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Pope Clement XIV : biography

31 October 1705 - 22 September 1774

Pope Clement XIV ( 31 October 1705 – 22 September 1774), born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, was the head of the Catholic Church from 19 May 1769 to his death in 1774. At the time of his election, he was the only Franciscan friar in the College of Cardinals. He is the last pope to take the name "Clement" upon his election.


Early life

Ganganelli was born in Santarcangelo di Romagna. He received his education from the Jesuits at Rimini and the Piarists of Urbino, and in 1724, at the age of nineteen, entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual with the name of Lorenzo Francesco. In 1741 he was elected as Definitor General of the order.Catholic Encyclopedia Ganganelli became a friend of Pope Benedict XIV (1740–58), who in 1758 appointed him to investigate the issue of the traditional blood libel regarding the Jews, which Ganganelli found to be untrue.http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDFs/Roth%20Ritual%20Murder%20Libel%20JR.pdf Pope Clement XIII (1758–69) appointed him Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Panisperna in 1759, at the insistence of Lorenzo Ricci, the General of the Jesuits.

Ganganelli was elected Pope Clement XIV on 19 May 1769 and installed on 4 June 1769, after a conclave that had been sitting since 15 February 1769, heavily influenced by the political manoeuvres of the ambassadors of Catholic sovereigns who opposed to the Jesuits. Some of the pressure was subtle: for an unprecedented impromptu visit to the conclave by Emperor Joseph II (1765–90) and his brother Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, officially incognito, the seals were broken, the Austrians inspected the proceedings with great interest and brought with them a festive banquet. During the previous pontificate the Jesuits had been expelled from Portugal and from all the courts of the House of Bourbon: France, Spain, Naples, and Parma. Now the general suppression of the order was urged by the faction called the "court cardinals", who were opposed by the diminished pro-Jesuit faction, the Zelanti ("zealous"), who were generally opposed to the encroaching secularism of the Enlightenment.

King Louis XV of France's (1715–74) minister, the duc de Choiseul, had former experience of Rome as French ambassador, and was Europe's most skilled diplomat. "When one has a favour to ask of a Pope", he wrote, "and one is determined to obtain it, one must ask for two." Choiseul's suggestion, advanced to the other ambassadors, was that they should press, in addition to the Jesuit issue, territorial claims upon the Patrimony of Peter, including the return of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin to France, the duchies of Benevento and Pontecorvo to Spain, an extension of territory adjoining the Papal States to Naples, and an immediate and final settlement of the vexed question of Parma and Piacenza that had occasioned a diplomatic rift between Austria and Pope Clement XIII.

Election to the papacy

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 reconciliation among the European sovereigns. The arguing and fighting among the monarchs seemed poised to lead Europe towards heavy international competition.

By yielding the Papal claims to Parma, Clement 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 suppress the Jesuits, writing the decree to this effect in November 1772 and signing it in July 1773.

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Living octopus

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