The arrival of Jose Moniño in Rome in 1772 as the new Spanish Ambassador was a ominous sign for both the Jesuits and Pope Clement. It was a clear signal that the Spanish were determined to step up the pace and increase the pressure on the Pope to supress the Society of Jesus. It would be Moniño chief task to ensure that the Brief of Suppression would be written up and promulgated. It was also a sign that the Spanish were growing increasingly impatient with what they saw as Pope Clements stalling.
Moniño was suave and strategically cunning. He immediately built up a network of allies from the anti-Jesuit camp in Rome. He agreed with Cardinal de Bernis that they would co-ordinate their dealings with the Pope. It was a classic ‘good cop / bad cop strategy’, Moniño would take a hard and ruthless line with the Pope in their audiences, insinuating that if the Jesuits weren’t dealt with then all religious orders were in danger. Meanwhile, de Bernis, with the gentle air of a friendly and trustworthy confident, would regularly remind the Pope and speak in favour of Moniño’s requests.
It turned out to be a very effective strategy with rapid results. The beleaguered Pope was relying on resistance from Vienna , where the Jesuits had a strong supporter in Empress Marie Therese. However this resistance would not come as she was distracted by the task of organising the royal wedding of her Daughter Marie Antoinette to the dauphin of France. Exposed and vulnerable Clement appointed Cardinal Zelada to work with Moniño. The Spanish government showed their gratitude to Zelada by giving him the gift of a large amount of money and the gift of two lucrative ecclesiastic estates in Spain. The brief of suppression was drawn up and submitted to the Pope today, 241 years ago although it would take a while for the Pope to sign off on it.