Here is Father’s Commentary on the Business Card, Featured Above
Benedict XV preceded Pius XI. Of course, Benedict XV is significant for many reasons, including the fact that Benedict XVI chose his name because of his high esteem for him. Lots of people forget about him. In fact, there are even books written about him saying he’s the forgotten pope of the 20th century.
Actually, he was quite significant, especially in his efforts to try to bring peace to the world. Pope Benedict worked hard to bring peace, but both sides thought he favored the other side and rejected his initiatives. One of them highly resembled the points drawn up in the League of Nations. He was elected at the beginning of WW I, so he was a significant pope in more than one way.
And this item is his business card. He was the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna before he was elected pope. And this is a business card from his time as Cardinal Archbishop. Just like any other businessperson in the world, the Cardinal had cards that told how to reach him, or even for him to use to send messages with the card.
This particular card actually has a greeting to someone at Easter time. Again, it’s another unique item. I have a handful of business cards from various popes. They’re always unique to have because you see that rather mundane, day-to-day life of the person, before he’s even elected pope.
There’s also something to be said about a message written in the handwriting of the individual. For example, I think of the letters from friends or from grandparents who have written to me, and how significant I find that. To be able to see their handwriting is always significant.
And here we have the handwriting of one of our Holy Fathers. Just to think of the time it took him to write this. It’s like by having this letter I own a little piece of his time.
–Father Richard Kunst
About the Consecration of Archbishop della Chiesa:
December 22, 1907 The Episcopal Consecration of Giacomo della Chiesa, the Future Pope Benedict XV, as the Archbishop of Bologna.
In 1907, Pius consecrated della Chiesa archbishop of Bologna. Although he gave the new archbishop his own episcopal ring and crosier at this time, Bologna was seen as a place of exile and an attempt to thwart della Chiesa’s advancement because he did not agree with Pius’ retrograde policies. The new bishop had no previous pastoral experience but took on the tasks of a diocese with 700,000 people and 750 priests, nearly 100 religious institutes and a seminary. In the seven years he remained in Bologna he visited all the parishes, many on horseback. He was dedicated to his people and priests and believed preaching was his main obligation. He also built and restored churches and reformed the education of seminarians by adding science and the classics to the curriculum. Della Chiesa was devoted to Mary and preached about her and organized pilgrimages to her shrines. Shortly after the death of Cardinal Rampolla, Pius X elevated della Chiesa to the cardinalate in May of 1914.
Three months later, amidst the onset of The Great War, Pius X died of complications of pneumonia. Fifty-seven cardinals gathered in a conclave that took only three days and ten ballots to choose between the progressive policies of the diplomatic Pope Leo XIII and the renunciatory ones of Pius X. Knowing they would need an experienced diplomat to chart a course through this devastating era, they elected della Chiesa. He chose the name Benedict XV in honor of another Bolognese bishop, Lambertini, who became Benedict XIV. He was fifty-nine years of age and would rule for only seven years.
Papal Artifacts remembers and honors this man for a lifetime given to God and for the outpouring of his life in an effort to bring peace and sustenance to a war-ravaged continent.
Please visit Papal Artifacts/Benedict XV to view many items connected to this great Holy Father.
To read biographical and other information connected to him, visit Papal History/Benedict XV
About the Documentary:
The documentary presented here is from Catholic News Service and is entitled, 1914-2014: Echoes of the Great War. It is some of the most succinct information about WW I and particularly Pope Benedict XV’s efforts at peacemaking that has been available in video. It contains many images previously unavailable. At one point in the documentary is the sculpture he commissioned for Saint Mary Major Basilica, Mary Queen of Peace. It was Benedict XV who added that title to the Litany of Mary.