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A papal conclave which lasted from 15 February to 19 May 1769 was convoked after the death of Pope Clement XIII. It elected as his successor Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli, who took the name Clement XIV.

Clement XIII (portrait by Anton Raphael Mengs)

Death of Clement XIII

Clement XIII died suddenly on 2 February 1769, a day before the date of the consistory that he had convoked to examine the demands for the general suppression of the Society of Jesus. The various courts under the House of Bourbon and the Kingdom of Portugal (under the House of Braganza) had exerted strong pressure on the Holy See to suppress this order through almost the whole of his pontificate. In 1759 Jesuits were expelled from Portugal, in 1762 from the Kingdom of France, in 1767 from Spain and in 1768 from the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of Sicily and the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. Clement XIII strongly defended the Society (e.g. in the bull Apostolicum pascendi in 1765), but without success. In January 1769 France and Naples seized the papal territories around Avignon, Benevento and Pontecorvo to force the pope to issue a decree for the suppression of the order. The sudden death of 75 year old Clement XIII left this difficult decision to his successor.[1]

List of participants

Forty six out of fifty seven cardinals participated in the conclave:[2]

  • Carlo Alberto Guidobono Cavalchini (created cardinal on September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia e Velletri; Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals; pro-Datary of His Holiness; prefect of the S.C. of Ceremonies; prefect of the S.C. of Bishops and Regulars
  • Federico Marcello Lante (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina; Sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals; prefect of the S.C. of the Good Government; governor of Balneario
  • Fabrizio Serbelloni (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Bishop of Albano
  • Giovanni Francesco Stoppani (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina
  • Giuseppe Pozzobonelli (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva; archbishop of Milan
  • Carlo Vittorio Amedeo delle Lanze (April 10, 1747) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Prassede; titular archbishop of Nicosia
  • Vincenzo Malvezzi (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro; archbishop of Bologna
  • Antonio Sersale (April 22, 1754) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Pudenziana; archbishop of Naples
  • Francisco de Solís Folch de Cardona (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of [no title assigned]; archbishop of Seville; Cardinal-protector of Spain
  • Paul d'Albert de Luynes (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Tommaso in Parione; archbishop of Sens
  • Antonio Maria Priuli (October 2, 1758) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Marco; bishop of Padua
  • Girolamo Spinola (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Balbina; legate in Ferrara
  • Giuseppe Maria Castelli (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Alessio; prefect of the S.C. for the Propagation of Faith
  • Gaetano Fantuzzi (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Pietro in Vincoli; prefect of the S.C. of the Ecclesiestical Immunities
  • Pietro Paolo de Conti (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio
  • Lorenzo Ganganelli, O.F.M.Conv. (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. XII Apostoli
  • Marcantonio Colonna (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria della Pace; Vicar General of Rome; prefect of the S.C. of the Residence of the Bishops; archpriest of the patriarchal Liberian Basilica
  • Buenaventura de Córdoba Espínola de la Cerda (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; patriarch of the West Indies; vicar general of the Spanish army and fleet
  • Giovanni Molino (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; bishop of Brescia
  • Simone Buonaccorsi (July 18, 1763) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina
  • Giovanni Ottavio Bufalini (July 21, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli; archbishop of Ancona
  • Giovanni Carlo Boschi (July 21, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo; Grand penitentiary; prefect of the Congregation for the correction of the books of the Oriental Church
  • Ludovico Calini (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Anastasia; prefect of the S.C. of the Indulgences and Sacred Relics
  • Antonio Colonna Branciforte (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Via
  • Lazzaro Opizio Pallavicino (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. Nereo ed Achilleo; legate in Bologna
  • Vitaliano Borromeo (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli; legate in Romagna
  • Pietro Pamphili (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere
  • Urbano Paracciani Rutili (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Callisto; archbishop of Fermo
  • Filippo Maria Pirelli (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Crisogono
  • Alessandro Albani (July 16, 1721) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata; commendatario of S. Maria in Cosmedin; Protodeacon of the Sacred College of Cardinals; Librarian of the Holy Roman Church; Cardinal-protector of Austria and the Kingdom of Sardinia
  • Neri Maria Corsini (August 14, 1730) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eustachio; archpriest of the patriarchal Lateran Basilica; secretary of the Supreme S.C. of the Roman and Universal Inquisition; prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Justice; Cardinal-protector of Portugal
  • Domenico Orsini d'Aragona (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria ad Martyres; Cardinal-protector of the Kingdom of Naples
  • Flavio II Chigi (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria in Portico; prefect of the S.C. of Rites
  • François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis (October 2, 1758) – Cardinal-Deacon [no deaconry assigned]; Cardinal-protector of the Kingdom of France; archbishop of Albi
  • Giovanni Costanzio Caracciolo (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Cesareo in Palatio; prefect of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace
  • Nicola Perelli (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro
  • Andrea Corsini (September 24, 1759) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Angelo in Pescheria
  • Andrea Negroni (July 18, 1763) – Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Vito e Modesto; secretary of the Apostolic Briefs
  • Saverio Canale (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Deacon of S. Maria della Scala; commendatory abbot of Subiaco
  • Benedetto Veterani (September 26, 1766) – Cardinal-Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano; prefect of the S.C. of Index

Twenty nine electors were created by Clement XIII, while nineteen by Pope Benedict XIV. Alessandro Albani received the red hat from Innocent XIII, and Neri Maria Corsini from Clement XII.

Absentees

  • Giacomo Oddi (September 9, 1743) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina; Protopriest of the Sacred College of Cardinals; archbishop of Viterbo e Toscanella
  • Carlo Francesco Durini (November 26, 1753) – Cardinal-Priest of SS. IV Coronati; archbishop of Pavia
  • Luis Fernández de Córdoba (December 18, 1754) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; archbishop of Toledo
  • Etienne-René Potier de Gesvres (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Agnese fuori le mura; bishop of Beauvais
  • Franz Konrad Casimir von Rodt (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria del Popolo; bishop of Constance
  • Francisco de Saldanha da Gama (April 5, 1756) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; patriarch of Lisbon
  • Christoph Anton von Migazzi von Waal und Sonnenthurn (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; archbishop of Vienna; administrator of the see of Vacz
  • Antoine Clairiard de Choiseul de Beaupré (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; archbishop of Besançon
  • Jean-François-Joseph Rochechouart (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest of S. Eusebio; bishop of Laon
  • Franz Christoph Freiherr von Hutten zu Stolzenfels (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; bishop of Speyer
  • Louis-César-Constantine de Rohan-Guéménée (November 23, 1761) – Cardinal-Priest [no title assigned]; bishop of Strasbourg

Divisions in the College of Cardinals and the candidates to the papacy

The papal conclave in 1769 was almost completely dominated by the problem of the Society of Jesus. The Sacred College of Cardinals was divided into two blocs: pro-Jesuits and anti-Jesuits, but several cardinals were neutral. The pro-Jesuit faction, called Zelanti, grouped Italian curial cardinals who opposed the secular influences on the Church. Their leaders were Gian Francesco and Alessandro Albani and cardinal-nephew of the deceased pope Carlo Rezzonico. The anti-Jesuit bloc (called also "court faction") grouped crown-cardinals of the Catholic Powers: France, Spain and Naples. Respectively ruled at the time by Louis XV of France, Charles III of Spain and Ferdinand III of Sicily/Ferdinand IV of Naples. In spite of the national divisions they worked together for the main goal – suppression of the Society of Jesus. The Bourbon courts had decided to put the official leadership of this bloc in the hands of the French Cardinal de Bernis. He and his colleagues were instructed to block every pro-Jesuit candidature, even with the official exclusion if necessary. Several cardinals, among them Lorenzo Ganganelli, did not belong to either faction.[3]

The Spanish and Neapolitan governments had classified forty three Italian cardinals into five categories: "good" (eleven cardinals), "indifferent" (eight), "doubtful" (three), "bad" (fifteen) and "very bad" (six):[4]

"Good" "Indifferent" "Doubtful" "Bad" "Very bad"
1. Sersale
2. Cavalchini
3. Negroni
4. Durini
5. N. Corsini
6. Conti
7. Branciforte
8. Caracciolo
9. A. Corsini
10. Ganganelli
11. Pirelli
1. Guglielmi
2. Canale
3. Pozzobonelli
4. Perelli
5. Malvezzi
6. Pallavicini
7. Stuart
8. Pamphili
1. Lante
2. Stoppani
3. Serbelloni
1. Oddi
2. A. Albani
3. Rossi
4. Calini
5. Veterani
6. Molino
7. Priuli
8. Bufalini
9. Lanze
10. Spinola
11. Paracciani
12. G.F. Albani
13. Borromeo
14. Colonna
15. Fantuzzi
1. Torregiani
2. Castelli
3. Buonaccorsi
4. Chigi
5. Boschi
6. Rezzonico

Cardinal Orsini, the official representative of the Neapolitan court, and all the foreigners, were not classified because it was certain that none of them would be ever elected pope.

The French government was more fastidious than Spanish and Neapolitan. Only three cardinals were considered good candidates: Conti, Durini and Ganganelli[5]

Out of these 43 cardinals only 27 or 28 were actually considered papabile, while the remaining 15 were excluded due to their age or health.[6]

Conclave

Cardinal de Bernis was one of the leading figures in the conclave

The conclave began on February 15, 1769. Initially only 27 cardinals participated.[7] Zelanti, taking advantage of the small number of the electors and the absence of the French and Spanish cardinals, tried to achieve a quick election of Cardinal Flavio Chigi. In one ballot he was only two votes short of being elected. The efforts of Zelanti met with strong protests from the ambassadors of France and Spain, but, fortunately for them, Cardinal Orsini, protector of the Kingdom of Naples and the only crown-cardinal present in the early ballots, was able to join some neutral cardinals to block Chigi's candidature.[8]

An unprecedented event was the visit of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, who arrived incognito in Rome on March 6 and was allowed to enter the conclave. He stayed there two weeks, freely debating with the electors. Fortunately, he did not press them but only expressed the wish for the election of a pope who would be able to carry out his duties with the proper respect for the secular rulers.[9]

Cardinal de Bernis entered the conclave at the end of March and took the leadership of the anti-Jesuit faction from the hands of Cardinal Orsini, who could have blocked Zelanti's actions only with the great difficulties. Bernis immediately established a regular correspondence with French ambassador Marquis d'Aubeterre, which was in violation of the fundamental law of the conclave.[10] Ambassadors of France and Spain urged Bernis to insist that the election of the future pope be made to depend on his written engagement to suppress the Jesuits. Bernis refused, answering that demanding from the future pope a written or oral promise to destroy the Society of Jesus would be in violation of the canon law. In spite of this refusal, during the next few weeks Bernis consecutively rejected all candidates proposed by Zelanti as too devoted to the Jesuits. In this way twenty-three out of twenty-eight papabile were eliminated,[6] among them strongly pro-Jesuit Cardinal Fantuzzi, who at some point was very close to achieving election to the papal throne,[11] as well as Cavalchini, Colonna, Stoppani, Pozzobonelli,[12] Sersale,[13] and several others.

The arrival of Spanish cardinals Solis and de la Cerda on April 27[7] strengthened the anti-Jesuit party. They also violated the law of the conclave by establishing regular correspondence with Spanish ambassador Azpuru. The Spaniards had fewer scruples than Bernis and, supported by Cardinal Malvezzi, took the matter into their own hands. They paid attention to the only friar in the Sacred College, Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli, O.F.M.Conv. The attitude of Ganganelli towards the Jesuits was a great mystery – he had been educated by the Jesuits and it was said that he received the red hat at the instance of Father Lorenzo Ricci, general of the Society of Jesus, but during the pontificate of Clement XIII he did not engage himself in the defence of the Order. Cardinal Solis began by sounding him out as to his willingness to give the promise required by the Bourbon princes as an indispensable condition for election. Ganganelli answered that "he recognized in the sovereign pontiff the right to extinguish, with good conscience, the Society 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".[6] It is not certain whether it was a written or only an oral promise,[14] but this declaration fully satisfied the ambassadors.

In the same time Zelanti, also began to incline to give their support to Ganganelli, looking upon him as indifferent or even favourable to the Jesuits. It seems that the attitude of Zelanti was decided by the secret negotiations between their leaders Alessandro and Gian Francesco Albani and the Spanish cardinals.[15] Cardinal de Bernis, the nominal leader of the court faction, probably did not play any role in the appointment of Ganganelli and only followed the instructions of Marquis d'Aubeterre when all had been already known.[16]

Results of the ballots

Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli was elected new pope and took the name Clement XIV

Coat of Arms of Clement XIV

The results of the ballots between April 27 and May 18 were following (only the leading candidates are included):[17]

  • April 27 – Fantuzzi – 10; Colonna – 9; Pozzobonelli – 6; Stoppani – 5; Ganganelli – 5
  • April 28 – Fantuzzi – 9; Colonna – 9; Pozzobonelli – 7; Stoppani – 6; Ganganelli – 4
  • April 29 – Colonna – 11; Fantuzzi – 8; Stoppani – 5; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • April 30 – Colonna – 11; Fantuzzi – 8; Stoppani – 5; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • May 1 – Colonna – 11; Fantuzzi – 9; Stoppani – 4; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • May 2 – Colonna – 11; Fantuzzi – 9; Stoppani – 4; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • May 3 – Colonna – 9; Fantuzzi – 9; Stoppani – 5; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • May 4 – Colonna – 10; Fantuzzi – 9; Stoppani – 4; Ganganelli – 4; Pozzobonelli – 2
  • May 5 – Fantuzzi – 10; Colonna – 9; Stoppani – 4; Ganganelli – 4; Pozzobonelli – 3
  • May 6 – Fantuzzi – 11; Stoppani – 7; Colonna – 6; Ganganelli – 4; Pozzobonelli – 4
  • May 7 – Colonna – 8; Fantuzzi – 7; Stoppani – 6; Ganganelli – 4; Pozzobonelli – 4
  • May 8 – Colonna – 9; Stoppani – 6; Fantuzzi – 5; Ganganelli – 4; Pozzobonelli – 3
  • May 9 – Colonna – 11; Stoppani – 6; Fantuzzi – 5; Pozzobonelli – 4; Ganganelli – 3
  • May 10 – Colonna – 11; Stoppani – 7; Pozzobonelli – 5; Fantuzzi – 4; Ganganelli – 4
  • May 11 – Colonna – 11; Pozzobonelli – 6; Stoppani – 5; Ganganelli – 5; Fantuzzi – 3
  • May 12 – Colonna – 11; Pozzobonelli – 6; Stoppani – 6; Ganganelli – 6; Fantuzzi – 5
  • May 13 – Colonna – 13; Stoppani – 7; Pozzobonelli – 6; Ganganelli – 5; Fantuzzi – 5
  • May 14 – Colonna – 11; Ganganelli – 10; Pozzobonelli – 9; Stoppani – 8; Fantuzzi – 4
  • May 15 – Colonna – 11; Stoppani – 11; Ganganelli – 10; Pozzobonelli – 9; Fantuzzi – 5
  • May 16 – Colonna – 11; Ganganelli – 10; Pozzobonelli – 8; Stoppani – 8; Fantuzzi – 4
  • May 17 – Colonna – 12; Pozzobonelli – 12; Ganganelli – 10; Stoppani – 5; Fantuzzi – 1
  • May 18 – Ganganelli – 19; Colonna – 13; Pozzobonelli – 11; Stoppani – 6; Fantuzzi – 1

Election of Clement XIV

In the final ballot on May 19, 1769 Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli was elected to the papacy receiving all votes except of his own, which he gave to Carlo Rezzonico, nephew of Clement XIII and one of the leaders of Zelanti.[6] He took the name of Clement XIV, in honour of Clement XIII, who had elevated him to the cardinalate.

On May 28 the new pope was consecrated to the episcopate by Cardinal Federico Marcello Lante, bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina and sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, assisted by Cardinals Gian Francesco Albani, bishop of Sabina and Henry Benedict Stuart, bishop of Frascati. On June 4 he was solemnly crowned by Cardinal Alessandro Albani, protodeacon of S. Maria in Via Lata[18]

Notes

  1. The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Clement XIII
  2. S. Miranda conclave of 1769, citing K. Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentoris Aevi, 1913, says that all 57 cardinals participated but 11 of them were minime praesentes in conclavi. However, it seems that it should be translated simply as absentees, because the other accounts (The Catholic Encyclopedia; "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 599; Alexis de Montor, p. 77; give the number between 45 and 47 electors. Only an article Sede Vacante 1769 says also that all cardinals participated, but it seems that this is based only on Miranda's statement.
  3. About the factions and their leaders: "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 597-599; The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Clement XIV; The English Review, p. 12 (court faction) and 21 (Zelanti)
  4. "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 598-599; Sede Vacante 1769.
  5. Sede Vacante 1769; these cardinals were mentioned in the report of French ambassador dated August 29, 1765; this report mentioned also a fourth "good" candidate, Cardinal Galli, who died in 1767.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Clement XIV
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sede Vacante 1769
  8. "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 597
  9. A. Piazzoni, p. 287-288
  10. "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 598
  11. "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 600
  12. Alexis de Montor, p. 79
  13. K. Dopierała, p. 366
  14. The Catholic Encyclopedia indicates that there is some evidence that such a document had actually been written and signed by Ganganelli. K. Dopierała, p. 366 denies it
  15. "Clement XIV and the Jesuits", p. 601
  16. The English Review, p. 25-26
  17. Votes in conclave of 1769
  18. S. Miranda: Lorenzo Ganganelli

Sources

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