Pope Clement XIV

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Template:Infobox pope Template:Message box Pope Clement XIV, born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli (Sant' Arcangelo di Romagna, 31 October 1705 - Rome, 22 September 1774), was pope from 1769 to 1774. He was originally a Franciscan friar, the only friar in the College of Cardinals at the time of his election. His father had been a surgeon at Sant' Arcangelo; he had received his education from the Jesuits at Rimini and the Piarists of Urbino, and, in 1724, at the age of nineteen, had entered the Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis, of which in 1741 he was made definitor generalis (Catholic Encyclopedia). Ganganelli became a friend of Pope Benedict XIV, and Clement XIII gave him the cardinal's hat (1759), at the insistance, of Fr. Ricci, the General of the Jesuits.

Ganganelli was elected pope on 19 May 1769, after a conclave that had been sitting since 15 February, heavily influenced by the political manuevers of the ambassadors of Catholic sovereigns who were opposed to the Jesuits. Some of the pressure was subtle: for an unprecedented impromptu visit to the conclave by Joseph II and his brother the Grand Duke of Tuscany, officially incognito, the seals were broken, the Austrians inspected the proceedings with great interest and brought with them a festive banquet (Pirie 1965 p 269 (http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/triple-crown-clement-xiv.htm)). During the previous pontificate the Jesuits had been expelled from Portugal and from all the Bourbon courts: France, Spain, Naples, and Parma; now the general suppression of the Order was urged by the faction called the "court cardinals", who were opposed by the diminished pro-Jesuit faction, the Zelanti ("zealous"), who were generally opposed to the encroaching secularism of the Enlightenment. Louis XV's minister, the duc de Choiseul, had former experience of Rome as French ambassador, and was Europe's most skilled diplomat. "When one has a favour to ask of a Pope", he wrote, "and one is determined to obtain it, one must ask for two." Choiseul's suggestion, advanced to the other ambassadors, was that they should press, in addition to the Jesuit issue, territorial claims upon the Patrimony of Peter: the cession of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin to France; to Spain the duchies of Benevento and Ponto Corvo; for Naples an extension of territory adjoining the Papal States; and for Austria an immediate and final settlement of the vexed question of Parma and Piacenza that had occasioned a diplomatic rift with Clement XIII.

Choiseul pressured the French court's representative at the conclave, Cardinal de Bernis, for a written agreement from any pope regarding the suppression of the Jesuits. The cardinal, however, refused. In a memorandum to Choiseul, dated 12 April 1769, he said, "To require from the future pope a promise made in writing or before witnesses, to destroy the Jesuits, would be a flagrant violation of the canon law and therefore a blot on the honour of the crowns." France and Spain, which retained rights of veto, excluded twenty-three of the forty-seven cardinals; nine or ten more, on account of their age or for some other reason, were not papabili; only four or five remained eligible. The arrival of Cardinal Solis from Spain gave strength to the court party, and the official history of the Society of Jesus gives the text of a carefully-worded paper signed by Cardinal Ganganelli, of which no original has been found (Catholic Encyclopedia). In the final ballot, the only vote not cast for Cardinal Ganganelli was his own.

Clement's policies were calculated from the outset to smooth the breaches with the Catholic Crowns that had developed during the previous pontificate. The dispute between the temporal and the spiritual Catholic authorities was perceived as a threat by Church authority, and Clement worked towards the reconciliation of the European sovereigns. The arguing and fighting among the monarchs seemed poised to lead Europe towards heavy international competition - a situation which would have resembled the European situation in the late nineteenth century.

By yielding the Papal claims to Parma, Clement obtained the restitution of Avignon and Benevento, and in general he succeeded in placing the relations of the spiritual and the temporal authorities on a friendlier footing. Clement went on to engage in the suppression of the Jesuits, the decree to this effect not being written until November 1772, and not signed until July 1773.

This measure, to late nineteenth century Catholics, had covered Clement's memory with infamy in his church, and was also quite controversial, with the Catholic Encyclopedia (?) supporting Clement's suppression of the Jesuits as "abundantly justified".

His work was hardly accomplished, before Clement, whose usual constitution was quite vigorous, fell into a languishing sickness, generally attributed to poison. No conclusive evidence of poisoning was ever produced. The claims that Clement was poisoned were denied by those closest to him, and as the Annual Register for 1774 stated, he was over 70 and had been in ill health for some time.

Clement expired on September 22, 1774, execrated by the Ultramontane party, but widely mourned by his subjects for his popular administration of the Papal States.

The Catholic Encyclopedia (or the 1876 Encyclopedia Britannica) opines that:

no Pope has better merited the title of a virtuous man, or has given a more perfect example of integrity, unselfishness, and aversion to nepotism. Notwithstanding his monastic education, he proved himself a statesman, a scholar, an amateur of physical science, and an accomplished man of the world. As Leo X indicates, the manner in which the Papacy might have been reconciled with the Renaissance had the Reformation never taken place, so Ganganelli exemplifies the type of Pope which the modern world might have learned to accept if the movement towards free thought could, as Voltaire wished, have been confined to the aristocracy of intellect. In both cases the requisite condition was unattainable; neither in the 16th nor in the 18th century has it been practicable to set bounds to the spirit of inquiry otherwise than by fire and sword, and Ganganelli's successors have been driven into assuming a position analogous to that of Paul IV and Pius V in the age of the Reformation. The estrangement between the secular and the spiritual authority which Ganganelli strove to avert is now irreparable, and his pontificate remains an exceptional episode in the general history of the Papacy, and a proof how little the logical sequence of events can be modified by the virtues and abilities of an individual.

Disagreeing with the Encyclopedia's assessment of Clement, Cretineau-Joly wrote a critical history of Clement's administration; agreeing with the Encyclopedia, Father Theiner, the custodian of the archives of the Vatican (at the time), claimed that numerous documents had vanished, apparently due to censorship by Clement's enemies. Clement's familiar correspondence has been frequently reprinted and was much admired for its elegance and urbanity by some Catholic authorities.

See also: other popes named Clement.

External link


Preceded by:
Clement XIII
Pope
1769–1774
Succeeded by:
Pius VI

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References

fr:Clment XIV id:Paus Clemens XIV it:Papa Clemente XIV nl:Paus Clemens XIV ja:クレメンス14世 (ローマ教皇) pl:Papież Klemens XIV pt:Papa Clemente XIV sv:Clemens XIV

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