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Bernardo Buil

Name of two religious living in Spain in the 1400s

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Buil (also BOIL or BOYL), BERNARDO, Friar Minor. The fact that there were two religious of the name of Bernardo Boil living in Spain at the same time has given rise to much confusion and even to the opinion that they were not two distinct persons, but that the same individual was at one time a member of the Franciscan order, and later became a Benedictine. It seems, however, more probable to assert that Bernardo Boil, the Franciscan, was a different person from Bernardo Boyl, the Benedictine. It was to the former that Alexander VI addressed his Bull dated June 25, 1493, appointing him first vicar Apostolic of the New World. This appears to be certain, first of all from the opening words, “Dilecto filio Bernardo Boil, fratri Ordinis Minorum”, etc. of the Bull itself, a part of which is reproduced in the first volume of THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA. In the second place, the concluding words of the Bull, where reference is made to the prohibition of Boniface VIII concerning members of mendicant orders taking new domiciles without permission from the Holy See, seem clearly to indicate that the papal rescript was intended for Boil, the Franciscan, and not for his namesake the Benedictine. It is a matter of fact, however, that Bernardo Boyl, O.S.B., became first vicar Apostolic of the New World. This was due to the intrigues of King Ferdinand of Spain who employed Boyl, the Benedictine, to great advantage in several important diplomatic negotiations and had sought his appointment as vicar Apostolic in America. When the papal Bull arrived in Spain, ignoring the king’s choice, and nominating a Franciscan of the same name with the trifling difference of the i and y, which letters were pronounced alike, the only exception being in the order to which the respective priests belonged, it became convenient to conclude that a mistake had been made in Rome—which interpretation Ferdinand found expedient to favor his own ends and views. A false copy of the Bull was therefore made with the necessary changes and delivered to Boyl, the Benedictine, while the king retained the original document appointing Boil, the Franciscan. In time this latter document disappeared so completely that no trace of it could be found in the Spanish archives. A copy, however, was carefully preserved in the Vatican library and was brought to light by the researches of the historian Roselly. Perhaps Bernardo Boil, O.F.M., never knew of the high dignity which Alexander VI had conferred upon him. It is certain he did not leave Spain; yet he was de jure the true, legitimate, and first vicar Apostolic of the New World. As regards Bernardo Boyl, O.S.B., it is a matter of history that his labors were without fruit, and the only record of his official action in America is the fulmination of censures.


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