Cover image for The unknown pope : Benedict XV (1914-1922) and the pursuit of peace
The unknown pope : Benedict XV (1914-1922) and the pursuit of peace
Pollard, John F. (John Francis), 1944-
Publication Information:
London : Geoffrey Chapman, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 240 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


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BX1376 .P65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This biography of Benedict XV, best known for his efforts to bring an end to World War I, was written using Vatican archives. Though his proposals were eventually rejected by all sides, his Peace Note of 1917 was the first manifestation of the peace-making role which the Papacy assumed for itself in the 20th century. Benedict's short pontificate also saw a significant improvement in the Church's attitude to colonial peoples. He was one of the founders of the Save the Children and led European efforts at humanitarian aid.

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Reviews 1

Booklist Review

By conventional standards, the short reign of Pope Benedict XV was not particularly successful. His efforts to end World War I were rebuffed by both sides. He failed in his attempts to modify social and political violence in Italy, which led to the rise of fascism. His futile efforts to limit Jewish immigration into Palestine illustrate both his parochialism and his naivete. Still, Pollard makes a strong case that Benedict was an important and even effective pope if one considers the long-term results of his reign. His efforts on behalf of international peace and reconciliation institutionalized a role for the papacy that is taken for granted today. He spoke with understanding and compassion regarding the fate of the millions of "subject" people in European colonial possessions, and he spearheaded humanitarian efforts to alleviate the material suffering in Europe after the war. This is an interesting and informative biography of an important and unjustifiably obscure historical figure. --Jay Freeman