[portrait of Pope Boniface]
Also known as
Piero Tomacelli; Perino Tomacelli; Pietro Tomacelli
Born to an impoverished noble family; little is known of his early life. A tactful and pious man, he lacked deep theological training, had little experience in the business matters of the Church, but helped restore respect, admiration and even affection to the papacy. He confronted the Avignon anti-pope Clement VII over the rightful king of Naples and pressed on to kick the Avignon forces out of Italy. He regained civil authority first in Rome, and then through the Papal States, but civil unrest caused him to set up his court in Perugia and Assisi as well as Rome. Following the death of Clement, a new Avignon anti-pope, Benedict XIII, was elected, and the conflict continued the rest of Boniface's reign. He at first tolerated groups like the wandering White Penitents for their call to penitence, then banned them for their involvement in civil unrest. Anti-papal sentiment in England, fanned by the teachings of Wyclif, grew, and the state took over investiture of bishops. The Synod of London in 1396 condemened Wyclif's teachings, and theologians began to choose sides on the matter. He helped found universities of Ferrara in 1391, Erfurt in 1392, and Fermo in 1398. In 1403 Boniface recgonized the deposition of King Wenceslaus and his replacement by Rupert of Bavaria.

Complaints of Boniface selling benefices and dispensations have come down to us, but these are disputed, and are generally reported by personal opponents of the pope. We do know that it was a time of shrinking revenues for the Vatican, and that most of the financial policy was moving to the hands of the Curia, not the papacy.
c.1356 at Naples, Italy, date unknown
Papal Ascension
elected 2 November 1389 at Rome, Italy; ascended to the throne in 1390 at Rome
1 October 1404
1391: Saint Bridget of Sweden
Print References
New Catholic Dictionary
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