Eamon Duffy a British historian has called the Suppression of the Jesuits, ‘the lowest point in the history of the Papacy’. In an age when Pope’s still had pretensions to temporal power not just Spiritual power and authority – Pius VI was cowed by the great European and Bourbon Monarchs. In Correspondence with the Duke of Parma, Pius admitted that he had disapproved of the Suppression of the Society under his predecessor. This frank admission however was never followed up with any bold efforts to rehabilitate the Jesuits.
In negotiations with Frederick the Great of Prussia about the promulgation of the Brief, Pius insisted that the Jesuits could not function as members of a religious order but as individuals under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Frederick, like Catherine insisted that the Jesuits retain their presence and work as educators. Pius was to allow the Jesuits to continue their corporative work in church and in the schools, even allowing them to accept recruits. So in 1776 Frederick gave the order that Society was to be dissolved. They were to continue what they had be doing but now under a new name Priests of the Royal Schools Institute. This institute was to last 24 years .
Elsewhere the influence of the Bourbon monarchs was still sufficiently strong that the Pope felt hemmed in. Even towards the end of the 18th Century – 15 years later, Pius VI , under increasing pressure from Ferdinand of Parma to allow the Jesuits back would agree only if he was able to persuade Charles IV of Spain to accept this as well. To complete the picture of diplomatic pressure on the Pope we have to remember what was happening in France. The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 led to the suppression of the old Gallican Church, the confiscation of pontifical and ecclesiastical possessions in France, and an effigy of Pius being burnt by the Parisians at the Palais Royal. When Napolean invaded and defeated the Papal Armies, Pius was captured and die in exile in France. Who would be a Pope?