FEAST DAY! 21 July 1773 – Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuits!

It is a great FEAST today.

Today, 21 July, in the year of grace 1773, Pope Clement XIV of happy memory, issued his Bull by which he suppressed the Jesuits.

I have all sorts of Papa Ganganelli gear which you can order and proudly display.


There are mugs and shirts.


Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

I put the salient text from the Bull, Dominus ac Redemptor, on the back

Yes, I know there are some great Jesuits.  I know some great Jesuits.  But they, too, get it.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. fr.ignatius says:

    Historically this event was one of the greatest disasters in the history of our Church… perhaps many Jesuits have lost the plot today, but historically they were the impetus of the Catholic counter reformation and their dissolution seriously damaged these efforts.

    [Okay. If it didn’t work well then, all the more reason to try again.]

  2. AnthonyJ says:

    I agree with Father Ignatius. Many of the modern Jesuits have no doubt gone off the rails, but the Jesuits who were suppressed were orthodox and loyal sons of the Church. The suppression was not a good thing when it happened. One example was the great work the Jesuits were doing with their reductions in Paraguay. All that work was destroyed within a few decades after the Jesuits were suppressed.

    [So the suppression didn’t go well. The next time we can get it right.]

  3. Benedict Joseph says:

    Those days surely bear no resemblance to these days.
    This bitter herb makes the rounds on the Catholic internet this weekend from Cardinal Braz de Aviz, president of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life: “A certain way of praying, a way of dressing must change. In the end it is all coherent: every revolution must make the new man and eliminate those that resist.”
    His program for the eradication of classical religious life was achieved in the Society long before the venerable Brazilian arrived at his post. And obviously there are more fish to fry. What has not already been achieved in the dismantlement of the orders and congregations is in place for the entire Church, a critical stage presently, boldly, shamelessly in progress.
    We will be as if we did not exist as is now the classical expression of vowed life. It all does go to show how vitally important consecrated life is to the life of the broader Church. They were the canary in the mineshaft.
    You have to admit these guys have patience.
    The enemy is within.

  4. Ave Maria says:

    Oh, those early Jesuits were fantastic! But now…..anyway, as I understand it, St. John Paul II came close to suppressing the modern Jesuits but Fr. Arrupe was able to forestall him. Oh, if only he had!

  5. Amerikaner says:

    What did the Jesuits do in the 1700’s that caused the suppression?

  6. bobbird says:

    It was my understanding as well that the Suppression of the Jesuits was inspired by Masons. The Jesuits had brought back untold numbers of Protestants and spread the Faith into the New World under heroic circumstances. Even Voltaire was grateful for the education he received from them. It was an unworthy suppression that matches the suppression of the Templars and today’s Francine suppression of the Franciscan Brothers of the Immaculate. If anything, it shines light on the false understanding of Papal Infallibility as a doctrine that believes “No pope can do anything wrong in regards to his authority over the Church.” If the commemoration of the suppression is of any noteworthy citation it would be that NOW it needs to be done. But I am reminded of an early joke in the papacy of PF: “Since the papacy once suppressed the Jesuits it is only fitting that the Jesuits would one day suppress the papacy.”

  7. Lurker 59 says:

    @Amerikaner The answer is complex and will vary according to the historian. It is largely seen as a political issue with the Society growing too powerful and influential for the tastes of the kingdoms of Europe. The Society was often the educators of the Nobles and the Jesuits were often were involved as advisors. Being missionaries in the New World, they often were involved in situations between the various nations/empires and their colonies. There are theological differences in the realm of moral theology, especially with issues arising from Fr. Luis de Molina’s s.j. thought, and the tendency towards syncretism in missionary activity. Both of these are often not explored as it is the want of modern historical analysis to see things only through a political lens.

  8. Johann says:

    I think it would be better for a future Pope to appoint an Apostolic Visitor, purge their leadership and expel all Marxists and Homosexuals rather than suppress the entire order itself.

    Ironically, our current Pope gave the precedent with his treatment of the Knights of Malta.

  9. LeeGilbert says:

    Rather than suppress the entire order, I wish the pope would make Fr. Fessio, S.J. the black pope and leave it to him to exclaustrate those who have abandoned the Jesuit ethos and disgraced the order.

  10. TonyO says:

    Whatever doubt there is legitimately with regard to the reason the Jesuits were suppressed in 1773, there can be no doubt that they have deserved suppression, lo for 4 decades and more in the current times. The heresies, modernism, and politicization of thought is not only common, it is pervasive and systemic, running up and down the order, from the top leaders through the seminaries and colleges to the farthest reaches.

    While it remains true (by God’s grace) that not every young Jesuit is a heretic or willingly involved in the nonsense, these are the exceptions, not the rule. I have known 3 older Jesuit priests over the last 40 years, each of them a very good priest. And each of them completely unwelcome at any and every Jesuit house, function, or assembly. Each of them essentially sent out to pasture with an implied (maybe stated, for all I know) “if you never come back, all the better.” Such should not, and could not happen so pervasively if the order were not so utterly off the rails.

    It is possible that the order could be turned around – all things are possible with God. But in order to have a reasonable prospect of success, one would have to have enough starting material to work with. In this case, the only plausible chance of doing so would be for someone to sift through the current members of the order, get rid of some 90% to 95% of them, and STILL be somewhat unsure about a portion of the rest and maintain a close watch on them as they rebuilt. In effect, one would have to almost eradicate the order anyway, and erect a new institution on the ashes of the old. And who would be the someone who did the sifting and the close oversight? Only a saint could be given the task, and even then it would be uncertain of success. So: all told, better to simply suppress and be done with it.

  11. Uxixu says:

    While the initial suppression appears to be unjust, I do fear their structure has problems inherent to it if the leadership should become corrupted (as it undoubtedly is).

    That said, would like to see the hypothetical “Pius XIII” order them to celebrate the TLM and don the Jesuit cassock, offering dispensation from vows to those that refuse. That would leave a small core to carry on the mandate of St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier, through the great Fr. John Hardon and Fr. Joseph Fessio while obviously not leaving an outlet for the likes of Fr. Martin, Pedro Arrupe, etc to sully the legacy of their great forebears…

  12. Uxixu says:

    … celebrate the TLM and Latin 1962 Divine Office *Exclusively*

  13. tzabiega says:

    In Poland, there is a conference being planned on bioethics that is completely orthodox and is being organized by…the Polish Jesuit Province, who in Poland are one of the leading voices in teaching sound bioethics. Not to mention the Polish Jesuits who have been appealing to the Jesuit General to sanction Father Martin (their letters show they are outraged to their core by his heresy). There are not only some good Jesuits (please add Father William Blazek in Milwaukee to that list), but also some really great Jesuit provinces. To Polish Jesuits this date is meaningless, because in Russian occupied Poland the Jesuits were not suppressed because Empress Catherine refused to accept the ruling of the Pope in lands under her control and the Jesuits continued in Russia until the Jesuit order was reinstated.

  14. Mike says:

    If they weren’t suppressed, John Carroll would not have come back to Maryland colonies and in 1789 founded Georgetown University. Oh, wait.

  15. Hidden One says:

    A burning wick He will not quench and a bruised reed He will not break.

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