I have occasionally quipped that when I am made pope We shall take the name Clement XIV Ganganelli. Yes, there was already a Clement XIV (1769-74) and his family name was Ganganelli. We would be “Clement XIV Ganganelli”, first of that name, in his honour. It’s either that or perhaps Pius the Tenth II, which in Italian would be another way of saying Pius the Twelfth. But We digress.

Papa Ganganelli was the pope whom little Wolfgang Mozart found in 1770 serving food to the poor in the Vatican Gardens. The 14-year old prodigy charmed the pope, who did not after all excommunicate him for illegally writing down from memory the musical notation for Allegri’s haunting Miserere, which was reserved exclusively for the Sistine Chapel’s Tenebrae services. Clement actually raised the young teenager to the prestigious Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur.

We, in our pontificate, shall imitate Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus (aka the Company, Black Robes and Jesuits) in 1773. A good day’s work, if you ask Us. We celebrated as a feast the anniversary of their suppression just the other day, July 21. Here is some of the stirring text from Papa Ganganelli’s inspired Bull Dominus ac Redemptor Noster:

… having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those most copious and abundant fruits for which it was founded …; after a mature deliberation, we do, out of Our certain knowledge, and the fullness of Our Apostolic power, suppress and abolish the said Company: We deprive it and abrogate from it all activity whatever, and all its duties, ministries, colleges, inns and places whatsoever …”

That passage always makes Us tear up a little.

Speaking of the Society, July 31 is the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (d 1556), quondam soldier, convert, and zealous founder of the Society and their first superior general. The Jesuits started out as a truly remarkable force in the Church for the Counter-Reformation, and many great saints whom we venerate today came from their ranks, including some of the English martyrs, such as Edmund Campion, Robert Southwell, Henry Walpole, John Ogilvie and Nicholas Owen. These were great men. But that was then. It seems that, these days, each morning We rise to news about some weird thing a Jesuit said or did. Pray to St Ignatius and these inspiring Jesuit saints to make the Society great again.

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