Roman Catholic Pope. Born Giacomo della Chiesa in Genoa, in 1875 at the age of twenty-one he acquired a doctorate in Law. He had attended the University of Genoa, which after the unification of Italy, was largely dominated by anti-Catholic and anti-clerical politics. With his doctorate in Law and at legal age, he asked his father for permission to study for the priesthood, which was now reluctantly granted. Benedict was ordained in 1878, most of his life was spent in the Vatican's diplomatic service and became undersecretary of state in 1901. In 1907, he became Archbishop of Bologna. As World War I began Pope Pius X died, Benedict was elected Pope, only four months after being created a Cardinal. Crowned on September 6, 1914, he possessed the diplomatic experience that the conclave had wanted. The first four years of Benedict's seven-and-a-half-year papacy were to be consumed by his ultimately unsuccessful attempts to stop a war that he condemned as "the suicide of civilized Europe." In 1914, Benedict published the first of his 12 encyclicals, "Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum". The greatest and wealthiest nations, he said, were "well-provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, and they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror." His 1920 encyclical "Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherrimum" sought international reconciliation. Neither the peace treaty nor the League of Nations, from which the Holy See had also been excluded, were based on Christian principles. Benedict was known as "the pope of missions". In 1922 Benedict XV celebrated Mass with the nuns at the Domus Sanctae Marthae and while he waited for his driver out in the rain he fell ill with the flu which turned into pneumonia. After a month of pain that he did not recover, he succumbed to his illness at the age of 67.
Bio by: Shock