Pope Clement XII

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Pope Clement XII (7 April 1652 – 6 February 1740), born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.

Born in Florence, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial manager under preceding pontiffs. He is known for building the new façade of the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, beginning construction of the Trevi Fountain, and the purchase of Cardinal Alessandro Albani's collection of antiquities for the papal gallery. He was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna in 1706.

Contents

Election

Under Pope Benedict XIII (1724–30), the finances of the Papal States had been delivered into the hands of Cardinal Niccolò Coscia and other members of the curia, who had drained the financial resources of the see. After deliberating for four months, the College of Cardinals selected Corsini, 78 years old and with failing eyesight, who had held all the important offices of the Roman Curia. Clement XII was one of the oldest men to be elected Pope.

As a Corsini, with his mother a Strozzi, the new pope represented a family in the highest level of Florentine society, with a cardinal in every generation for the previous hundred years.

Career

Lawyer

Corsini was a lawyer, with a degree from the University of Pisa, who had practiced law under the able direction of his uncle, Cardinal Neri Corsini. After the death of his uncle and his father, in 1685, Lorenzo, now thirty-three, would have become head of the Corsini. Instead he resigned his right of primogeniture and from Pope Innocent XI (1676–89) he purchased, according to the custom of the time, for 30,000 scudi, a position of prelatial rank and devoted his wealth and leisure to the enlargement of the library bequeathed to him by his uncle.

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