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Resisting the Pope?
The Remnant and the Suppression of the Jesuits

 

In their desperate quest to find some historical precedent for acknowledging a blaspheming public apostate (“Pope” Francis) as the Vicar of Christ while at the same time resisting and contradicting the man’s every utterance, the semi-traditionalists at The Remnant have published a superficially-researched and sloppily-written blog post that turns out to be nothing more than yet another propaganda piece for their recognize-and-resist position.

We are talking about the blog post “Resisting Papal Errors: Another Historical Precedent for Cardinal Burke” by Chris Jackson (Jan. 12, 2017). The author cites the case of Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris from 1746-1781, who refused to suppress the Jesuits in his diocese after Pope Clement XIV (r. 1769-1774) officially declared them suppressed and ordered them to disband. Beaumont, so Jackson argues, is a heroic model of resistance against a Pope who leads the Church into ruin, and sets a clear precedent that legitimizes the conduct of people like “Cardinal” Raymond Burke with respect to “Pope” Francis.

For the purposes of this post we will leave aside the disgraceful audacity that tries to draw a parallel between a hapless disciplinary decision by a clearly Catholic Pope and the abominable heresies and blasphemies being spewed on a daily basis by Jorge Bergoglio. Our main focus will simply be on evaluating whether The Remnant is right in citing the case of Abp. Beaumont’s resistance of the suppression of the Jesuit order in his diocese as an example of licit opposition to a validly-reigning Roman Pontiff.

Pope Clement XIV suppresses the Society of Jesus

On July 21, 1773, Pope Clement XIV abolished the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits) in his brief Dominus ac Redemptor Noster. As is clear from the language used, the suppression of the Society was universal and definitive and effected by nothing less than the Holy Father’s apostolic authority:

…after a mature deliberation, we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fulness of our apostolical power, SUPPRESS AND ABOLISH THE SAID COMPANY [OF JESUS]: we deprive it of all activity whatever, of its houses, schools, colleges, hospitals, lands, and, in short, every other place whatsoever, in whatever kingdom or province they may be situated; we abrogate and annul its statutes, rules, customs, decrees, and constitutions, even though confirmed by oath, and approved by the Holy See or otherwise; in like manner we annul all and every its privileges, indults, general or particular, the tenor whereof is, and is taken to be, as fully and as amply expressed in the present Brief as if the same were inserted word for word, in whatever clauses, form, or decree, or under whatever sanction their privileges may have been conceived. We declare all, and all kind of authority, the General, the provincials, the visitors, and other superiors of the said Society to be FOR EVER ANNULLED AND EXTINGUISHED, of what nature soever the said authority may be, as well in things spiritual as temporal….

(Pope Clement XIV, Decree Dominus ac Redemptor Noster, July 21, 1773; English here; underlining added.)

What occasioned the Pope to take such drastic measures against the Society of Jesus, once founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola to combat the Protestant heresy, and opposed only by the enemies of the Church and the holy Catholic Faith?

For Chris Jackson, the answer is clear-cut: “Pope Clement XIV cravenly caved in to pressures from the Church’s enemies and secular kings and ended up doing their bidding by eliminating their greatest foe and the Church’s greatest ally.” Sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? The Pope was simply a weakling who couldn’t stand up to the Church’s enemies! Time for all real Catholics to resist! Right? Well, not so fast. The historical developments that led to the suppression of the Jesuits were a bit more complex than Jackson would have us believe.

But first, let’s look at the source on which the Remnant blogger bases his evaluation of Pope Clement’s decision to abolish the Jesuits. He uses a single authority, the Novus Ordo Church historian Warren H. Carroll (1932-2011), who expresses his horror at the suppression of the Jesuits and speaks positively about Abp. Beaumont’s resistance. Although Jackson does not tell us exactly what text he is quoting, it is presumably vol. 5 of Carroll’s History of Christendom series: The Revolution Against Christendom.

While we have no reason to dispute the historical scholarship of Dr. Carroll, we certainly are suspicious of his theological evaluation of the historical record, for the simple reason that he was not a traditional Roman Catholic but a “conservative” Novus Ordo who submitted to Vatican II — precisely the kind of person The Remnant likes to refer to as a “Neo-Catholic”.

Ironically, Jackson endorses Carroll as a “[f]amed Catholic historian” only one paragraph after blasting “neo-Catholics”. This endorsement was clearly not vetted by veteran Remnant columnist Christopher Ferrara, who has a less glowing opinion of the scholar: In his recognize-and-resist manifesto The Great Facade (2nd ed., 2015), Ferrara identifies Carroll as a “neo-Catholic historian” (pp. 75, 223) and criticizes him for making “baseless remarks” in “typical neo-Catholic fashion” against Alice von Hildebrand “on the EWTN web site” (p. 93, fn. 10).

As Jackson himself mentions, Carroll was the founder of Virginia-based Christendom College — among whose founding faculty was none other than Dr. Jeffrey Mirus, another favorite Neo-Catholic target of Mr. Ferrara’s. The fact that the “famed Catholic historian” Warren Carroll once defended “Pope” John Paul II’s kissing of the Koran on the EWTN web site (see here), as lamented by Ferrara in The Great Facade (p. 223, fn. 57), doesn’t increase one’s confidence in Carroll’s theological assessment of (anti-)papal acts, either.

Instead of relying on a single Novus Ordo author other writers at The Remnant decry as a “neo-Catholic”, we suggest that genuine traditional Catholics instead to turn to — drumroll, please! — traditional Catholic sources on Church history.

One such work is Fr. Reuben Parsons’ Studies in Church History, which enjoys the approbation of Pope Leo XIII. There we read the following regarding what motivated Pope Clement XIV to suppress the Jesuit order:

Very few historians contend that Clement XIV. was actuated by other motives than a desire for peace, when he signed the Brief Domimus ac Redemptor. Picot, than whom no more judicial or veracious publicist has descanted on the events of the eighteenth century, may be regarded as representing the best thought of our day when he says: “Only after four years of pontificate, and because of the reiterated pressure of the ministers of several great powers, did Clement XIV. decree the so intensely desired abolution. . . . He insisted principally on the benefit of peace, which he believed to be involved in the destruction of those religious. Undoubtedly he thought that since several sovereigns were leagued against the Society, the Holy See would strive in vain to uphold it, or that it could no longer be of much use to the Church; and this consideration overbalanced, in his mind, the other reasons which militated in favor of so precious an organization. … It would seem that Clement XIV. was not hostile to the Jesuits; but he saw the Catholic courts conspiring against them, and he thought that he could fight no longer in their behalf”.

It is not necessary for us to dilate on this point; but the reader may reflect with profit on the considerations emitted by the ex-Jesuit, Cordara, in his correspondence with his brother, the Count of Calamandrana. In his seventh letter, he shows how the Pontiff could, without injustice, suppress the Society, even though he knew it to be innocent of ill-doing. A sovereign, he says, can certainly disband a faithful and valorous regiment, if reasons of state, such as public order, etc., seem to demand the sacrifice. The Holy Father was threatened not only with temporal losses, but with direful schisms; “therefore he deemed it wise to avoid greater evils by sacrificing the Society.” Clement XIV. did not abolish the Jesuits because of immoralities, or even because of any relaxation of discipline; he did not touch the question of the Society’s guilt of the charges brought against it; indeed, the moderation of the Brief caused Tanucci to prohibit its circulation in the kingdom of Naples. “Clement XIV.,” adds Cordara, “perceiving that the sovereigns were imbued with the opinions of Febronius, and filled with prejudices against the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, thought to impede their designs by inflicting two wounds on himself, as well as on the Church. The first wound was the suppression of our Society; the second, more difficult to heal, was the quasi-suppression of that ancient and venerable Constitution, the Bull In Coena Domini, which formed, by itself, the strength of the Holy See, supporting it in face of the Catholic universe.

These two measures will perpetuate the memory of the pontificate of Ganganelli [Clement XIV]; but this souvenir will always be accompanied by tears and moans. Would any other Pope, living, like Ganganelli, in those evil days, have acted differently? Who knows? Without doubt the Pope, as supreme pastor, possesses sovereign and legitimate power over the entire flock, even over monarchs, who are sons of the Church; but can he exercise that power, when kings declare war against him? At that unfortunate period, the power of kings greatly surpassed that of the Pope.”

Another Jesuit author, Cahour, who, we may remark en passant, does not imitate Cordara by styling Pope Clement XIV. “Ganganelli,” as Cretineau-Joly and certain other Jesuit apologists are wont to do (they never speak of “Pope Rezzonico” or of “Pope Chiaramonti”), asks, concerning the Brief of suppression: Was it legitimate? Yes; because the Holy See had a right to suppress what it itself had established. Was it prudent and opportune? Many say that it was not. As for me, I respect the strange situation in which the vicar of Jesus Christ found himself; and I regret that on this occasion the sacrifice of Jonah, made to the fury of the waves, served only to augment the tempest”. The Jesuit Boero contends that “the true and legitimate defense of Clement XIV. is furnished by himself in his words, ‘I was forced to it — compulsus feci: and he enters into a labyrinth who abandons this line.”

(Rev. Reuben Parsons, Studies in Church History, vol. 4 [New York, NY: Fr. Pustet & Co., 1897], pp. 489-491; italics given; paragraph breaks and underlining added.)

In volume 2 of his History of the Catholic Church (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1935), Fr. Charles Poulet also concludes that the Pope’s hand was forced in the suppression of the Jesuits (p. 307), and he notes that it was for this reason that Clement XIV did not call his document a motu proprio, the label given to papal documents containing decisions made by the Pope of his own accord (see Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. “Motu Proprio”).

Historian Fr. Fernand Mourret mentions some further motives that may have led Pope Clement to suppress the Jesuit order, but note that he too makes clear that we are not simply dealing with papal weakness or diplomacy here:

All was certainly not weakness and mere diplomacy in Clement’s attitude. The Pope seems to have been convinced, as Benedict XIV had been, of the existence of certain abuses in the famous Society [of Jesus] and of the need of providing some remedy for them. To induce patience in the courts and to wait for a more favorable moment for his moderating action, he was eager to give the crowns some pledge of his intentions. He took away from the Jesuits the Frascati seminary and the Greek college; with extreme rigor he ordered an inspection of the Roman College. But he failed to count on the obstinate fierceness of the powers. On July 4, 1772, the Spanish court plainly threatened the Pope with a schism. In return for his condescension, he was given to expect the restitution of Avignon and of Benevento, detained by France and Spain. At this attempt at bargaining, the Pope’s pride revolted. He replied that he did not traffic in these matters.

(Rev. Fernand Mourret, A History of the Catholic Church, vol. 6 [St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1947], pp. 466-467; underlining added.)

A lengthy article that appeared in the October 1888 edition of the American Catholic Quarterly Review gives additional background on the abolition of the Society of Jesus:

What, then, was the real reason for the suppression of the Jesuits? In one word, it was the choice between two evils, which had been forced upon Clement by a powerful and unscrupulous political combination, the least of which evils seemed to him to be the suppression of the Society [of Jesus]. In other words, it was a measure extorted from an unwilling Pope, who was friendly to the Jesuits and had no confidence in their traducers, to save France, Spain, and Portugal from following the example of England by throwing off their allegiance to the head of the Church, thereby apostatizing from the faith and driving the whole Church in those kingdoms into all the untold evils of schism.

Threats were made that kingdoms would throw off their allegiance to the Church unless the prayer [=request for the supression] were granted, and these threats certainly had some significance when we call to mind the political system of Europe, which allowed the masses of the people to be ruled and kept down by a corrupt and tyrannical oligarchy. The example of England, forced into schism by the reckless tyrant Henry VIII., stood out as a warning of what might occur again if some concession were not made to the combination of tyrants who were now really laboring for the same end, and who were determined on the suppression of the Jesuits — the Pope’s body guard, as they were called — as the most effective mode of storming the castle itself and carrying the citadel of the Church by assault.

But the agents of Satan seemed to be inspired with diabolical hatred and with an invincible determination to succeed, and they pressed their suit with such insolence and brutal disregard of the feelings of the Holy Father that he at length felt compelled to yield, not because he thought it was right in itself, not that he had lost confidence in the Jesuits, not because he approved of his own action, but simply to avoid what he was made to believe would be a greater evil. Not only were threats used that kingdoms would throw off their allegiance to the Church, but in 1772 the Spanish Ambassador determined to terrify the Pope into submission, and with extraordinary pertinacity bullied the Holy See by this solemn warning on a certain occasion in public audience: “Beware, lest my master, the king, approve the project which has been entertained by more than one court, the suppression of all the religious orders! If you would save them, do not confound their cause with that of the Jesuits.” “Ah,” replied the Pontiff, “I have for a long time thought that this was what they were aiming at. They seek even more— the entire destruction of the Catholic religion — schism, perhaps heresy, such are their secret designs.” “This conversation,” remarks the historian, “raises the veil and shows that the abolition of the Jesuits was merely considered expedient for fear of greater evils. The Vicar of Christ was placed in a dilemma of the most grave and difficult character. He neither censured the Society, nor believed in the absurd calumnies launched against it, but, administering the affairs of the Church, considered it advisable to bow temporarily to the storm for fear of that greater injury to faith and morals which might be the sequence of another line of conduct.”

(H. L. R., “The Suppression of the Jesuits by Pope Clement XIV”, American Catholic Quarterly Review XIII, no. 52 [October, 1888], pp. 696-706; underlining added.)

Here we see that the reality behind the suppression of the Jesuits is a lot more complex and difficult than The Remnant‘s Chris Jackson has made it seem. What he smugly trashes as the cowardly capitulation of a weak Pope, was in reality a most difficult papal decision made in the greatest anguish. Clement XIV judged the suppression of the Jesuit order to be the lesser of two horrendous evils, one of which he was condemned to choose. Had he acted differently, we can only imagine how many neo-traditionalist armchair theologians would today be blasting him for allowing half of Europe to fall into schism and perhaps heresy simply for refusing to suppress a religious order!

The Archbishop of Paris resists the Suppression

Having now examined the motives that led to the universal disbanding of the Jesuits in 1773, we must now turn to the question of resistance to the decree of Pope Clement XIV. Although there was not much resistance to it, there was some, and Jackson brings up what is probably the most vivid example of a Catholic bishop refusing the Pope’s order, the case of Abp. Beaumont of Paris. Jackson quotes Beaumont’s letter of rebuke to the Pope at length, and there is no need for us to repeat it here, especially since the point is conceded: Abp. Beaumont did indeed refuse the Pope’s command.

But that’s not the issue. The issue is not whether there was a disobedient bishop somewhere — the issue is, was it morally permissible to disobey the suppression of the Jesuits? After all, just because a Catholic bishop did something, doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.

This is where Jackson’s entire post fails spectacularly: The conclusion which the author means for everyone to accept — namely, that it was lawful for Abp. Beaumont to resist the papal abolition of the Jesuits — is not proved in the article at all; it is, rather, assumed. Jackson does not provide any evidence that this refusal was morally or theologically permissible, much less necessary — he simply hopes you will assume this or infer it from the fact that the suppression of the Jesuits resulted in a great weakening of the Church. But the mere fact that a papal decision leads to undesirable consequences does not mean that the Pope’s subjects have the right to refuse or resist it. As shown above, it was clear that both the suppression of the Jesuits and the refusal to suppress the order would result in horrendous evils. The question was, which of the two evils was more tolerable than the other?

Since Jackson does not in any way prove that Abp. Beaumont’s disobedience to the Pope was justified or laudable, we could simply say the author failed to prove his case and leave it at that. However, we will go above and beyond strict duty here and prove that not only was Abp. Beaumont’s refusal to implement the Pope’s order not permissible, it actually resulted in his automatic excommunication!

We can demonstrate this fairly easily by reading very closely what the Pope, in the same decree in which he suppresses the Society of Jesus, prescribes for anyone who fails to implement his sovereign judgment:

Further, we do ordain, that after the publication of this our letter, no person do presume to suspend the execution thereof, under colour, title, or pretence of any action, appeal, relief, explanation of doubts which may arise, or any other pretext whatever, foreseen or not foreseen. Our will and meaning is, that the suppression and destruction of the said Society, and of all its parts, shall have an immediate and instantaneous effect in the manner here above set forth; and that under pain of the greater excommunication, to be immediately incurred by whosoever shall presume to create the least impediment or obstacle, or delay in the execution of this our will: the said excommunication not to be taken off but by ourselves, or our successors, the Roman Pontiffs.

Further, we ordain and command, by virtue of the holy obedience to all and every ecclesiastical person, regular and secular, of whatever rank, dignity, and condition, and especially those who have been heretofore of the said Company, that no one of them do carry their audacity so far as to impugn, combat, or even write or speak about the said suppression, or the reasons and motives of it, or about the institute of the Company, its form of government, or other circumstance thereto relating, without an express permission from the Roman Pontiff, and that under the same pain of excommunication….

(Pope Clement XIV, Decree Dominus ac Redemptor Noster, July 21, 1773; English here; underlining added.)

So, there we have it: If words have any meaning, then the Archbishop of Paris incurred automatic excommunication (latae sententiae) reserved to the Holy See by refusing to suppress the Jesuits in his diocese and audaciously resisting the Pope. That a blogger at The Remnant can so nonchalantly side with an excommunicated archbishop and single-handedly presume to exonerate him based on his reading of a Novus Ordo historian, is a frightening thought. This is serious business.

Of course, the semi-traditionalists have a history of not worrying much about (putative) papal excommunications if they have personally judged them to be unfair or simply “disagree” with them — and by doing so, they have imbibed two dangerous errors of Pascal Quesnel, condemned by Pope Clement XI in 1713:

[ERROR n.] 91. The fear of an unjust excommunication should never hinder us from fulfilling our duty; never are we separated from the Church, even when by the wickedness of men we seem to be expelled from it, aslong as we are attached to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Church herself by charity.

[ERROR n.] 92. To suffer in peace an excommunication and an unjust anathema rather than betray truth, is to imitate St. Paul; far be it from rebelling against authority or of destroying unity.

Declared and condemned as false, captious, evil-sounding, offensive to pious ears, scandalous, pernicious, rash, injurious to the Church and her practice, insulting not only to the Church but also the secular powers, seditious, impious, blasphemous, suspected of heresy, and smacking of heresy itself, and, besides, favoring heretics and heresies, and also schisms, erroneous, close to heresy, many times condemned, and finally heretical, clearly renewing many heresies respectively and most especially those which are contained in the infamous propositions of Jansen, and indeed accepted in that sense in which these have been condemned.

(Pope Clement XI, Bull Unigenitus; Denz. 1441-42)

Here we see once again that the semi-trads have simply created their own little “reality”, one in which they decide whether what comes from the Pope is to bind their consciences or not. The Pope, in their view, has no authority of himself — the authority ultimately comes from the consent of the faithful, after each individual has judged for himself whether a particular papal judgment is prudent, “traditional”, or otherwise meets their approval. This is a form of Gallicanism.

Those who accept the Suppression

The resistance of Abp. Beaumont is perhaps also seen in a clearer light when we examine how other clerics, especially the Jesuits themselves, reacted to the suppression.

Jackson himself quotes Fr. Lorenzo Ricci, then the Superior General of the Jesuits. Although Fr. Ricci believed the suppression of his order to be unjust and declared that his order was innocent of any wrongdoing, he did not presume to question or second-guess the Pope’s decision. Rather, he accepted it with humble obedience.

In Russia, while the Eastern Orthodox Empress Catherine the Great refused to obey Pope Clement’s order to suppress the Society of Jesus, the Russian Jesuits themselves knew they were bound by the papal order and begged the empress to obey the Pope. We read about this in the very same book from which Jackson quotes in his post, albeit at a different location:

The [Jesuit] fathers, however, declined to accept existence at the cost of obedience, and, in the name of his brethren, the Rector of the College of Polotsk wrote to the empress, and, while expressing deep gratitude for her good intentions, begged permission to obey the [papal] Brief of suppression. To this strange letter, in which the Jesuits earnestly petitioned for their own destruction, the empress replied that they were bound to obey her in all things not relating to matters of faith; but in order to dispel their scruples, she wrote to Rome, and obtained from Clement XIV. a decree, dated June 7th, 1774, authorizing the Jesuits of White Russia [=Belarus] to remain in statu quo till further orders.

(B[arbara] N[eave], The Jesuits: Their Foundation and History, vol. 2 [London: Burns & Oates, 1879], p. 278)

Perhaps the Jesuits themselves didn’t understand submission to the Pope quite as well as The Remnant does today.

One person we can hopefully all agree on did understand how to act in the face of the suppression of the Jesuit order, is the Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787). In a 19th-century book about the saint’s life that carries numerous approbations from various bishops of the United States, we read the following:

During the stormy pontificate of Clement XIV [St. Alphonsus’] heart was torn by the troubles that disquieted the Church, and he continually offered up prayers to God for the hapless pontiff and his persecuted flock. What particularly distressed him was, that most of the crowned heads of Europe, to their eternal shame be it recorded, incited by Jansenist or infidel influence, insisted on the suppression of the world-renowned Society of Jesus. “No one,” says his friend and biographer Tannoia, “can imagine how he sorrowed over the storm that raged against the Jesuits; he never spoke of it without feelings of the deepest distress.”

“It is nothing but intrigue on the part of the Jansenists and the unbelieving,” said the saint; ” if they succeed in overthrowing the company [of the Jesuits], their wishes will be accomplished, but if this bulwark falls, what convulsions will there not be in Church and State! The loss of the Jesuits will place the Pope and the Church in a most disastrous situation; the Jansenists aim at them, because through them they will be the more certain of striking at Church and State.”

Such were the fears and sentiments of St. Alphonsus, but the judgments of God are impenetrable! Clement XIV suppressed the Society of Jesus, by a brief dated July 22, 1773. When the aged bishop heard this, he felt as though a thunderbolt had been hurled against him. It may well be believed that of the thousands of Jesuits which this brief disbanded, not one felt the blow more keenly than Alphonsus. Respect for the pontifical judgment closed his mouth, but the unspeakable anguish of his heart was plainly depicted on his venerable countenance. When he received the brief, he adored in silence the judgments of God, and then said: “The will of the Pope is the will of God.” One day the grand vicar and other persons of distinction appeared to cast blame on the dispositions of the Pope: “Poor Pope,” he exclaimed, “what could he have done in such delicate circumstances, when so many monarchs demanded their suppression. As for us, we have only to adore the secret judgment of God, and remain in peace.” Yet he seems to have regarded the suppression as merely temporary: “I assert,” said he with unusual energy,” that if but a single Jesuit be left in the world, he alone will be sufficient to re-establish the Society [of Jesus].”

(Austin Carroll, The Life of St. Alphonsus Liguori [New York, NY: P. O’Shea, 1886], pp. 414-415; underlining added.)

It does not look like St. Alphonsus would have made the list of Jackson’s “courageous men of the Church who carried the cross of the Faith even in the face of persecution from Christ’s own vicar” — bummer! As the Church’s “prince of moral theologians” (Catholic Encyclopedia), however, we may surmise that St. Alphonsus took the right course of action even in this case.

“The will of the Pope is the will of God!” — Thank heavens that these words were spoken by St. Alphonsus Liguori and not by a sedevacantist on the internet! Can you imagine what a Chris Ferrara, a Michael Matt, a Steve Skojec, or a Hilary White would have said to that? Can you imagine? Cries of “Papolatry!”, “Papal Positivism!”, and “Ultramontanism!” would incessantly reverberate throughout the cyber-globe. We would never hear the end of it.

Concluding Thoughts

As we come to the end of Jackson’s post, we see that he did not provide any evidence — only his own opinion, really, supported by one Neo-Catholic historian at best — that Abp. Beaumont’s resistance against Pope Clement’s suppression of the Jesuits was morally permissible. In what seems like a final effort to persuade his readers that the recalcitrant Archbishop of Paris acted rightly, the Remnant contributor quotes the following anecdote, presumably from Warren Carroll’s work again (Jackson does not cite the source), regarding the death of Clement XIV in 1774:

In his final hours he knew what he had done, crying in despair “I have cut off my right hand.” Ghosts pursued him in his sleep; in the silence of the night he would kneel before a miniature of the Virgin detached from his prayer book, perhaps remembering that she is ever the refuge of those who have no other hope.

(Chris Jackson, “Resisting Papal Errors: Another Historical Precedent for Cardinal Burke”, The Remnant, Jan. 12, 2017)

Perhaps Jackson hopes that the reader will accept this depressing episode as substitute “proof” that resisting the Pope’s abolition of the Society of Jesus was the right thing to do, when, of course, all it could possibly establish, at best, is that the Pope regretted his own decision, not that submitting to the papal judgment was optional.

However, not all historians are as bleak in their description of the death of Clement XIV as Jackson’s unidentified source is. Fr. Mourret, for example, notes that the Pope “died piously, assisted by St. Alphonsus Liguori, on September 22, 1774” (History of the Catholic Church, vol. 6, p. 470). Yes, the very St. Alphonsus who, despite his personal anguish over the suppression of the Jesuits, kept silent and venerated the papal judgment as the judgment of God, bilocated to console and assist the dying Pontiff. How is that for heroic!

By the way, the Jesuits were universally reconstituted by order of Pope Pius VII in 1814. In his bull Sollicitudo Omnium Ecclesiarum of August 7, Pope Pius abrogated the brief Dominus ac Redemptor Noster of Clement XIV: “This letter and its intended effects we wish now to abrogate expressly and in particular, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.” Let us not gloss over the fact that abrogating a prior papal document is only possible because formerly that document was actually in force. It takes another papal act to repeal it, not brazen “resistance” by inferiors who consider themselves above the judgments of the Pope.

It is a real pity that The Remnant has given its readers such a distorted view of the facts concerning the abolition of the Jesuit order. That is what happens when you publish propaganda instead of historical analysis, when the position you take is not determined by Catholic teaching applied to empirical facts but by a blind and dogmatic ideology that you simply refuse to give up, come hell or high water.

Once again it appears that, contrary to what they proclaim and what they continually tell themselves, the semi-traditionalists simply do not believe in the Papacy. That is the horrible damage the recognize-and-resist position causes in souls. Yet it is not difficult to see that papal authority would be chimerical and no legislation or judgment of the Pope could ever really be effective if each subject were first entitled to evaluate the directive and personally decide whether it is prudent or not and then make a decision as to whether to carry it out. The idea is preposterous theoretically and unworkable in practice.

Note that we are not talking about commands that are in themselves sinful — those must obviously be refused. An example would be if the Pope directed a bishop to go around his diocese stealing money from people in order to raise funds for a renovation of St. Peter’s Basilica. That would be sinful and would have to be refused. But for the Pope to order that the Society of Jesus will be abolished, is not in and of itself sinful. The decision might be prudent or imprudent and lead to good or bad consequences, but it is certainly not wrong per se (unlike stealing, fornication, or blasphemy, for instance). The Pope has to answer for his own judgments and decisions in the end; his inferiors do not have to answer for them. And the Pope answers only to God, not to a group of cardinals or to individual bishops, and certainly not to bloggers on the internet, be they at The Remnant or at Novus Ordo Watch.

The same Papacy that has the authority to approve the Jesuits also has the authority to revoke that approval; and if the Pope one day decrees that they are suppressed, then they are suppressed. If the Pope permits, one may voice one’s opinion that the decision does not seem prudent, or one may lament that it will inflict great harm on the Church — but one cannot simply resist it. And there are probably not a few who are thinking that it would be a real blessing if in our day the Jesuits were once again suppressed!

39 Responses to “Resisting the Pope? “The Remnant” and the Suppression of the Jesuits”

  1. rich

    My gosh…I alluded to the same article of Mr Jackson’s regarding Pope John xx11’s beatific vision issue in the last post…..I didnt even try to talk about what he brought up about the Jesuits in the same article. I knew that Jackson was off base but I would never be able to specify exactly why. Very impressive article NOW…as always.Thank you for backing up your articles with papal proclamations in addition to your unending stream of pre-vatican 2 Catholic teaching.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      You’re welcome. Yes, at this point I am also very suspicious of what Jackson may have “researched” about Pope John XXII. I haven’t read his article on that Pope yet, but my B.S. detector will be on high alert when I do.

  2. Dum Spiro Spero

    It is ridiculous to compare Clement XIV with Bergoglio.

    However, let’s look at a couple of things.

    1) Archbishop Beaumont was a brave man of the Church. He faced the Jansenists harshly. He faced the writers of the Encyclopaedia, also with the pagan Rousseau, etc.

    See for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christophe_de_Beaumont

    2) Beaumont died as Archbishop of Paris! It is understood that Clement XIV allows it implicitly. Why did that happen?

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      (1) No doubt — it just has nothing to do with his disobedience to the Pope in the matter of the suppression of the Jesuits. At the same time, let’s remember also that this was before Vatican I, so a number of Gallican ideas were still floating around without having definitively been condemned by the Church yet.

      (2) Pope Clement must have judged it more prudent to simply tolerate the archbishop’s disobedience. He apparently did not want to risk making an already frightening situation even worse.

  3. Sonia

    Evidence gets in the way of fake news. Truth gets in the way of fake faith.

    When Our Lord returns what will He find? Probably nine billion people dervishing around a black box full of idols in mecca and/or Protestants complaining about how sharia impinges on their ‘right’ to dismiss biblically proscribed abominations.

    Meanwhile, the true remnant will be a wee jewel in the haystack of a Christless world. I doubt Matt and Co. will be hard to find if they continue to lobby for the New World Order.

    • Pedro

      Sonia, a small point for you. The world is never “Christless”. Perhaps it has rejected His Sovereign Majesty but He still will reign in the end and, as before His Glorious Resurrection, His Permissive Will accepts the rejection of such filth as the Scribes and Pharisees in order to demonstrate HIs Ultimate Triumph over death and Satan.

      • Sonia

        Hey, Pedro, since i am a small point, point taken. Our Lord called the ‘world’ the domain of the father of lies; that’s my small meaning. When we step into His sovereignty in opposition to the world… the ‘antichristness’ of the world is saturating, prolific, unresting.

        Christ’s victory is a given, and Christ’s warning is unarguable.

  4. Dum Spiro Spero

    The comparison between Clement XIV and Bergoglio makes no sense. Bergoglio pronounces heresies; the decision of Clement XIV was an act of government, not an act of moral or doctrinal teaching to the whole Church.

    • Pedro

      Dum Spiro Spero, it seems apparent that Scholastic philosophy based on Thomistic training is lacking in the “resisters” and Novus Ordo adherents. They seem to have difficulty grasping facts and then reasoning to conclusions. Of course, their knowledge and use of history is abysmal as well, although it appears even documented historical facts are no obstacle to their muddying of the waters of discussion.

  5. Dum Spiro Spero

    Obedience is a subsidiary virtue of justice.

    If a Pope asks you to kill your mother, will you obey him?

    It is an exaggerated example, but serious things have happened in the history of the Church. The Pope Clement V yielded to the pressures of the French king, Philip IV and allowed (when he did not order) that they be tortured in order to confess their “guilts”. He asked the King of Aragon Jaime II to enclose (and possibly torture, I have read it in preconciliar manuals of the History of the Church) to the Templars. Jaime II disobeyed him, at least at first.

    Archbishop Beaumont was a great enemy of those who conspired against the Church and the Pope. I understand that maybe the Archbishop understood that he would sin if he obeyed.

    We know that Clement XIV tolerated his disobedience.

    I can’t judge Archbishop Beaumont, but I can’t give him as an example.

    In any case the action of Beaumont has nothing to do with that of Burke, since in the first case it was a matter of government of the Church, something that is not infallible, and in the other of doctrinal teaching to all the Church, infallible by definition.

    • poapratensis

      You bring up good points?

      While I complete after with the editor’s analysis of Jackson’s faulty article, I am troubled by this thought:

      Does anybody dispute that Pilate had the authority to condem Jesus? Does anybody dispute that Pilate was moved to condem a just man out of serious political concern? As far as I know Pilate has always been considered gravely wrong in what he did. If the Jesuits were innocent, then Clement commuted an injustice as Pilate did. It seems to me only different degree, not kind.

      • Novus Ordo Watch

        Pope Clement XIV did not suppress the Jesuits unjustly. First, they have no right to exist as an order without papal approval. Second, he only withdrew his approval to avert a greater evil from the Church.

        The Pope is the SOVEREIGN Pontiff. He can decide which order exists in the Church and which doesn’t. It’s not up to Chris Jackson or me or anyone else to decide whether the papal judgment is a good idea. We can have our opinion on it, but our opinion doesn’t trump the papal judgment.

        Also, I would like to recommend reading the entire decree of Clement XIV, which speaks at length about the suppression.

        • poapratensis

          Look, I agree completely that Clement had the authority to do what he did, but as you said, we are entitled to our opinion, and mine is that he committed an injustice until I’m convinced otherwise. The easiest way to do this would be to demostrate that the Jesuits had it comming, but I don’t see that addressed, and the reversal 25 years later would suggest they were innocent.

        • poapratensis

          Another thought that came to my mind was that though certainly a Pope has the authority to give or withdraw approval of religious orders, does he have the authority to redistribute land, cease the operation of public institutes (hospitals), etc. that the order oversaw? For that matter, does a Pope have the authority to evict any Christian faithful from their rightfully held lands?

        • poapratensis

          So I read the document. The problem is are any of the things that the Jesuits are accused of true? The document doesn’t cite any examples, unlike most papal writings, rather it lists accusations and opinions of one side against the other.

          Here is a bit that the protestant translator saw fit to italicize: “In short, accusations of the greatest nature, and very detrimental to the peace and tranquility of the Christian republic, have been continually received against the said order.” And the accusation of “insatiable avidity of temporal possessions.” And: “complaints and quarrels were multiplied on every side; in some places dangerous sedition arose, tumults, discords, dissension, scandals, which, weakening or entirely breaking the bonds of Christian charity…the very sovereigns…we mean the Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, and Sicily found themselves reduced to the necessity of expelling and driving from their states, kingdoms, and provinces, these very Companions of Jesus…in order to prevent the Christians from rising one against another, and from massacring each other in the very bosom of our common mother the Holy Church….Unless the said Society was absolutely abolished and suppressed, made known their demands and wills in this matter to our said predecessor Clement VIII. They united their common prayers and authority to obtain that this last method might be put in practice, as the only one capable of assuring the constant repose of their subjects, and the good of the Catholic Church in general.”

          It is my understanding that accusations are pretty normal for any organization, particularly large, wealthy, and powerful ones. It doesn’t matter if the accusations are of the greatest nature or the most insignificant nature. Severity doesn’t make something true. I would suggest that an organization that is doing something good is bound to be accused of various things by those who are bad: Jansenists and Protestants were enemies of Jesuits for example. The protestant translator of the English translation of Redemptor Noster seems delighted with it.

          Because Clement offered no opportunity for defense, and because he ruled against any discussion of the matter going forward (which was apparently ignored, as the Jesuits were restored), the truth or falsehood of these accusations never came to light, and perhaps never will. I haven’t read the document restoring the Jesuits (is there one?), but presumably it would provide justification.

          The historians you cite in the article seem more concerned with apologia for Clement than with actually addressing the history of the matter, but even from their rather pained efforts and defending his decision, it still comes off (to me at least) as basically Clement exercising his rightful authority to throw the Jesuits under the bus.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            The Pope deliberately omitted judging concerning the guilt or innocence of the Jesuits, and that is not the reason they were suppressed anyway. They were suppressed because it was the only way to avert a greater evil, at least in the Pope’s judgment.

            In any case, I don’t quite understand what this has to do with the ultimate issue here: The papal decree suppressing the Jesuits had to be obeyed, and disobedience came with an automatic excommunication. That wasn’t a mere threat by the Pope, it was a law he established in his decree, and it went into effect immediately.

          • poapratensis

            I agree completely with the ultimate issue you are trying to make, as I have stated many times by now. I fully acknowledge that Clement XIV had the rightful authority to do what he did, but I think it was unjust.

            Look, I am the father of 6 children who fight constantly. I have the right to punish and discipline them within the scope of reason and my own authority (I couldn’t, for example, execute one of them, or hack off their limbs, or evict them from my rightfully owned house). But would it be just of me to punish one for what another did, or to just punish one because I thought it might send a message to the others of what a mean dad I could be, or punish them because I thought for some reason it might please my wife? I think you know the answer to these questions. And we are talking about minor stuff here.

            I am simply troubled by what appears to be a horrible judgement made by a true pope, one which I think Sedevacantists would be very sensitive about. Doesn’t it bother you that a true pope threw what appears to be his most ardent supporters under the bus because he thought it might placate some Jansenists, Gallicans, Protestants, and power-hunger “Catholic” heads of state for no other reason than he had the authority to do so, not even giving an opportunity for defense, not even really trying to be just in his decisions giving each party what they were due? I was sincerely hoping that you, or anybody, could offer some excuse that could explain away the obvious injustice here, but nobody has, yet at least. You simply deny what is obviously an injustice by stating that Clement had to choose between two evils, which is simply not the case, because he could have (unlike Pilate), for instance, simply NOT made a decision.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            Withdrawing approval of a religious order is not wrong in and of itself. The Pope judged it to be more prudent to abolish the Jesuit order for the time being. It’s not like he imprisoned all Jesuits or something — they simply had to join a different order or become diocesan priests.

            If we want to stay with the analogy of a father and his children, it’s like saying you will no longer permit the children to use the backyard because a neighbor has threatened to blow up your house if he sees children in your backyard again. You might say, “Oh, but this is unjust! The children have done nothing wrong, they do not deserve to have use of the backyard taken away from them!” That doesn’t mean the decision is wrong or unjust. It was prudent, based on unjust circumstances. Justice is a matter of what is owed.

            And no, NOT making a decision was not a third option — it was the same as deciding NOT to suppress the Jesuits.

            So, I don’t see any injustice here. But I’m also not sure why we are spending so much time on this, since in the end it changes nothing, and the point of the article was to show that The Remnant is once again giving their readers a false view of Catholic history and theology.

          • poapratensis

            Look, if my neighbor threatened to blow up my house because of MY children in MY yard, I’d call the police and keep my eye on him and prevent him from doing so with lethal force if needed. The man would have been arrested if the threat was deemed credible, and he would have been tried for threatening my family. If he persisted, and no justice could be had, I would move. I sure as heck wouldn’t confine my children to my house for anything but the immediate moment before authorities could be summoned. A man who would even consider your proposal is a coward. The person doing the wrong thing was my neighbor. Clement could have excommunicated the bad agents, could he not? And this isn’t even a good comparison, because the Jesuits weren’t playing in Clement’s yard, they were playing in the yard of the various heads of state.

            Your continued minimization of the injustice is also baffling. You keep using the word suppression, but I don’t even see that word in the document. I see much stronger words. It seems to me that basically these Jesuits were evicted at best. At worst, they were betrayed to their enemies. Some were probably tortured and killed. And let’s not forget the thousands of indigenous peoples in the Americas that were under the relatively benign control of the Jesuits that were suddenly handed over to greed plantation owners. This was a widespread human tragedy, not just a mere “suppression” like it would be today where there is an orderly and lawful process.

            No true pope has carried the named Clement forward. Nobody looks to this man as a good pope. This doesn’t mean we can resist him. It doesn’t mean he is not the pope. The Jesuits acted rightly by enduring his arguably prudent yet clearly unjust action, which was reversed not so much later, casting much doubt on the wisdom of Clement’s decision in any case.

            If you really want to know why “I am spending so much time on this” it is because I am very suspicious of anyone who cannot recognize and admit obvious injustice when it is before them, likewise I am suspicious of anyone who cannot recognize obvious heresy when it is before them. I was sincerely hoping for some reasonable way to explain why Clement made this decision that didn’t make him seem like an unjust coward, because I know that resistor types are going to bark up that tree if pressed, but I am going to refrain from discussing this matter further because it is becoming apparent to me that you are grasping at straws and stating things are obviously no so like he was forced to make a decision or there were only two options. I’ve reached the bottom of the well apparently.

      • Dum Spiro Spero

        The Pope wasn’t unjust. He could not choose freely. (Pilate could choose and he had the power in his hands. He chose what he was most interested in.)

        The Pope had to choose between two evils. He chose the minor according to his judgment, to which he has sovereign right. He wanted to do the best in those circumstances.

        But the action of the Archbishop is striking to me. I believe that in some way he did according to the will of the Pope, the will that the Pope could not express in his letter. At bottom, the Archbishop thought the same as the Pope. That is another difference with respect to the present time. Compare these two circumstances is in short an insult.

        • poapratensis

          This is just not so. Clement obviously had an array of decisions he could have made ranging from using his supreme authority to condem the anti-Jesuit partisans to simply not making any decision. Pilate was the one faced with a binary decision. Both Clement and Pilate seen to me to have condemned the innocent party in order to avert in their reckoning greater political consquences (both desiring non-conflict). Nobody held a sword to either of their throats. They both chose freely it seems. If the Jesuits were doing something wrong to merit their suppression, then obviously, Clement didn’t commit an injustice, but I don’t see that discussed, and the reversal of their supression 25 years later would seem to me to suggest they were innocent.

  6. Dum Spiro Spero

    This topic is very complex. The actions of the kings of Spain and Portugal was very vile. As early as the seventeenth century they clashed with the Holy See on the theme of Jesuit missions in South America. These were opposed to the slavery of the Guarani. On the other hand, the order of the Jesuits had many goods and in this way the kings wanted to seize them, and weaken the critical voices. In addition to this:

    1. After the abolition of the order, the Pope himself allows the relocation of the (ex)Jesuits in the Papal States. That may seem absurd, but it’s not.

    2. The Kingdom of Prussia as a Russian Empire (Federico II and Catherine the Great) ignored the papal decree and the Jesuits continued their missionary activity in their countries. This situation allowed the order of the Jesuits to reorganize.

    3. The Jesuits were expelled on previous occasions by royal order of Spain (1767), Portugal (1759) and France (1762). But it was not enough. They wanted to cut off the Pope’s right arm, which is why they blackmailed him with grave threats. This was a war against the Pope and the Church.

    4. Therefore, it is evident that Clement XV and Archbishop Beaumont think the same about the Jesuits. I understand that Beaumont opposes the “letter” of the papal decree, not to the will of the Pope, because Clement XV was forced to act against his will. Not so in the case of Cardinal Burke and Francisco. Burke opposes the letter of Francis, which perfectly expresses his free will.

    • poapratensis

      This makes me wonder: why weren’t these “vile” folks judged against instead of the innocent and helpful “right arm” Jesuits. I suspect because the Pope knew his authority would be respected by the Jesuits and not by the Anti- Jesuits. But to my mind that doesn’t make what Clement did right (ends don’t justify means). It is still an injustice.

      • Dum Spiro Spero

        Clement XIV wasn’t unjust; He legitimately used his authority in order to avoid an evil.

        We can’t praise the action of Archbishop Beaumont or put it as an example, because he disobeyed the Pope, although the Pope wrote the decree against his propter will.

        The action of the Pope wasn’t bad – to dissolve an order of the Church doesn’t have to be bad, the action of Pilate is bad itself.

        • poapratensis

          Did you read the document? It wasn’t merely dissolving it. It was basically destroying it. This had immediate, real, and negative consequences.

          If the Jesuits were innocent, it was an injustice. Fundamentally, justice means giving a man what he is due. Nobody has yet produced anything demonstrating that the Jesuits merited their suppression. You just keep repeating something..that because he had the authority it makes it right. It doesn’t. Even rightful authority can be abused, and often is. Authority doesn’t really mean much until the authority starts making bad or hard decisions and you go along with them. If they are always making good decisions, then you should follow them anyway.

          I never suggested that Clement doesn’t have rightful authority or that he could be resisted or that I support Beaumount. I simply said what Clement did was an injustice, disturbingly like the one Pilate made–condemning an innocent to avoid political repercussions and attempt to maintain a state of non-conflict (peace is the presence of justice not the absence of confilct)–and unlike Clement VIII (I think) that made the just decision with Henry VIII despite the fact it had severe and long lasting political repercussions. I realize that the matter at hand with Henry was one of divine doctrine, which the Pope cannot “change,” and the Jesuits were an order that he could rightfully suppress, but the decision made with Henry was directed at the bad agent, not the innocent. And it sure made a mess, didn’t it?

          I only bring this up because it bothers me, and I am sure that anybody who wants to attack the papacy may bring it up if it comes to their mind. I would like nothing more than for you or someone else to make sense of it, but I fear that it is just something that I will have to live with–popes have made unjust, arguably cowardly, decisions using their rightful authority. They may be protected from error (this probably played with the Henry VIII matter) but they aren’t protected from throwing innocents under the bus, it seems.

        • poapratensis

          It wasn’t merely dissolving it. It was basically destroying it. This had immediate, real, and negative consequences.

          If the Jesuits were innocent, it was an injustice. Fundamentally, justice means giving a man what he is due. Nobody has yet produced anything demonstrating that the Jesuits merited their suppression. You just keep repeating something…that because he had the authority it makes it right. It doesn’t. Even rightful authority can make bad decisons, and often does. Authority doesn’t really mean much until the authority starts making bad or hard decisions and you go along with them. If authors are always making good decisions, then you should follow the decisions anyway–because the decisions are good.

          I never suggested that Clement doesn’t have rightful authority or that he could be resisted or that I support Beaumount. I simply said what Clement did was an injustice, disturbingly like the one Pilate made–condemning an innocent to avoid political repercussions and attempt to maintain a state of non-conflict (peace is the presence of justice not the absence of confilct)–and unlike Clement VIII (I think) that made the just decision with Henry VIII despite the fact it had severe and long lasting political repercussions. I realize that the matter at hand with Henry was one of divine doctrine, which the Pope cannot “change,” and the Jesuits were an order that he could rightfully suppress, but the decision made with Henry was directed at the bad agent, not the innocent. And it sure made a mess, didn’t it?

          I only bring this up because it bothers me, and I am sure that anybody who wants to attack the papacy may bring it up if it comes to their mind. I would like nothing more than for you or someone else to make sense of it, but I fear that it is just something that I will have to live with–popes have made unjust decisions using their rightful authority. They may be protected from error (this probably played with the Henry VIII matter) but they aren’t protected from throwing innocents under the bus, it seems.

          • Dum Spiro Spero

            You are the commander of an army. You have to defend two cities. But you can only stand for one. You choose which you will defend, by ordering (as you are commander, you can’t allow disobedience) that your army leaves the other city and letting the enemy destroy it.

            You have two bad options in front of you, none of that you are looking for. You choose the minor bad, in order to do the greatest good.

            Basically, it is what the Pope has done.

          • poapratensis

            Faulty comparison. Presumably the two cities you’re charged with defending aren’t in conflict with each other. You aren’t picking sides, you are simply doing as much good as you can, and since you think the army you command is incapable of protecting both, you are merely abandoning one to save the other. This dilemma emerges sometimes, very sadly I might add, in obstetrics with twins. It would be wrong, however, to selectively KILL a twin because you or its mother thought it might be better for some reason. What Clement XIV did was “kill” the Jesuits in an attempt to save “the kingdoms,” or at least that is what I gather from an admittedly a very brief reading of the history on the matter (and which nobody seems to oppose).

            Practically speaking, if your army was composed of soldiers hailing from the city that you chose to abandon (and this seems likely), you will probably find yourself with less of an army anyway, so this strategy may not be advisable.

            And you keep insisting on there being ONLY two options, when quite obviously, there are at least three: 1) siding with the Jesuits, 2) siding with the Anti-Jesuits, and 3) withholding decision. I think there could have been a whole array of decisions made in this case, some involving judging against some of the sovereigns involved and partially against the Jesuits involved. It is not an all or nothing matter, like it was with Pilate, where he either ultimately (and he tried to get out of it three times) had to condemn or acquit Jesus. Pilate, ultimately, against consul of both Claudia and his own conscience is seems, condemned an innocent man who had done no wrong to die on a cross, which is unjust, in order to “keep the peace in Judea”; it therefore shouldn’t surprise us that no Christian (that I know of) has ever named their child Pilate, whereas Claudia is a common name among Christians. Clement XV, interestingly, was an anti-pope, and there has been no subsequent pope Clement–for a reason I think.

            Oh, and I find it interesting that Clement XIV was a Franciscan–perhaps not as against the Jesuits as the Dominicans–but definitely rivals.

          • poapratensis

            Faulty comparison. Presumably the two cities you’re charged with defending aren’t in conflict with each other. You aren’t picking sides, you are simply doing as much good as you can, and since you think the army you command is incapable of protecting both, you are merely abandoning one to save the other. This dilemma emerges sometimes, very sadly I might add, in obstetrics with twins. It would be wrong, however, to selectively KILL a twin because you or its mother thought it might be better for some reason. What Clement XIV did was “kill” the Jesuits in an attempt to save “the kingdoms,” or at least that is what I gather from an admittedly a very brief reading of the history on the matter (and which nobody seems to oppose).

            Practically speaking, if your army was composed of soldiers hailing from the city that you chose to abandon (and this seems likely), you will probably find yourself with less of an army anyway, so this strategy may not be advisable.

            And you keep insisting on there being ONLY two options, when quite obviously, there are at least three: 1) siding with the Jesuits, 2) siding with the Anti-Jesuits, and 3) withholding decision. I think there could have been a whole array of decisions made in this case, some involving judging against some of the sovereigns involved and partially against the Jesuits involved. It is not an all or nothing matter, like it was with Pilate, where he either ultimately (and he tried to get out of it three times) had to condemn or acquit Jesus. Pilate, ultimately, against consul of both Claudia and his own conscience is seems, condemned an innocent man who had done no wrong to die on a cross, which is unjust, in order to “keep the peace in Judea”; it therefore shouldn’t surprise us that no Christian (that I know of) has ever named their child Pilate, whereas Claudia is a common name among Christians. Clement XV, interestingly, was an anti-pope, and there has been no subsequent pope Clement–for a reason I think.

            Oh, and I find it interesting that Clement XIV was a Franciscan–perhaps not as against the Jesuits as the Dominicans–but definitely rivals.

          • Dum Spiro Spero

            “Clement XV, interestingly, was an anti-pope, and there has been no subsequent pope Clement–for a reason I think.”

            (I suppose you think about Clement XV, the antipope of the twentieth century.)

            Well, Alexander V was an antipope, but Rodrigo Borgia took the name Alexander VI.

            As for your comparison, aborting is always bad in itself, while leaving one city to better defend the other city – the Church – is not bad. It can even be virtuous.
            Here there is simply a legitimate Pope’s order. The resistance of the Archbishop can’t be set as a good example.

          • poapratensis

            Where do I ever say the resistance is a good example? What is it that you don’t get about what I have written? I mean, I double posted it (sorry)! Clement XIV made an unjust decision. You must be really grasping at straws to marshall Alexander VI to a defense!

          • Dum Spiro Spero

            The article is very clear:

            “Note that we are not talking about commands that are in themselves sinful — those must obviously be refused. An example would be if the Pope directed a bishop to go around his diocese stealing money from people in order to raise funds for a renovation of St. Peter’s Basilica. That would be sinful and would have to be refused. But for the Pope to order that the Society of Jesus will be abolished, is not in and of itself sinful. The decision might be prudent or imprudent and lead to good or bad consequences, but it is certainly not wrong per se (unlike stealing, fornication, or blasphemy, for instance). The Pope has to answer for his own judgments and decisions in the end; his inferiors do not have to answer for them. And the Pope answers only to God, not to a group of cardinals or to individual bishops, and certainly not to bloggers on the internet, be they at The Remnant or at Novus Ordo Watch.

            The same Papacy that has the authority to approve the Jesuits also has the authority to revoke that approval; and if the Pope one day decrees that they are suppressed, then they are suppressed. If the Pope permits, one may voice one’s opinion that the decision does not seem prudent, or one may lament that it will inflict great harm on the Church — but one cannot simply resist it.”

  7. Novus Ordo Watch

    I don’t think this type of argumentation will get you very far or anywhere good. If the words of a papal decree cannot be taken at face value but have to be “interpreted” in accordance with one’s personal opinion as to whether one THINKS the Pope acted under duress, then we would have a complete nightmare, and the entire credibility of the papal teaching and governing office would be undermined. In the case of the suppression of the Jesuits specifically, it would be particularly bad because the Pope legislated an excommunication against anyone who resists the decree. What then do you suggest? That each individual had to make a determination as to whether the Pope meant what he said? And this then can overturn the explicitly promulgated law regarding an ipso facto excommunication? It is absurd.

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