Clement XIV, Pope
CLEMENT XIV, POPE
Pontificate: May 19, 1769, to Sept. 22, 1774; b. Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, at Sant' Arcangelo, near Rimini (Legation of Ravenna), Oct. 31, 1705. His father, Lorenzo, was a surgeon; his mother, Angela Serafina, was a descendant of the distinguished family of Mazza in Pesaro. After his education with the Jesuits at Rimini and the Piarists at Urbino, Ganganelli entered the novitiate of the Conventual Franciscans at Mondaino (May 1723), taking Lorenzo as his name in religion; he was solemnly professed on May 18, 1724. At the completion of his studies at the College of St. Bonaventure in Rome, he received a doctorate in theology (1731) and taught philosophy and theology at the convents of Ascoli, Milan, and Bologna. In May 1740 he was appointed rector of St. Bonaventure's through the recommendation of a Jesuit to Cardinal Annibale Albani, patron of the college. At Milan he printed a theological defense (Diatriba theologica, 1743) with a dedication to St. Ignatius of Loyola and a foreword of praise for the Society of Jesus. He was chosen first consultor of the Holy Office (1746), and twice (1753, 1759) refused the nomination to the generalship of his order. On Sept. 24, 1759, Clement XIII created him a cardinal with the title of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna (later changed to SS. Apostoli), calling him a Jesuit in the clothes of a Franciscan. It has been claimed that he was recommended to Clement either by Lorenzo ricci, the Jesuit general, because of his avowed esteem for Jesuits, or by Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli because of Ganganelli's concealed dislike for "Gesuitismo." Throughout the nine years before his elevation to the papacy, Ganganelli's manner was devout, frugal, unostentatious, and impenetrable. A reserve and fear of being influenced in his judgments made him usually reluctant to declare his mind. By some diplomats this was regarded as a sign of astuteness and keen wit, by others, as a mark of insincerity and deceit, e.g., Bernard tanucci, who
complained that Ganganelli rode keeping his feet in two stirrups. That he was already veering toward the Bourbon courts appears in his opposition to the pro-Jesuit policies of the papal secretary of state Cardinal Luigi Torrigiani; in his defense of the Bourbon Duke Ferdinand of Parma's stand against the Monitorium of Clement XIII (1768); and in his intimacy with Manuel de Roda y Arrieta, the anti-Jesuit Spanish minister.
The Conclave of 1769. The conciliation of Portugal, nine years in virtual schism, and of the Bourbon courts of France, Spain, Naples, and Parma, who had demanded the suppression of the Jesuits at the end of the reign of Clement XIII, was the issue of this conclave, which convened on February 15. The 43 electors split into three parties: the Zelanti, pro-Jesuit and advocating a strong stand against the Powers; the Crown Cardinals, seeing the peace of the Church possible only through the sacrifice of the Jesuits; and the Indifferents or Undeclared. The requirements of strict secrecy and seclusion set down in the bulls of Julius II (Cum tam divino, Jan. 14, 1505), Pius IV (In eligendis, Oct. 9, 1562), Gregory XV (Aeterni Patris, Nov. 15, 1621), and Clement XII (Apostolatus officium, Oct. 5, 1732) were transgressed. Cardinals François de bernis, Paul d'Albert Lynes, and Domenico Orsini d'Aragona were in open and frequent communication with the French ambassador Marquis d'Aubeterre and the Spanish ambassador Abp. Thomas Azpuru. They were instructed to use the exclusiva against all "unenlightened" candidates. In a list sent to the courts, the cardinals were divided into classes and judged as very good, good, bad, and very bad. Ganganelli, the only regular cleric in the conclave, was placed in the first class, and rated "good" (Spain), "very good" (Choiseul), and "there are letters which say he is a Jesuit" (Tanucci). In the conclave Ganganelli "trimmed his sails to the wind" on the question of the Jesuits. On one occasion he remarked that there should be no more thought of abolishing the Society of Jesus "than of overturning St. Peter's." Yet when asked his opinion on its possible suppression he said that if the precepts of Canon Law were observed, it was possible, perhaps profitable. The idea of a written or oral promise to suppress the society as a condition for election was proposed by D'Aubeterre and Azpuru, and again by the Spanish Cardinal Francisco de Solis when he arrived at the conclave (April 27), but it was rejected. The claim that Ganganelli made such a simoniacal bargain is unproved and held by no historian except Crétineau-Joly. When the crown candidate, Antonio Sersale, Archbishop of Naples, failed to win the support of the Zelanti, attention moved to Ganganelli, who was elected with only one opposing vote (his own, which was cast for Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico) on May 19. The Bourbons rejoiced; Charles III of Spain called the election a miracle worked by St. Francis and Ven. Juan de palafox y mendoza.
Peace by Concession. The inscription on the first medal struck by Clement, Fiat pax in virtute tua, revealed his eagerness to come to terms with secular powers. To the "exemplary Catholic Charles III," he wrote (Nov. 30, 1769) an acknowledgment of his indebtedness and devotion and promised that there would be "shortly a plan for the complete dissolution of the society." He also appointed the former nuncio to Madrid, Opizio Pallavicini, as his secretary of state, and reintroduced the process of beatification for Juan de Palafox. A settlement with Portugal came with the appointment (Nov. 26, 1769) of a nuncio, Innocenzo Conti, pleasing to the Marquis of pombal; a red hat for Pombal's brother, Paulo de Carvalho e Mendoza, who died (Jan. 17, 1770) three days before the announcement of this honor (Clement gave it to another of the minister's favorites, João Cosme da Cunha, Bishop of Evora); and the confirmation of eight of Pombal's episcopal nominations. The reading of the bull In coena Domini (so called because from 1364 it was published annually at Rome on Maundy Thursday, and cited reserved censures), which had been used by Clement XIII to announce the excommunication of duke Ferdinand of Parma (1768), was omitted in 1770, and dropped completely after 1774. He further pleased the duke by granting a dispensation for his marriage to his cousin Amelia, daughter of Empress Maria Theresa. In a letter to Louis XV, Clement promised that the Jesuit issue would be terminated "avec satisfaction reciproque" (October 1769).
Suppression of the Jesuits. Clement delayed decisive action regarding the Jesuits for four years. He met the formal petition for their extinction, made by the courts of Portugal, Spain, and France (July 22, 1769) with alternative proposals such as a complete reform of the society, or its gradual dissolution by allowing no election of a general after the death of Lorenzo Ricci, but he finally yielded before the unrelenting harassment of Cardinal de Bernis and José Moniño, who succeeded Azpuru as Spanish ambassador (July 4, 1772). As preliminary steps, documents were gathered for a motu proprio, and a program to diminish the prestige of the Jesuits in Rome and the Papal States was begun. Bishops were advised to withhold their permission to preach or hear confessions; Jesuits were removed from their colleges in Frascati, Macerata, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna; a visitation of the Irish College and the Roman Seminary was entrusted to Cardinal Marefoschi, of the Jesuit houses in Bologna to Cardinal Malvezzi; Jesuit exiles from Portugal were deprived of the pensions granted by Clement XIII. On December 13, after renewed threats of schism and attempts to bribe his only confidant, the Conventual friar Bontempi, the pope appointed Francesco Saverio Zelada, titular bishop of Petra, to collaborate with Moniño in the preparation of the brief of suppression. The resulting document, Dominus ac Redemptor, was signed by Clement on June 9, 1773 (though dated July 21). Already more than half of the members of the society were exiled; this brief extinguished the remaining 11,000 Jesuits, 266 colleges, 103 seminaries, and 88 residences. On September 23, Ricci was imprisoned for questioning in the Castel Sant'Angelo, together with his assistants of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and Poland.
The Brief Dominus ac Redemptor. The reception of this brief was varied. Festivities were ordered in Lisbon, but there was disappointment in France and Spain that the document was not a solemn bull. Maria Theresa accepted it regretfully and allowed Jesuits to remain in their houses as secular priests; Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine II of Russia forbade its promulgation, thereby insuring the survival of the society. At the end of the pontificate of Clement XIII, the territories of Avignon and Venaissin had been taken by the French, and Pontecorvo and Benevento invaded by Naples; these were now returned to papal jurisdiction.
In the brief, Clement proclaims his duty in the interest of peace to sacrifice things most dear to himself. Just as past pontiffs had suppressed the Templars (1312), the Humiliati (1571), the Reformed Conventuals (1626), the Order of SS. Ambrose and Barnabas (1643), the Order of St. Basil of Armenia (1650), and the Jesuati (1668), so he had examined the Society of Jesus and found that at its birth seeds of strife and jealousy germinated within it, and against other orders, the secular clergy, and princes. Since it could no longer be fruitful or useful and hindered the peace of the Church, he, for the reasons given, and for others "reserved in our heart," dissolved, suppressed, extinguished, and abolished the said society. The members "whom We love with a paternal love" were thus free from the weight of oppression. Novices were to be released; scholastics were permitted to remain in their houses for a year, and being liberated from their vows might embrace a new state of life; priests might enter other religious orders or place themselves under the jurisdiction of a bishop. All appeals or attempts to defend the society were prohibited. It is to be noted that the brief does not condemn the constitutions of the order, nor any specified member, nor the orthodoxy of any Jesuit doctrine (Bullarium Romanum Continuatio 4:619–629). According to a letter of June 29, 1774, Clement retracted Dominus ac Redemptor and instructed his confessor to transmit it to the next pope (Pius VI). The letter is found in P. P. Wolf, Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten …, 4 v. (Zurich 1789–92) v. 3, but its authenticity remains disputed.
Other Affairs. During the long struggle over the Jesuit question, Clement received Marc Simeon, patriarch of the Nestorians, and six of his bishops into union with Rome (1771); condemned Abbé Jean Martin de Prades's abridgment of Claude Fleury's Histoire ecclesiastique (March 1, 1770), the philosophical works of Julien Offray de La Mettrie (Feb. 15, 1770), and some lesser works of Voltaire (Nov. 29, 1771); favored the Carmel of Saint-Denis after it received Louise of France (Thérèse de Saint Augustin), daughter of Louis XV (1770); and brought new hope for Catholic emancipation in England by abandoning the support of the exiled Stuarts and negotiating with William Henry, duke of Gloucester, brother of King George III, for the appointment of Giovanni Battista Caprara as papal nuncio (1772). He patronized the arts and letters by commissioning Raphael Mengs to decorate the Vatican Museum, by acquiring antiquities for the Museo Clementino, by increasing the papal coin collection, by encouraging literati, and by decorating the 14-year-old prodigy Mozart with the order of the Golden Spur (1770). Clement canonized no one, but he beatified Francesco Caracciolo (June 4, 1769) and Paolo Burali of Arezzo (May 13, 1772); he confirmed the cultus (not solemn beatification) of Antonio Primaldi and his 840 companions executed at the capture of Otranto by the Ottomans (1480), of Tommaso Bellaci (d. 1447), of Bonaventura of Potenza (d. 1711), of Giuliana Puricelli (of Busto Arsizio, d. 1501), of Bernhard von Baden (d. 1458), of Giovanni Scopelli (of Reggio Emelia, d. c. 1491), and of Giovanni Bottegoni (of Bastone, d. 1240); and he declared the heroicity of the virtues of the Oratorians Giovanni Battista Villani and Antonio Grassi, of John of St. William, of Charles of Sezze, and of Pedro de Betancur, founder of the Bethlehemites of Guatemala. Clement had a deep regard for St. Paul of the Cross and reconfirmed the rule of the Passionists in Suprem apostolatus (Nov. 15, 1769) and approved the rule of the Passionist nuns (Feb. 9, 1771).
The last year of Clement's life was one of depression, fear of assassination, and torment caused by a scorbutic skin ailment. After his death the rapid decomposition of the body, which required that the face be covered with a mask for the solemn exequies at St. Peter's, fortified rumors of poison. An autopsy by Clement's physicians, Natale Saliceti and Pasquale Adinolfi, indicated death from natural causes; more recent medical interpretations of their reports ascribe death to edema and possible gastric carcinoma.
Clement's policy of appeasement and his ambiguous behavior have brought a generally adverse judgment of his pontificate and little praise to himself. In Pastor's Lives (published posthumously) he is called "one of the weakest and most unhappy of the long line of popes, and yet one most deserving of sympathy, for though filled with the best intentions he failed in almost everything, being quite unfitted to deal with the extraordinarily difficult situation." During his pontificate the prestige of the papacy reached one of the lowest levels in centuries (38:550; for the debate over this volume, see bibliography).
Bibliography: Bullarium Romanum Continuatio, ed. a. barÈri et al. (Rome 1835–57) v.4. Clementis XIV … epistolae et brevia selectiora …, ed. a. theiner (Paris 1852). Lettere interesanti del pontefice Clemente XIV Ganganelli, ed. l. a. caraccioli, 5 v. (Venice 1776–79), Fr. tr., 2 v. (Paris 1776), interpolated and untrustworthy; Eng. tr., 2 v. (London 1777). Lettere, bolle e discorsi di Ganganelli, ed. c. frediani (Florence 1845). g. c. cordara, De suis ac suorum rebus … usque ad occasum Societatis Jesu commentarii …, ed. g. albertotti and a. faggiotto (Miscellanea di storia italiana, ser. 3, v. 22; Turin 1933); De suppressione Societatis Jesu commentarii, ed. g. albertotti (Padua 1925), extracts and comments in j. j. i. von dÖllinger, Beiträge zur politischen, kirchlichen und Kultur-Geschichte der 6 letzten Jahrhunderte, 3 v. (Regensburg 1862–82) 3:1–74. j. crÉtineaujoly, Clément XIV et les Jésuites (Paris 1847); Le Pape Clément XIV: Lettre au Père Augustin Theiner (Paris 1853). a. theiner, Geschichte des Pontificats Clemens XIV, 2 v. (Leipzig-Paris 1853), favorable to Clement. i. de rÉcalde, Le Bref "Dominus ac Redemptor" (Paris 1920), hostile to Jesuits. f. masson, Le Cardinal de Bernis depuis son ministère, 1758–1794 (Paris 1884). s. f. smith, "The Suppression of the Society of Jesus," Month 100(1902) 517–536, 581–59l; 101 (1903) 48–61, 179–197, 259–277, 383–403, 498–516, 604–623; 102 (1903) 46–63, 170–184. f. bertolini, Clemente XIV e la soppressione dei gesuiti (Rome 1886). a. gallassi, "La malattia e morte di Clemente XIV," Revista di storia delle scienze 48 (1950) 153–165. l. gualino, Storia medica dei romani pontefici (Turin 1934) 69–97, 109–113. a. von reumont, Ganganelli, Papst Clement XIV, seine Briefe und seine Zeit (Berlin 1847). p. dudon, "De la suppression de la Compagnie de Jésus, 1758–1773," Revue des questions historiques 132 (Paris 1938) 75–107. l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages (London–St. Louis 1938–61) v. 38. For dispute between the Conventual Franciscans and the Jesuits over the documents used by Pastor, see l. cicchitto, "Il Pontefice Clemente XIV … della Storia dei Papi di L. von Pastor," Miscellanea Francescana 34 (1934) 198–231. g. kratz and p. leturia, Intorno al "Clemente XIV" del Barone von Pastor (Rome 1935). e. prÉclin, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillat et al. (Paris 1912– ) 12:1411–23. h. raab, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 2:1229–30. r. chalumeau, Catholicisme 2:1199–1200. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon: Die Gesellschaft Jesu einst und jetzt (Paderborn 1934) 994–996. s. solero, a. mercati and a. pelzer, Dizionario ecclesiastico, 3 v. (Turin 1954–58) 1:649–650. j. de la serviÈre, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951– ) 3.1:124–134. o. chadwick, The Popes and the European Revolution (Cambridge 1981). a. d. wright, The Early Modern Papacy: From the Council of Trent to the French Revolution, 1564–1789 (London 2000). m. caravale and a. caracciolo, Lo stato pontificio de Martino V a Pio IX (Turin 1978).
[e. d. mcshane]
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