Suppression of the Society of Jesus


July 6, 2022

The Suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal, France, the Two Sicilies, Parma and the Spanish Empire in 1767 was the result of a series of political movements rather than a theological controversy. In the papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor (21 July 1773), Pope Clement XIV, urged by Charles III (King of Spain), suppressed the Society of Jesus. However, in non-Catholic countries, notably Prussia and Russia, where papal authority was not recognized, the order was ignored. The Jesuit scholarly group Company of Bolandists moved from Brussels to Antwerp, where they continued their work at the monastery at Coudenberg; in 1788, the Bollandist Society was suppressed by the Austrian government of the Netherlands.


The 18th century in Europe was marked by the Enlightened Despotism that had among its aspects regalism, which allowed kings to control ecclesiastical institutions, and by the Family Pact of the Bourbon monarchies. In France, Gallicanism prevailed. The series of political struggles between the various monarchs, especially in France and Portugal, began with disputes over territory in 1750 and culminated in the suspension of diplomatic relations and the dissolution of the Society of Jesus by the Pope for the most part. of Europe, and even some executions. Portugal, France, the Two Sicilies, Parma and the Spanish Empire became involved in one way or another. The conflicts began with commercial disputes, in 1750 in Portugal, in 1755 in France, and in the late 1750s in the Two Sicilies. Part of the Portuguese elites believed that the Jesuits had supported the Guarani during the Guarani War (1750-1756). of Portugal, influenced by the Marquis of Pombal, took the opportunity to diminish the powers of Pope Benedict XIV and deported Jesuits from America after the relocation of the Jesuits and their native workers, after fighting in a brief conflict, the order was formally suppressed in 1759. In 1762, the Jesuits were expelled from all territories of the Portuguese Empire. Also in 1762, the French Parliament (court, not legislator), affirmed a decision against the Company in a major bankruptcy case, under pressure from a number of groups - from within the Church by secular intellectuals and the King's mistress. Austria and the Two Sicilies suppressed the order by decree in 1767. In March 1766, the Esquilache Mutiny in Madrid against King Charles III took place, which blamed the Jesuits for instigating the uprising. Therefore, in 1768, about 5,000 Jesuits were expelled from the entire Spanish Empire and sent on ships to the Papal States, where they were not accepted by Pope Clement XIII and had to disembark on the island of Corsica. On May 19, 1769, Pope Clement XIV was elected, who had already been elected with a verbal commitment to suppress the Society of Jesus, which only happened four years later, in 1773. José Moñino y Redondo, representative of King Carlos III at the Vatican played a decisive role in convincing the Pope on this issue. The death of Pope Clement XIV on September 22, 1774, generated rumors that this Pope would have been poisoned by the Jesuits.


As an immediate consequence of the suppression, 23,000 Jesuits were stripped of their property and Father Lorenzo Ricci, superior of all Jesuits, was imprisoned in Rome. it was well received by the entire Catholic Church, and the objection made by the Archbishop of Paris at the time was relevant. Supporters of suppression allege that Pope Clement XIV, faced with pressure from the Bourbon courts, had to take such an attitude to avoid a new schism in the Catholic Church and that he delayed this fact as long as he could. on the other