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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

1758-1799 A.D.


Clement XIII : 1758-1769 A.D.

248. Born in Venice. Elected July 16, 1758 - died mysteriously February 2,1769.

His pontificate had to cope with the "Enlightenment". Austere, Ieven if faithful to a conservatory attitude, he was not liked by many Catholic states where many secular rights of the church were abolished.

The most difficult issue he had to tackle was that concerning the Jesuits, who had to face the opposition of the entire Catholic world; the Pope uselessly issued many bulls to defend them.

Clement XIII tried to drain the Pontine marshes, a project which Sixtus V had already thought about, and completed the building of the Fontana di Trevi, one of the most beautiful baroque monuments.

He was buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. His pontificate lasted about 10 years and 5 months.


Clement XIV
: 1769-1774 A.D.

249. Born in Sant' Arcangelo (Rimini). Elected June 4, 1769 - supposedly died from poisoning on September 22, 1774.

He tried to resume normal relations with Catholic countries.

He founded the museum of epigraphs called Clementino.

He modified the regulation of the Sistine Choir.

Clement XIV had foreseen the end of temporal power and consequently wrote to a friend: "The Holy See will not decay since it is the core and the centre of unity, but the Popes will be forced to give back everything they have received", Despite the numerous attempts to settle disputes, on July 21st 1773 he finally promulgated the "Breve" for the abolishment of the "Dominus ac Redemtior".

The Jesuits, chased away from the Americas, looked for shelter in two non-catholic states, Russia and Prussia, and remained there till the reorganisation of the Order was approved by Pius VII - 251.

He continued the works for the drainage of the Pontine marshes, the construction of the foundation for the Fiumicino quarter and the building of the foundation for the Clementino Museum in the Vatican.

He was buried in the Roman church of the SS. Apostoli. His pontificate lasted about 5 years and 4 months.


Pius VI
: 1775-1799 A.D.

250. Born in Cesena. Elected February 22, 1775 - died February 29, 1799.

He celebrated the 19th Jubilee Year (1775). Forced to interrupt relations with France, he was forced to pay them a lot of money and give them many works of art.

Napoleon conquered Rome and arrested the Pope. He ordered the casting of the 2-meter-wide bells of St. Peter's.

Night lighting and the street-lamps were first introduce to Rome, during the pontificate of Pius VI.

He was the last Pope to ride a horse during the procession towards the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano as bishop of Rome.

When he was a cardinal, he used to wear a wig, but after the election he presented himself with his own hair: he did this because no Pope had ever worn a wig.

He is buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. His pontificate lasted 24 years and a half and was one of the longest.

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