It was on this date, January 23, 1295, that Boniface VIII (Benedetto Gaetano) was made Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was born about 1235 in Agnani, Italy, and served the papacy for many years as a canon lawyer. On the death of Nicholas IV, Celestine V, a pious monk, was drafted to be Pope, an office he tried to flee. On the rather self-interested counsel of Boniface, who had opposed Celestine’s election in the first place, Celestine issued a decree giving popes the right to abdicate and then did so in 1294...
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Originally published January 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Like John Ruskin and Tennyson, he was a Rationalist, but he did not go out of his way to criticize religion.