Pope Clement XIII

Pope Clement XIII (Latin: Clemens XIII; 7 March 1693 – 2 February 1769), born Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 6 July 1758 to his death in 1769. He was installed on 16 July 1758.[1]

His pontificate was overshadowed by the constant pressure to suppress the Society of Jesus but despite this, he championed their order and also proved to be their greatest defender at that time. He was also one of the few early popes who favoured dialogue with Old Catholic Protestants and to this effect hoped to mend the schism with the Catholic Church that existed in England and the low countries. These efforts ultimately bore little fruit.


Clement XIII
Bishop of Rome
Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779) - Portret van paus Clemens XIII (1758) - Bologna Pinacoteca Nazionale - 26-04-2012 9-53-03
Papacy began6 July 1758
Papacy ended2 February 1769
PredecessorBenedict XIV
SuccessorClement XIV
Ordination23 December 1731
Consecration19 March 1743
by Pope Benedict XIV
Created cardinal20 December 1737
by Pope Clement XII
Personal details
Birth nameCarlo della Torre di Rezzonico
Born7 March 1693
Venice, Republic of Venice
Died2 February 1769 (aged 75)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post
Coat of armsClement XIII's coat of arms
Other popes named Clement
Papal styles of
Pope Clement XIII
C o a Clemente XIII
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone


Early life

Carlo della Torre di Rezzonico was born in 1693 to a recently ennobled family of Venice, the second of two children of the man who bought the unfinished palace on the Grand Canal (now Ca' Rezzonico) and finished its construction. Born to Giovanni Battista Rezzonico and Vittoria Barbarigo, his brother was Aurelio.

He received a Jesuit education in Bologna and later studied at the University of Padua where he obtained his doctorate in canon law and civil law. From there, he travelled to Rome where he attended the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastical Nobles.

In 1716 Rezzonico became the Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura and in 1721 was appointed Governor of Fano.[2] He was ordained to the priesthood on 23 December 1731 in Rome. Pope Clement XII appointed him to the cardinalate in 1737 as the Cardinal-Deacon of San Nicola in Carcere and also filled various important posts in the Roman Curia.[3]

Rezzonico was chosen as Bishop of Padua in 1743 and he received episcopal consecration in Rome by Pope Benedict XIV himself.[3] Rezzonico visited his diocese on frequent occasions and reformed the way that the diocese ran, paying attention to the social needs of the diocese. He was the first to do this in five decades.[4] He later opted to become the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in 1747 and later to become the Cardinal-Priest of San Marco in 1755.[5]


Election to the papacy

Pope Benedict XIV died of gout in 1758 and the College of Cardinals gathered at the papal conclave in order to elect a successor. Direct negotiations between the rival factions resulted in the proposal for the election of Rezzonico. On the evening of 6 July 1758, Rezzonico received 31 votes out of a possible 44, one more than the required amount. He selected the pontifical name of "Clement XIII" in honor of Pope Clement XII, who elevated him to the cardinalate.

Rezzonico was crowned as pontiff on 16 July 1758 by the protodeacon, Cardinal Alessandro Albani.

In the same year, the Rezzonico family celebrated Ludovico Rezzonico's marriage into the powerful Savorgnan family.

Cardinal Rezzonico between 1737 and 1744


Notwithstanding the meekness and affability of his upright and moderate character, he was modest to a fault (he had the classical sculptures in the Vatican provided with mass-produced fig leaves) and generous with his extensive private fortune.

The Jesuits

Clement XIII's pontificate was repeatedly disturbed by disputes respecting the pressures to suppress the Jesuits coming from the progressive Enlightenment circles of the philosophes in France.

Clement XIII placed the Encyclopédie of D'Alembert and Diderot on the Index, but this index was not as effective as it had been in the previous century. More unexpected resistance came from the less progressive courts of Spain, the Two Sicilies, and Portugal. In 1758 the reforming minister of Joseph I of Portugal (1750–77), the Marquis of Pombal, expelled the Jesuits from Portugal, and transported them all to Civitavecchia, as a "gift for the Pope." In 1760, Pombal sent the papal nuncio home and recalled the Portuguese ambassador from the Vatican. The pamphlet titled the Brief Relation, which claimed the Jesuits had created their own sovereign independent kingdom in South America and tyrannised the Native Americans, all in the interest of an insatiable ambition and avarice,[2] did damage to the Jesuit cause as well.

Tomb of clement xiii st peters rome
Clement XIII's tomb in St. Peter's Basilica

On 8 November 1760, Clement XIII issued a Papal bull Quantum ornamenti, which approved the request of King Charles III of Spain to invoke the Immaculate Conception as the Patroness of Spain, along with its eastern and western territories, while continuing to recognize Saint James the Greater as co-patron.

In France, the Parlement de Paris, with its strong upper bourgeois background and Jansenist sympathies, began its campaign to expel the Jesuits from France in the spring of 1761, and the published excerpts from Jesuit writings, the Extrait des assertions, provided anti-Jesuit ammunition (though, arguably, many of the statements the Extrait contained were made to look worse than they were through judicious omission of context). Though a congregation of bishops assembled at Paris in December 1761 recommended no action, Louis XV of France (1715–74) promulgated a royal order permitting the Society to remain in France, with the proviso that certain essentially liberalising changes in their institution satisfy the Parlement with a French Jesuit vicar-general who would be independent of the general in Rome. When the Parlement by the arrêt of 2 August 1762 suppressed the Jesuits in France and imposed untenable conditions on any who remained in the country, Clement XIII protested against this invasion of the Church's rights and annulled the arrêts.[2] Louis XV's ministers could not permit such an abrogation of French law, and the King finally expelled the Jesuits in November 1764.

Clement XIII warmly espoused the Jesuit order in a papal bull Apostolicum pascendi, 7 January 1765, which dismissed criticisms of the Jesuits as calumnies and praised the order's usefulness; it was largely ignored: by 1768 the Jesuits had been expelled from France, the Two Sicilies and Parma. In Spain, they appeared to be safe, but Charles III of Spain (1759–88), aware of the drawn-out contentions in Bourbon France, decided on a more peremptory efficiency. During the night of 2–3 April 1767, all the Jesuit houses of Spain were suddenly surrounded, the inhabitants arrested, shipped to the ports in the clothes they were wearing and bundled onto ships for Civitavecchia. The King's letter to Clement XIII promised that his allowance of 100 piastres each year would be withdrawn for the whole order, should any one of them venture at any time to write anything in self-defence or in criticism of the motives for the expulsion,[2] motives that he refused to discuss, then or in the future.

Much the same fate awaited them in the territories of the Bourbon Duke of Parma and Piacenza, advised by the liberal minister Guillaume du Tillot. In 1768, Clement XIII issued a strong protest (monitorium) against the policy of the Parmese government. The question of the investiture of Parma aggravated the Pope's troubles. The Bourbon Kings espoused their relative's quarrel, seized Avignon, Benevento and Pontecorvo, and united in a peremptory demand for the total suppression of the Jesuits (January 1769).[3]

Driven to extremes, Clement XIII consented to call a consistory to consider the step, but on the very eve of the day set for its meeting he died, not without suspicion of poison, of which, however, there appears to be no conclusive evidence.[3]


A portrait of Pope Clement XIII

Clement XIII backed plans to reunite the Catholic Church, with Old Catholic branches that split from Rome in 1724 over the issue of Papal authority, as well as with Protestants. This made little progress since Clement refused to compromise on doctrine with Protestants or on Papal authority with Old Catholics.

In support of this policy, he recognised the Hanoverians as Kings of Great Britain despite the long-term residence in Rome of the Catholic House of Stuart. When James Francis Edward Stuart, aka James III died in 1766, Clement refused to recognise his son Charles Edward Stuart as Charles III, despite the objections of his brother Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart.[6]

Other activities

Clement XIII created 52 new cardinals in seven consistories in his pontificate. The pope created his nephew Carlo as a cardinal in his first consistory and later created Antonio Ganganelli - who would succeed him as Pope Clement XIV - as a cardinal.

The pope approved the cultus for several individuals: Andrew of Montereale and Vincent Kadlubek on 18 February 1764, Angelus Agostini Mazzinghi on 7 March 1761, Antoine Neyrot on 22 February 1767, Augustine Novello in 1759, Elizabeth Achler on 19 July 1766, James Bertoni in 1766, Francesco Marinoni on 5 December 1764, Mattia de Nazarei on 27 July 1765, Sebastian Maggi on 15 April 1760 and Angela Merici on 30 April 1768. He formally beatified Beatrix of Este the Elder on 19 November 1763, Bernard of Corleone on 15 May 1768 and Gregorio Barbarigo on 6 July 1761.

Clement XIII canonized four saints in his pontificate: Jerome Emiliani, Joseph Calasanz, Joseph of Cupertino, and Serafino of Montegranaro on 16 July 1767.


Clement XIII died during the night of 2 February 1769 in Rome of an apoplexy. He was laid to rest on 8 February 1769 in the Vatican but his remains were transferred on 27 September 1774 to a monument in the Vatican that had been sculpted by Antonio Canova at the request of Senator Abbondio Rezzonico, the nephew of the late pontiff.

From the Annual Register, for 1758: Pope Clement XIII was "the honestest man in the world; a most exemplary ecclesiastic; of the purest morals; devout, steady, learned, diligent..."[7]

See also


  1. ^ http://www2.fiu.edu/~mirandas/bios1737.htm#Rezzonico
  2. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, Sydney (1908). "Pope Clement XIII". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 4. New York: Robert Appleton. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Clement /Clement XIII" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 487.
  4. ^ L'Osservatore Romano (6 July 2008)
  5. ^ "Rezzonico, senior, Carlo (1693-1769)". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
  6. ^ Blaikie, Walter Biggar (1917). Origins of the Forty-Five, and Other Papers Relating to That Rising (2017 ed.). Forgotten Books. ISBN 978-1331341628.
  7. ^ The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politicks, and Literature, of the Year 1758. London: R. and J. Dodsley. 1759. p. 102.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giovanni Minotto Ottoboni
Bishop of Padova
11 March 1743 – 6 July 1758
Succeeded by
Sante Veronese
Preceded by
Benedict XIV
6 July 1758 – 2 February 1769
Succeeded by
Clement XIV
1758 papal conclave

The papal conclave of 1758 (May 15 – July 6), convoked after the death of Pope Benedict XIV, it elected Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico of Venice, who took the name Clement XIII.

Andrea Corsini (cardinal)

Andrea Corsini (11 June 1735, Florence – 18 January 1795, Rome) was an Italian cardinal. A great-nephew of pope Clement XII and a nephew of cardinal Neri Maria Corsini. Pope Clement XIII made him a cardinal in the consistory of 24 September 1759. He was camerlengo of the college of cardinals in 1771.

He was made prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and member of the commission for the Suppression of the Jesuits in 1773. He was also economic prefect of the Collegio Romano and of the Roman seminary and vicar general for the city of Rome and its district.

Angela Merici

Angela Merici, or Angela de Merici (Italian: [ˈandʒela (de) meˈriːtʃi]; 21 March 1474 – 27 January 1540), was an Italian religious educator, who is honored as a saint by the Catholic Church. She found the Company of St. Ursula in 1535 in Brescia, in which women dedicated their lives to the service of the Church through the education of girls. From this organisation later sprang the monastic Order of Ursulines, whose nuns established places of prayer and learning throughout Europe and, later, worldwide, most notably in North America.

Apostolicum pascendi

Apostolicum pascendi was a papal bull issued by Pope Clement XIII on 12 January 1765 in defense of the Society of Jesus.It relates that both privately and publicly the Society was the object of much calumny. On the other hand, the Society was the subject of praise on the part of bishops for the useful work its members were doing in their dioceses.

To confirm this approval and to counteract the calumnies which had been spreading throughout different countries, the Pope confirmed the Society as it was originally constituted, approved its end and its method of work, and whatever sodalities its members have under their charge.

In 1764 the Jesuits had been expelled from France by Louis XV. Internally in the Catholic Church, also, they were under pressure. The temporary suppression of the Jesuits would take place in 1773, after partial suppression in significant countries in 1767.

Basilian Chouerite Sisters

The Basilian Chouerite Sisters is a religious order of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and considered as the female branch of the Basilian Chouerite Order.

The order was founded in 1737 and approved in 1763 by Pope Clement XIII. The first house of the congregation was the Monastery of the Annunciation at Zouk Mikael.

Cardinals created by Clement XIII

Pope Clement XIII (r. 1758–1769) created 52 cardinals in seven consistories.

Carlo Rezzonico (cardinal)

This article is about the Cardinal named Carlo Rezzonico. For information about Pope Clement XIII go to the corresponding article.Carlo Rezzonico (25 April 1724 – 26 January 1799) was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is sometimes referred to as The Younger to distinguish him from his uncle Pope Clement XIII who also bore the name Carlo Rezzonico. He served as Vice-Chancellor of the Holy Roman Church (1758–1763), Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church (1763–1799) and Secretary of the Roman Inquisition (1777–1799). He was also bishop of Sabina (1773–1776) and Bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina (1776–1799). As Cardinal Camerlengo he participated in the papal conclave, 1769 and papal conclave, 1774-1775.

He belonged to the Zelanti faction and defended the Society of Jesus against the accusations that finally led to the suppression of this order.

Cum sæpe accidere

Cum sæpe accidere was a papal bull issued by Pope Clement VIII on 28 February 1592, which decreed that the Jews of Avignon were forbidden to trade "new commodities" in public places.

Francesco Marinoni

Francesco Marinoni (25 December 1490 – 13 December 1562) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest who was a member of the Theatines. He assumed the name Giovanni upon admittance into the order.

His cult was confirmed and acted as his formal beatification in 1764 under Pope Clement XIII. His life of heroic virtue was approved and Pope Benedict XVI added the title of Venerable to him despite the fact he was beatified. A miracle - now under investigation - is needed for his canonization.

Giovanni Carlo Boschi

Giovanni Carlo Boschi (Faenza, 9 April 1715 – 6 September 1788) was an Italian clergyman who was made a cardinal by Pope Clement XIII in the consistory of 21 July 1766. He then served as Major Penitentiary from 1767 to 1788, and participated in the papal conclaves of 1769 and 1774–75. In the latter, the jus exclusivae was used on behalf of the Bourbons to veto his election to the papacy. His other offices included prefect of the Congregation for the correction of the books of the Oriental Church.

Guillaume Piguel

Guillaume Piguel (December 4, 1722 – June 21, 1771) served as the Apostolic Vicar of Cochin (1762–1771).

King of Hungary

The King of Hungary (Hungarian: magyar király) was the ruling head of state of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 (or 1001) to 1918.

The style of title "Apostolic King of Hungary" was endorsed by Pope Clement XIII in 1758 and used afterwards by all Monarchs of Hungary.

Le feste d'Apollo

Le feste d'Apollo (The Festivals of Apollo) is an operatic work by Christoph Willibald von Gluck, first performed at the Teatrino della Corte, Parma, Italy, on 24 August 1769 for the wedding celebrations of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma and Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria.

Styled a festa teatrale, Le feste d'Apollo consists of a prologue and three self-contained acts on the model of French opéra-ballet (the court of Parma was passionately interested in French culture). Gluck knew the Archduchess Maria Amalia well as she had sung in two of his operas, Il Parnaso confuso and La corona, in Vienna. The composer recycled a lot of music from his earlier operas in the score of Le feste. In fact, the whole of the third act, Orfeo, is a shorter reworking of his most famous piece, Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). The overture to the prologue is taken from Telemaco. Gluck later reused some of the choruses in two of the operas he wrote for Paris, Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride.

Gluck travelled to Parma to supervise rehearsals from February to April 1769. The wedding was delayed by the death of Pope Clement XIII and did not take place until 19 July. The celebrations, including the staging of Le feste, followed in August.

Lucas Ramírez Galán

Lucas Ramírez Galán, OFM (18 October 1715 – 19 March 1774) was a Spanish Roman Catholic archbishop. He served as Bishop of Tui from 1770 to 1774. Previously, he served as Archbishop of Bogotá from 1769 to 1770 and Auxiliary Bishop of Cartagena from 1761 to 1769.

Marcantonio Colonna (18th-century cardinal)

Marcantonio Colonna (16 August 1724 – 4 December 1793) was an Italian Catholic cardinal. Born in Rome on 16 August 1724, Colonna was made Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria by in Aquiro Pope Clement XIII on 19 November 1759. He was then ordained a deacon on 9 March 1760 and a priest on 1 February 1761. He was appointed Titular Archbishop of Corinthus and Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria della Pace by Pope Clement XIII on 19 April 1762. Soon thereafter, on 25 April, Colonna was ordained a bishop. Pope Clement XIII acted as his consecrator and Pope Clement XI (then Cardinal Giovanni Francesco Albani) and Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart acted as co-consecrators.

In 1763, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for Residence of Bishops and in January of that year, he was appointed Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. On 25 June 1784, Colonna was made Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Lucina by Pope Clement XIV and on 20 September 1784, he was appointed Cardinal-Bishop of Palestrina. Colonna died on 4 December 1793.

Saint Francis of Assisi Church, Aleppo

Saint Francis of Assisi Church also called the Latin church of Aleppo, is a Catholic church in Aleppo, Syria, operating under the regulation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo. It the cathedral of the vicarate and the seat of the bishop until 2011, when a new Cathedral of the Child Jesus was consecrated in the city.The temple uses the Roman or Latin rite, is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi and is the seat of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo (Latin: Vicariatus Apostolicus Aleppensis) which was created in 1762 by Pope Clement XIII and who has baptized twelve thousand Faithful Christians until 2004. The cathedral is neo-classical style. It is maintained by the Franciscans.

It is under the pastoral responsibility of Bishop Georges Abou Khazen.

Sebastian Maggi

Blessed Sebastian Maggi (1414–1496) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and a professed member of the Dominicans. Maggi also served as the confessor to both Girolamo Savonarola and Saint Catherine of Genoa.Pope Clement XIII beatified him on 15 April 1760.

Tommaso Struzzieri

Tommaso Struzzieri, C.P. (30 March 1706 – 21 January 1780) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Todi (1775–1780), Bishop of Amelia (1770–1775), and Titular Bishop of Tium (1764–1770).

Wincenty Kadłubek

Blessed Wincenty Kadłubek (c. 1150 – 8 March 1223) was a Polish Roman Catholic prelate and professed Cistercian who served as the Bishop of Kraków from 1208 until his resignation in 1218. He was also a noted historian and prolific writer. His episcopal mission was to reform the diocesan priests to ensure their holiness and sought to invigorate the faithful and cultivate greater participation in ecclesial affairs on their part.The process for his canonization proved quite slow despite initial momentum to see him proclaimed as a saint. The cause languished for several centuries until 1764 when Pope Clement XIII beatified him.

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Bible and
By country
of the faithful
Early Church
Late antiquity
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
19th century
20th century
21st century

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.