Faith of Jesus

Faith of Jesus Society of the (or FATHERS OF THE FAITH), an ecclesiastical order in the Church of Rome, founded by Paccanari, a Tyrolese enthusiast, and formerly a soldier of the pope, under the patronage of the archduchess Mariana. The intention of Paccanari was to give to the Church a substitute for the order of the Jesuits, which had been suppressed by Clement XIV. The foundation of the society was laid by Paccanari and twelve companions in 1798 at a villa near Spoleto, which a nobleman had offered to them for that purpose. The rule adopted by Paccanari was almost identical with that of the Jesuits. Pope Pius VI, who was at that time kept a prisoner by the government of France in a monastery near Florence, and whom Paccanari visited, encouraged the new society, and recommended to it the pupils of the Propaganda whom the government of the Roman republic had expelled from their college. In 1799, Paccanari, while on a visit to Rome, was arrested, together with his companions, but they were soon set at liberty on the condition that they should leave the Roman territory. In the same year the "Society of the Sacred Heart," a society which had been established in 1794 by some ex-Jesuits for the purpose of reviving the order of the Jesuits under a different name, united, in consequence of an express order of the pope, with the Fathers of the Faith, and recognised Paccanari as their superior. The latter, who up to this time had been a layman, now received minor orders at the hands of the papal nuncio in Vienna, and in 1800 was ordained priest. The society, which had already taken charge of several missions in Africa, established houses in Bavaria, Italy, France, England, and Holland, and in 1804 numbered about eighty members. Pope Pius VII was, however, not favorable to them. Some of the members joined the Jesuits, who had been restored in Russia and (in 1804) in Naples, while others repudiated the authority of Paccanari, and placed themselves under the direct authority of the diocesan bishops. Paccanari himself was summoned before an ecclesiastical court, and sentenced to life-long imprisonment. The second invasion of Rome by the French restored to him his liberty, but the society was wholly dissolved in 1814, when its last members joined the order of the Jesuits, who in that year were restored for the whole Church. — Henrion-Fehr, Gesch. der Moncchs orden, 2:62.

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