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Monday, January 13, 2014

The Jesuits Restored

Print by Carlo Lasinio (1759 - 1855) and after painting by Niccola Monti (1780 - 1863)
Pius VII restablishes the order of Jesuits and gives the Bull to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus (7th August 1814)
From Sixteen Italian prints representing the principal events in the life of Pope Pius VII from his coronation 20th March 1800 to his death on 20th July 1823
Print engraving
33.4 x 42.1 cm
The British Museum, London

Nicola Mónti or Niccola Monti (August 28, 1780 - 1863) was an Italian painter, active in a neoclassical style, painting mainly historical subjects but also religious subjects

Carlo Lasinio was an extremely important engraver as well as conservator of the Camposanto in Pisa. Without his work the restoration of the Camposanto after the destruction in the Second World War would have been impossible

The Italian inscription reads:
"Sua Santità Pio VII instituisce di nuovo la Compagnia di Gesù per tutto il mondo cattolico, consegnandone la Bolla Pontificia al reverendissimo padre Taddeo Brzozowski Preposito Generale della medesima Compagnia in un pubblico Concistoro di Cardinali espressamente adunati per tale oggetto, il 7 agosto 1814"
The Bull was of course : Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum. which universally restored the Jesuit order in its entirety after its suppression 41 years before

A translation in French can be found here

The Bull was in fact deemed executed and published in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome

The Pope arrived back in Rome after his capture and exile in France on 24th May 1814. The bull was promulgated on 7th August 1814

Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum was obviously  one of the Pope`s priorities on his return and he took advantage of his great goodwill in Europe as well as the general turmoil in Rome in 1814 - 1815 to effect such a potentially hazardous move

Shortly after in 1815 the Pope again had to flee Rome but returned after the defeat of Napoleon

Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum repealed in its entirety the Bull of Clement XIV (rather ironically in view of the present Pontiff`s name, the last Franciscan pope) which had dissolved the society: Dominus ac Redemptor noster which was more a catalogue of complaints and gripes by others about the Order since its inception to the date of its dissolution

Tadeusz Brzozowski, S.J. (October 21, 1749 – February 5, 1820)  was not permitted to leave Russia after 1815 and he had to act through Vicars General to start the re-establishment of the Order

It is an irony that while the Order was suppressed throughout the world, it continued to operate in Russia. 

Yet in 1820, after its restoration, it was suppressed in Russia

This year marks the bicententary of the restoration of the Order. 

The superior-general, Father Adolfo Nicolás has said:
"What does it mean for us today that the Society, which outside the Russian empire lost everything during the Suppression, was able to begin again without any resources? In addition, what might we learn from the attempts of the restored Society to be faithful to the Ignatian heritage in vastly changed circumstances?... 
One of the marks of the restored Society was a remarkable missionary spirit and activity. By the generalate of Fr. Roothaan, of the 5,209 members of the Society, 19% worked outside the Provinces they entered. Many Provinces in Asia, Africa, America and Australia trace their origins to this time of the restored Society. "
One does wonder if his contemplation of the restoration of the Jesuit order is perhaps at the root of the present Pope`s thinking about the Church as a whole