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The Constitution of our most Holy Father Pope
Pius VII. by Divine Providence Sovereign Pontiff, by which the Society of Jesus is re-established in its ancient state throughout the entire Catholic world.
PIUS BISHOP SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD FOR PERPETUATING
THE TESTIMONY HEREOF.
The care of all the churches confided to our humility by the Divine will, notwithstanding the lowness of our deserts and abilities, makes it our duty to employ all the aids in our power, and which are furnished to us by the mercy of Divine Providence, in order that we may be able, as far as the changes of times and places will allow, to relieve the spiritual wants of the Catholic world, without any distinction of people and nations.
Wishing to fulfil this duty of our Apostolic Ministry, as soon as Francis Kareu (then living) and other secular Priests resident for many years in the vast empire of Russia, and who had been members of the Company of Jesus, suppressed by Clement XIV. of happy memory, had supplicated our permission to unite in a body, for the purpose of being able to apply themselves more easily, in conformity with their Institution, to the instruction of youth in religion and good morals, to devote themselves to preaching, to confession, and the administration of the other sacraments, we felt it our duty more willingly to comply with their prayer, inasmuch as the then reigning Emperor Paul I. had recommended the said Priests in his gracious dispatch, dated the 11th of August, 1800, in which, after setting forth his special regard for them, he declared to us that it would be agreeable to him, to see the Company of Jesus established in his empire, under our autho
rity: and we, on our side, considering attenively the great advantages, which these vast regions might thence derive: considering how usefnl those ecclesiastics, whose morals and doctrine were equally tried, would be to the Catholic religion, thought fit to second the wish of so great and beneficent a Prince.
In consequence, by our Brief, dated the 7th of March, 1801, we granted to the said Francis Kareu, and his colleagues residing in Russia, or who should repair thither from other countries, power to form themselves into a body or congregatiou of the Company of Jesus: they are at liberty to unite in one or more houses to be pointed out by their Šuperior, provided these houses are situated within the Russian Empire. We named the said Francis Kareu general of the said congregation ; we authorised them to resume and follow the rule of St. Ignatius of Loyola, approved and confirmed by the constitutions of Paul III. our predecessor, of happy memory, in order that the companions, in a religious union, might freely engage in the instruction of youth in religion and good letters, direct seminaries and colleges, and with the consent of the Ordinary, confess, preach the word of God and administer the sacraments. By the same Brief we received the congregation of the Company of Jesus under our immediate protection and dependence, reserving to ourselves and our successors the prescription of every thing that might appear to us proper to consolidate, to defend it, and to purge it from the abuses and corruption, that might be therein introduced; and for this purpose we expressly abrogated such apostolical constitutions, statutes, privileges, and indulgencies granted in contradiction to these concessions, especially the apostolic letters of Clement XIV, our predecessor, which begin with the words. Dominus ac Redemptor noster, only in so far as they are contrary to our Brief, beginning Catholicæ, and which was given only for the Russian empire.
A short time after we had ordained the restoration of the order of Jesuits in Russia, we thought it our duty to grant the same favour to the kingdom of Sicily, on the warm request of our dear son in Jesus Christ, King Ferdinand, who begged that the Company of Jesus might be re-established in his dominions and states as it was in Russia, from a conviction that, in these deplorable times, the Jesuits were instructors most capable of forming youth to Christian piety and the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom, and to instruct them in science and letters. The duty of our pastoral charge leading us to second the pious wishes of these illustrious Mom'
narchs, and having only in view the glory of God and the salvation of souls, we, by our Brief, beginning Per alias, and dated the 30th of July, 1804, extended to the kindom of the Two Sicilies the same concessions, which we had made for the Russian empire.
The Catholic world demands with unanimous voice the reestablishment of the Company of Jesus. We daily receive to this effect the most pressing petitions from our venerable brethren, the Archbishops and Bishops, and the most distinguished persons, especially since the abundant fruits, which this Company has produced in the above countries have been generally known. The dispersion even of the stones of the sanctuary in those recent calamities (which it is better now to deplore than to repeat); the annihilation of the discipline of the regular orders, (the glory and support of religion and the Catholic church, to the restoration of which all our thoughts and cares are at present directed), require that we should accede to a wish so just and general.
We should deem ourselves guilty of a great crime towards God, if amidst these dangers of the Christian republic, we neglected the aids, which the special providence of God has put at our disposal; and if, placed in the bark of Peter, tossed and assailed by continual storms, we refused to employ the vigorous and experienced rowers, who volunteer their services, in order to break the waves of a sea, which threatens every moment shipwreck and death. Decided by motives so numerous and powerful, we have resolved to do now what we could have wished to have done at the commencement of our Pontificate. After having by fervent prayers implored the Divine assistance, after having taken the advice and counsel of a great pumber of our venerable brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman church, we have decreed, with full knowledge, in virtue of the plenitude of Apostolic power, and with perpetual validity, that all the concessions and powers granted by us solely to the Russian empire and the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, shall henceforth extend to all our Ecclesiastical States, and also to all other States. We therefore concede and grant to our well-beloved son, Taddeo Barzozowski, at this time General of the Company of Jesus, and to the other Members of that Company law-,. fully delegated by him, all suitable and necessary powers, in order that the said States may freely and lawfully receive all those, who shall wish to be admitted into the regular order of the Company of Jesus, who, under the authority of the general ad interim, shall be admitted and distributed, accord
ing to opportunity , in one or more houses, one or more colleges, and one or more provinces, where they shall conform their mode of life to the rules prescribed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, approved and confirmed by the constitutions of Paul N. We declare besides, and grant power, that they may freely and lawfully apply to the education of youth in the principles of the Catholic faith, to form them to good morals, and to direct colleges and seminaries; we authorise them to hear confessions, to preach the word of God, and to administer the sacraments in the places of their residence, with the consent and approbation of the Ordinary. We take under our tutelage, under our immediate obedience, and that of the Holy See, all the colleges, houses, provinces, and members of this Order, and all those who shall join it; always reserving to ourselves and the Roman Pontiffs our successors, to prescribe and direct all that we may deem it our duty to prescribe and direct, to consolidate the said Company more and more, to render it stronger, and to purge it of abuses, should they creep.
in, which God avert. It now remains for us to exhort with all our heart, and in the name of the Lord, all Superiors, Provincials, Rectors, Companions, and Pupils of this re-established Society, to shew themselves at all times and in all places, faithful imitators of their father ; that they exactly observe the rule prescribed by their great founder; that they obey with an always increasing zeal the useful advices and alutary counsels, which he has left to his children.
In fine, we recommend strongly, in the Lord, the Company and all its members to our dear sons in Jesus Christ, the illustrious and noble Princes and Lords temporal, as well as to our venerable brothers the Archbishops and Bishops, and to all those, who are placed in authority; we exhort, we conjure them not only not to suffer, that these religious be in any way molested, but to watch, that they be treated with all due kindness and charity.
We ordain, that the present letters be inviolably observed according to their form and tenour, in all time coming; that they enjoy their full and entire effet ; that they shall never be submitted to the judgment or revision of any Judge, with whatever power he may be clothed; declaring null and of no effect any encroachment on the present regulations, either knowingly or from ignorance; and this notwithstanding any apostolical constitutions and ordinances, especially the Brief of Clement XIV, of happy memory, beginning with the words Dominus ac Redemptor noster, issued under the seal
of the Fisherman, on the 22d of July, 1773, which we expressly abrogate, as far as contrary to the present order.
It is also our will, that the same credit be paid to copies, whether in manuscript or printed, of our present Brief, as to the original itself, provided they have the signature of some notary public, and the seal of some ecclesiastical dignitary; that no one be permitted to infringe, or by an audacious temerity to oppose, any part of this ordinance; and that should any one take upon him to attempt it, let him know, that he will thereby incur the indignation of Almighty God, and of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
Given at Rome, at Sancta Maria Major, on the 7th of August, in the year of our Lord, 1814, and the 15th of our Pontificate.
(Signed) Cardinal PRODATAIRE.