Birth. December 25, 1800, Vila Nova de Gaia, diocese of Porto, Portugal. From parents of humble condition. Son of José Bento Rodrigues da Silva. His last name is also listed as Rodrigues only.
Education. Entered in the Congregation of the Canons Regular of St. John the Evangelist (Conegos de S. João Evangelista) at a very young age; professed in the Convent of Beato António, Lisbon; after the novitiate, went to the school of his order in Coimbra; and then, studied at the University of Coimbra, where he earned a doctorate in theology on July 30, 1826.
Priesthood. Ordained, March 11, 1826. Lector of history in the old School of Arts, Coimbra. For ten years lector of theology of the University of Coimbra; and at the same time, member of the Executive Council of primary and secondary education. He was initiated in the Masonry in Coimbra. Granted the grand cross of the Order of Santiago; and the grand cross of the Order of the Rue Crown (Hausorden der Rautenkrone) of Saxony. The Portuguese Civil War between liberals and absolutists produced the rupture of diplomatic relations between Portugal and the Holy see from 1833 to 1841, creating a complex situation and internal divisions in the Catholic Church in the country. Politically, he defended the new liberal order; and later, as bishop, simultaneously, he resisted regalismo. With the extinction of the religious orders in 1834, he was named vicar general and temporal governor of the diocese of Elvas; and of Castelo Branco, from 1841 to September 10, 1844. He was elected member of the legislative assembly for the session of 1838 to 1840; and for the session of 1848. The following year, 1845, he became provisor and vicar general of the patriarchate of Lisbon.
Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Mitilene and appointed suffragan of Lisbon, November 24, 1845. Consecrated, February 22, 1846, church of S. Vicente de Fora, Lisbon, by Cardinal Guilherme Henriques de Carvalho, patriarch of Lisbon (the co-consecrators are not known). In October 1851, the Portuguese government presented him for the see of Coimbra. Transferred to the see of Coimbra, with personal title of archbishop, on March 15, 1852. At the same time, he became the 20th count of Arganil. Because of his ecclesiastical position, he became member of the Cámara dos Pares in 1852; took the oath on June 15 of that year. During his episcopate in Coimbra, he reorganized the seminary; and in 1857, because of his initiative, the Portuguese bishops reacted against the plan of the government to make the Theological Faculty of the University of Coimbra a normal school of theological science; he also created new parishes in the city and vicinity to better attend to the spiritual needs of the faithful; he promoted and dignified the religious celebrations; defended the restitution of the assets of the diocese; and supported the education work for girls of the Ursulines nuns; on February 14, 1853, he realized a pastoral visit to the new installations of the Colégio Sã José of those women religious; he demonstrated an excellent administrative and pastoral capacity. At the death of Cardinal Guilherme Henriques de Carvalho, patriarch of Lisbon, he was named to occupy that see by a government's decree of November 16, 1857. Promoted to the patriarchal see of Lisbon by Pope Pius IX on March 18, 1858. Took possession of the see by procurator on the following April 18; and made his solemn entrance in São Vicente da Fora in May 1859. He was the tenth patriarch of Lisbon and was known by the name Manuel I.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of June 25, 1858; the pope sent him the red biretta with an apostolic brief of June 25, 1828; he received the red biretta from King Pedro V in the basilica of Sagrado Corazão de Jesus in Lisbon; he never went to Rome to receive the red hat and the title. During his patriarchate in Lisbon, he wrote three pastoral letters: the first one, dated November 30, 1858, about the role of the bishop, the formation of the clergy and the importance of the teaching of the Christian doctrine; the second one, on October 10, 1863, about the necessity of combating the Protestant doctrine and the Catholic formation of the youth; and the third one, May 15, 1865, explaining the meaning of the Jubilee celebrating the tenth anniversary of the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the publication of the Syllabus (1864); the letter was accompanied of a directory with the concrete directions to obtain the plenary indulgence granted. He realized pastoral visits to Runa, Torres Vedra, Varatojo, Alhandra and Vila Franca. He consecrated the new bishops of Cabo Verde, Angola, Lamego, Viseu and Algarve. As the leading ecclesiastical figure of the country, he officiated in the wedding of King Pedro V and Princess Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen; as well as in their funerals. He also officiated in the wedding of King Luís and Princess Maria Pia di Savoia, daughter of King Vittorio Emmanuel II of Italy. He baptized Princes D. Carlos and D. Afonso. He presided over the festivities celebrated in the church of São Vicente de Fora and in the patriarchal cathedral to solemnize the anniversaries of the restoration of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1640. He published a new Catechism to be used in the patriarchate.
Death. September 26, 1869, after an illness that lasted three months, in Lisbon. Exposed in the patriarchal cathedral of Lisbon, where the funeral took place on September 30; and buried in the tomb of the patriarchs in the church of São Vicente de Fora, Lisbon (1).
Bibliography. "Emmanuele Benedetto Rodrigues" in "Cardinali defunti", La Gerarchia Cattolica e la Famiglia Pontificia per l'anno 1876. Roma : Tipografia dei Fratelli Monaldi, 1875, p. 130; Fontes, Paulo. "D. Manuel Bento Rodrigues da Silva, C.R.S.J.E." in Os patriarcas de Lisboa. Coordenação D. Carlos Azevedo, Sandra Costa Saldanha, António Pedro Boto de Oliveira. Palavra de apresentação do Cardeal Patriarca, D. José da Cruz Policarpo. Lisboa : Centro Cultural do Patriarcado de Lisboa; Alêtheia Editores, 2009, p.103-108; LeBlanc, Jean. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle : contribution à l'histoire du Sacré Collège sous les potificats de Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 808-809; Pereira, Pedro Henriques da Costa. Esboceto biográfico e descrição litúrgica da administração do Sagrado Viatico e extrema-unção e do funeral do eminentíssimo e reverendíssimo senhor cardeal patriarca Dom Manuel Bento Rodrigues de saudosa memória. Lisboa : Typ. Universal de Thomaz Quintino Antunes, 1869; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, p. 267; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VIII (1846-1903). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1979, pp. 15, 213 and 346; "Rodrigues da Silva (D. Manuel Bento)", Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa e Brasileira. Illustrada com cêrca de 15.000 gravuras e 400 hors-textes a cõres. Lisboa; Rio de Janeiro : Editorial Enciclopédia, limitada [1936-60]. 40 vols., XXVI, 23-24.
Webgraphy. Portrait and biography, in Poruguese, Wikipedia; brief biography, in Os Cardeais Portugueses, in Portuguese, patriarcado de Lisboa; his engraving, portrait and arms, Araldica Vaticana.
(1) This is the inscription on his sarchophagus, kindly provided by Mr. Eman Bonnici, from Malta:
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