The extinction of the Society of Jesus

March 3, 2016                                                                                                                                      The Memorial of Saint Katharine Drexel

The conclusion of the sad opening chapter of this horror show that we are still living through must now be recounted.  Pope Clement XIV had been harried and harassed throughout the summer of 1769 and sought to play for time.  He knew the king of Spain, Charles III, was the most fanatical opponent of the Society of Jesus.  In a letter penned to the Catholic king on November 30, 1769 the Holy Father assured Charles III in writing (translation mine) that he would “submit to the lights and wisdom of Your Majesty a plan for the absolute extinction of this society and Your Majesty will receive it before long.”

De Ravignan reports that, based on the evidence that he had discovered by the middle part of the nineteenth century, Clement XIV’s motive was simply to play for time.  He had no desire to suppress the Society of Jesus and he thought that if he could keep putting it off into the future then some other event or series of events would take place that would drive this issue out of everyone’s mind.  But it was not to be.

Clement XIV’s strategy seemed to work for a while.  1770 and 1771 passed with regular protestations by the Bourbon courts that the Holy Father wasn’t acting quickly enough on his word and the Pontiff responding essentially that these things take time.  The Bourbon courts had put the whole matter in the hands of a Cardinal Bernis, the French minister to the Holy See.  He was in favor of giving the Pope time, but Charles III did not wish to wait.

The Spanish minister in Rome was appointed Archbishop of Valencia and left the position vacant.  Charles III filled it with a man who would do his bidding to the letter: Don José Moñino the Count of Florida Blanca.  When apprised of this appointment an official with the papal nunciature stationed in Madrid, who de Ravignan refers to by the French diplomatic title l’auditeur, gives this impression of the man in a March 24, 1772 dispatch to Clement XIV’s Secretary of State (translation mine):

I know what the man is, what thoughts burn in his spirit, and how much with his soft, easy, moderate, and I will even say religious exterior he is hostile to Rome, to pontifical authority, and to ecclesiastical jurisdiction…

To sum up, he is intensely artificial, shrewd, concealed, and zealous above anyone else for the extinction of the Jesuits.

Moñino arrived in Rome on July 4, 1772, four years to the day before that other July 4 that was to become so famous in song and story.  Pope Clement XIV seemed to know what he was in for and delayed his first audience with the man as long as possible, but the Spanish ambassador was not to be put off.  He got to work immediately and met with the other ministers of the Bourbon courts in order to get them all in line behind him.

The Cardinal Bernis recounts a meeting that he had had with Moñino in an August 5, 1772 dispatch to the Duc d’Aiguillon, King Louis XV’s new first minister in Paris.  The Spanish ambassador baldly states that if Charles III’s demand for the total suppression of the Jesuits is not met then Spain, with its massive overseas empire that spanned the globe, would follow the path that Portugal had pioneered more than a decade earlier: de facto schism.  He then let slip a bit of commentary of his own that contains some quite revealing vocabulary (translation mine):”Spain and other countries that one might call countries of obedience, would become countries of liberty!”

Countries of liberty eh?  Let’s just say that in 1772 this was not yet a common expression, but it would be.  Yes it would be, to the ruin of much that was good in the world.  One wonders where the Spanish count picked up this phrase that was to do so much harm to the world?  Doubtless it was not from his boss the King of Spain.

In any case as regards the Jesuits the minister and his sovereign were completely in accord.  Moñino assaulted the Holy Father with threats to expose the letter that he had written to Charles III three years earlier promising the total dissolution of the society.  Clement XIV countered that in order to effect such a thing that he would require the cooperation of all of the Catholic monarchs, not just the Bourbons.  He was banking on the Hapsburg ruler of Austria Maria Theresa who had always been staunchly pro-Jesuit.  But it was not to be.  Maria Theresa changed her position for reasons that have not come down to us and the Jesuits’ fate was sealed.

Clement XIV still tried to delay, but it was fruitless.  He sent missions in the spring of 1773 to close down the Jesuit novitiate, reasoning with the Spanish ambassador that if the novitiate was closed and the novices expelled then the society would wither on the vine.  But he would no longer tolerate the Holy Father’s delaying tactics and demanded a resolution.  The jig was up so to speak.

On July 21, 1773 the beaten down Pope Clement XIV finally relented and signed the brief Dominus ac Redemptor abolishing the Society of Jesus.  The Holy Father kept it secret for more than three weeks until the method of its implementation and the management of the now defunct order’s property could be arranged.

On August 16, 1773 at nine o’clock in the evening the prelate Macedonio visited the Gesu church in Rome accompanied by an armed escort of police and soldiers.  He officially informed the general of the Jesuit order, Father Lorenzo Ricci S.J., of its abolition and took possession of the church and of all of the property and sealed all of the records therein.  A similar scene played out throughout the city at the same hour at all its Jesuit institutes.

It should be noted that Clement XIV’s brief Dominus ac Redemptor in no way condemned the Society of Jesus with regard to its morals or its doctrines.  It merely stated that the Society had to be suppressed because of the demand of the courts and to preserve peace in the Christian world.  Father Ricci was imprisoned in the Castel Sant’Angelo where he died two years later and was interrogated as to the Jesuits supposed ‘hidden treasures’ and about all of the alleged plots to overthrow princes; all of which of course came to nothing.  After all of the financial records were gone through it was revealed that the Society was fairly strapped for cash and having a difficult time making ends meet.

IMG_1288

The Castel Sant’Angelo April, 2013

So the conspiracy to destroy the teaching of Jesus Christ had now claimed its first head.  Please go to Confession and say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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Clement XIV and the tenor of the times

February 5, 2016                                                                                                                                       The Memorial of Saint Agatha

When Clement XIV ascended the papal throne in the late spring of 1769 the Church in the West was in the midst of its most intense crisis since the days of Luther 250 years before.  Since this crisis has in our day been almost entirely forgotten and/or swept under the rug it is good to outline the situation one more time.

The great Catholic monarchies of France, Spain, and Naples had been driven by agents of the conspiracy of unbelief and the stupidity of their own kings to rise up politically and militarily against the Holy See.  Portugal had been in de facto schism with the Church of Rome, a schism engineered by the conspirator who was that unfortunate kingdom’s first minister the Marquis de Pombal, for a decade by that time and the other Bourbon monarchs of the above mentioned nations were threatening the same if their demands concerning the extinction of the Society of Jesus were not met.  A kind of blind madness that one often sees at the close of a historical epoch had taken hold of the Catholic world.

As the summer of 1769 wore on the Holy Father performed a rather perfunctory task in renewing the indulgences of his predecessors for the missionary orders, including the Society of Jesus, and this mere formality produced a firestorm of reaction from the court of Paris.  The Duc de Choiseul, first minister of King Louis XV of France, penned an angry letter to the French minister in Rome on August 7, 1769 demanding that he make a public demonstration to Clement XIV that the Pope must completely suppress the Society of Jesus within one month or the French ambassador in Rome would be withdrawn and France would sever all communication with the Holy See i.e. create a schism like that of Portugal but on a far grander scale.  And he hinted that the rest of the Bourbon monarchies, all the great Catholic kingdoms of Europe save Austria, would follow suit.  This would have put the Catholic Church and the Holy See in a worse position than she had been in since the days of Diocletian almost fifteen centuries earlier.

The modus operandi of the conspiracy at this point in its history seems to have been to motivate and to tempt these foolish monarchs into forcing the Catholic Church in their realms to cut itself off from the mother Church in Rome.  To transform the Church in all of the great countries that had remained Catholic after Luther’s revolt a quarter of a millennium earlier into Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese ‘Churches of England.’  In this scenario the Church would become completely subject to the state in these countries.  And then once the state institutions had been completely taken over by the conspiracy, and this was not long in coming as we shall see, the Church could be crushed.  And even if the state’s brutality did not succeed in crushing the Church in each of these countries the Church would still wither and die since she had been separated from the vine in Rome.  And then Rome itself would be easy pickings.  Or at least that is how their thinking seems to have gone.

They have yet to completely succeed in this goal, even in our own day, and we will go into the reasons why in future posts on this blog, but this remains their goal even now; this very minute there are people working to separate you from Peter.  NEVER FALL FOR THE TEMPTATION TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM PETER.  For whatever reason.  It is the great temptation of our age for Catholics to separate themselves from Peter.  And it comes from all quarters: from the ‘left’ and the ‘right.’  From ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals.’  From the ‘traditionalists’ and from the ‘modernists.’  Don’t do it.  Never do it.  No matter how good or how smart the reason seems, it is coming from the devil.  Don’t fall for it.  No matter what.  And run like a bat out of hell away from anyone who even hints at trying to convince you otherwise.

Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia, et ibi Ecclesia vita aeterna.  And since vita aeterna is what it is all about STAY WITH PETER!!!

Go to Confession and please say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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The war of the Catholic kings against the Holy See and the election of Clement XIV

February 3, 2016                                                                                                                                       The Feast of Saint Blaise

This episode of the war of the Catholic kings against the Holy See was entirely new to me.  I had never heard of it before and I found it shocking and sad.  What were these monarchs thinking?  I had always thought that it had been the revolutionary governments of 1789 and after that destroyed the influence of the Catholic Church in Europe, but I was wrong.  These monarchs were the ones who did it.  These kings tried to force Clement XIII to publicly accept the infant duke of Parma’s restrictions on the liberties of the Church in the form of excessive taxation.  They were the ones who wanted to subject the Church to servitude to the state.  It is true that they were inspired by unfaithful ministers, many of whom were agents of the conspiracy, but it was they themselves who fell for the ruse when they still had the power to beat it back.  These monarchs who should have been protecting the Church and the Holy See instead attacked it.  They conspired to attack the Holy Father and aimed to subject the Successor of Saint Peter to their own wills.  And they paid for it with their thrones.  Their sons would not be kings, not in the manner of their fathers, or at least not for long.  And the formerly Catholic world has been ruled by the revolution ever since.

There are some amazing tools available today via the internet.  Despite the ravages of the conspiracy and its revolutions over the past quarter millennium in Europe it is still possible here and there to find first hand accounts of things that happened during the 18th century.  I looked through the website newspaperarchive.com and discovered a fascinating article published in London in Lloyd’s Evening Post on Wednesday May 11, 1768. It is the extract from a ‘Letter from Rome’ that describes Pope Clement XIII’s encounter with the Spanish ambassador, a Mr. Azpuru, on the previous April 16 when the latter placed the demand of the three Bourbon Courts that required the submission of the Successor of Saint Peter to the will of the young duke of Parma.  It goes like this:

” In the audience which M. Azpurn, Minister from the King of Spain, had last Wednesday,
he strongly insisted on the revocation
of the Brief lately issued against the Duke of
Parma; but the Pope would not permit him
to finish what he had to say on the subject;
his Holiness taking him up very short, telling
him, ” That he was determined not to betray
his conscience, in retracing a sage and prudent
measure, which he could not have any
longer delayed without violating the Canons
and Ecclesiastical Rites, as well as the Pastoral’
Duty, with which he was invested; that he
was ready to suffer courageously all kinds of
hostilities, rather than desist from his lawful
authority ; and that he hoped God would defend                                                               this cause as his own.” On saying these
words, the Pontiff turned his eyes towards,
and kept them for some time fixed on, a Crucifix
which was in the  hall; and the Minister
took that opportunity to lay on his Holiness’s
table some Memorials, which he prayed him,
on taking leave, to read at his leisure.”
Letters from Paris mention, that insurrections
have lately happened there, occasioned
by the Pope’s Edict respecting Parma,

The writer of this letter, whoever he was, likely had no idea what was coming upon the world.  Maybe he didn’t even live to see it.  But Clement XIII knew; he knew something at least.  The way he kept his eyes on that crucifix tells us all we need to know.  Now on to the election of his successor.

The election of Clement XIV

Not surprisingly after the shameful and oppressive attitude they displayed towards Clement XIII the courts of Spain, France, and Naples went full force with bribes, threats, and intimidation to influence the conclave that was to elect his successor.

De Ravignan cites numerous reports and letters that indicate that it was the court of Spain that was the most enthusiastic in this regard.  Firstly it is important to understand that in the days of the Catholic monarchies there were Cardinals who could, to a certain extent, be more or less relied upon to do the will of their secular sovereign in the conclaves.  They were called ‘crown Cardinals.’  The Spanish court wished to make use of some of these Cardinals, a Cardinal Orsini of Naples in particular, to make a demand both publicly and to require privately that the next pope submit the Church in Parma to the duke of Parma’s edict and to agree to the complete and total suppression of the Society of Jesus within a year.  The Spanish crown declared its flexibility on the issue of the Duke of Parma and left its implementation in the hands of its ambassador, but the issue of the Jesuits was non negotiable.

To their credit the so called crown Cardinals refused to do this, declaring it to be a dangerous and illegitimate move.  This was much to the consternation of the Spanish government who resorted, through the French ambassador in Rome the Marquis d’Aubeterre, to not so subtle threats of violence if the conclave did not bend to their will.  In the end a surprise candidate (which is usually the case in papal conclaves) ended up being elected on May 19, 1769: a Franciscan Giovanni Vicenzo Antonio Ganganelli who took the name Clement XIV in memory of his predecessor who had elevated him to the cardinalate.

Rumors swirled in later years that the Cardinals loyal to the Bourbon courts extracted some sort of promise or oath from Cardinal Ganganelli prior to his election that he would comply with their demands and suppress the Society of Jesus.  Though he would suppress the order four years later no firm proof has ever emerged that he gave such an oath in return for being named pope.  In any case the pontificate of Clement XIV had begun.  It would last little more than five years but the results of the total extinction of the Jesuits, an extinction that would endure for four tumultuous decades, that occurred during his reign can still be felt in our own day.

Go to Confession and please pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

 

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The Suppression of the Jesuits in the states of Italy and the war of the Catholic kings against the Holy See

January 26, 2016                                                                                                                                     The Feast of Saint Timothy

We now enter upon the final and most devastating portion of the reign of Pope Clement XIII.  The suppression of the Jesuits in the Italian states of Parma and Naples was almost entirely instigated from abroad by the vain and stupid Bourbon monarchies of Portugal, Spain, and France.  The suppression was brought to the Italian peninsula in order to put immense pressure on the Holy Father in Rome to suppress the entire order throughout the world.  And to find the genesis of this plot we need to revisit our old friend from Portugal the Marquis de Pombal.

De Ravignan cites a secret report sent by a M. de Sémonin, the French chargé d’affaires at the court of Lisbon, to his government on the ironic date of July 14, 1767 wherein he recounts a conversation that he had recently had with the Marquis where Pombal indicated his opinion that the suppression of the Jesuits in Spain had actually created new obstacles to his policies.  My opinion as to why is that if there were in fact any new obstacles for Pombal’s policies it probably had to do with sympathy that had been aroused for the Society of Jesus by the harsh treatment they experienced in the Spanish dominions which I outlined in the previous post.  In any case the Marquis proposed to the French chargé d’affaires, in the name of his own sovereign Joseph I, that the three Bourbon courts of Portugal, Spain, and France join together to demand the extinction of the Jesuit order throughout the world from the Holy See.

The court of Spain was, unsurprisingly, the first to acquiesce to this proposal.  The eagerness with which the Spanish court joined in on the assault on the entire Jesuit order is indicative that there is probably more than a grain of truth in the story that I recounted in the previous post that King Charles III of Spain had been convinced that the Jesuit general in Rome was plotting to use some ill gotten information regarding his birth to remove him from the Spanish throne.  We have the report of a witness, a don Gutierez, that was read out at the hearing of the Council of Castille to reinstate the Jesuit order in Spain in 1815 after the fall of Napoleon that it was decided at a cabinet meeting on October 18, 1767 that the Spanish crown and the Spanish government would pursue the extinction of the Jesuit order.  Lastly, and under pressure from his fellow Bourbon monarchs, King Louis XV of France acquiesced in the plot that would bring down his kingdom and physically remove the head from the body of his successor.  The board was set and the pieces were moving.

I include here a map of the political divisions the Italian peninsula during the 18th century to give an idea of the states that we will briefly discuss here.

18th century italy

Political divisions of the Italian peninsula during the 18th century.

The Italian peninsula had been an off and on again battleground between France and Spain since the 15th century and as a result both nations wielded considerable influence there.  Naples (The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) was a dependency of Spain and ruled by a Bourbon monarch.  After the decision of the Spanish court to go after the Jesuits the government of Naples, dominated as it was by the follower of Voltaire Tanucci who overpowered his own sovereign Ferdinand VI, immediately deported all of the Jesuits of Naples to the Papal States.

The most dangerous blow however came from the north; from the small state of Parma and its young and inexperienced duke who was a cousin of Ferdinand VI and under the tutelage of a minister who had drunk the poison of Voltaire and the other French sophists, a certain Frenchman named Dutillot, the Marquis de Félino.

After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Naples this minister induced the duke of Parma to sign a decree on January 14, 1768 that severely limited the rights of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church in the state of Parma.  There is no written evidence to confirm this hypothesis, but none is really needed: this move had to have been designed as a provocation to Pope Clement XIII since the ultimate sovereign of the state of Parma was recognized by public law and tradition to be the Pope, as ruler of the States of the Church, the Patrimony of Saint Peter.  Pope Clement XIII therefore issued a brief on January 30, 1768 annulling the duke’s previous edict of January 14.  In this decree Clement XIII uttered words that have defined the struggle of the Catholic Church, of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, from that day to our own.  He stated that the edict of the duke of Parma sought (translation mine) “to diminish the the rights and the prerogatives of the Holy See, to submit its authority to the secular power, and to reduce to slavery the Church of God, who is free.”  And the firestorm that ensued has yet to go out.

On February 5, 1768 the Bourbon duke of Parma sent troops to expel the Jesuits from that country.  On April 16 the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See presented the Supreme Pontiff with the demands of the courts of France, Spain, and the Two Sicilies.  They were such that the Holy Father must revoke his decree of the previous January 30 and accept the edict issued by the duke of Parma.  And if he did not submit to these demands then French troops would immediately seize the papal possession of Avignon in the south of France and Neapolitan troops would take the duchy of Benevento in the southern part of the Papal states.  Clement XIII refused and the Catholic kings took up arms against the Holy See.  Fools.

Clement XIII declared that he would never take up arms against Catholic kings, but would follow his predecessors into exile before he would submit to a decree that abrogated the rights of the Church.  The situation deteriorated even more as the year 1768 progressed with the Republic of Venice instituting laws that limited ecclesiastical freedom and opened up a new front for the ailing pope.  On January 19, 1769 began the three Bourbon courts who had taken up arms against Holy See issued one last demand to the dying pontiff: the complete and total suppression of the entire Jesuit order.

De Ravignan writes a fitting epitaph to these foolish Bourbon monarchs and to this whole sad and sorry episode.  I will provide my own translation here:

Hapless princes, a race as unfortunate as illustrious, soon the victim of popular furies, rose up against the Church at this hour bringing to a common ruin all the political and religious institutions that had been the slow and admirable work of centuries!  And these ruins have not yet been raised up!

The kings of France, of Spain, and of the Two Sicilies thus joined together in a formidable league with the duke of Parma: and against who? against a venerable old man, bent towards the tomb, who on earth was the successor of a Galilean fisherman.  He possessed no other real power save the sacred right and duty to watch over the flock of Jesus Christ; but this flock it is the Church against whom the powers of the earth and of Hell would never prevail.

Pope Clement XIII died on the night of February 2-3, 1769 after offering Mass on the Feast of the Purification.  It was his fate to be at the pilot’s wheel of the Barque of Peter as it entered the outer bands of an immense hurricane and it will be for those who opine on these things once that storm has passed to pass judgment on his pontificate.  I know that wouldn’t have wanted his job.

Go to Confession and please say three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

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The Suppression of the Jesuits in Spain

January 18, 2016

The case of the Suppression in Spain is the strangest of all.  Here is what happened:

At midnight between the first and second of April, 1767 sealed royal orders were opened by the governors of each of the provinces of what was at that time Spain’s vast global empire.  They had been dispatched by King Charles III who was a faithful and devout man and had previously been a great supporter of the Society of Jesus which had been founded by a Spaniard, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, more than two centuries previous.  The result of the order was as follows:

At dawn on April 2, 1767 the local magistrates were ordered to round up all members of the Society of Jesus within their jurisdictions, to confiscate the order’s property, to march these priests and religious out of their houses with only a breviary and the clothes on their back to the sea, to put them on ships where they would be sent in miserable conditions on an ocean journey that for some covered half the globe and unceremoniously dumped on the shore of the Papal States in central Italy.

What was the reason?  Charles III didn’t say.  He only stated that his motives were “kept in the royal heart.”  And moreover it was forbidden within his vast realm to correspond with the exiles or even to discuss the matter, under pain of high treason.  

So we don’t know the reason, but in later times more evidence surfaced and shed a clearer light on the matter.  Charles III had entrusted his government to a certain Count Aranda who was his something like a prime minister.  The monarch put all of his confidence in this man as regarded the affairs of his kingdom.  It turned out to be a mistake.  This man was a follower of Voltaire and greedily imbibed the ideas that were darkening the human mind during the middle part of the 18th century.  This count seems to have formed a league with a Bernardo Tanucci of Naples, another dominion of the Spanish crown, who seems to have gained some influence over Charles III when he had previously been ruler of Naples and who had also drunk the intellectual poison of his time and was trying to destroy the influence of the Catholic Church on the Italian peninsula by any means at his disposal.

These two seem, along with others, to have combined to put an idea in the mind of Charles III that the Society of Jesus was a threat to his kingdom.  What was this threat?  We don’t know exactly but a story emerged some time later that has a ring of truth to it.  De Ravignan writing in the 1850s recounts a story told to one of the exiled Jesuits by a “high Spanish official” travelling in Italy some time after the expulsion.  The story went that Charles III had been convinced by members of his circle that the Jesuit general in Rome at the time was holding in secret certain evidence that Charles III was illegitimately conceived and therefore not the real king of Spain.  Supposedly he was holding this for the moment that was right when Charles III could be deposed and his brother placed on the throne.

One can see here the fruits of the labor of Pombal and Voltaire.  The propaganda had been spread and the field had been watered that Jesuits were hoarding wealth in order to topple the thrones of Europe.  No evidence has ever been found that this was the case. It is important to remember though, as I have stated previously, that while the Society of Jesus was not plotting revolution, someone was.  It was in fact the people who were spreading this nonsense, as later events would bear out.

Go to Confession and please pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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The Suppression of the Jesuits in France

January 6, 2016                                                                                                                                   The Solemnity of the Epiphany

The suppression of the Society of Jesus in France is more difficult for me to document.  My prime source of information for the activities of the enemies of the Church during the 18th century is de Ravignan’s Clement XII et Clement XIV published in French for a French audience in 1854.  He assumes that his readership is already familiar with the details of how the suppression occurred in that country and devotes almost the entirety of his chapter on the Suppression in France to the testimony of various bishops at the time of the suppression that this was undeserved and various prophetic remarks on what would be the fate of France if this suppression occurred.

So I have a lot fewer details and what details I do possess come from an article that first appeared in the Catholic Encyclopedia on the eve of the First World War and is published here.

I will attempt to summarize briefly then.  The groundwork had been laid by the propaganda coming out of Portugal that you can read about in my previous post.  And strangely enough this case started again in the New World.  The superior of the Jesuit mission in Martinique had taken out a loan to finance the development of the society’s farms that funded its mission on the island.  At the outbreak of a war between France and England several of the ships carrying the society’s farm products were captured leaving a rather large debt to be paid and no means of doing so.  Its creditors were “egged on” to file a legal case demanding repayment.  The Jesuits lost and appealed to the Parlement of Paris, a sort of local quasi legislative/judicial body that existed under the French monarchy.  This was a bad decision.  The enemies of the Church, the Roman Pontiff, and the Jesuit order who permeated French society both above and below the visible surface had the order right where they wanted.

The Parlement was ill disposed toward the order, dominated as it was both by the Jansenists (the opponents of the Pope on the right: think of the position of the SSPX in our own day but with a different ideology) and the allies of Voltaire who wittingly or unwittingly were moving toward the destruction of the Catholic Church in Europe.  King Louis XV was personally opposed to the suppression of the society but did little to stop it.   His personality was weak and he was dominated by his anti-Catholic ministers and his mistress the Madame de Pompadour who was a devotee of Voltaire and fiercely anti-Jesuit since the priests of the order had refused her absolution due to her obstinacy in sin.  The Parlement issued an arret suppressing the order in August, 1762 and while the king made some attempts to delay its implementation he ultimately, in November of 1764, dissolved the Society of Jesus throughout all of his dominions.

Portugal was a small European country with a big overseas empire.  If the Suppression could have been contained there it would undoubtedly have been finished with the demise of Pombal.  But this was truly an international effort aimed at the Society of Jesus, the Roman Pontiff, and ultimately at the Catholic Church itself as events would show.  What happened in France was truly a disaster.  France was still the most important country on the European continent at that time.  The Suppression of the Jesuits in that country gave credence and confidence to the conspiracy that aimed to destroy the teaching of Jesus Christ.

And the Suppression of the Jesuits was a disaster for France.  A quarter of a century passed between the Suppression of the Jesuits in France and the storming of the Bastille.  Less than thirty years elapsed between the day that that a French king signed the edict dissolving the Society of Jesus and the day that his successor was marched through the streets of Paris amidst sixty thousand armed men so that a blade could be dropped on his neck to sever his head from the rest of his body.

During that time, with the Jesuits gone from having any role in the education of French youth, an entire generation was created who were susceptible to the ever growing whispers coming from the Masonic lodges, the shouts coming from Voltaire’s ‘Philosophers,’ and the madness of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s demonic dictum that Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains!

Go to Confession and please play three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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Act I: the Suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal

December 3, 2015                                                                                                                               The Feast of Saint Francis Xavier

The central figure of the opening scene of this nightmare, a nightmare that we are still living through, went by the name of Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo during his time on earth.  During the time that he was first minister to King Joseph I of Portugal and was doing the deeds that bring him to our attention he had the title of Marquis de Pombal so we will follow the usual practice and call him Pombal for short.

Pombal served as the Portuguese ambassador in London during the 1740s, which is likely the place, buzzing with the ideas of John Locke and and still brimming over with the hatred for the Church of Rome leftover from the reign of Elizabeth I and her immediate successors, where he learned and made his own the ideas that would bring him into conflict with the Catholic Church and with the Society of Jesus in particular.  He there acquired his taste for the absurd atheistic philosophies that were then in nascent form but now dominate the world.  When the time came, almost a decade later, for him to rise to the position of Prime Minister to King Joseph I of Portugal in 1755 he drove hard to force this idiocy on Portugal.

Joseph I was a weak king and doesn’t really figure much into this story save for when the Marquis de Pombal gave him a pen and told him to sign a decree.  It is important to understand that Pombal’s real hatred was for the Church of Rome.  He was a professed admirer of Voltaire and Rousseau and wanted their works translated into Portuguese and taught in Portuguese schools.  The Society of Jesus, with its stronghold in education, stood in the way of this.  He also saw during his time in England the way that the Anglican Church functioned, retaining much of its Catholic looking exterior practices but entirely separated itself from Rome and became entirely a tool of the British government.  This is what happens O Bishops when you seek to increase your own authority within the Church at the expense of the Roman Pontiff: you lose your authority, you lose your independence, and you become mere tools of the secular state.  Think of that before you fall prey to all of the ‘decentralizers’ who in our own day lay like wolves in the dark corners of the Church hierarchy.

In any case the Marquis de Pombal had this idea in mind for Portugal, this most Catholic of countries.  Cut off the Church in Portugal from Rome, make it subservient to the Portuguese state under his control.  Once this was achieved then the firm, natural, and implacable opposition of the Catholic Church to his forcing of the absurd and atheistic ideas of the 18th century down the throat of Portuguese society would disappear.

How do I know this?  Because this is exactly what Pombal did.  But we will get to that in a moment.  First the Jesuits.  Pombal had to start with the Jesuits because the Society of Jesus was the firm link of the Church in Portugal and Portuguese society to the Roman Pontiff.  So how did he do it?

Lies and propaganda.  It all started in Paraguay.  Paraguay was a Spanish territory in the middle of the 18th century but the Portuguese believed that certain of its territories where extensive Jesuit missions were present contained large deposits of gold.  The Portuguese colonial authorities in Brazil, no doubt egged on by Pombal, convinced themselves that the Jesuits were using native labor to mine this imaginary gold to build up a nice treasury for themselves.  And they coveted these territories and this gold.

The Portuguese then acquired these territories and forced the natives out.  The Jesuits attempted to lead the natives, whose spiritual and bodily welfare they had great concern for, out of Portuguese territory to the land allotted to them but they, the natives I mean, were understandably upset about being forced out of their ancestral homeland and attacked their Portuguese overlords.  A minor war ensued in which the Paraguayan natives were easily defeated but Pombal now had a propaganda dagger to aim at the heart of the Society of Jesus, first in Portugal then throughout Europe.

His charge was that the Jesuits had been mining gold to build up their wealth and using it to foment revolution and overthrow governments as was obvious from the Indian revolt in Paraguay.  An absurd charge for which there was little evidence, but in the Europe of 1758 it was given a hearing.  The stage had been set for suspicion to be generated against this venerable transnational religious order and against the Catholic Church by the rising nationalism generated by the Protestant revolution 250 years earlier, by the live and let live policies adopted toward those heretical and destructive Protestant states by the Catholic world in general during the century since the Thirty Years War, and by the whispers emanating from the Masonic Lodges.

So the dried kindling was laid out and Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis de Pombal, lit the match.  Propaganda pamphlets were printed and spread throughout Portugal and Europe with the aid of Voltaire and his ‘philosophers’ that the Jesuits were amassing gigantic secret hordes of wealth and plotting revolutions and the overthrow of governments and kingdoms.  The charge stuck.  In fact it has had a long life and lives on even to this day.  In some dark corners of the conspiracy theory universe and on various internet chat rooms and comment boards you will still see supposed conspirators branded with the accusation of being a ‘Jesuit.’

There is a curious and instructive aspect to this charge against the Society of Jesus though.  That they were accused of amassing resources to be employed in the overthrow of kings and of governments is rather interesting.  Because while the Jesuits certainly weren’t plotting this, somebody definitely was.  And it was in fact the people  who were making the charge against the Society of Jesus who were the ones plotting revolution.  The conspiracy to destroy the teaching of Jesus Christ and to destroy civilization along with it often employs this tactic.  They accuse their enemies of doing exactly what they plan to do, except what they plan to do is usually 10,000 times worse.  The French kings were accused of being oppressive and the Bastille was used as a spark for the uprising.  But when the revolutionaries gained power they set up the guillotine and the streets of Paris ran with blood; something unknown under the French monarchy even going back to the Merovingians . The Bolsheviks accused the Czars of being oppressive because those criminals were put in prison or exiled, but when they took power those revolutionaries filled Russia with an ocean of blood killing something like, I don’t know, sixty million Russians.  Yet we are still told today that the French Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were signs of ‘progress.’  And I won’t even start with abortion.

In any case Joseph I signed a letter written by Pombal to the dying Pope Benedict XIV denouncing the Jesuits.  The Pope appointed a Cardinal Saldhana to investigate the charges against the Society of Jesus on April 1, 1758 and died five weeks later.  Meanwhile Pombal’s propaganda war ensued against the Jesuits.  And Cardinal Saldhana was no friend to the Jesuit order.  He did not do a proper investigation and used the occasion of the Sede Vacante following Benedict XIV’s death to usurp papal authority in the matter.  He pronounced against the Jesuits and declared that they were guilty of having exercised illicit, public, and scandalous commerce both in Portugal and in its colonies.  Pombal used this declaration to effectively remove the Society of Jesus from public life in Portugal before the new Pope, Clement XIII, was elected in July, 1758.  The following year the order was entirely suppressed in Portugal and their goods confiscated by the Portuguese state following an unsubstantiated accusation that they were involved in a plot against the Portuguese king.  All Jesuits in Portugal and the vast global Portuguese empire were promptly placed on ships and unceremoniously dumped on the shores of the Papal States in central Italy.

Pombal’s final stroke was to effect a complete separation between the Portuguese Church and the Church of Rome.  His government used the suppression of the Jesuits to stoke suspicion against all Catholic institutions in Portugal.  He then contrived a situation whereby the Papal Nuncio in Lisbon did not attend a royal wedding.  Pombal then ruthlessly exploited this situation and forced the Papal Nuncio to flee the country and the Portuguese Church to cut itself off from Rome.  On July 7, 1760 the Portuguese ambassador quit Rome and King Joseph I of Portugal formally prohibited all communication with the Pope, a situation that lasted until 1770 when a new Pontiff was on the throne of Saint Peter and Pombal wanted to join in on the effort to crush the Jesuit order as a whole.

So this then is the beginning of the disaster.  It is instructive because it shows the means, goals, and tactics of this enterprise when it was at its beginning and still as yet unsure of itself.  Next is France.

Go to Confession and please pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  And maybe have a Mass said for old Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo.

 

 

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Catholic Europe on the eve of the Suppression Part 2

November 25, 2015                                                                                                                               The Feast of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

So what was the situation of Catholic Europe at the close of 100 year false peace that followed the close of the Thirty Years War?  Not good.

The heresy of Protestantism had endured, and this alone may have been enough to shatter the unity of what had once been called  Christendom.  While the social and political impact of Protestant theology had mostly petered out by the end of the seventeenth century the people of the time could not have failed to notice the outright scandalous alliance of France, the eldest daughter of the Church, with Protestant powers during the Thirty Years War and the live and let live policy adopted by the Catholic powers after the war.

I contend that this is what helped to lay the foundations for the disaster that occurred during the eighteenth century.  By the 1750s a century of false peace had allowed some of the core ideas that had fueled the Protestant revolt to take hold underneath the surface within the societies of the still Catholic nations.  Most especially hatred of legitimate authority.

This had first come to light during the revolt of Luther, but then it was confined to the Pope in Rome and by later Protestants to the priesthood in general i.e. it was confined to the religious sense alone.  But man’s first duty is to God and when he fails in that duty then he will begin to fail in all of his other duties as well.  And this hatred of authority has now spread to all aspects of human existence in this sad and decrepit revolutionary age.

Whoever began this plot began it in secret silence, but by 1738 enough had come to light for Pope Clement XII to issue the Bull In Eminenti condemning membership in these new secret societies.  The Holy Father observed:

that certain Societies, Companies, Assemblies, Meetings, Congregations or Conventicles called in the popular tongue Liberi Muratori or Francs Massons or by other names according to the various languages, are spreading far and wide and daily growing in strength; and men of any Religion or sect, satisfied with the appearance of natural probity, are joined together, according to their laws and the statutes laid down for them, by a strict and unbreakable bond which obliges them, both by an oath upon the Holy Bible and by a host of grievous punishment, to an inviolable silence about all that they do in secret together. But it is in the nature of crime to betray itself and to show itself by its attendant clamor. Thus these aforesaid Societies or Conventicles have caused in the minds of the faithful the greatest suspicion, and all prudent and upright men have passed the same judgment on them as being depraved and perverted. For if they were not doing evil they would not have so great a hatred of the light.

An excellent point Your Holiness: if your motives are good then why do you bind yourself by secret oaths?  If your only intention is the welfare of the human race then why must you keep silence about your doings?  If you are not doing evil then why do you evince such great hatred of the Light?

And what was the evil that they were preaching?  Hatred of authority.  Hatred of all laws and the exaltation of the depraved and selfish will of fallen man.  Essentially the same crime that drove someone else from the heights of Heaven to the pit of Hell once upon a time.

How do I know this?  Because I have studied the changes in human life and human desires since these secret societies first emerged during the first part of the eighteenth century and I live in the world that has been created by their suggestions.

How these societies were related to Voltaire and his ‘Philosophers’ I do not claim to know, but there must have been something there.  Voltaire was a menace who, for a time concealed his true intentions, but was always more or less a public rebel.  These others though desired anonymity and still wished to be held as good and virtuous men in the public eye, while pursuing secret and wicked designs in the shadows.

This also helps to explain some of the political figures we will encounter in the coming posts.  By the 1750s Portugal had a faithful but weak king but was really run by a mad Marquis who hated the Church of Rome and was beloved of Voltaire.  An aging and dissolute monarch sat on the French throne but France was really ruled during this time by the combination of Louis XV’s mistress the Marquise de Pompadour, a great admirer of Voltaire and his Encyclopedists, and his anti-Jesuit chief minister Étienne François, the duc de Choiseul.  Spain was ruled by a pious but easily influenced monarch, Charles III, who was surrounded by ministers hostile to the Church in this most Catholic of countries.  And all these three monarchs were of the family Bourbon which will play a key role in the coming posts.  So now the board is set and the pieces are moving.

Go to Confession and please pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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Catholic Europe on the eve of the Suppression

November 18, 2015                                                                                                                             The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul

So where was Catholic Europe in the middle of the 18th century?  What had happened to this continent that transformed it from the heart of Catholic civilization to the seed ground of malevolence that has borne such evil fruit throughout the world?

A little historical perspective.  In our own day writers and thinkers who follow the materialist post-colonialist ideology, usually from India or Latin America, often wonder how Europe, that little peninsula jutting out from Asia, came to be master of the world by the 19th and 20th centuries.  And it is a fair question.  How did it happen?

The Catholic Church, and no other reason.

Because in truth Europe is nothing more than what they say it is: a little peninsula jutting out of Asia.  In the days of the Roman Empire what we now call Europe was not the most important part of that empire.  True the Empire was born in Italy, but the Middle East was the home of the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Babylon and Persia and the real wealth of the empire at its height came from the lands east of the Bosporus, which is why Diocletian and Constantine eventually transferred its capital to that place.  What is now called Europe, the lands north of the Mediterranean Sea, was often neglected.  And then that Empire fell apart.

The Western Roman Empire, the Latin speaking provinces, the bulk of which became what we now call Europe were inundated with barbarous tribes who had come off the vast plains of Asia.  The Empire that had grown out of Italy was now gone.  A remnant remained in Constantinople that still governed Greece, the Middle East, and Egypt, but that continent that would a millennium later come to dominate the entire globe and rule vast lands that the Romans had never even heard of was now destitute and on its knees.

But the Catholic Church remained.  The miracle of Catholic civilization was created amidst the ruins of an ancient empire.  Two centuries after that empire disintegrated the followers of Muhammad stormed out of the desert and ripped away the Middle East and North Africa and thus eliminated even until our own day the possibility of recreating that empire.  But the Catholic Church remained.

The Catholic Church, and most especially the Church of Rome, is the light of Truth shining in the darkness of history.  She gave those barbarous nations the thing they needed to build their lives around and as a result, slowly over the centuries navigating the shifting sands and tides of history, new nations were formed.  France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, England, Scotland, Ireland were all born out of the cauldron of those times and they all owe their existence entirely to the Church of Rome, to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  They were formed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed to them by the Successors of Saint Peter and to the extent they have remembered that salient fact of their national lives they have prospered, and to the extent they have forgotten it they have diminished.

These nations, once formed, were able to stem the flow of the barbarous tribes of Asia and to ward off and eventually push back the followers of Muhammad.  Under the guidance of the Holy Father they provided the space necessary for the development of the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas and the great religious orders of Saint Dominic and Saint Francis of Assisi during the early part of the second millennium.  This would be the foundation of their expansion across the globe.

But after these nations were formed and given the fruits and benefits of Catholic civilization it was time for their trial.  Their pride was tried with the discovery of new lands populated by weaker peoples containing vast material wealth at the close of the fifteenth century, and their resolve and their loyalty to the Church of Rome was tested by the rise of a mass movement of schismatic heretics armed with the printing press at the opening of the sixteenth century.

What had once been a unified Catholic civilization, Christendom as it was pleased to call itself, was now torn asunder.  Large parts of Germany split off from Rome.  England and Scotland entirely abandoned the Successor of Saint Peter and the Catholic princes who remained within the fold of the Holy Father were too distracted by their own increasing flows of material wealth and their own internal rivalries to seek to restore the unity of Christendom.  This led to a century of internecine warfare on the continent finally culminating in the Thirty Years War which resulted in the scandalous policy of Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of France the eldest daughter of the Church, allying with heretical princes to keep other Catholic powers at bay.

That war ended in 1648 with the states of Europe agreeing to live and let live.  And as a result of that policy peace and prosperity seemed to be reigning over Europe by the beginning of the 18th century, but it was a false peace.

In the next post I will examine what the situation of the Catholic European powers was on the eve of the Suppression, particularly their attitude toward the Pope.

Go to Confession and then please pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

 

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The Litany of Saint Faustina to the Blessed Sacrament: a prayer for our broken and disintegrating world

November 16, 2015                                                                                                                                   The Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great

I recently ran across this little gem in the diary (paragraph 356-57) of Saint Faustina.  It is a litany to the Blessed Sacrament and she seems to have composed it on or around New Year’s Eve 1934-35.  It is very a propos to our troubled time:

Blessed Host, in whom is contained the testament of God’s mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus as proof of infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained life eternal and of infinite mercy, dispensed in abundance to us and especially to poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the mercy of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit toward us, and especially toward poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the infinite price of mercy which compensate for all our debts, and especially those of poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the fountain of living water which springs from infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the fire of purest love which blazes forth from the bosom of the Eternal Father, as from an abyss of infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the medicine for all our infirmities, flowing from infinite mercy, as from a fount, for us and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom is contained the union between God and us through His infinite mercy for us, and especially for poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, in whom are contained all the sentiments of the most sweet Heart of Jesus toward us, and especially poor sinners.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in all the sufferings and adversities of life.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of darkness and of storms within and without.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in life and at the hour of our death.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of adversities and floods of despair.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of falsehood and treason.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of the darkness and godlessness which inundate the earth.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the longing and pain in which no one will understand us.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the toil and monotony of every day life.

O Blessed Host, our only hope amid the ruin of our hopes and endeavors.

O Blessed Host, our only hope in the midst of the ravages of the enemy and the efforts of hell.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when the burdens are beyond my strength and I find my efforts are fruitless.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when storms toss my heart about and my fearful spirit tends to despair.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my heart is about to tremble and mortal sweat moistens my brow.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when everything conspires against me and black despair creeps into my soul.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my eyes will begin to grow dim to all temporal things and, for the first time, my spirit will behold the unknown worlds.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my tasks will be beyond my strength and adversity will become my daily lot.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when the practice of virtue will appear difficult for me and my nature will grow rebellious.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when hostile blows will be aimed against me.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when my toils and efforts will be misjudged by others.

O Blessed Host, I trust in You when Your judgments will resound over me; it is then that I will trust in the sea of Your mercy.

Most Holy Trinity, I trust in Your infinite mercy.  God is my Father and so I, His child, have every claim to His divine Heart; and the greater the darkness, the more complete our trust should be.

Please go to Confession and then pray three Hail Marys in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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