CLEMENT XIII (Carlo della Torre Rezzonico), pope from 1758 to 1769, was born in Venice, on the 7th of March 1693, filled various important posts in the Curia, became cardinal in 1737, bishop of Padua in 1743, and succeeded Benedict XIV. as pope on the 6th of July 1758. He was a man of upright, moderate and pacific intentions, but his pontificate of eleven years was anything but tranquil. The Jesuits had fallen upon evil days; in 1758 Pombal expelled them from Portugal; his example was followed by the Bourbon countries - France, Spain, the Two Sicilies and Parma (1764-1768). The order turned to the pope as its natural protector; but his protests (cf. the bull Apostolicum pascendi munus, 7th of January 1765) were unheeded (see Jesuits). A clash with Parma occurred to aggravate his troubles. The Bourbon kings espoused their relative's quarrel, seized Avignon, Benevento and Ponte Corvo, and united in a peremptory demand for the suppression of the Jesuits (January 1769). Driven to extremities, Clement consented to call a Consistory to consider the step, but on the very eve of the day set for its meeting he died (2nd of February 1769), not without suspicion of poison, of which, however, there appears to be no conclusive evidence.
A contemporary account of Clement was written by Augustin de Andrès y Sobiñas, ... el nacimiento, estudios y empleos de ... Clem. XIII. (Madrid, 1759). Ravignan's Clement XIII. e Clement XIV. (Paris, 1854) is partisan but free from rancour; and appends many interesting documents. See also the bibliographical note under Clement XIV. infra.; and the extended bibliography in Hergenröther, Allg. Kirchengesch. (1880), iii. 509.
(T. F. C.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)