di Giustizia , one of the central court tribunals of the Papal States . He was subsequently the Cardinal Priest of San Pietro in Vincoli and Cardinal Bishop of Frascati .

After the death of Benedict XIII. On February 21, 1730, the cardinals elected the 78-year-old, almost blind, Lorenzo Corsini, after a 129-day election period, as Pope on July 12, 1730.

Political activity as Pope

Clement XII's coat of arms, modern drawing
Clement XII.

Politically, Clemens was largely impotent and unsuccessful. The papal fiefs of Parma and Piacenza were, despite protests, by Emperor Charles VI. in 1731 given to Don Carlos , the Infante of Spain. Ultimately, Clement had to recognize the Bourbon as king of Naples and Sicily . His attempt in 1739 to incorporate the Republic of San Marino into the Papal State also failed .

In 1730 he named his nephew Neri Maria Corsini cardinal and in 1731 he named his nephew Giovanni Antonio Guadagni cardinal. Completely blind since 1732 and tied to the bed from which he held audiences and ran the business, he surrounded himself with capable advisors, many of whom were relatives of the Corsini. Otherwise, his family received little attention - with the exception of the purchase and expansion of the palace in Trastevere der Riarii , which became known as Palazzo Corsini (seat of the Regia Accademia dei Lincei since 1883 ), and the first cardinal appointment of his pontificate to his nephew one month after taking office, on August 14, 1730.

Incidentally, his first official acts as Pope were aimed at consolidating the papal finances. Clement XII. demanded repayment of money from those members of the Curia who had betrayed the trust of his predecessor. The main defendant, Cardinal Coscia, was severely punished and sentenced to ten years in prison. With the renewed introduction of the public lottery, which was previously due to grave moral concerns of Benedict XIII. had been prevented, a significant source of income was tapped. The income from the lottery was around half a million scudi annually. They put him in a position to put his blueprints into action.

Church work as Pope

After Elector Augustus the Strong of Saxony had become Catholic on the occasion of his election to the Polish King, Clemens tried to persuade the Saxons to return to the Catholic Church by promising possession of the earlier church property in the papal bull Sedes apostolica in 1732 .

On April 28, 1738, Clemens XII. the first papal bull ( In eminenti apostolatus specula ) against Freemasonry .

After his nephew Neri Corsini was appointed cardinal, 34 more followed, including that of Luis Antonio Jaime de Borbón y Farnesio , a Spanish prince, who was only eight years old .

He canonized Vincent de Paul and worked against the French Jansenists . He also tried to reunite the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, where he succeeded in convincing the Patriarch of the Coptic Church and the Armenian Patriarch to give up the anathema against the Council of Chalcedon and Leo I. He sent Giuseppe Simone Assemani to the east. On the one hand, he was supposed to search for manuscripts and, on the other hand, to participate as a legate in the Council of the Maronites .

Papal building work

Clemens was best known for the construction of a new facade for the Lateran Basilica and the start of construction on the Trevi Fountain in Rome as well as the purchase of Cardinal Albani's collection of antiquities for the papal gallery. He had the Arch of Constantine rebuilt and initiated the construction of the government palace , the Consulta on the Quirinal , the expansion of the streets in Rome and those out of the city as well as the widening of the Corso.

The magnificent sarcophagus of Lorenzo Corsini, Pope Clement XII, is in the Lateran Basilica.


Web links

Commons : Clemens XII.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Corsini, Lorenzo. In: Salvador Miranda : The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. ( Florida International University website ), accessed July 22, 2016.
  2. Only the BBKL is February 8, 1740 as the death of the Catholic Encyclopedia, the LThK 3 2.1225, Franzen / Bäumer, papal history , 3 1982, page 323, and the Enciclopedia dei Papi call 6 February 1740 Date of death.
  3. ^ Membership list of the Crusca
predecessor Office successor
Benedict XIII. C oa Clemente XII.svg Pope
Benedict XIV.