Dominus ac Redemptor Noster
Bull of Pope Clement XIV PERMANENTLY suppressing the Jesuit Order.
Given at Rome on July 21, 1773.
This Brief or Papal Bull is a damning indictment of the Papacy....The Pope acknowledges how utterly corrupt the Jesuits are, yet his suppression came AFTER their expulsion was a fait accompli by the kings of France, Portugal and Spain.
"Brief for the effectual Suppression of the Order of Jesuits.
"Clement XIV., Pope &c
"Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer, was foretold by the prophets as the Prince of Peace: the angels proclaimed him under the same title to the shepherds at his first appearance upon earth; he afterwards made himself known repeatedly as the sovereign pacificator; and he recommended peace to his disciples before his ascension to heaven.
"Having reconciled all things to God his Father, having pacified by his blood and by his cross everything which is contained in heaven and in earth, he recommended to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, and bestowed on them the gift of tongues, that they might publish it; that they might become ministers and envoys of Christ, who is not the God of discord, but of peace and love; that they might announce this peace to all the earth, and direct their efforts to this chief point, that all men, being regenerated in Christ, might preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; might consider themselves as one body and one soul, as called to one and the same hope, to one and the same vocation, at which, according to St Gregory, we can never arrive, unless we run in concert with our brethren. The same word of reconciliation, this same ministry, is recommended to us by God in a particular manner. Ever since we were raised (without any personal merit) to the chair of St Peter, we have called these duties to mind day and night; we have had them without ceasing before our eyes; they are deeply engraven on our heart; and we labour to the utmost of our power to satisfy and to fulfil them. To this effect we implore without ceasing the protection and the aid of God, that he would inspire us and all his flock with counsels of peace, and open to us the road which leads to it. We know, besides, that we are established by the Divine Providence over kingdoms and nations, in order to pluck up, destroy, disperse, dissipate, plant, or nourish, as may best conduce to the right cultivation of the vineyard of Sabaoth, and to the. preservation of the edifice of the Christian religion, of which Christ is the chief corner-stone. In consequence hereof, we have ever thought, and been constantly of opinion, that, as it is our duty carefully to plant and nourish whatever may conduce in any manner to the repose and tranquility of the Christian republic, so the bond of mutual charity requires that we be equally ready and disposed to pluck up and destroy even the things which are most agreeable to us, and of which we cannot deprive ourselves without the highest regret and the most pungent sorrow.
"It is beyond a doubt, that among the things which contribute to the good and happiness of the Christian republic, the religious orders hold, as it were, the first place. It was for this reason that the Apostolic See, which owes its lustre and support to these orders, has not only approved, but endowed them with many exemptions, privileges, and faculties, in order that they might be so much the more excited to the cultivation of piety and religion; to the direction of the manners of the people, both by their instructions and their examples; to the preservation and confirmation of the unity of the faith among the believers. But if, at any time, any of these religious orders did not cause these abundant fruits to prosper among the Christian people, did not produce those advantages which were hoped for at their institution; if at any time they seemed disposed rather to trouble than maintain the public tranquility; the same Apostolic See, which had availed itself of its own authority to establish these orders, did not hesitate to reform them by new laws, to recall them to their primitive institution, or even totally to abolish them where it has seemed necessary.
[Here follows a long list of religious orders suppressed by different Popes, without giving them the opportunity of clearing themselves from the accusations brought against them. It then proceeds as follows:—]
"We, therefore, having these and other such examples before our eyes, examples of great weight and high authority—animated, besides, with a lively desire of walking with a safe conscience and a firm step in the deliberations of which we shall speak hereafter—have omitted no care, no pains, in order to arrive at a thorough knowledge of the origin, the progress, and the actual state of that regular order commonly called 'The Company of Jesus.' In the course these investigations, we have seen that the holy founder of the order did institute it for the salvation of souls, the conversion of heretics and infidels, and, in short, for the greater advancement of piety and religion. And, in order to attain more surely and happily so laudable a design, he consecrated himself rigorously to God, by an absolute vow of evangelical poverty, with which to bind the Society in general, and each individual in particular, except only the colleges in which polite literature and other branches of knowledge were to be taught, and which were allowed to possess property, but so that no part of their revenues could ever be applied to the use of the said Society in general. It was under these and other holy restrictions that the Company of Jesus was approved by the Pope Paul III., our predecessor of blessed memory, by his letter sub plumbo, dated 27th September 1540.
[Here Clement enumerates the other Popes who had either confirmed the privileges already granted to the Society, or had explained and augmented them.]
"Notwithstanding so many and so great favours, it appears from the apostolical Constitutions, that, almost at the very moment of its institution, their arose in the bosom of this Society divers seeds of discord and dissension, not only among the companions themselves, but with other regular orders, the secular clergy, the academies; the universities, the public schools, and lastly, even with the princes of the states in which the Society was received.
"These dissensions and disputes arose sometimes concerning the nature of their vows, the time of admission to them, the power of expulsion, the right of admission to holy orders without a sufficient title, and without having taken the solemn vows, contrary to the tenor of the decrees of the Council of Trent, and of Pius V., our predecessor; sometimes concerning the absolute authority assumed by the General of the said order, and on matters relating to the good government and discipline of the order; sometimes concerning different points of doctrine concerning their schools, or such of their exemptions and privileges as the ordinaries and other civil or ecclesiastical officers declared to be contrary to their rights and jurisdiction. In short, accusations of the greatest nature, and very detrimental to the peace and tranquility of the Christian republic, have been continually received against the said order. Hence the origin of that infinity of appeals and protests against this Society, which so many sovereigns have laid at the foot of the throne of our predecessors Paul IV., Pius V., and Sixtus V.
"Among the princes who have thus appealed, is Philip II., King of Spain, of glorious memory, who laid before Sixtus V. not only the reasons of complaint which he had, but also those alleged by the inquisitors of his kingdom, against the excessive privileges of the Society, and the form of their government. He desired likewise that the Pope should be acquainted with the heads of accusation laid against the Society, and confirmed by some of its own members remarkable for their learning and piety, and demanded that the Society should undergo an apostolic visitation. Sixtus V., convinced that these demands and solicitations of Philip were just and well founded, did, without hesitation, comply therewith; and, in consequence, named a bishop of distinguished prudence, virtue, and learning, to be apostolical visitor, and at the same time deputed a congregation of cardinals to examine this matter.
"But this pontiff having been carried off by a premature death, this wise undertaking remained without effect. Gregory XIV. being raised to the supreme apostolic chair, approved, in its utmost extent, the institution of the Society, by his letter, sub plumbo, dated the 28th of July 1591. He confirmed all the privileges which had been granted by any of his predecessors to the Society, and particularly the power of expelling and dismissing any of its members, without any previous form of process, information, act, or delay; upon the sole view of the truth of the fact, and the nature of the crime, from a sufficient motive, and a due regard of persons and circumstances. He ordained, and that under pain of excommunication, that all proceedings against the Society should be quashed, and that no person whatever should presume, directly or indirectly, to attack the institution, constitutions, or decrees of the said Society, or attempt in any manner whatever to make any changes therein. To each and every of the members only of the said Society, he permitted to expose and propose, either by themselves or by the legates and nuncios of the Holy See, to himself only, or the Popes his successors, whatever they should think proper to be added, modified, or changed in their institution.
"Who would have thought that even these dispositions should prove ineffectual towards appeasing the cries and appeals against the Society? On the contrary, very violent disputes arose on all sides concerning the doctrine of the Society, which many represented as contrary to the orthodox faith and to sound morals. The dissensions among themselves, and with others, grew every day more animated; the accusations against the Society were multiplied without number, and especially with that insatiable avidity of temporal possessions with which it was reproached. Hence the rise not only of those well-known troubles which brought so much care and solicitude upon the Holy See, but also of the resolutions which certain sovereigns took against the said order.
"It resulted that, instead of obtaining from Paul V., of blessed memory, a fresh confirmation of its institute and privileges, the Society was reduced to ask of him that he would condescend to ratify and confirm, by his authority, certain decrees formed in the Fifth General Congregation of the Company, and transcribed word for word in the Brief of the said Pope, bearing date September 4, 1606. In these decrees, it is plainly acknowledged that the dissensions and internal revolts of the said companions, together with the demands and appeals of strangers, had obliged the said companions assembled in congregation to enact the following statute, namely:
" 'The Divine Providence having raised up our Society for the propagation of the Faith, and the gaining of souls, the said Society can, by the rules of its own institute, which are its spiritual arms, arrive happily, under the standard of the Cross, at the end which it has proposed for the good of the Church and the edification of our neighbours. But the said Society would prevent the effect of these precious goods, and expose them to the most imminent dangers, if it concerned itself with temporal matters, and which relate to political affairs and the administration of government; in consequence whereof, it has been wisely ordained by our superiors and ancients, that, confining ourselves to combat for the glory of God, we should not concern ourselves with matters foreign to our profession but whereas, in these times of difficulty and danger, it has happened, through the fault perhaps of certain individuals, through ambition and intemperate zeal, that our institute has been ill spoken of in divers places, and before divers sovereigns, whose affection and good-will the Father Ignatius, of holy memory, thought we should preserve for the good of the service of God; and whereas a good reputation is indispensably necessary to make the vineyard of Christ bring forth fruits; in consequence hereof, our congregation has resolved that we shall abstain from all appearance of evil, and remedy, as far as in our power, the evils arisen from false suspicions. To this end, and by the authority of the present decree of the said congregation, it is severely and strictly forbidden to all the members of the Society to interfere in any manner whatever in public affairs, even though they be thereto invited, or to deviate from the institute, through entreaty, persuasion, or any other motive whatever. The congregation recommends to the fathers-coadjutors; that they do propose and determine, with all diligence and speed, such further means. as they may think necessary for remedying this abuse.'
"We have seen, in the grief of our heart, that neither these remedies, nor an infinity of others, since employed, have produced their due effect, or silenced the accusations and complaints against the said Society. Our other predecessors, Urban VII., Clement IX., X., XI., and XII., and Alexander VII. and VIII., Innocent X., XII., and XIII., and Benedict XIV., employed, without effect, all their efforts to the same purpose. In vain did they endeavour, by salutary constitutions, to restore peace to the Church; as well with respect to secular affairs, with which the Company ought not to have interfered, as with regard to the missions; which gave rise to great disputes and oppositions on the part of the Company with the ordinaries, with other religious orders, about the holy places, and communities of all sorts in Europe, Africa, and America, to the great loss of souls, and great scandal of the people; as likewise concerning the meaning and practice of certain idolatrous ceremonies, adopted in certain places, in contempt of those justly approved by the Catholic Church; and further, concerning the use and explanation of certain maxims, which the Holy See has with reason proscribed as scandalous, and manifestly contrary to good morals; and, lastly, concerning other matters of great importance and prime necessity, towards preserving the integrity and purity of the doctrines of the gospel; from which maxims have resulted very great inconveniences and great detriment both in our days and in past ages; such as the revolts and intestine troubles in some of the Catholic states, persecutions against the Church, in some countries of Asia and Europe, not to mention the vexation and grating solicitude which these melancholy affairs brought on our predecessors, principally upon Innocent XI., of blessed memory, who found himself reduced to the necessity of forbidding the Company to receive any more novices; and afterwards upon Innocent XIII., who was obliged to threaten the Company with the same punishment; and, lastly, upon Benedict XIV., who took the resolution of ordaining a general visitation of all the houses and colleges of the Company in the kingdom of our dearly beloved son in Jesus Christ, the most faithful King of Portugal.
" The late apostolic letter of Clement XIII., of blessed memory, our immediate predecessor, by which the institute of the Company of Jesus was again approved and recommended, was far from bringing any comfort to the Holy See, or any advantage to the Christian republic. Indeed this letter was rather extorted than granted, to use the expression of Gregory X. in the above-named General Council of Lyons.
"After so many storms, troubles, and divisions, every good man looked forward with impatience to the happy day which was to restore peace and tranquility. But under the reign of this same Clement XIII. the times became more difficult and tempestuous; complaints and quarrels were multiplied on every side; in some places dangerous sedition arose, tumults, discords, dissension, scandals, which, weakening or entirely breaking the bonds of Christian charity, excited the faithful to all the rage of party hatreds and enmities. Desolation and danger grew to such a height, that the very sovereigns, whose piety and liberality towards the Company were so well known as to be looked upon as hereditary in their families—we mean our dearly beloved sons in Christ, the Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, and Sicily found themselves reduced to the necessity of expelling and driving from their states, kingdoms, and provinces, these very Companions of Jesus persuaded that there remained no other remedy to so great evils; and that this step was necessary in order to prevent the Christians from rising one against another, and from massacring each other in the very bosom of our common mother the Holy Church. The said our dear sons in Jesus Christ having since considered that even this remedy would not be sufficient towards reconciling the whole Christian world, unless the said Society was absolutely abolished and suppressed, made known their demands and wills in this matter to our said predecessor Clement VIII. They united their common prayers and authority to obtain that this last method might be put in practice, as the only one capable of assuring the constant repose of their subjects, and the good of the Catholic Church in general. But the unexpected death of the aforesaid pontiff rendered this project abortive.
"As soon as by the divine mercy and providence we were raised to the chair of St Peter, the same prayers, demands, and wishes were laid before us, and strengthened by the pressing solicitations of many bishops, and other persons of distinguished rank, learning, and piety, but, that we might choose the wisest course in an affair of so much importance, we determined not to be precipitate, but to take due time; not only to examine attentively, weigh carefully, and wisely debate, but also, by unceasing prayers, to ask of the Father of Lights his particular assistance under these circumstances; exhorting at the same time the faithful to co-operate with us by their prayers and good works in obtaining this needful succour.
"And first of all we proposed to examine upon what grounds rested the common opinion, that the institute of the Clerks of the Company of Jesus had been approved and confirmed in an especial manner by the Council of Trent. And we found that in the said Council nothing more was done with regard to the said Society, only to except it from the general decree, which ordained that in the other regular orders, those who had finished their novitiate, and were judged worthy of being admitted to the profession, should be admitted thereto; and that such as were not found worthy should be sent back from the monastery. The same Council declared, that it meant not to make any change or innovation in the government of the clerks of the Company of Jesus, that they might not be hindered from being useful to God and his Church, according to the intent of the pious institute approved by the Holy See.
"Actuated by so many and important considerations, and, as we hope, aided by the presence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit; compelled, besides, by the necessity of our ministry, which strictly obliges us to conciliate, maintain, and confirm the peace and tranquility of the Christian republic, and remove every obstacle which may tend to trouble it; having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant fruits, and those great advantages, with a view to which it was instituted, approved by so many of our predecessors, and endowed with so many and extensive privileges; that, on the contrary, it was very difficult, not to say impossible, that the Church could recover a firm and durable peace so long as the said Society subsisted; in consequence hereof, and determined by the particular reasons we have here alleged, and forced by other motives which prudence and the good government of the Church have dictated; the knowledge of which we reserve to ourselves; conforming ourselves to the examples of our predecessors, and particularly to that of Gregory X. in the general Council of Lyons; the rather as, in the present case, we are determining upon the fate of a society classed among the mendicant orders, both by its institute and by its privileges; after a mature deliberation, we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fulness of our apostolical power, SUPPRESS AND ABOLISH THE SAID COMPANY: we deprive it of all activity whatever, of its houses, schools, colleges, hospitals, lands, and, in short, every other place whatsoever, in whatever kingdom or province they may be situated; we abrogate and annul its statutes, rules, customs, decrees, and constitutions, even though confirmed by oath, and approved by the Holy See or otherwise; in like manner we annul all and every its privileges, indults, general or particular, the tenor whereof is, and is taken to be, as fully and as amply expressed in the present Brief as if the same were inserted word for word, in whatever clauses, form, or decree, or under whatever sanction their privileges may have been conceived. We declare all, and all kind of authority, the General, the provincials, the visitors, and other superiors of the said Society to be FOR EVER ANNULLED AND EXTINGUISHED, of what nature soever the said authority may be, as well in things spiritual as temporal. We do likewise order that the said jurisdiction and authority be transferred to the respective ordinaries, fully and in the same manner as the said generals, &c. exercised it, according to the form, places, and circumstances with respect to the persons and under the conditions hereafter determined; forbidding, as we do hereby forbid, the reception of any person to the said Society, the novitiate or habit thereof. And with regard to those who have already been admitted, our will is, that they be not received to make profession of the simple, solemn, absolute vows, under penalty of nullity, and such other penalties as we shall ordain: Further, we do will, command, and ordain, that those who are now performing their novitiate be speedily, immediately, and actually sent back to their own homes; we do further forbid that those who have made profession of the first simple vows, but who are not yet admitted to either of the holy orders, be admitted thereto under any pretext or title whatever; whether on account of the profession they have already made in the said Society, or by virtue of any privileges the said Society has obtained, contrary to the tenor of the decrees of the Council of Trent.
"And whereas all our endeavours are directed to the great end of procuring the good of the Church and the tranquility of nations; and it being at the same time our intention to provide all necessary aid, consolation, and assistance to the individuals or companions of the said Society, every one of which, in his individual capacity, we love in the Lord with a truly parental affection; and to the end that they being delivered on their part from the persecutions, dissensions, and troubles with which they have for a long time been agitated, may be able to labour with more success in the vineyard of the Lord, and contribute to the salvation of souls; therefore, and for these motives, we do decree and determine that such of the companions as have yet made professions only of the first vows, and are not yet promoted to holy orders, being absolved, as in fact they are absolved, from the first simple vows, do, without fail, quit the houses and colleges of the said Society, and be at full liberty to choose such course of life as each shall judge most conformable to his vocation, strength, and conscience, and that within a space of time to be prescribed by the ordinary of the diocese; which time shall be sufficient for each to provide himself some employment or benefice, or at least some patron who will receive him into his house, always provided that the time thus allowed do not exceed the space of one year, to be counted from the day of the date hereof. And this the rather, as, according to the privileges of the said Company, those who have only taken these first vows may be expelled the order upon motives left entirely to the prudence of the superiors, as circumstances require, and without any previous form of process. As to such of the companions as are already promoted to holy orders, we grant them permission to quit the houses and colleges of the Company, and to enter into any other regular order already approved by the Holy See. In which case, and supposing they have already professed the first vows, they are to perform the accustomed novitiate in the order into which they are to enter according to the prescription of the Council of Trent; but if they have taken all the vows, then they shall perform only a novitiate of six months, we graciously dispensing with the rest. Or otherwise, we do permit them to live at large as secular priests and clerks, always under a perfect and absolute obedience to the jurisdiction of the ordinary of the diocese where they shall establish themselves. We do likewise ordain, that to such as shall embrace this last expedient, a convenient stipend be paid out of the revenues of the house or college where they reside; regard being paid, in assigning the same, to the expenses to which the said house shall be exposed, as well as to the revenues it enjoyed. With regard to those who have made the last vows, and are promoted to holy orders, and who, either through fear of not being able to subsist for want of a pension, or from the smallness thereof, or because they know not where to fix themselves, or, on account of age, infirmities, or other grave and lawful reasons, do not choose to quit the said colleges or houses, they shall be permitted to dwell therein, provided always that they exercise no ministry whatsoever in the said houses or colleges, and be entirely subject to the ordinary of the diocese; that they make no acquisitions whatever, according to the decree of the Council of Lyons, that they do not alienate the houses, possessions, or funds which they actually possess. It shall be lawful to unite in one or more houses the number of individuals that remain, nor shall others be substituted in the room of those who may die so that the houses which become vacant may be converted to such pious uses as the circumstances of time and place shall require, in conformity to the holy canons, and the intention of the founders, so as may best promote the divine worship, the salvation of souls, and the public good. And to this end a member of the regular clergy, recommendable for his prudence and sound morals, shall be chosen to preside over and govern the said houses; so that the name of the Company shall be, and is, for ever extinguished and suppressed.
"In like manner we declare, that in this general suppression of the Company shall be comprehended the individuals thereof in all the provinces from whence they have already been expelled; and to this effect our will is, that the said individuals, even though they have been promoted to holy orders, be ipso facto reduced to the state of secular priests and clerks, and remain in absolute subjection to the ordinary of the diocese, supposing always that they are not entered into any other regular order.
"If, among the subjects heretofore of the Company of Jesus, but who shall become secular priests or clerks, the ordinaries shall find any qualified by their virtues, learning, and purity of morals, they may, as they see fit, grant or refuse them power of confessing and preaching but none of them shall exercise the said holy function without a permission in writing nor shall the bishops or ordinaries grant such permission to such of the Society who shall remain in the colleges or houses heretofore belonging to the Society, to whom we expressly and for ever prohibit the administration of the sacrament of penance, and the function of preaching; as Gregory X. did prohibit it in the Council already cited. And we leave it to the consciences of the bishops to see that this last article be strictly observed; exhorting them to have before their eyes the severe account which they must render to God of the flock committed to their charge, and the tremendous judgment with which the great Judge of the living and the dead doth threaten those who are invested with so high a character.
"Further, we will, that if any of those who have heretofore professed the institute of the Company, shall be desirous of dedicating themselves to the instruction of youth in any college or school, care be taken that they take no part in the government or direction of the same, and that the liberty of teaching be granted to such only whose labours promise a happy issue, and who shall shew themselves averse to all spirit of dispute, and untainted with any doctrines which may occasion or stir up frivolous and dangerous quarrels. In a word, the faculty of teaching youth shall neither be granted nor preserved but to those who seem inclined to maintain peace in the schools and tranquility in the world.
" Our intention and pleasure is, that the dispositions which we have thus made known for the suppression of this Society shall be extended to the members thereof employed in missions, reserving to ourselves the right of fixing upon such methods as to us shall appear most sure and convenient for the conversion of infidels and the conciliation of controverted points.
"All and singular the privileges and statutes of the said Company being thus annulled and entirely abrogated, we declare that as soon as the individuals thereof shall have quitted their houses and colleges, and taken the habit of secular clerks, they shall be qualified to obtain, in conformity to the decrees of the holy canons and apostolic constitutions, cures, benefices without cure, offices, charges, dignities, and all employments whatever, which they could not obtain so long as they were members of the said Society, according to the will of Gregory XIII., of blessed memory, expressed in his bull bearing date September 10th, 1548, which Brief begins with these words—Satus superque, &c. Likewise we grant them the power which they had not before, of receiving alms for the celebration of the mass, and the full enjoyment of all the graces and favours from which they were heretofore precluded as regular clerks of the Company of Jesus.
"We likewise abrogate all the prerogatives which had been granted to them by their General and other superiors in virtue of the privileges obtained from the Sovereign Pontiffs, and by which they were permitted to read heretical and impious books proscribed by the Holy See; likewise the power they enjoyed of not observing the stated fasts, and of eating flesh on fast days; likewise the faculty of reciting the prayers called the canonical hours, and all other like privileges; our firm intention being, that they do conform themselves in all things to the manner of living of the secular priests, and to the general rules of the Church.
" Further, we do ordain, that after the publication of this our letter, no person do presume to suspend the execution thereof, under colour, title, or pretence of any action, appeal, relief, explanation of doubts which may arise, or any other pretext whatever, foreseen or not foreseen. Our will and meaning is, that the suppression and destruction of the said Society, and of all its parts, shall have an immediate and instantaneous effect in the manner here above set forth; and that under pain of the greater excommunication, to be immediately incurred by whosoever shall presume to create the least impediment or obstacle, or delay in the execution of this our will: the said excommunication not to be taken off but by ourselves, or our successors, the Roman Pontiffs.
"Further, we ordain and command, by virtue of the holy obedience to all and every ecclesiastical person, regular and secular, of whatever rank, dignity, and condition, and especially those who have been heretofore of the said Company, that no one of them do carry their audacity so far as to impugn, combat, or even write or speak about the said suppression, or the reasons and motives of it, or about the institute of the Company, its form of government, or other circumstance thereto relating, without an express permission from the Roman Pontiff, and that under the same pain of excommunication.
" We forbid all and every one to offend any person whatever on account of the said suppression, and especially those who have been members of the said Society, or to make use of any injurious, malevolent, reproachful, or contemptuous language towards them, whether verbally or by writing.
" We exhort all the Christian princes to exert all that force, authority, and power which God has given them for the defence of the holy Roman Church, so that, in consequence of the respect and veneration which they owe to the Apostolic See, things may be so ordered, that these our letters have their full effect, and, that they attentively heeding all the articles therein contained, do publish such ordnances and regulations as may prevent all excesses, disputes, and dissensions among the faithful, whilst they carry this our will into execution.
" Finally, we exhort all Christians, and entreat them by the bowels of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to remember that we have one Master, who is in heaven, one Saviour, who has purchased us by his blood; that we have all been again born in the water of baptism, through the word of eternal life; that we have all been declared sons of God, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ; all fed with the same bread of the Catholic doctrine, and of the Divine Word; that we are all one body in Jesus Christ, of which we are members, consequently it is absolutely necessary that, united by the common bond of charity, they should live in peace with all men, and consider it as their first duty, to love one another, remembering that he who loveth his neighbour hath filleth the law, avoiding studiously all occasion of scandal, enmity, division, and such-like evils, which were invented and promoted by the ancient enemy of mankind, in order to disturb the Church of God, and prevent the eternal happiness of the faithful, under the false title of schools, opinions, and even of the perfection of Christianity. On the contrary, every one should exert his utmost endeavours to acquire that true and sincere wisdom of which St James speaks in his canonical epistle, ch. iii. v. 13.
"Further, our will and pleasure is, that though the superiors and other members of the Society, and others interested therein, have not consented to this disposition, have not been cited or heard, still it shall not at any time be allowed them to make any observations on our present letter, to attack or invalidate it, to demand a further examination of it, to appeal from it, make it a matter of dispute, to reduce it to the terms of law, to proceed against it by the means of restitutionis ad integrum, to open their mouth against it, to reduce it ad viam et terminus juris, or, in short, to impugn it by any way whatever, of right or fact, favour or justice; and even though these means may be granted them, and though they should have obtained them, still they may not make use of them in court or out of court; nor shall they plead any flaw, subreption, obreption, nullity, or invalidity in this letter, or any other plea, how great, unforeseen, or substantial it may be, nor the neglect of any form in the above proceedings, or in any part thereof, nor the neglect of any point founded on any law or custom, and comprised in the body of laws, nor even the plea of enormis enormissimce et totalis laesionis, nor, in short, any pretext or motive, however just, reasonable, or privileged, not even though the omission of such form or point should be of such nature as, without the same being expressly guarded against, would render every other act invalid. For all this notwithstanding, our will and pleasure is, that these our letters should for ever and to all eternity be valid, permanent, and efficacious, have and obtain their full force and effect, and be inviolably observed by all and every whom they do or may concern, now or hereafter, in any manner whatever.
" In like manner, and not otherwise, we ordain that all the matters here above specified, and every of them, shall be carried into execution by the ordinary judge and delegate; whether by the auditor, cardinal, legate a latere, nuncio, or any other person who has, or ought to have, authority or jurisdiction in any matter or suits, taking from all and every of them all power of interpreting these our letters. And this to be executed, notwithstanding all constitutions, privileges, apostolic commands, &c. &c. &c. And though to render the abolition of these privileges legal they should have been cited word for word, and not comprised only in general clauses, yet for this time, and of our special motion, we do derogate from this usage and custom, declaring that all the tenor of the said privileges is, and is to be supposed, as fully expressed and abrogated as if they were cited word for word, and as if the usual form had been observed.
will and pleasure is, that to all copies of the present Brief, signed
by a notary public, and sealed by some dignitary of the Church, the same
force and credit shall be given as to this original. Given at Rome, at
St Mary the Greater, under the seal of the Fisherman, the
Nicolini, G.B. History of the Jesuits: Their Origin, Progress, Doctrines and Designs. George Bell & Co., London & New York, 1893.