Now isn’t this a turn up for the books. A Jesuit Pope who takes the name of Francis?
Rome and St Peter’s is THE place in the world for history, intrigue and of course religion.
Between 1754 and 1768 the Jesuits ( I am certain they were the inspiration for the Jedi in Star Wars ) were banned from many countries including Brazil, Spain and its colonies ( including Argentina ) , Portugal and parts of Italy.
This process was greatly supported by the Royal Courts around Europe as none of the Royal families fancies the Jesuits one iota — possibly because they were seen as an order of clever clogs, possibly because they assumed the title of God’s Marines.
By the time we came to the conclave of 1769 there was one great issue to be discussed by the Cardinals when they met in the Apostolic Palace in Rome ( note that conclaves did not always take place in the Sistine until 1878 ) and that was the suppression of the Jesuit Order completely.
Those in favour of this policy were known as the Court Cardinals, and those against were known as The Zelanti – The Zealots.
Well, on 19th May the Court Cardinals won out and the Conclave elected the only Franciscan Friar Cardinal there was – Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli– who became Pope Clement XIV.
Despite being Jesuit educated, Clement ordered the suppression of the entire Jesuitical order by Papal Bull dated 21st July 1773.
Fortunately for the Jesuits, certain parts of Europe did not accept the authority of the Pope – indeed for decades before it had been accepted that any decree by the Pope could have no effect in France unless the decree was adopted and endorsed by the King. Further still, in the past it had been the case that French Cardinals such as Richelieu and Mazarin had a veto on the appointment of the Pope – so in those days no matter who the cardinals voted for in conclave, unless they carried the vote of the French Cardinal then they were wasting their time.
Anyway the point is that in certain areas of Russia, the banning of the Jesuits was to no effect.
When Clement XIV died, then the new conclave had to address the whole argument again with the Court Cardinals once again looking for a candidate who would continue Clement’s abolition of the Jedi, and the Zelanti looking for someone who would reverse the process.
Neither side could prevail and so in the end they opted for a compromise candidate in Cardinal Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi – clearly a nobleman and so approved by the Court faction, but who the Zelanti viewed as being sympathetic to the Jesuit cause.
Braschi became Pius VI and he allowed the Jesuits to remain banished and suppressed but accepted that the ban did not have effect in White Russia or Silesia ( Poland ). Further he did consider the full reinstatement of the Marines not long after the French Revolution as he thought they might come in handy in the event of Revolution spreading to his wee fiefdom.
It goes without saying that even the Court Cardinals preferred the Jedi to the mob and Madame La Guillotine!!
However, it was not until Napoleon Bonaparte effectively kidnapped the Pope ( by this time Pius VII ) that there was any move to universally restore the order. Pius VII was being held captive in France and swore to bring the Marines back and when he was able to return to Rome he promptly did so by order on 7th August 1814.
Interestingly thought, The Jesuits were banned from Switzerland in 1848 and this was only lifted in 1973 when the people of Switzerland voted to change their constitution, and technically the Jesuits were banned by the Norwegian Constitution between 1814 and 1956.
So it is a bit of a miracle that a Jesuit has been given the big hat at all, and ironic that he has taken the name Francis and it was a Franciscan that banned the Jedi in the first place.
In terms of our new Pope I hope he takes on the mantle of Pope Innocent XI who brought about the end of the terrific spending and Papal patronage that had gone on in Rome for the previous 150 years especially surrounding the new basilica and the desire by each previous Pope to build some kind of monument or tomb which demonstrated that Pope’s greatness and lasting reputation.
Innocent lived a far more holy life, encouraged parsimony as opposed to excessive spending and reformed the curia. He was however from a family of Money lenders and it is said that he bankrolled William of Orange in his various wars and that he was no fan of James II who had supported the actions taken by the King of France against the mother church – therefore Innocent was posted missing when James needed his help.
Anyway, I digress, the new man will hopefully takes us down a more socially inclusive road especially with regard to the poor and the needy.
But, once a Jedi – always a Jedi and that is not to be underestimated.
The main church of the Jesuit order is to be found in the Piazza Del Gesu, just of the Via Vittorio Emmanuelle in Rome. It is a square which often has a nice breeze blowing through it.
Legend says that one day the wind and the Devil were walking down the Via Vittorio when the Devil turned to the wind and said ” You wait here, I am just going to nip into the Gesu to sort the Jesuits out”…….. and the wind has been hanging about ever since!
Vive La Papa
Posted by Brogan, Rogan, Trevino and Hogan