1730-1758 History of Italy 1789-1799

Papal State and Papacy, 1758-1789

In 1758, Pope Clement XIII. (-1769, Carlo della Torre Rezzonico) succeeded Benedict XIV.
Following an assassination attempt on King Joseph of Portugal (1758), the Jesuits were blamed for it; the Jesuit order was supprressed, the friars banned from Portugal, the property of the order confiscated (1759). In 1762 France banned the Jesuits and confiscated the order's property. Pope Clement XIII. in 1765 explicitly confirmed the Jesuit Order and praised it for its past accomplishments (Apostolicum pascendi munus); the publication of the bull was prohibited in many countries. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and her colonies, from the Kingdom of Two Sicilies in 1767, in 1768 from Parma and Malta (the latter itself a state run by the Order of St. John). Pope Clement XIII. died in 1769.
His successor, Clement XIV. (1769-1774, Lorenzo Ganganelli) soon found himself exposed to significant political pressure by Europe's Bourbon dynasties which pressed him to suppress the Jesuit Order. Only after years of negotiation, and reluctantly, did Clement XIV. give in; the Jesuit Order was declared suppressed in 1773. This justified state administrations in territories, where the Jesuit Order had not been suppressed yet (Austria, Bavaria etc.), to confiscate the Order property and use it to undertake a reform of higher education. While Clement XIV. was in office, (Catholic) Poland suffered the First Polish Partition (1772).
In 1769 suffragan bishop of Trier, Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim, under the pen name Justinus Febronius, published "on the state of the church and the legitimate authority of the pope", which was widely circulated in the Holy Roman Empire. Febronius called for the establishment of a German church, similar to the Gallican church of France; a council of German bishops and archbishops was to challenge papal authority. In 1778 Hontheim, under pressure, recanted, but the ideas he had published had found followers; in the Ems Punctation of 1786, the prince-archbishops of Cologne, Trier, Mainz and Salzburg - the leading church leaders of Germany, called on the pope to restrict himself to the authority the bishops of Rome had in the early centuries. The French Revolution prevented a German church Gallican style to emerge. In 1786 the Syonod of Pistoia declared Gallican-style independence of the church of Tuscany. While the Austrian clergy did not go that far, Emperor Joseph II., in Austria, passed numerous decrets which interfered with church affairs; he closed down large numbers of monasteries, abolished religious holidays, pilgrimages etc., founded or reorganized bishoprics.
Clement XIV. had died in 1774; he was succeeded by Pius VI. (1775-1799, Giovanni Angelo Count Braschi). Unfortunately, with him nepotism again burdened the Papal State. He had the Pontine Marshes partially drained, the roads and the port of Ancona improved.

Biography of Clement XIII., from Catholic Encyclopedia 1908 edition
Biography of Clement XIV., from Catholic Encyclopedia 1908 edition
Biography of Pius VI., from Catholic Encyclopedia
Article Society of Jesus, from Catholic Encyclopedia 1912 edition
Article Synod of Pistoia (1786), from Catholic Encyclopedia 1911 edition; from EB 1911
Article Febronianism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909 edition; from EB 1911
Article Congress of Ems, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
DOCUMENTS Encyclicals of Clement XIII., Clement XIV., Pius VI., from Papal Encyclicals Online
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Papal State, from History Book Reviews

Franz Xaver Seppelt, Georg Schwaiger, Geschichte der Päpste (History of the Popes), München : Kösel 1964, 572 pp., in German [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 2nd 2002, last revised on March 29th 2006

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