Giovanni Ganganelli (Clement XIV) elected Pope
Pope Clement XIV (31 October 1705 – 22 September 1774), born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, was Pope from 1769 to 1774.
At the time of his election, he was the only Franciscan friar in the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Ganganelli was elected pope on 19 May 1769, largely due to support of the Bourbon courts, which had expected that he would suppress the Society of Jesus. He took the name Clement XIV.
Clement XIV's policies were calculated from the outset to smooth the breaches with the Catholic Crowns that had developed during the previous pontificate. The dispute between the temporal and the spiritual Catholic authorities was perceived as a threat by Church authority, and Clement XIV worked towards the reconciliation of the European sovereigns. The arguing and fighting among the monarchs seemed poised to lead Europe towards heavy international competition – a situation which would have resembled the European situation in the late nineteenth century.
By yielding the Papal claims to Parma, Clement XIV obtained the restitution of Avignon and Benevento, and in general he succeeded in placing the relations of the spiritual and the temporal authorities on a friendlier footing. The Pope went on to engage in the suppression of the Jesuits, the decree to this effect being written in November 1772, and signed in July 1773.
This measure, to late nineteenth century Catholics, had covered Clement XIV's memory with infamy in his church, and was also quite controversial, with the Catholic Encyclopedia (?) supporting Clement XIV's suppression of the Jesuits as "abundantly justified".
His work was hardly accomplished, before Clement XIV, whose usual constitution was quite vigorous, fell into a languishing sickness, generally attributed to poison. No conclusive evidence of poisoning was ever produced. The claims that the Pope was poisoned were denied by those closest to him, and as the Annual Register for 1774 stated, he was over 70 and had been in ill health for some time.
Clement XIV expired on 22 September 1774, execrated by the Ultramontane party, but widely mourned by his subjects for his popular administration of the Papal States.
At the death of Clement XIII the Church was in dire distress. Gallicanism and Jansenism, Febronianism and Rationalism were up in rebellion against the authority of the Roman pontiff; the rulers of France, Spain, Naples, Portugal, Parma were on the side of the sectarians who flattered their dynastic prejudices and, at least in appearance, worked for the strengthening of the temporal power against the spiritual. The new pope would have to face a coalition of moral and political forces which Clement XIII had indeed manfully resisted, but failed to put down, or even materially to check. The great question between Rome and the Bourbon princes was the suppression of the Society of Jesus. In France, Spain, and Portugal the suppression had taken place de facto; the accession of a new pope was made the occasion for insisting on the abolition of the order root and branch, de facto and de jure, in Europe and all over the world.
The conclave assembled 15 February, 1769. Rarely, if ever, has a conclave been the victim of such overweening interference, base intrigues, and unwarranted pressure. The ambassadors of France (d’Aubeterre) and Spain (Azpuru) and the Cardinals de Bernis (France) and Orsini (Naples) led the campaign. The Sacred college, consisting of forty-seven cardinals, was divided into Court cardinals and Zelanti. The latter, favourable to the Jesuits and opposed to the encroaching secular, were in a majority. "It is easy to foresee the difficulties of our negotiations on a stage where more than three-fourths of the actors are against us." Thus wrote Bernis to Choiseul, the minister of Louis XV. The immediate object of the intriguers was to gain over a sufficient number of Zelanti. D’Aubeterre, inspired by Azpuru, urged Bernis to insist that the election of the future pope be made to depend on his written engagement to suppress the Jesuits. The cardinal, however, refused. In a memorandum to Choiseul, dated 12 April, 1769, he says: "To require from the future pope a promise made in writing or before witnesses, to destroy the Jesuits, would be a flagrant violation of the canon law and therefore a blot on the honour of the crowns." The King of Spain (Charles III) was willing to bear the responsibility. D’Aubeterre opined that simony and canon law had no standing against reason, which claimed the abolition of the Society for the peace of the world. Threats were now resorted to; Bernis hinted at a blockade of Rome and popular insurrections to overcome the resistance of the Zelanti. France and Spain, in virtue of their right of veto, excluded twenty-three of the forty-seven cardinals; nine or ten more, on account of their age or for some other reason, were not papabili; only four or five remained eligible. Well might the Sacred College, as Bernis feared it would, protest against violence and separate on the plea of not being free to elect a suitable candidate. But d’Aubeterre was relentless. He wished to intimidate the cardinals. "A pope elected against the wishes of the Courts", he wrote, "will not be acknowledged"; and again, "I think that a pope of that [philosophical] temper, that is without scruples, holding fast to no opinion and consulting only his own interests, might be acceptable to the Courts". The ambassadors threatened to leave Rome unless the conclave surrendered to their dictation. The arrival of the two Spanish cardinals, Solis and La Cerda, added new strength to the Court party. Solis insisted on a written promise to suppress the Jesuits being given by the future pope, but Bernis was not to be gained over to such a breach of the law. Solis, therefore, supported in the conclave by Cardinal Malvazzi and outside by the ambassadors of France and Spain, took the matter into his own hands. He began by sounding Cardinal Ganganelli as to his willingness to give the promise required by the Bourbon princes as an indispensable condition for election. — Why Ganganelli? This cardinal was the only friar in the Sacred College. Of humble birth (his father had been a surgeon at Sant' Arcangelo), he had received his education from the Jesuits of Rimini and the Piarists of Urbino, and, in 1724, at the age of nineteen, had entered the Order of Friars Minor of St. Francis and changed his baptismal name (Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio) for that of Lorenzo. His talents and his virtues had raised him to the dignity of definitor generalis of his order (1741); Benedict XIV made him Consultor of the Holy Office, and Clement XIII gave him the cardinal's hat (1759), at the instance, it is said, of Father Ricci, the General of the Jesuits. During the conclave he endeavoured to please both the Zelanti and the Court party without committing himself to either. At any rate he signed a paper which satisfied Solis. Crétineau-Joly, the historian of the Jesuits, gives its text; the future pope declared "that he recognized in the sovereign pontiff the right to extinguish, with good conscience, the Company of Jesus, provided he observed the canon law; and that it was desirable that the pope should do everything in his power to satisfy the wishes of the Crowns". The original paper is, however, nowhere to be found, but its existence seems established by subsequent events, and also by the testimony of Bernis in letters to Choiseul (28 July, and 20 November, 1769). Ganganelli had thus secured the votes of the Court cardinals; the Zelanti looked upon him as indifferent or even favourable to the Jesuits; d’Aubeterre had always been in his favour as being "a wise and moderate theologian"; and Choiseul had marked him as "very good" on the list of papabili. Bernis, anxious to have his share in the victory of the sovereigns, urged the election. On 18 May, 1769, Ganganelli was elected by forty-six votes out of forty-seven, the forty-seventh being his own which he had given to Cardinal Rezzonico, a nephew of Clement XIII. He took the name of Clement XIV.