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Pope Boniface VIII facts for kids

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Boniface VIII
Papacy began December 24, 1294
Papacy ended October 11, 1303
Predecessor Pope Celestine V
Successor Pope Benedict XI
Personal details
Birth name Benedetto Caetani
Born 1235
Anagni, Papal States
Died October 11, 1303(1303-10-11)
Other Popes named Boniface

Pope Boniface VIII (Latin: Bonifacius Octavus; 1235 – October 11, 1303), born Benedetto Caetani, was an Italian cleric of the Roman Catholic Church and the 194th Pope from 1294 to 1303.

Early life

Benedetto Caetani was born in 1235 at Anagni in Italy. Caetani studied at Todi and at Spoleto where he earned a degree in law. He came from a very noble family. His family was in government.

In 1265, Caetani traveled with Cardinal Ottobuono Fieschi to England.


In 1281, Pope Martin IV raised Caetani to the rank of cardinal. In 1291, Pope Nicholas IV made him Cardinal of SS. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti.


Cardinal Caetani was elected in 1294; and he chose to be called Boniface VIII.

Pope Boniface confirmed the decree of Pope Celestine V that any pope can freely resign.

Boniface was involved in Italian and European political disputes.

Boniface VIII made a rule that if a ruler (king) fined people taxes without the church or popes' permission that the ruler would be excluded from the church. He would make rash decisions without consideration. He was known to be harsh, mean, cruel, and did not listen to other people's recommendations. For example, He declared a very rash papal law that all people, not just Christians, must follow him if they want to go to heaven. He believed as the Pope, all rulers should bow down to him and respect him.

After his death

Dante mentions Boniface in The Inferno. He identifies the pope as "the Prince of the new Pharisees."

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