Death of Pope Clement XI

Death of Pope Clement XI

Pope Clement XI

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Pope Clement XI dies at the age of 71. His papacy was a tumultuous one, beset with both political and theological conflicts. Theologically he had to address dissent from the Jansenist priests; in the papal bull Unigentius Dei Filius, published in September, 1713, Pope Clement XI condemned Jansenism and excommunicated many of its followers.

There was also a problem with Jesuits in China who were accomodating Catholicism to the native Chinese culture. For example, Jesuit priests were conducting Catholic rites in Chinese rather than Latin and were paying honor to Confucius or the ancestors of the emperors of China.

Pope Clement XI opposed both, calling the latter "idolatrous and barbaric." In 1715 he ordered an end to all such practices; the result was that Chinese authorities started persecuting Chinese Christians and closed down many of their missions throughout the country. The ban on rites in Chinese will not be lifted by untili 1939 by Pope Pius XII.

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