New Catholic Dictionary – Pope Benedict XV

photograph of Pope Benedict XV; c.1915, photographed unknown; United States Library of Congress; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(Giacomo della Chiesa) Born Pegli, Italy, 1854; died Rome, Italy. Reigned from 1914 to 1922. Nuncio to Spain, privy chamberlain, Archbishop of Bologna, and cardinal, he was elected directly after the outbreak of the World War, and maintained a position of neutrality throughout. He sent a representative to each country to work for peace, and in 1917 delivered the Plea for Peace, which demanded a cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international arbitration. President Wilson was the only ruler who answered him, declaring peace impossible, though he afterwards adopted most of Benedict’s proposals for establishing peace. At the close of the war France and Spain resumed diplomatic relations with the Vatican, and Great Britain retained permanently the embassy she had established during the war. Benedict promulgated the new Code of Canon Law, established the Coptic College at Rome, enlarged the foreign mission field, and in his first Encyclical condemned errors in modern philosophical systems. He denounced the violation of Belgium and gave freely to the victims of the war, widows, orphans, and wounded, and established a bureau of communication for prisoners of war with their relatives.

MLA Citation

  • “Pope Benedict XV”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 15 August 2018. Web. 27 February 2021. <>