Innocent XIII, Pope 1721-1724

Muntoni 2; Berman 2516, PCGS graded MS-64+

Rome. INNOCENT XIII P M A II, Papal arms. Reverse: SECTA/MINI/CHARITA/TEM in four lines within cartouche.

On July 12, 1691, Antonio Pignatelli was elected as Pope Innocent XII and immediately took hard action to combat the nepotism and simony that had plagued the Church for decades and which had been a major contributing factor to the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation. Perhaps in an attempt to prove the adage, “better late than never,” Pope Innocent XII banned the office of the cardinal-nephew, prohibited the bestowal of estates, offices, or revenues on any relative, and permitted the elevation of only a single relative to the office of cardinal, and then only if that relative was suitable for other reasons. He also enacted reforms to improve the administration of papal justice and in 1693 even managed to compel the retraction of the Declaration of the Clergy of France that recognized secular authority (i.e. the King) as equal to that of the Pope.