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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
the name generally given to the members of the Society of Jesus, a religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1539. This Society may be defined, in its original conception and well-avowed object, as a body of highly trained religious men of various degrees, bound by the three personal vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, together with, in some cases, a special vow to the pope's service, with the object of labouring for the spiritual good of themselves and their neighbours. They are declared to be mendicants and enjoy all the privileges of the other mendicant orders. They are governed and live by constitutions and rules, mostly drawn up by their founder, St Ignatius of Loyola, and approved by the popes. Their proper title is "Clerks Regulars of the Society of Jesus," the word Societas being taken as synonymous with the original Spanish term, Compania; perhaps the military term Cohors might more fully have expressed the original idea of a band of spiritual soldiers living under martial law and discipline. The ordinary term "Jesuit" was given to the Society by its avowed opponents; it is first found in the writings of Calvin and in the registers of the Parlement of Paris as early as 1552.
Constitution and Character
The formation of the Society was a masterpiece of genius on the part of a man (see Loyola) who was quick to realize the necessity of the moment. Just before Ignatius was experiencing the call to conversion, Luther had begun his revolt against the Roman Church by burning the papal bull of excommunication on the 10th of December 1520. But while Luther's most not to take place for eighteen years. Its of peace ceased when the life of the cloister had to be exchanged for the discipline of the camp; so in the sketch of the the older orders, which preserved to their members certain constitutional rights.
The soldier-mind of Ignatius can be seen throughout the constitutions. Even in the spiritual labours which the Society shares with the other orders, its own ways of dealing with persons and things result from the system of training which succeeds in forming men to a type that is considered desirable. But it must not be thought that in practice the rule of the Society and the high degree of obedience demanded ce the working is smooth his followers were flesh and blood, not machines. He made it clear from the first might prove a useful instrument for carrying out the Society's objects. Ignatius Polanco that "in those who offered themselves he looked less to purely natural goodness than to firmness of chara offices in theiety." He further declared that even exceptional qualities and endowments in a cere valuable in ving him the absolute disposal of all members of the Society in every place and for every purpose. He pushes the claim even further, requiring, besides entire outward submission to command, also the complete identification of the place of God, without reference to his personal wisdom, piety or discretion; that any obedience which falls short of making the superior's will one's own, in inward affection as well as in outward effect, is lax aect; that going beyond the letter of command, even in things abstractly good and praiseworthy, is disobedience, and that the "sacrifice of the intellect" is the third and highest grade of obedience, well pleasing to God, when the inferior not only wills what the superior wills, but thinks what he thinks, submitting his judgment, so far as it is possible for the will to influence and lead the judgment. This Letter on Obedience was written for the guidance and formation of Ignatius's own followers; it was an entirely domestic affair.came known beyond the Society the teaching met with great opposition, especially from members of other orders whose institutes represented the normal days of peace rather than those of war. The letter was condemned by the Inquisitions of Spain and Portugal; and it tasked all the skill and learning of Bellarmine as its apologist, together with the whole influence of the Society, to avert what seemed to be a probable condemnation at Rome.
The teaching of the Letter must be understood in the living spirit of the Society. Ignatius himself lays down the rule that an inferior is bound to make all necessary representations to his superior so as to guide him in imposing a precept of obedience. When a superior knows the views of his inferior and still commands, it is because he is aware of other sides of the question which appear of greater importance than those that the inferior has brought forward. Ignatius distinctly excepts the case where obedience in itself would be sinful: "In all things except sin I ought to do the will of my superior and not my own." There may be cases where an inferior judges that what is commanded is sinful. What is to be done? Ignatius says: "When it seems to me that I am commanded by my superior to do a thing against wconscience]] revolts as sinful and my superior judges otherwise, it is my duty to yield my doubts to him unless I am otherwise constrained by evident reasons. ... If submissions do not appease my conscience I must imbts to two oersons of discretion and abide by their decision." From this it is clear that only in doubtful cases concerning sin should an inferior try to submit his judgment to that of his superior,to be not only one who would not order what is clearly sinful, but also a competent judge who knows and unds, better than the inferior, the nature and aspect of the command. As the Jesuit obedience is based law of God, it is clearly impossible that he should be bound to obey in what is directly opposed to the divine service. A Jesuit lives in obedience all his life, though the yoke is not galling nor always felt. He can accept no dignity or office which will make him independent of the Society; and even if ordered by the counsel him in important matters.
The Jesuits had to find their all such external peculiarities of dress or rule as tended to put obstacles way of his followers acting freely as emissaries, agents or missionaries in the most various places and circumstances. Another change he introduced even more completely than did the founders of the Friars. The Jesuit has no home: the whole world is his parish. Mobility and cosmopolitanism are of the very essence of the Society. As Ignatius said, the ancient monastic communities were the infantry of the Church, whose duty was to stand firmly in one place on the battlefield; the Jesuits were to be her light horse, capable of going anywhere at a moment's notice, but especially apt and designed for scouting and skirmishing. To carry out this view, it was one of his plans to send foreigners as superiors or officers to the Jesuit houses in each country, requiring of these envoys, however, invariably to use the language of their new place of residence and to study it both in speaking and writing till entire mastery of it hadlocality. But subsequent experience has, in practice, modified this interchange, as far as locgovernment goes, though the central government of the Society is always cosmopolitan.
Next we must consider the machinery by which the Society is constituted and governed so as to make its spirit a living energy and not a mere abstract Society is distributed into six grades: novices, scholastics, temporal coadjutors (lay brothers), spiritual coadjutors, professed of the three vows, and professed of the four vows. No one can become a postulant for admission to the Society until fourteen years old, unless by special dispensation. The novice is classified according as his destination is the priesthood or lay brotherhood, while a third class of "indifferents" receives such as are reserved for further inquiry before a decision of this kind a strict retreat, practically in solitary confinement, during which he receives from a director , yet relying on Thine infinite kindness and mercy and impelled by the desire of serving Thee, before the Most Holy Virgin Mary and all Thy heavenly host, I, N., vow to Thy divine Majesty Poverty, Chastity and Perpetual Obedience to the Society of Jesus, and promise that I will enter the same Society to live in it perpetually, understanding all things according to the Constitutions of the Society. I humbly pray from Thine immense goodness and clemency, through the Blood of Jesus Christ, that Thou wilt deign to accept this sacrifice in the odour of sweetness; and as Thou hast granted me to desire and to offer this, so wilt Thou bestow abundant grace to fulfil it." The scholastic then follows the ordinary course of an undergraduate at a university. After passing five years in arts he has, while still keeping up his own studies, to devote five or six years more to teaching the junior classes in various Jesuit schools or colleges. About this period he takes his Letter and Constitutions of the said Society." The lay brothers leave out the clause concerning education. The scholastic does not b, and then passes through a four or six years' course. Only when he is thirty-four or thirty-six can he be ordained a priest and enter on the grade of a spiritual coadjutor. A lay brother, before he can become called away to a third year's novitiate, called the tertianship, as a preparation for his solemn profession of the three vows. His former vows were simple and the Society was at liberty to dismiss him for any canonical reason. The formula of the famous Jesuit vow is as follows: "I, N., promise to Almighty God, before His Virgin Mother and the whole heavenly host, and to all standing by; and to thee, Reverend Father General of the Society of Jesus, holding the place of God, and to thy successors (or to thee, Reverend Father M. in place of the General of the Society of Jesus and his successors holding the place of God), Perpetual Poverty, Chastity and Obedience; and according to it a peculiar care in the education of boys according to the form of life contained in the Apostolic Letters of the Society of Jesus and in its Constitutions." concerning poverty should be changed; (2) that he will not directly nor indirectly procure election or promotion for himself to any prelacy or dignity in the Society; (3) that he will not accept or consent to his election to any dignity or prelacy outside the Society unless forced thereunto by obedience; (4) that if he knows of others doing these things he will denounce them to the superiors; (5) that if elected to a bishopric he will never refuse to hear such advice as the general may deign to send him and will follow it if he judges it is better than his own opinion. The professed is now eligible to certain offices in the Society, and he may remain as a professed father of the three vows for the rest of his life. The highest class, who constitute the real core of the Society, whence all its chief officers are taken, are the professed of the four vows. This glade can seldom be reached until she candidate is in his forty-fifth year, which involves a probaLion of thirty-one years in the case of those who have entered on the novitiate at the earliest legal age. The number of these select members is small in comparison with the whole Society; the exact proportion varies from time to time, the present tendency being to increase the number. The vows of this grade are the same as the last formula, with the addition of the following important clause: "Moreover I promise the special obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff concerning missions, as is contained in the same Apostolic Letter and Constitutions." These various members of the Society are distributed in its novitiate houses, its colleges, its professed houses and its mission residences. The question has been hotly debated whether, in addition to these six grades, there be not a seventh answering in some degree to the tertiaries of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, but secretly affiliated to the Society and acting as its emissaries in various lay positions. This class was styled in France "Jesuits of the short robe," and there is some evidence in support of its actual existence under Louis XV. The Jesuits themselves deny the existence of any such body, and are able to adduce the negative disproof that no provision for it is to be found in their constitutions. On the other hand there are clauses therein which make the creation of such a class perfectly feasible if thought expedient. An admitted instance is the case of Francisco allowed to receive her vows, but that she might make them if she wished and then receive his direction. The archaeologist George Oliver of Exeter was, according to Foley's Records of the English Province, the last of the secular priests of England who vowed obedience to the Society before its suppression.
The general lives permanently at Rome and holds in his hands the right to appoint, not only to the office of provincial over each of the head districts into which the Society is mapped, but to the offices of each house in particular. There is no standard of electoral right in the Society except in the election of the general himself. By a minute and frequent system of official and private reports he is informed of the doings and progress of every member of the Society and of everything that concerns it throughout the world. Every Jesuit has not only the right but the duty in certain cases of communicating, directly and privately, with his general. While the general thus controls everything, he himself is not exempt from supervision on the part of the Society. A consultative council is imposed upon him by the general congregation, consisting of the assistants of the various nations, a socius, or adviser, to warn him of mistakes, and a confessor. These he cannot remove nor select; and he is bound, in certain circumstances, to listen to their advice, although he is It is said that the general of the Jesuits is independent of the pope; and his popular name, "the black pope," has gone to confirm this idea. But it is based on an entirely wrong conception of the two offices. The suppression of the Society by Clement XIV. in 1773 was an object-lesson in the supremacy of the pope. The Society became very numerous and, from time to time, received extraordinary privileges from popes, who were warranted by the necessities of the times in granting them. A great number after the restoration that an attempt should be made to pick up again the threads that were dropped; but soon they came to realize the truth
The separate article on Loyola tells of his early years, his conversion, and his first gathering of companions. It was not until November 1537, when all hope of going to the Holy Land was given up, that any outward steps were taken to form these companions into an organized body. It was on the eve of their going to Rome, for the second time, that the fathers met Ignatius at Vicenza and it was determined to adopt a common rule and, at the suggestion of Ignatius, the name of the Company of Jesus. Whatever may have been his private hopes and intentions, it was not until he, Laynez and Faber (Pierre Lefevre), in the name of their companions, were sent to lay their services at the feet of the pope that the history of the Society really begins.
On their arrival at Rome the three Jesuits were favourably received by Paul III., who at once appointed Faber to the chair of scripture and Laynez to that of scholastic theology in the university of the Sapienza. But they encountered much opposition and were even charged with heresy; when this accusation had been disposed of, there were still difficulties in the way of starting any new order. Despite the approval of Cardinal Contarini and the goodwill of the pope (who is said to have exclaimed on perusing the scheme of Ignatius, "The finger of God is here"), there was a strong and general feeling that the regular system had broken down and could not be wisely developed farther. Cardinal Guidiccioni, one of the commission of three appointed to examine the draft constitution, was known to advocate the abolition of all existing orders, save four which were to be remodelled and put under strict control. That very year, 1538, a commission of cardinals, including Reginald Pole, Contarini, Sadolet, Caraffa (afterwards Paul IV.), Fregoso and others, had reported that the conventual orders, which they had to deal with, had drifted into such a state that they should all be abolished. Not only so, but, when greater strictness of rule and of enclosure seemed the most needful reforms in communities that had become too secular in tone, the proposal of Ignatius, to make it a first principle that the members of his institute should mix freely in the world and be as little marked off as possible externally from secular clerical life and usages, ran counter to all tradition and prejudice, save that Cara.ffa's then recent order of Theatines, which had some analogy with the proposed Society, had taken some steps in the same direction.
Ignatius and his companions, however, had but little doubt of ultimate success, and so bound themselves, on the 15th of April 1539, to obey any superior chosen from amongst their body, and added ,on the 4th of May certain other rules, the most important of which was a vow of special allegiance to the pope for mission purposes to be taken by all the members of the society. But Guidiccioni, on a careful study of the papers, changed his mind; it is supposed that the cause of this change was in large measure the strong interest in the new scheme exhibited by John III., king of Portugal, who instructed his ambassador to press it on the pope and to ask Ignatius to send some priests of his Society for mission work in Portugal and its Indian possessions. Francis Xavier and Simon Rodriguez were sent to the king in March 1540. Obstacles being cleared away, Paul III., on the 27th of September 1540, issued his bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae, by which he confirmed the new Society (the term "order" does not belong to it), but limited the members to sixty, a restriction which was removed by the same pope in the bull Injunctum nobis of the 14th of March 1543. In the former bull, the pope gives the text of the formula submitted by Ignatius as the scheme of the proposed society, and in it we get the founder's own ideas: ". .. This Society, instituted to this special end, namely, to offer spiritual consolation for the advancement of souls in life and Christian doctrine, for the propagation of the faith by public preaching and the ministry of the word of God, spiritual exercises and works of charity and, especially, by the instruction .of children and ignorant people in Christianity, and by the spiritual ,consolation of the faithful in Christ in hearing confessions...." In this original scheme it is clearly marked out "that this entire Society and all its members fight for God under the faithful obedience of the most sacred lord, the pope, and the other Roman pontiffs his successors"; and Ignatius makes particular mention th4t each member should "be bound by a special vow," beyond that formal obligation under which all Christians are of obeying the pope, "so that whatsoever the present and other Roman pontiffs for the time being shall ordain, pertaining to the advancement of souls and the propagation of the faith, to whatever provinces he shall resolve to send us, we are straightway bound to obey, as far as in us lies, without any tergiversation or excuse, whether he send us among the Turks or to any other unbelievers in being, even to those parts called India, or to any heretics or schismatics or likewise to any believers." Obedience to the general is enjoined "in all things pertaining to the institute of the Society ... and in him they shall acknowledge Christ as though present, and as far as is becoming shall venerate him"; poverty is enjoined, and this rule affects not only the individual but the common sustentation or care of the Society, except that in the case of colleges revenues are allowed "to be applied to the wants and necessities of the students"; and the private recitation of the Office is distinctly mentioned. On the other hand, the perpetuity of the general's office during his life was no part of the original scheme.
On the 7th of April 1541, Ignatius was unanimously chosen general. His refusal of this post was overruled, so he entered on his office on the 13th of April; and two days after, the newly constituted Society took its formal corporate vows in the basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura. Scarcely was the Society launched when its members dispersed in various directions to their new tasks. Alfonso Salmeron and Pasquier-Brouet, as papal delegates, were sent on a secret mission to Ireland to encourage the native clergy and people to resist the religious changes introduced by Henry VIII.; Nicholas Bobadilla went to Naples; Faber, first to the diet of Worms and then to Spain; Laynez and Claude le Jay to Germany, while Ignatius busied himself at Rome in good works and in drawing up the constitutions and completing the Spiritual Exercises. Success crowned these first efforts; and the Society began to win golden opinions. The first college was founded at Coimbra in 1542 by John III. of Portugal and put under the rectorship of Rodriguez. It was designed as a training school to feed the Indian mission of which Francis Xavier had already taken the oversight, while a seminary at Goa was the second institution founded outside Rome in connexion with the Society. Both from the original scheme and from the foundation at Coimbra it is clear that the original idea of the colleges was to provide for the education of future Jesuits. In Spain, national pride in the founder aided the Society's cause almost as much as royal patronage did in Portugal; and the third house was opened in Gandia under the protection of its duke, Francisco Borgia, a grandson of Alexander VI. In Germany, the Jesuits were eagerly welcomed as the only persons able to meet the Lutherans on equal terms. Only in France, among the countries which still were united with the Roman Church, was their advance checked, owing to political distrust of their Spanish origin, together with the hostility of the Sorbonne and the bishop of Paris. However, after many difficulties, they succeeded in getting a footing through the help of Guillaume du Prat, bishop of Clermont (d. 1560), who founded a college for them in 1545 in the town of Billom, besides making over to them his house at Paris, the hotel de Clermont, which became the nucleus of the afterwards famous college of Louis-le-Grand, while a formal legalization was granted to them by the states-general at Poissy in 1561. In Rome, Paul III.'s favour did not lessen. He bestowed on them the church of St Andrea and conferred at the same time the valuable privilege of making and altering their own statutes; besides the other points, in 1546, which Ignatius had still more at heart, as touching the very essence of his institute, namely, exemption from ecclesiastical offices and dignities and from the task of acting as directors and confessors to convents of women. The former of these measures effectually stopped any drain of the best members away from the society and limited their hopes within its bounds, by putting them more freely at the general's disposal, especially as it was provided that the final vows could not be annulled, nor could a professed member be dismissed, save by the joint action of the general and the pope. The regulation as to convents seems partly due to a desire to avoid the worry and expenditure of time involved in the discharge of such offices and partly to a conviction that penitents living in enclosure, as all religious persons then were, would be of no effective use to the Society; whereas the founder, against the wishes of several of his companions, laid much stress on the duty of accepting the post of confessor to kings, queens and women of high rank when opportunity presented itself. And the year 1546 is notable in the annals of the Society as that in which it embarked on its great educational career, especially by the annexation of free day-schools to all its colleges.
The council of Trent, in its first period, seemed to increase the reputation of the Society; for the pope chose Laynez, Faber and Salmeron to act as his theologians in that assembly, and in this capacity they had no little influence in framing its decrees. When the council reassembled under Pius IV., Laynez and Salmeron again attended in the same capacity. It is sometimes said that the council formally approved of the Society. This is impossible; for as the Society had received the papal approval, that of the council would have been impertinent as well as unnecessary. St Charles Borromeo wrote to the presiding cardinals, on the 11th of May 1562, saying that, as France was disaffected to the Jesuits whom the pope wished to see established in every country, Pius IV. desired, when the council was occupying itself about regulars, that it should make some honourable mention of the Society in order to recommend it. This was done in the twenty-fifth session (cap. XVI., d.r.) when the decree was passed that at the end of the time of probation novices should either be professed or dismissed; and the words of the council are: "By these things, however, the Synod does not intend to make any innovation or prohibition, so as to hinder the religious order of Clerks of the Society of Jesus from being able to serve God and His Church, in accordance with their pious institute approved of by the Holy Apostolic See." In 1548 the Society received a valuable recruit in the person of Francisco Borgia, duke of Gandia, afterwards thrice general, while two important events marked 1550 - the foundation of the Collegio Romano and a fresh confirmation of the Society by Julius III. The German college, for the children of poor nobles, was founded in 1552; and in the same year Ignatius firmly settled the discipline of the Society by putting down, with promptness and severity, some attempts at independent action on the part of Rodriguez at Coimbra - this being the occasion of the famous letter on obedience; while 1553 saw the despatch of a mission to Abyssinia with one of the fathers as patriarch, and the first rift within the lute when the pope thought that the Spanish Jesuits were taking part with the emperor against the Holy See. Paul IV. (whose election alarmed the Jesuits, for they had not found him very friendly as cardinal) was for a time managed with supreme tact by Ignatius, whom he respected personally. In 1556, the founder died and left the Society consisting of fortyfive professed fathers and two thousand ordinary members, distributed over twelve provinces, with more than a hundred colleges and houses.
After the death of the first general there was an interregnum of two years, with Laynez as vicar. During this long period he occupied himself with completing the constitutions by incorporating certain declarations, said to be Ignatian, which explained and sometimes completely altered the meaning of the original text. Laynez was an astute politician and saw the vast capabilities of the Society over a far wider field than the founder contemplated; and he prepared to give it the direction that it has since followed. In some senses, this learned and consummately clever man may be looked upon as the real founder of the Society as history knows it. Having carefully prepared the way, he summoned the general congregation from which he emerged as second general in 1556. As soon as Ignatius had died Paul IV. announced his intention of instituting reforms in the Society, especially in two points: the public recitation of the office in choir and the limitation of the general's office to a term of three years. Despite all the protests and negotiations of Laynez, the pope remained obstinate; and there was nothing but to submit. On the 8th of September 1558, two points were added to the constitutions: that the generalship should be triennial and not perpetual, although after the three years the general might be confirmed; and that the canonical hours should be observed in choir after the manner of the other orders, but with that moderation which should seem expedient to the general. Taking advantage of this last clause, Laynez applied the new law to two houses only, namely, Rome and Lisbon, the other houses contenting themselves with singing vespers on feast days; and as soon as Paul IV. died, Laynez, acting on advice, quietly ignored for the future the orders of the late pope. He also succeeded in increasing further the already enormous powers of the general. Laynez took a leading part in the colloquy of Poissy in 1561 between the Catholics and Huguenots; and obtained a legal footing from the states-general for colleges of the Society in France. He died in 1564, leaving the Society increased to eighteen provinces with a hundred and thirty colleges, and was succeeded by Francisco Borgia. During the third generalate, Pius V. confirmed all the former privileges, and in the amplest form extended to the Society, as being a mendicant institute, all favours that had been or might afterwards be granted to such mendicant bodies. It was a trifling set-off that in 1567 the pope again enjoined the fathers to keep choir and to admit only the professed to priests' orders, especially as Gregory XIII. rescinded both these injunctions in 1573; and indeed, as regards the hours, all that Pius V. was able to obtain was the nominal concession that the breviary should be recited in choir in the professed houses only, and that not of necessity by more than two persons at a time. Everard Mercurian, a Fleming, and a subject of Spain, succeeded Borgia in 1 573, being forced on the Society by the pope, in preference to Polanco, Ignatius's secretary and the vicar-general, who was rejected partly as a Spaniard and still more because he was a "New Christian" of Jewish origin and therefore objected to in Spain itself. During his term of office there took place the troubles in Rome concerning the English college and the subsequent Jesuit rule over that institution; and in 1580 the first Jesuit mission, headed by the redoubtable Robert Parsons and the saintly Edmund Campion, set out for England. This mission, on one side, carried on an active propaganda against Elizabeth in favour of Spain; and on the other, among the true missionaries, was marked with devoted zeal and heroism even to the ghastly death of traitors. Claude Acquaviva, the fifth general, held office from 1581 to 1615, a time almost coinciding with the high tide of the successful reaction, chiefly due to the Jesuits. He was an able, strong-willed man, and crushed what was tantamount to a rebellion in Spain. It was during this struggle that Mariana, the historian and the author of the famous De rege in which he defends tyrannicide, wrote his treatise On the Defects in the Government of the Society. He confessed freely that the Society had faults and that there was a great deal of unrest among the members; and he mentioned among the various points calling for reform the education of the novices and students; the state of the lay brother and the possessions of the Society; the spying system, which he declared to be carried so far that, if the general's archives at Rome should be searched, not one Jesuit's character would be found to escape; the monopoly of the higher offices by a small clique: and the absence of all encouragement and recompense for the best men of the Society.
It was chiefly during the generalship of Acquaviva that the Society began to gain an evil reputation which eclipsed its good report. In France the Jesuits joined, if they did not originate, the league against Henry of Navarre. Absolution was refused by them to those who would not join in the Guise rebellion, and Acquaviva is said to have tried to stop them, but in vain. The assassination of Henry III. in the interests of the league and the wounding of Henry IV. in 1594 by Chastel, a pupil of theirs, revealed the danger that the whole Society was running by the intrigues of a few men. The Jesuits were banished from France in 1594, but were allowed to return by Henry IV. under conditions; as Sully has recorded, the king declared his only motive to be the expediency of not driving them into a corner with possible disastrous results to his life, and because his only hope of tranquillity lay in appeasing them and their powerful friends. In England the political schemings of Parsons were no small factors in the odium which fell on the Society at large; and his determination to capture the English Catholics as an apanage of the Society, to the exclusion of all else, was an object lesson to the rest of Europe of a restless ambition and lust of domination which were to find many imitators. The political turn which was being given by some to the Society, to the detriment of its real spiritual work, evoked the fears of the wiser heads of the body; and in the fifth general congregation held in1593-1594it was decreed: "Whereas in these times of difficulty and danger it has happened through the fault of certain individuals, through ambition and intemperate zeal, that our institute has been ill spoken of in divers places and before divers sovereigns. .. it is severely and strictly forbidden to all members of the Society to interfere in any manner whatever in public affairs even though they be thereto invited; or to deviate from the institute through entreaty, persuasion or any other motive whatever." It would have been well had Acquaviva enforced this decree; but Parsons was allowed to keep on with his work, and other Jesuits in France for many years after directed, to the loss of religion, affairs of state. In 1605 took place in England the Gunpowder Plot, in which Henry Garnet, the superior of the Society in England, was implicated. That the Jesuits were the instigators of the plot there is no evidence, but they were in close touch with the conspirators, of whose designs Garnet had a general knowledge. There is now no reasonable doubt that he and other Jesuits were legally accessories, and that the condemnation of Garnet as a traitor was substantially just (see Garnet, Henry).
It was during Acquaviva's generalship that Philip II. of Spain complained bitterly of the Society to Sixtus V., and encouraged him in those plans of reform (even to changing the name) which were only cut short by the pope's death in 1590, and also that the long protracted discussions on grace, wherein the Dominicans contended against the Jesuits, were carried on at Rome with little practical result, by the Congregation de auxiliis, which sat from 1598 till 1607. The Ratio Studiorum took its shape during this time. The Jesuit influence at Rome was supported by the Spanish ambassador; but when Henry IV. "went to Mass," the balance inclined to the side of France, and the Spanish monopoly became a thing of the past. Acquaviva saw the expulsion of the Jesuits from Venice in 1606 for siding with Paul V. when he placed the republic under interdict, but did not live to see their recall, which took place at the intercession of Louis XIV. in 1657. He also had to banish Parsons from Rome, by order of Clement VIII., who was wearied with the perpetual complaints made against that intriguer. Gregory XIV., by the bull Ecclesiae Christi (July 28, 1591), again confirmed the Society, and granted that Jesuits might, for true cause, be expelled from the body without any form of trial or even documentary procedure, besides denouncing excommunications against every one, save the pope or his legates, who directly or indirectly infringed the constitutions of the Society or attempted to bring about any change therein.
Under Vitelleschi, the next general, the Society celebrated its first centenary on the 25th of September 1639, the hundredth anniversary of the verbal approbation given to the scheme by Paul III. During this hundred years the Society had grown to thirty-six provinces, with eight hundred houses containing some fifteen thousand members. In 1640 broke out the great Jansenist controversy, in which the Society took the leading part on one side and finally secured the victory. In this same year, considering themselves ill-used by Olivarez, prime minister of Philip IV. of Spain, the Jesuits powerfully aided the revolution which placed the duke of Braganza on the throne of Portugal; and their services were rewarded for nearly one hundred years with the practical control of ecclesiastical and almost of civil affairs in that kingdom.
The Society also gained ground steadily in France; for, though held in check by Richelieu and little more favoured by Mazarin, yet from the moment that Louis XIV. took the reins, their star was in the ascendant, and Jesuit confessors, the most celebrated of whom were Francois de La Chaise and Michel Le Tellier (1643-1719), guided the policy of the king, not hesitating to take his side in his quarrel with the Holy See, which nearly resulted in a schism, nor to sign the Gallican articles. Their hostility to the Huguenots forced on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and their war against their Jansenist opponents did not cease till the very walls of Port Royal were demolished in 1710, even to the very abbey church itself, and the bodies of the dead taken with every mark of insult from their graves and literally flung to the dogs to devour. But while thus gaining power in one direction, the Society was losing it in another. The Japanese mission had vanished in blood in 1651; and though many Jesuits died with their converts bravely as martyrs for the faith, yet it is impossible to acquit them of a large share in the causes of that overthrow. It was also about this same period that the grave scandal of the Chinese and Malabar rites began to attract attention in Europe, and to make thinking men ask seriously whether the Jesuit missionaries in those parts taught anything which could fairly be called Christianity at all. When it was remembered, too, that they had decided, at a council held at Lima, that it was inexpedient to impose any act of Christian devotion except baptism on the South American converts, without the greatest precautions, on the ground of intellectual difficulties, it is not wonderful that this doubt was not satisfactorily cleared up, notably in face of the charges brought against the Society by Bernardin de Cardonas, bishop of Paraguay, and the saintly Juan de Palafox, bishop of Angelopolis in Mexico.
But "the terrible power in the universal church, the great riches and the extraordinary prestige" of the Society, which Palafox complained had raised it "above all dignities, laws, councils and apostolic constitutions," carried with them the seeds of rapid and inevitable decay. A succession of devout but incapable generals, after the death of Acquaviva, saw the gradual secularization of tone by the flocking in of recruits of rank and wealth desirous to share in the glories and influence of the Society, but not well adapted to increase them. The general's supremacy received a shock when the eleventh general congregation appointed Oliva as vicar, with the right of succession and powers that practically superseded those of the general Goswin Nickel, whose infirmities, it is said, did not permit him to govern with the necessary application and vigour; and an attempt was made to depose Tirso Gonzalez, the thirteenth general, whose views on probabilism diverged from those favoured by the rest of the Jesuits. Though the political weight of the Society continued to increase in the cabinets of Europe, it was being steadily weakened internally. The Jesuits abandoned the system of free education which had won them so much influence and honour; by attaching themselves exclusively to the interests of courts, they lost favour with the middle and lower classes; and above all, their monopoly of power and patronage in France, with the fatal use they had made of it, drew down the bitterest hostility upon them. It was to their credit, indeed, that the encyclopaedists attacked them as the foremost representatives of Christianity, but they are accountable in no small degree in France, as in England, for alienating the minds of men from the religion for which they professed to work.
But the most fatal part of the policy of the Society was its activity, wealth and importance as a great trading firm with branch houses scattered over the richest countries of the world. Its founder, with a wise instinct, had forbidden the accumulation of wealth; its own constitutions, as revised in the 84th decree of the sixth general congregation, had forbidden all pursuits of a commercial nature, as also had various popes; but nevertheless the trade went on unceasingly, necessarily with the full knowledge of the general, unless it be pleaded that the system of obligatory espionage had completely broken down. The first muttering of the storm which was soon to break was heard in a breve issued in 1741 by Benedict XIV., wherein he denounced the Jesuit offenders as "disobedient, contumacious, captious and reprobate persons," and enacted many stringent regulations for their better government. The first serious attack came from a country where they had been long dominant. In 1753 Spain and Portugal exchanged certain American provinces with each other, which involved a transfer of sovereign rights over Paraguay; but it was also provided that the populations should severally migrate also, that the subjects of each crown might remain the same as before. The inhabitants of the "reductions," whom the Jesuits had trained in the use of European arms and discipline, naturally rose in defence of their homes, and attacked the troops and authorities. Their previous docility and their entire submission to the Jesuits left no possible doubt as to the source of the rebellion, and gave the enemies of the Jesuits a handle against them that was not forgotten. In 1757 Carvalho, marquis of Pombal, prime minister of Joseph I. of Portugal, and an old pupil of the Jesuits at Coimbra, dismissed the three Jesuit chaplains of the king and named three secular priests in their stead. He next complained to Benedict XIV. that the trading operations of the Society hampered the commercial prosperity of the nation, and asked for remedial measures. The pope, who knew the situation, committed a visitation of the Society to Cardinal Saldanha, an intimate friend of Pombal, who issued a severe decree against the Jesuits and ordered the confiscation of all their merchandise. But at this juncture Benedict XIV., the most learned and able pope of the period, was succeeded by a pope strongly in favour of the Jesuits, Clement XIII. Pombal, finding no help from Rome, adopted other means. The king was fired at and wounded on returning from a visit to his mistress on the 3rd of September 1758. The duke of Aveiro and other high personages were tried and executed for conspiracy; while some of the Jesuits, who had undoubtedly been in communication with them, were charged, on doubtful evidence, with complicity in the attempted assassination. Pombal charged the whole Society with the possible guilt of a few, and, unwilling to wait the dubious issue of an application to the pope for licence to try them in the civil courts, whence they were exempt, issued on the 1st of September 1759 a decree ordering the immediate deportation of every Jesuit from Portugal and all its dependencies and their suppression by the bishops in the schools and universities. Those in Portugal were at once shipped, in great misery, to the papal states, and were soon followed by those in the colonies. In France, Madame de Pompadour was their enemy because they had refused her absolution while she remained the king's mistress; but the immediate cause of their ruin was the bankruptcy of Father Lavalette, the Jesuit superior in Martinique, a daring speculator, who failed, after trading for some years, for 2,400,000 francs and brought ruin upon some French commercial houses of note. Lorenzo Ricci, then general of the Society, repudiated the debt, alleging lack of authority on Lavalette's part to pledge the credit of the Society, and he was sued by the creditors. Losing his cause, he appealed to the parlement of Paris, and it, to decide the issue raised by Ricci, required the constitutions of the Jesuits to be produced in evidence, and affirmed the judgment of the courts below. But the publicity given to a document scarcely known till then raised the utmost indignation against the Society. A royal commission, appointed by the duc de Choiseul to examine the constitutions, convoked a private assembly of fifty-one archbishops and bishops under the presidency of Cardinal de Luynes, all of whom except six voted that the unlimited authority of the general was incompatible with the laws of France, and that the appointment of a resident vicar, subject to those laws, was the only solution of the question fair on all sides. Ricci replied with the historical answer, Sint ut sunt, aut non sint; and after some further delay, during which much interest was exerted in their favour, the Jesuits were suppressed by an edict in November 1764, but suffered to remain on the footing of secular priests, a grace withdrawn in 1767, when they were expelled from the kingdom. In the very same year, Charles III. of Spain, a monarch known for personal devoutness, convinced, on evidence not now forthcoming, that the Jesuits were plotting against his authority, prepared, through his minister D'Aranda, a decree suppressing the Society in every part of his dominions. Sealed despatches were sent to every Spanish colony, to be opened on the same day, the 2nd of April 1767, when the measure was to take effect in Spain itself, and the expulsion was relentlessly carried out, nearly six thousand priests being deported from Spain alone, and sent to the Italian coast, whence, however, they were repelled by the orders of the pope and Ricci himself, finding a refuge at Corte in Corsica, after some months' suffering in overcrowded vessels at sea. The general's object may probably have been to accentuate the harshness with which the fathers had been treated, and so to increase public sympathy, 1 but the actual result of his policy was blame for the cruelty with which he enhanced their misfortunes, for the poverty of Corsica made even a bare subsistence scarcely procurable for them there. The Bourbon courts of Naples and Parma followed the example of France and Spain; Clement XIII. retorted with a bull launched at the weakest adversary, and declaring the rank and title of the duke of Parma forfeit. The Bourbon sovereigns threatened to make war on the pope in return (France, indeed, seizing on the county of Avignon), and a joint note demanding a retractation, and the abolition of the Jesuits, was presented by the French ambassador at Rome on the 10th of December 1768 in the name of France, Spain and the two Sicilies. The pope, a man of eighty-two, died of apoplexy, brought on by the shock, early in 1769. Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli, a conventual Franciscan, was chosen to succeed him, and took the name of Clement XIV. He endeavoured to avert the decision forced upon him, but, as Portugal joined the Bourbon league, and Maria Theresa with her son the emperor Joseph II. ceased to protect the Jesuits, there remained only the petty kingdom of Sardinia in their favour, though the fall of Choiseul in France raised the hopes of the Society for a time. The pope began with some preliminary measures, permitting first the renewal of lawsuits against the Society, which had been suspended by papal authority, and which, indeed, had in no case been ever successful at Rome. He then closed the Collegio Romano, on the plea of its insolvency, seized the houses at Frascati and Tivoli, and broke up the establishments in Bologna and the Legations. Finally on the 21st of July 1773 the famous breve Dominus ac Redemptor appeared, suppressing the Society of Jesus. This remarkable document opens by citing a long series of precedents for the suppression of religious orders by the Holy See, amongst which occurs the ill-omened instance of the Templars. It then briefly sketches the objects and history of the Jesuits themselves. It speaks of their defiance of their own constitution, expressly revived by Paul V., forbidding them to meddle in politics; of the great ruin to souls caused by their quarrels with local ordinaries and the other religious orders, their condescension to heathen usages in the East, and the disturbances, resulting in persecutions of the Church, which they had stirred up even in Catholic countries, so that several popes had been obliged to punish them. Seeing then that the Catholic sovereigns had been forced to expel them, that many bishops and other eminent persons demanded their extinction, and that the Society had ceased to fulfil the intention of its institute, the pope declares it necessary for the peace of the Church that it should be suppressed, extinguished, abolished and abrogated for ever, with all its houses, colleges, schools and hospitals; transfers all the authority of its general or officers to the local ordinaries; forbids the reception of any more novices, directing that such as were actually in probation should be dismissed, and declaring that profession in the Society should not serve as a title to holy orders. Priests of the Society are given the option of either joining other orders or remaining as secular clergy, under obedience to the ordinaries, who are empowered to grant or withhold from them licences to hear confessions. Such of the fathers as are engaged in the work of education are permitted to continue, on condition of abstaining from lax and questionable doctrines apt to cause strife and trouble. The question of missions is reserved, and the relaxations granted to the Society in such matters as fasting, reciting the hours and reading heretical books, are withdrawn; while the breve ends with clauses carefully drawn to bar any legal exceptions that might be taken against its full validity and obligation. It has been necessary to cite these heads of the breve because the apologists of the Society allege that no motive influenced the pope save the desire of peace at any price, and that he did not believe in the culpability of the fathers. The categorical charges made in the document rebut this plea. The pope followed up this breve by appointing a congregation of cardinals to take possession of the temporalities of the Society, and armed it with summary powers against all who should attempt to retain or conceal any of the property. He also threw Lorenzo Ricci, the general, into prison, first in the English college and then in the castle of St Angelo, where he died in 1775, under the pontificate of Pius VI., who, though not unfavourable to the Society, and owing his own advancement to it, dared not release him, probably because his continued imprisonment was made a condition by the powers who enjoyed a right of veto in papal elections. In September 1774 Clement XIV. died after much suffering, and the question has been hotly debated ever since whether poison was the cause of his death. But the latest researches have shown that there is no evidence to support the theory of poison. Salicetti, the pope's physician, denied that the body showed signs of poisoning, and Tanucci, Neapolitan ambassador at Rome, who had a large share in procuring the breve of suppression, entirely acquits the Jesuits, while F. Theiner, no friend to the Society, does the like.
At the date of this suppression, the Society had 41 provinces and 22,589 members, of whom 11,295 were priests. Far from submitting to the papal breve, the ex-Jesuits, after some ineffectual attempts at direct resistance, withdrew into the territories of the free-thinking sovereigns of Russia and Prussia, Frederick II. and Catherine II., who became their active friends and protectors; and the fathers alleged as a principle, in so far as their theology is concerned, that no papal bull is binding in state whose sovereign has not approved and authorized its publication and execution. Russia formed the headquarters of the Society, and two forged breves were speedily circulated, being dated June 9 and June 29, 1774, approving their establishment in Russia, and implying the repeal of the breve of suppression. But these are contradicted by the tenor of five genuine breves issued in September '774 to the archbishop of Gnesen, and making certain assurances to the ex-Jesuits, on condition of their complete obedience to the injunctions already laid on them. The Jesuits also pleaded a verbal approbation by Pius VI., technically known as an Oraculum vivae vocis, but this is invalid for purposes of law unless reduced to writing and duly authenticated.
They elected three Poles successively as generals, taking, however, only the title of vicars, till on the 7th of March 1801 Pius VII. granted them liberty to reconstitute themselves in north Russia, and permitted Kareu, then vicar, to exercise full authority as general. On the 30th of July 1804 a similar breve restored the Jesuits in the Two Sicilies, at the express desire of Ferdinand IV., the pope thus anticipating the further action of 1814, when, by the constitution Sollicitudo omniurn Ecclesiarum, he revoked the action of Clement XIV., and formally restored the Society to corporate legal existence, yet not only omitted any censure of his predecessor's conduct, but all vindication of the Jesuits from the heavy charges in the breve Dominus ac Redemptor. In France, even after their expulsion in 1765, they had maintained a precarious footing in the country under the partial disguise and names of "Fathers of the Faith" or "Clerks of the Sacred Heart," but were obliged by Napoleon I. to retire in 1804. They reappeared under their true name in 1814, and obtained formal licence in 1822, but became the objects of so much hostility that Charles X. deprived them by ordinance of the right of instruction, and obliged all applicants for licences as teachers to make oath that they did not belong to any community unrecognized by the laws. They were dispersed again by the revolution of July 1830, but soon reappeared and, though put to much inconvenience during the latter years of Louis Philippe's reign, notably in 1845, maintained their footing, recovered the right to teach freely after the revolution of 1848, and gradually became the leading educational and ecclesiastical power in France, notably under the Second Empire, till they were once more expelled by the Ferry laws of 1880, though they quietly returned since the execution of those measures. They were again expelled by the Law of Associations of 1901. In Spain they came back with Ferdinand VII., but were expelled at the constitutional rising in 1820, returning in 1823, when the duke of Angouleme's army replaced Ferdinand on his throne; they were driven out once more by Espartero in 1835, and have had no legal position since, though their presence is openly tolerated. In Portugal, ranging themselves on the side of Dom Miguel, they fell with his cause, and were exiled in 1834. There are some to this day in Lisbon under the name of "Fathers of the Faith." Russia, which had been their warmest patron, drove them from St Petersburg and Moscow in 1813, and from the whole empire in 1820, mainly on the plea of attempted proselytizing in the imperial army. Holland drove them out in 1816, and, by giving them thus a valid excuse for aiding the Belgian revolution of 1830, secured them the strong position they have ever since held in Belgium; but they have succeeded in returning to Holland. They were expelled from Switzerland in1847-1848for the part they were charged with in exciting the war of the Sonderbund. In south Germany, inclusive of Austria and Bavaria, their annals since their restoration have been uneventful; but in north Germany, owing to the footing Frederick II. had given them in Prussia, they became very powerful, especially in the Rhine provinces, and, gradually moulding the younger generation of clergy after the close of the War of Liberation, succeeded in spreading Ultramontane views amongst them, and so leading up to the difficulties with the civil government which issued in the Falk laws, and their own expulsion by decree of the German parliament (June 19, 1872). Since then many attempts have been made to procure the recall of the Society to the German Empire, but without success, although as individuals they are now allowed in the country. In Great Britain, whither they began to straggle over during the revolutionary troubles at the close of the 18th century, and where, practically unaffected by the clause directed against them in the Emancipation Act of 1829, their chief settlement has been at Stonyhurst in Lancashire, an estate conferred on them by Thomas Weld in 1795, they have been unmolested; but there has been little affinity to the order in the British temperament, and the English province has consequently never risen to numerical or intellectual importance in the Society. In Rome itself, its progress after the restoration was at first slow, and it was not till the reign of Leo XII. (1823-1829) that it recovered its place as the chief educational body there. It advanced steadily under Gregory XVI., and, though it was at first shunned by Pius IX., it secured his entire confidence after his return from Gaeta in 1849, and obtained from him a special breve erecting the staff of its literary journal, the Civiltd Cattolica, into a perpetual college under the general of the Jesuits, for the purpose of teaching and propagating the faith in its pages. How, with this pope's support throughout his long reign, the gradual filling of nearly all the sees of Latin Christendom with bishops of their own selection, and their practical capture, directly or indirectly, of the education of the clergy in seminaries, they contrived to stamp out the last remains of independence everywhere, and to crown the Ultramontane triumph with the Vatican Decrees, is matter of familiar knowledge. Leo XIII., while favouring them somewhat, never gave them his full confidence; and by his adhesion to the Thomist philosophy and theology, and his active work for the regeneration and progress of the older orders, he made another suppression possible by destroying much of their prestige. But the usual sequence has been observed under Pius X., who appeared to be greatly in favour of the Society and to rely upon them for many of the measures of his pontificate.
The Society has been ruled by twenty-five generals and four vicars from its foundation to the present day (1910). Of all the various nationalities represented in the Society, neither France, its original cradle, nor England, has ever given it a head, while Spain, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Germany and Poland, were all represented. The numbers of the Society are not accurately known, but are estimated at about 20,000, in all parts of the world; and of these the English, Irish and American Jesuits are under 3000.
The generals of the Jesuits have been as follow: I. Ignatius de Loyola (Spaniard)1541-15562. Diego Laynez (Spaniard)1558-15653. Francisco Borgia (Spaniard)1565-15724. Everard Mercurian (Belgian)1573-15805. Claudio Acquaviva (Neapolitan)1581-16156. Mutio Vitelleschi (Roman).1615-16457. Vincenzio Caraffa (Neapolitan)1646-16498. Francesco Piccolomini (Florentine)1649-16519. Alessandro Gottofredi (Roman) 1652 10. Goswin Nickel (German). .. ...1652-1664II. Giovanni Paolo Oliva (Genoese) vicar-general and coadjutor, 1661; general.1664-168112. Charles de Noyelle (Belgian)1682-168613. Tirso Gonzalez (Spaniard)1687-170514. Michele Angelo Tamburini (Modenese)1706-173015. Franz Retz (Bohemian)1730-175016. Ignazio Visconti (Milanese). ..1751-175517. Alessandro Centurioni (Genoese).1755-175718. Lorenzo Ricci (Florentine). ...1758-1775a. Stanislaus Czerniewicz (Pole), vicar-general1782-1785b. Gabriel Lienkiewicz (Pole), „1785-1798c. Franciscus Xavier Kareu (Pole), (general in Russia, 7th March 1801)1799-1802d. Gabriel Gruber (German)1802-180519. Thaddaeus Brzozowski (Pole)1805-182020. Aloysio Fortis (Veronese)1820-182921. Johannes Roothaan (Dutchman)1829-185322. Peter Johannes Beckx (Belgian)1853-188423. Antoine Anderledy (Swiss)..1884-189224. Luis Martin (Spanish). ..1892-190625. Francis Xavier Wernz (German). 1906 The bibliography of Jesuitism is of enormous extent, and it is impracticable to cite more than a few of the most important works. They are as follows: Institutum Societatis Jesu (7 vols., Avignon, 1830-1838); Orlandini, Historia Societatis Jesu (Antwerp, 1620); Imago primi saeculi Societatis Jesu (Antwerp, 1640); Nieremberg, Vida de San Ignacio de Loyola (9 vols., fol., Madrid, 1645-1736); Genelli, Life of St Ignatius of Loyola (London, 1872); Backer, Bibliotheque des ecrivains de la Compagnie de Jesus (7 vols., Paris, 1853-1861); Cretineau Joly, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jesus (6 vols., Paris, 1844); Guettee, Histoire des Jesuites (3 vols., Paris, 1858-1859); Wolff, Allgemeine Geschichte der Jesuiten (4 vols., Zurich, 1789-1792); Gioberti, Il Gesuita moderno (Lausanne, 1846); F. Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World and The Jesuits in North America (Boston, 1868); Lettres edifiantes et curieuses, ecrites des missions etrangeres, avec les Annales de la propagation de la foi (40 vols., Lyons, 1819-1854); Saint-Priest, Histoire de la chute des Jesuites au X VIII € Siecle (Paris, 1844); Ranke, Romische Pcipste (3 vols., Berlin, 1838); E. Taunton, History of the Jesuits in England (London, 1901); Thomas Hughes, S.J., History of the Society of Jesus in North America (London and New York, 1907); R. G. Thwaites, Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents (73 vols. Cleveland, 1896-1901).
(R. F. L.; E. TN.)
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Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Jesuits'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/j/jesuits.html. 1910.