JESUITS IN THE NEW WORLDPOPE GREGORY XIII. 1502-1585.
Manuscript Document, 1 page, folio, vellum, Rome, February 10, 1579, in Latin, matted and framed. Sold with a uniformly framed portrait.
PAPAL BULL EXTENDING THE RIGHTS OF THE JESUITS IN THE NEW WORLD. All of the rights and powers that had been granted by Pope Pius V to those in the West Indies are to be extended across the New World, specifically to Brazil, Peru and New Spain. Pope Gregory begins by stating that "it seems reasonable that those who live under the same religious rule and practice should enjoy the same spiritual rights," and asserts that those privileges are being extended "by our own initiative and not at the urging of any request presented to us concerning the matter." The document closes, "Given in Rome at Saint Peter's under the ring of the Fisherman on the X [10th] day of February, M.D.LXXXVIIII , in the seventh year of our Pontificate / Caesar Glorierius."
The document also provides an early example of the use of the Gregorian calendarthat which we use todaynamed for Gregory XIII after he adopted it in 1578 in replacement of the Julian calendar. Gregory XIII (born Ugo Boncompagni) served as Pope from 1572 to 1585. This extension of Jesuit rights into Brazil, Peru and New Spain came at a crucial time in the History of the Society of Jesus. They had been the first religious order to establish missions in the New World: in St Augustine, Florida in 1565, Mexico in 1572, Peru in 1567, and Brazil in 1549. With the joining of Portugal and Spain in 1580, Franciscans began to to establish more missions in North America, often taking over those run by the Jesuits and so forcing the Jesuits to turn to South America. Pope Gregory looked favorably on the Jesuit Order, seeing them as an important advance guard to bring Christianity to the Americas. Other Popes were not as favorably inclined.