A Jesuit saint, Jesuits not-so-much saints, and prayers

A few weeks ago, I posted about going to find in Rome’s mighty, but besmirched, Gesù the tomb of a Jesuit saint held to be as if the Society’s “second founder”, St. Joseph Pignatelli.

Today is his feast.

Hence, I’ll repost a little of what I wrote the day I found his tomb.  I do this partially in light of a meeting of a couple of highly visible Jesuits who seemed to have discussed with a measure of approving glee something that their forebears in the Society would have retched over in disgust.


I was on the hunt for Pignatelli’s tombs, one a rake of a cardinal, the other a canonized saint… even though – or perhaps because – he was a Jesuit.

The first church was Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  However, the whole nave is blocked off, so I couldn’t explore for the funerary monument of Stefano Card. Pignatelli (+1623), son of a Neapolitan pottery maker, who had a spectacularly hideous reputation while alive as a committer of sins that cry to heaven.  Although some says it was from envy that lies were told about him, it was said of Pignatelli that his vices were so numerous that not even St. Peter’s dome could cover them.  He was a “friend” of the nephew of Paul V, Scipio Card. Borghese who was of the same sort.  Scipio somehow got Paul to make Stefano a cardinal.  Talk about reactions or a consistory list!

At the time, the “talking statue” Pasquino (there are a few statues around Rome that talk to each other and to the people through the papers people stick on them… they were “frank”), said of the elevation of Stefano to the sacred purple, that “No one should be surprised.  Spain campaigns for her candidates, France for hers.  Everyone wants his own man to be made a cardinal.  Why shouldn’t Scipio’s (member) get what it wants too, it’s own man in the College of Cardinals.”

Some things don’t change.  Think about what German and Flemish cardinals and bishops are pushing today.  Think about what certain Jesuits are after.   No one should be surprised at this.  The Enemy is very good at being an enemy.  The Enemy is going to attack high so as to confuse and corrupt many more.   Bring down some one in a very high place in the Church and massive damage is done.

[UPDATE: Doing a little more grave digging, I discovered HERE that Stefano Pignatelli was buried in S. M. sopra Minerva “senzo alcune monumento funerario… without any funerary monument” in the Caffarelli chapel.]

On the other hand, St. Joseph Pignatelli (+1811) is considered the second founder of the Jesuits after their suppression.  There had been for sometime in the 18th c. an effort on the part of some monarchs, etc., to suppress the Jesuits and expel them from their territories. For example, the Marquis de Pombal put all the Jesuits, with only the clothes on their backs, into 13 ships and sent them to Civitavecchia the port in the Papal States, as a “gift” to Pope Clement XIII, who refused to admit them.   They and Jesuits from Aragon fled to Corsica.  Pignatelli somehow got the 600 or more provisions and work until France took over Corsica and they were driven out again.  Clement XIV, of happy memory, suppressed the Society in 1773.  Pignatelli and his brother made their way to Bologna and lived in retirement, not functioning publicly as priests.  Eventually, Pius VI would permit the Jesuits left, including those who had not been suppressed by Catherine the Great in Russia, to regroup and function.  Pius VII appointed Pignatelli as the superior in Italy.  They remained untouched even when Pius was exiled and France took over.  The Society would eventually be restored fully in 1814, three years after Pignatelli’s death.  The Jesuits themselves consider him to be the second founder of the Society.  More on him HERE.

The Gesù, principle church of the Jesuits.  Magnificent Counter-Reformation statement which the modern day Jesuits are eroding with stupidate.

In the chapel where you find also the grave of Arupe, is the altar with the urn of the remains of San Giuseppe Pingatelli.

As I contemplated his tomb and thought about the immense suffering of those Jesuits, their rank and file, in the 18th c., driven here and there with nothing and under much hostility, I thought of canceled priests.  There are so many today.  Most are quietly trying to scratch out a living, somehow.  A few are visible or even noisy.  Most are hidden and nearly forgotten.  I prayed to St. Joseph Pingatelli for them, to ask Christ the High Priest to heal the injustices against them and to bring them consolations.

I thought of the plight of the Society of St. Pius X, with a saintly founder, which has in some ways been suppressed by Rome but which nevertheless is growing and thriving in a kind of exile in our midst.  I asked St. Joseph to intercede with God and raise up in the Church a figure who could navigate the present day Roman waters with their Scylla and Charybdis of moral and theological corruptions, to help bring that Society into undisputed harmony.  May Our Lady soften the hearts of their critics and be part of the solution rather than perpetuators of the problems.

I asked St. Joseph Pignatelli to intercede, along with St. Ignatius, St. Peter Favre, St. Francis Borgia, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. John Berchmans, St. Francis Xavier, St. John de Brebouf, St. Nicholas Owen, St. Robert Southwell (who lived across the street from where I write at the English College), and all the Jesuits saints and blesseds, with St. Joseph the Church’s Protector, and Mary Queen of the Clergy, to obtain special graces for the members of the Society, especially those who have strayed into destructive paths, who will reform the present day Jesuits. I pray for their reform.   If we say corruptio optimi pessima can we not turn the sock inside out and say conversio pessimi optima?

Meanwhile, Clement XIV (Ganganelli) swag that available.  >>HERE<<

Clement_XVI_Mug_01 Clement_XVI_Mug_02

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Jesuits, Linking Back and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ProfessorCover says:

    Of course it is not just the Jesuits of the late 18th century who have been betrayed. It is nearly everyone who sacrificed during their life for the historic faith not just for the salvation of their own souls but for the benefit of their progeny. Fortunately, those who have made it out of or past purgatory cannot be sad. Otherwise our skies would be raining down tears from heaven.

  2. robtbrown says:

    Meanwhile, the Jesuits of our times are engaged in their own self-suppression, using the contraceptive of German Existentialism

Think, proof read, preview BEFORE posting!