Clement XIV stamp.jpgToday is the 236th anniversary of the promulgation of Dominus ac Redemptor, the papal bull of Pope Clement XIV (a Conventual Franciscan) suppressing the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). In this bull the pope dissolved the Society without condemning it because it is said that he did revere many of its members. Hence, the suppression had nothing to do with enmity (Franciscans vs. Jesuits) as much as it had to do with the significant criticism the Society faced and the likely realization of the threat of Church schism if the pope didn’t do something with the Jesuits. Faced with the pressure of a fragmented Church, Clement did what he had to do. By the time of this unusual papal intervention, the Jesuits were expelled from Brasil, Portugal, France, Spain and Parma.

The Jesuit order was restored in 1814.

An annual event at graduation time of the non-Jesuit students at Rome’s Gregorian University is a wreathe laying ceremony at Pope Clement XIV’s grave at the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles. There newly graduated students offer a prayer asking the pope to intercede before God to have the Jesuits suppressed once again. One wonders about the efficacy of Clement’s ability to ask the Lord for a favor.