Saturday, May 3, 2014

7 April 1859 - Jesuit banished from Florence due to Freemasons


The Jesuits  were born during a period of great change in Europe marked by the Renaissance. Their rebirth after the Suppression was also marked by a great transitional period  - that of the industrial and democratic revolutions of the 19th Century.  It was more difficult to adjust to the changes after their rebirth - particularly as a widespread current, inherited from the French Revolution was the de-christianisation of the state.  One of the most potent groups trying to secularise the state were the Free Masons,  where a speculative and naturalistic deist point of view had become influential.

In the 18th century, especially in France, an alleged rivalry between the Freemasons and the Jesuits had arisen. Intellectual attacks on Jesuits were seen as an efficient rebuttal to the anti-masonry promoted by conservatives. Conspiracy theories flourished and persisted into the 19th century as an important component of French anti-clericalism. It was, however, largely confined to political elites until the 1840s, when it entered the popular imagination through the writings of the historians Jules Michelet and Edgar Quinet of the Collège de France, who declared "la guerre aux jesuites", and the novelist Eugène Sue, who in his best-seller Le Juif errant depicted the Jesuits as a "secret society bent on world domination by all available means"

In the 19th century the population of Florence doubled. A foreign community came to represent one-quarter of the population in the second half of the 19th century. In 1859 Austrian rule was to end in defeat at the hands of France and the kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont.  In the shift of power - the protection that Austria had offered the church was lost, and one of the first anti-Catholic acts was to banish the Jesuits, allegedly due to masonic influence.  Tuscany became a province of the united kingdom of Italy in 1861 and then 4 years later Florence replaced Turin as Italy's capital in 1865.  Various Popes published objections against Freemasonry. The first in 1738 was Pope Clement XII In Eminenti the most recent  Pope Leo XIII in 1890 Ab Apostolici. The 1917 Code of Canon Law stated that becoming a Freemason entailed automatic excommunication (Code 1399).   
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