Sunday, 2 August 2015

JESUITS IN ENGLAND.

THEIR POLITICAL INFLUENCE.

(SPECIAL TO " THE WATCHMAN.")

" Every lover of Protestantism should realise that the Jesuit Order is the greatest foe of our civil and religious liberty."

" The Jesuits in Great Britain," Mr. Walter Walsh's new book, just published, will help Protestants to realise that fact more than ever. It is a remarkable book. It is a sensational book. It throbs with life and interest ; but it is nevertheless a tale of shame, of treachery, and of treason.

The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century was, as Mr. Walsh declares, "the wonder of the world. Its rapid growth, notwithstanding the efforts of the Papacy to uproot it, served to convince its disciples that there was a power behind it which was not of this world. Popes cursed it, and kings drew the sword against its followers; but all in vain. Countless multitudes of martyrs were sent to the stake, yet still Protestantism would not die. It grew more powerful every year. With earthquake force

 It shook the Vatican,

and threatened ere long to sweep the Papacy from off the face of the earth. It seemed at one time as though nothing could resist its progress. It will soon be 400 years since Martin Luther raised the standard of revolt against Papal tyranny, but Protestantism is not dead yet; on the contrary, it is a great and living power in the world, able to hold its own against every machination of Rome. Yet it must be admitted that in the latter half of the 16th century the Protestant Reformation received a severe check through the exertions of the Society of Jesus.
" The operations of this Order in Great Britain during the 16th and 17th centuries are referred to by most of our historians, but at quite an inadequate length, and without utilising in any way the wealth of material which has seen the light for the first time during the past half century, and even those Protestant authors who have written specially on the Jesuit Order seem to have been quite unaware of its existence.

Unimpeachable authority.

" I have made extensive use of this new material," says Mr. Walsh in his introduction, " in which will be found a consider able amount of historical information not generally known to the public. In one respect this book will certainly differ from every other book on the Jesuits written by a Protestant, inasmuch as the great majority of my authorities are either Jesuits or ordinary Roman Catholics. The Protestant indictment against the Order is all the stronger when built upon such authorities.

" I have confined myself to an examination of the political influence of the Jesuits in Great Britain, excepting in the last two chapters, in which the Constitutions and the general work of the Society and of its agents and instruments are considered. I venture to suggest that in these last chapters will be found some important information, which throws light on its "present operations. The work carried on by the Jesuits through its Sodalities has never, so far as I am aware, been adequately described by any Protestant writer. There are Jesuit Sodalities for both sexes, and for every class of society. At the chief Jesuit Church in London (at Farm Street, W.) the lowest rank of society admitted to its " Sodality of the Immaculate Conception" is that of gentleman. Each member is admitted by authority of the general of the Jesuits, and is under the guidance of a Jesuit director. There are Sodalities also for ladies. In the section devoted to these Sodalities I quote from their privately printed books.

 Ringleaders in sedition.

" The evidence produced can leave no doubt in a candid reader's mind that during the 16th and 17th centuries the Jesuits were a thoroughly disloyal body of men and the ringleaders in sedition and rebellion. They wanted to restore Roman Catholicism in the United Kingdom, and for this purpose their chief reliance was on the sword. If they could have had their way Protestantism would have been exterminated, in the time of Queen Elizabeth, not by fair controversial methods, but by crooked dealing, and, above all, by foreign soldiers. The chief disturbers of the State in Elizabeth's reign, and in the early years of James I., and the instigators of the abominable Gunpowder Plot, were the spiritual children of the Jesuits. From tho ranks of one of their Sodalities, as Mr. Simpson, the Roman Catholic biographer of Father Campian, assures us, came most of the men implicated in the plots to assassinate Elizabeth. No class of men were more alive to the

Dangerous and disloyal

character of the Society of Jesus than the secular Roman Catholic priests. Roman Catholics, in almost every country, have said stronger things against the Society than anything which Protestants have uttered.
  "There are many sensational events recorded, but I trust that nothing will be discovered in the way of intemperate comment. The facts against the Jesuits are so strong that they do not need the aid of abuse. The work of the Jesuits in Great Britain during the Commonwealth period, and subsequently to the accession of James IX. is not recorded. Happily the omission may be largely filled in by a perusal of Father Taunton's recent ' History of the Jesuits in England.' This gentleman, though a Roman Catholic priest, exposes the history of the Order with an unsparing hand. It is all the more valuable as coming from such a source. I have used his book but sparingly, and with due acknowledgment in each case. Had it appeared at an earlier date it would have saved me much original research; but nearly all my facts had been collected several years before its publication. Mr. Taunton deserves our warmest thanks for the courage he has displayed in telling the truth about an Order which has ever been the fruitful parent of civil and political discords.

Chief centre of operations.

" The British Empire, at home and in its Colonies and Dependencies, is the chief centre of Jesuit operations at the present moment. Its leaders know very well that to destroy the power of Protestantism in the dominions of King Edward VII. would be the greatest service they could render to the Church of Rome. The work of the French Jesuits in connection with the Dreyfus case, and the abuse of England by Jesuit papers and magazines on the Continent in connection with the recent South African War, have given the Order a bad name once more amongst British Protestants. Expelled from France they are flocking to England, but not for England's good."
The most interesting chapter in the book is the last, dealing with the

 Constitutions of the Jesuits

and their secret agents. The formal approbation of the Pope having been obtained for the new Order, the next step to be taken was the election of its first general. Ignatius for this purpose called a meeting of his companions at Rome, and invited those unable to be present to send their votes in writing. On April 7, 1541, the meeting was held, at which, however, only five Jesuits were present. The result was that Ignatius was unanimously elected as first general. Bonhours asserts that Loyola was "afflicted," and even surprised to see himself elected general," and assured his brethren that he was unwilling to act. But in this Loyola could not have been sincere. How could he have been "surprised" at his election, when he was the founder of the new Order? He knew that some one must be appointed, and it is evident that he did not think either of his companions suitable, or he would have voted for him. When his own voting paper was opened it was found that he had not voted for anybody. His attitude under the circumstances was one of pretence, for I doubt not that he would have been bitterly disappointed if anybody else had been selected.

 The first general.

The new general at once set to work to draw up the constitutions of the Society of Jesus. He wrote them in Spanish, but they were at once translated into Latin by his secretary. These constitutions are drawn up with extraordinary skill, and manifest worldly wisdom of a high order. The founder of the Order here laid down plans which show that he expected it to cover eventually the whole of the globe. "It is indeed," says Mr. Cartwright, " impossible to consider the series of 'regulations' and 'constitutions'—of minute injunctions and astute exemptions—which make up the code of the Society, without becoming greatly impressed with the fore thought and sagacity which could devise provisions so intricate and so nicely dovetailed. The law-makers of the Society have framed a set of ordinances and of privileges with skill that is perfectly marvellous."
 The object of the Society of Jesus is said to be "the greater glory of God." (Ad majorem Dei Gloriam), the initials of the words, " A. M. D. G.," being frequently used by the Jesuits in announcing their public services, and on the title pages of their books.

Recommendations for membership.

By the constitutions it is required of those admitted into the Society that they shall be of "a comely presence," and that when commencing their probation they shall have exceeded their fourteenth year. If they have " external gifts of nobility, wealth, reputation and the like," these, though not of themselves sufficient, will make them "more fit for admission." Other things being equal, it is evident that a rich young man has a better chance of admission than a poor one. When a candidate is thought suitable for probation, he is sent to a home of probation as a guest, for from twelve to twenty days. On the day after he arrives he is told how to conduct himself while there, " and expressly, that he hold no intercourse (unless for some cause of no slight moment it seems, otherwise to the superior), either by word or writing, with those within or those without, except with such as are for that purpose designated by the superior." While a guest he must open his conscience to the superior, and make a general confession, which, however, may not be to any confessor he may choose, but "to the confessor who shall be designated "by the superior to receive it."

No room for private opinions.

There are several things which may lead to the dismissal of the novice at this stage, amongst them, if he "cannot settle himself to a life obedience, to be regulated according to the Society's manner of proceeding ; if he cannot, or will not, subject his own opinions and judgment; or for other impediments, whether natural or habitual." It will thus be seen that there is no room in the Society of Jesus for any man with private opinions of his own.
If the candidate be found likely to be come a useful member of the Society, he next enters as a scholar upon a formal course of probation in one of its houses or colleges. In the Rules of the Society of Jesus, printed for the private use of its members only, at the Jesuits' private printing press, Roehampton, in 1863, the fol lowing is printed as the 14th of what are termed the "common rules":—" None of those who are admitted for the work of the house, must learn either to read or write, or if he have any knowledge of letters acquire more; nor shall any one teach him, without leave of the general; but it shall be sufficient for him to serve Christ our Lord in holy simplicity and humility."

Renunciation of property

While there he must "at least once a week go to the sacraments of confession and communion ; except for some reason the superior determine otherwise"; and one confessor is appointed in each house or college to hear the confessions of all the probationers. Even at this early stage, before the probationer has actually joined the Society, and though he may be only fourteen years old, provision is made in the constitutions to enable him to give up at once all his property to the Society, and he is even advised that it is better for him to make no conditions in so doing, "but let him leave its disposal to him who has the care of the whole Society, whether it should be applied to one place rather than another within the same province; since he must know better than any other what is most needful, and what most urgent." The novice must spend two years in this probationary state, and during this period—a modern Roman Catholic historian of the Order tells us—" In order to exercise their memory the Jesuit novices are obliged to learn daily a short lesson by heart; but, with this exception, St. Ignatius decrees that all study shall be rigorously banished."

 The triple vow.

At the end of two years the novice takes the simple vows of a "spiritual coadjutor." Of the three vows taken those of poverty and chastity are easily understood, and require no explanation. But some space is necessary to explain the Jesuit's vow of obedience, for "The great law of obedience is the secret of the perfect discipline that pervades this vast organisation." In his famous letter on obedience, dated March 26th, 1553, Loyola wrote to his subjects in the Order: "More easily may we suffer ourselves to be surpassed by other Religious Orders in fasting, watching, and other severities, in diet and apparel, which according to their institute and rule every one does piously practise; but in true and perfect obedience and the abnegation of our will and judgment, I greatly desire, most dear brethren, that those who serve God in this Society should be conspicuous, and that the true and genuine progeny of the same should as it were be distinguished by this mark." 

Blind obedience.

And again in the same letter, he remarks: " And if there he any who for some time obey, induced by that common apprehension that obey they must though commanded amiss; yet doubtless this can not be firm and constant, and so perseverance fails, or at least the perfection of obedience, which consists in obeying promptly and with alacrity, for there can be no alacrity and diligence, where there is discord of minds and opinions. There perishes that zeal and speed in performing, when we doubt whether it will be expedient or no to do what we are commanded: there perishes that renowned simplicity of blind obedience, when we call in question the justice of the command."
 What the obedience of a Jesuit especially should be to the Church of Rome, may apply also to his obedience to the superiors of his Order. In the Spiritual Exercises, Loyola lays down the proposition: "That we may be entirely of the same mind with the Church; if she have defined anything to be black which may appear to our minds to be white, we ought to believe it to be as she has pronounced it." Under these circumstances it would manifestly be impossible to see anything sinful or wrong in what is commanded,

No matter what the command

might be. It is laid down in the constitutions: "That holy obedience may be perfect in us in every point, in execution, in will, in intellect; doing whatever is enjoined us with all celerity, with spiritual joy and perseverance; persuading ourselves that everything is just; suppressing every repugnant thought and judgment of our own in a certain obedience, and that, moreover, in all things which are determined by the superior, wherein it cannot be defined (as is said) that any kind of sin appears. And let every one persuade himself that they who live under obedience should permit themselves to be moved and directed under Divine Providence by their superiors just as if they were a corpse, which allows itself to be moved and handled in any way; or as the staff of an old man, which serves him wherever and in whatever thing he who holds it in his hand pleases to use it."

The discernment of a corpse

The Jesuits frequently refer to this rule in proof of there being some limit to the obedience of a Jesuit. He must not obey when he clearly sees "sin" in the command. The Jesuit must obey, says Loyola, in his letter on obedience, "in all things where manifestly there appears no sin." But here we may reasonably ask, how is it possible for a man to see who is first of all made " blind" ? What power has a "corpse," or a "staff," without life or judgment, to see anything wrong in what is done with it? 
" The famous simplicity of blind obedience," says Loyola, "no longer exists when we begin inwardly to question whether it is rightly or wrongly that we are given a command." A Jesuit, he affirms, ought to have " a will inclined only to obey, without examining anything, without seeing anything, to perform all that the superior has told you to do." " Obedience to the superior whom God gives us, be he what he may, is the sure and only means of regaining peace of soul." But what if the superior be a wicked man? Is it not probable, in this case, that he will, from time to time, relying on the blind obedience of his subject, order him to commit that which is sinful? In this case how can his subject see anything wrong in the command, when he is required to obey it "without examining anything, without seeing anything"? The fact is that the Jesuit's blind obedience would justify, and even make a merit of, doing any crime which a superior may command.



Watchman 26 September 1903

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