Uzyskaj dostęp do tej i ponad 60000 książek od 6,99 zł miesięcznie
PREFACEIT is the historic custom of the Church of Rome to enlist in its service monastic or quasi-monastic bodies in addition to the ordinary clergy. In its hour of greatest need, at the very outbreak of the Reformation, the Society of Jesus was formed as one of these auxiliary regiments, and in the war which the Church of Rome has waged since that date the Jesuits have rendered the most spirited and conspicuous service. Yet the procedure of this Society has differed in many important respects from that of the other regiments of the Church, and a vast and unceasing controversy has gathered about it. It is probable that a thousand times, or several thousand times, more books and pamphlets and articles have been written about the Jesuits than about even the oldest and most powerful or learned of the monastic bodies. Not a work of history can be opened, in any language, but it will contain more references to the Jesuits than to all the other religious orders collectively. But opinions differ as much to-day as they did a hundred or two hundred years ago about the character of the Jesuits, and the warmest eulogies are chilled by the most bitter and withering indictments.What is a Jesuit? The question is asked still in every civilised land, and the answer is a confusing mass of contradictions. The most learned historians read the facts of their career so differently, that one comes to a verdict expressing deep and criminal guilt, and another acquits them with honour. Since the foundation of the Society these drastically opposed views of its action have been taken, and the praise and homage of admirers have been balanced by the intense hatred of an equal number of Catholic opponents. It would seem that some impenetrable veil lies over the history and present life of the Society, yet on both sides its judges refuse to recognise obscurity. Catholic monarchs and peoples have, time after time, driven the Jesuits ignominiously over their frontiers; Popes have sternly condemned them. But they are as active, and nearly as numerous, in the twentieth century as in the last days of the old political world.No marshalling of historical facts will change the feeling of the pronounced admirers and opponents of the Jesuits, and it would be idle to suppose that, because the present writer is neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, he will be awarded the virtue of impartiality. There seems, however, some need for an historical study of the Jesuits which will aim at impartiality and candour. On one side we have large and important works like Crétineau-Joly’s Histoire religieuse, politique, et littéraire de la Compagnie de Jésus, and a number of smaller works, written by Catholics of England or America, from the material, and in the spirit, of the French historian’s work. Such works as these cannot for a moment be regarded as serious history. They are panegyrics or apologies: pleasant reading for the man or woman who wishes to admire, but mere untruth to the man or woman who wishes to know. Indeed, the work of M. Crétineau-Joly, written in conjunction with the Jesuits, which is at times recommended as the classical authority on the Society, has worse defects than the genial omission of unedifying episodes. He makes the most inflated general statements on the scantiest of material, is seriously and frequently inaccurate, makes a very generous use of the “mental reserve” which his friends advocate, and sometimes embodies notoriously forged documents without even intimating that they are questioned.
Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Liczba stron: 711
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:
A CANDID HISTORY
AUTHOR OF “THE DECAY OF THE CHURCH OF ROME” ETC.
Hope. Inspiration. Trust.
We’re social! Follow us for new titles and deals:
Available in paperback and eBook editions
Please go online for more great titles available through CrossReach Publications.
And if you enjoyed this book please consider leaving
a review online. That helps us out a lot. Thanks.
© 2017 CrossReach Publications
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatever.
CHAPTER I—THE ORIGIN OF THE SOCIETY
CHAPTER II—THE FIRST JESUITS
CHAPTER III—EARLY STORMS
CHAPTER IV—GENERAL FRANCIS BORGIA
CHAPTER V—PROGRESS AND DECAY UNDER ACQUAVIVA
CHAPTER VI—THE EARLY JESUITS IN ENGLAND
CHAPTER VII—THE FIRST CENTURY OF JESUITISM
CHAPTER VIII—UNDER THE STUARTS
CHAPTER IX—THE STRUGGLE WITH THE JANSENISTS
CHAPTER X—THE EXPULSION FROM PORTUGAL AND SPAIN
CHAPTER XI—THE FOREIGN MISSIONS
CHAPTER XII—IN THE GERMANIC LANDS
CHAPTER XIII—THE SUPPRESSION OF THE SOCIETY
CHAPTER XIV—THE RESTORATION
CHAPTER XV—THE NEW JESUITS
CHAPTER XVI—THE LAST PHASE
About CrossReach Publications
Bestselling Titles from CrossReach
It is the historic custom of the Church of Rome to enlist in its service monastic or quasi-monastic bodies in addition to the ordinary clergy. In its hour of greatest need, at the very outbreak of the Reformation, the Society of Jesus was formed as one of these auxiliary regiments, and in the war which the Church of Rome has waged since that date the Jesuits have rendered the most spirited and conspicuous service. Yet the procedure of this Society has differed in many important respects from that of the other regiments of the Church, and a vast and unceasing controversy has gathered about it. It is probable that a thousand times, or several thousand times, more books and pamphlets and articles have been written about the Jesuits than about even the oldest and most powerful or learned of the monastic bodies. Not a work of history can be opened, in any language, but it will contain more references to the Jesuits than to all the other religious orders collectively. But opinions differ as much to-day as they did a hundred or two hundred years ago about the character of the Jesuits, and the warmest eulogies are chilled by the most bitter and withering indictments.
What is a Jesuit? The question is asked still in every civilised land, and the answer is a confusing mass of contradictions. The most learned historians read the facts of their career so differently, that one comes to a verdict expressing deep and criminal guilt, and another acquits them with honour. Since the foundation of the Society these drastically opposed views of its action have been taken, and the praise and homage of admirers have been balanced by the intense hatred of an equal number of Catholic opponents. It would seem that some impenetrable veil lies over the history and present life of the Society, yet on both sides its judges refuse to recognise obscurity. Catholic monarchs and peoples have, time after time, driven the Jesuits ignominiously over their frontiers; Popes have sternly condemned them. But they are as active, and nearly as numerous, in the twentieth century as in the last days of the old political world.
No marshalling of historical facts will change the feeling of the pronounced admirers and opponents of the Jesuits, and it would be idle to suppose that, because the present writer is neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant, he will be awarded the virtue of impartiality. There seems, however, some need for an historical study of the Jesuits which will aim at impartiality and candour. On one side we have large and important works like Crétineau-Joly’s Histoire religieuse, politique, et littéraire de la Compagnie de Jésus, and a number of smaller works, written by Catholics of England or America, from the material, and in the spirit, of the French historian’s work. Such works as these cannot for a moment be regarded as serious history. They are panegyrics or apologies: pleasant reading for the man or woman who wishes to admire, but mere untruth to the man or woman who wishes to know. Indeed, the work of M. Crétineau-Joly, written in conjunction with the Jesuits, which is at times recommended as the classical authority on the Society, has worse defects than the genial omission of unedifying episodes. He makes the most inflated general statements on the scantiest of material, is seriously and frequently inaccurate, makes a very generous use of the “mental reserve” which his friends advocate, and sometimes embodies notoriously forged documents without even intimating that they are questioned.
Such works naturally provoke an antagonistic class of volumes, in which the unflattering truths only are presented and a false picture is produced to the prejudice of the Jesuits. An entirely neutral volume on the Jesuits does not exist, and probably never will exist. The historian who surveys the whole of the facts of their remarkable and romantic career cannot remain neutral. Nor is it merely a question of whether the writer is a Roman Catholic or no. The work of M. Crétineau-Joly was followed in France by one written by a zealous priest, the Abbé Guettée, which tore its predecessor to shreds, and represented the Society of Jesus as fitly condemned by Pope and kings.
It will be found, at least, that the present work contains an impartial account both of the virtue and heroism that are found in the chronicles of the Jesuits, and the scandals and misdeeds that may justly be attributed to them. It is no less based on the original Jesuit documents, as far as they have been published, and the work of Crétineau-Joly, than on the antagonistic literature, as the reader will perceive. Whether or no it seems to some an indictment, it is a patient endeavour to give all the facts, within the compass of the volume, and enable the reader to form a balanced judgment on the Society. It is an attempt to understand the Jesuits: to understand the enthusiasm and fiery attachment of one half of the Catholic world no less than the disdain or detestation of the other, to employ the white and the black, not blended into a monotonous grey but in their respective places and shades, so as to afford a truthful picture of the dramatic fortunes of the Society during nearly four centuries, and some insight into the character of the men who won for it such ardent devotion and such intense hostility.
A CANDID HISTORY OF THE JESUITS
In the early summer of the year 1521, some months after Martin Luther had burned the Pope’s bull at Wittenberg and lit the fire of the Reformation, a young Basque soldier lay abed in his father’s castle at the foot of the Pyrenees, contemplating the wreck of his ambition. Iñigo of Loyola was the youngest son in a large family of ancient lineage and little wealth. He had lost his mother at an early date, and had been placed by a wealthy aunt at court, where he learned to love the flash of swords, the smile of princes, the softness of silk and of women’s eyes, and all the hard deeds and rich rewards of the knight’s career. From the court he had gone to the camp, and had set himself sternly to the task of cutting an honourable path back to court. Fearless in war, skilful in sport and in martial exercises, refined in person, cheerful in temper, and ardent in love, the young noble had seen before him a long avenue of knightly adventure and gracious recompense. He was, in 1521, in his thirtieth year of age, or near it—his birth-year is variously given as 1491 or 1493; a clean-built, sinewy little man, with dark lustrous eyes flashing in his olive-tinted face, and thick black hair crowning his lofty forehead. And a French ball at the siege of Pampeluna had, at one stroke, broken his leg and shattered his ambition.
It took some time to realise the ruin of his ambition. The chivalrous conquerors at Pampeluna had treated their brave opponent with distinction, and had, after dressing his wounds, sent him to the Loyola castle in the Basque provinces, where his elder brother had brought the surgeons to make him fit for the field once more. The bone, they found, had been badly set; it must be broken again and re-set. He bore their operations without a moan, and then lay for weeks in pain and fever. He still trusted to return to the camp and win the favour of a certain great lady—probably the daughter of the Dowager-Queen of Naples—whose memory he secretly cherished. Indeed, on the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, he spoke of it with confidence; he told his brother that the elder apostle had entered the dark chamber and healed him on the eve of the festival. Unhappily he found, when the fever had gone, that the second setting of his leg had been so ill done that a piece of bone projected below the knee, and the right leg was shorter than the left. Again he summoned the mediæval surgeons and their appalling armoury, and they sawed off the protruding piece of bone and stretched his leg on a rack they used for such purposes; and not a cry or curse came from the tense lips. But the right leg still refused to meet its fellow, and shades gathered about Iñigo’s glorious prospect of life. A young man who limps can hardly hope to reach a place of honour in the camp, or the gardens of the palace, or the hearts of women. Talleyrand, later, would set out on his career with a limp; and Talleyrand would become a diplomatist.
Iñigo lay in the stout square castle of rugged stone, which is now reverently enclosed, like a jewel, in a vast home of the Jesuits. It then stood alone in a beautiful valley, just at the foot of the last southern slopes of the Pyrenees, about a mile from the little town of Azpeitia. The mind of the young Basque heaved with confused and feverish dreams as he lay there, in the summer heat, beside the wreck of his ambition. He called for books of knight-errantry, to while away the dreary days, but there were none in the Loyola castle, and someone—a pious sister, perhaps—brought him a Life of Christ and a Flowers of the Saints. For lack of anything better he read them: at first fingering the leaves with the nearest approach to disdain that a Christian soldier dare admit, then starting with interest, at length flushing with enthusiasm. What was this but another form of chivalry? Nay, when you reflected, it was the only chivalry worth so fierce a devotion as his. Here was a way of winning a fair lady, the Queen of Heaven, whose glances were worth more than the caresses of all the dames in Castile: here was a monarch to serve, whose court outshone the courts of France and Spain as the sun outshines the stars: here were adventures that called for a higher spirit than the bravado of the soldier.
The young Basque began to look upon a new world from the narrow windows of the old castle. Down the valley was Azpeitia, and even there one could find monsters and evil knights to slay in the cause of Mary. Southward were the broad provinces of Spain, full of half-converted Moors and Jews and ever-flourishing vices. Across the hills and the seas were other kingdoms, calling just as loudly for a new champion of God and Mary. One field, far away at the edge of the world, summoned him with peremptory voice; after all the Crusades the sites in the Holy Land were still trodden by the feet of blaspheming Turks. The blood began to course once more in the veins of the soldier.
During the winter that followed his friends noticed that he was making a wonderful chronicle of the lives of Christ and His saints. He was skilled in all courtly accomplishments—they did not include learning—and could write, and illuminate very prettily, sonnets to the secret lady of his inner shrine. Now he used his art to make a pious chronicle, with the words and deeds of Christ in vermilion and gold, the life of Mary in blue, and the stories of the saints in the less royal colours of the rainbow, and his dark pale face was lit by a strange light. There were times when this new light flickered or faded, and the fleshly queen of his heart seemed to place white arms about him, and the sunny earth fought with the faint vision of a far-off heaven. Then he prayed, and scourged himself, and vowed that he would be the knight of Christ and Mary; and—so he told his followers long afterwards—the heavy stone castle shook and rumbled with the angry passing of the demon. He told them also that he had at the time a notion of burying himself in the Carthusian monastery at Seville, and sent one to inquire concerning its way of life; but such a design is so little in accord with his knight-errant mood that we cannot think he seriously entertained it.
By the spring the struggle had ended and Ignatius—he exchanged his worldly name for that of a saint-model—set out in quest of spiritual adventure. The “sudden revolution,” as Crétineau-Joly calls his conversion, had occupied about nine months. Indeed, friends and foes of the Jesuits have conspired to obscure the development of his feelings: the friends in order that they may recognise a miracle in the conversion, the foes in order that they may make it out to have been no conversion at all, but a transfer of selfish ambition from the camp to the Church. Whatever be the truth about Iñigo’s earlier morals, he had certainly received a careful religious education in boyhood, and he would just as certainly not learn scepticism at the court set up by Ferdinand and Isabella. His belief that he had a vision of St. Peter, a few weeks after receiving his wound and before he read the pious books, shows that he had kept a vivid religious faith in the camp. Some looseness of conduct would not be inconsistent with this, especially in Spain, but the darker descriptions of his adolescent ways which some writers give are not justified. “He was prone to quarrels and amatory folly,” is all that the most candid of his biographers says. Let us grant the hot Basque blood a quick sense of honour and a few love-affairs. On the whole, Iñigo seems to have been an officer of the stricter sort, and a thorough Catholic. Hence we can understand that, as earth grows dark and cheerless for him, and the casual reading brings before him in vivid colouring the vision of faith, his fervent imagination is gradually won, and he sincerely devotes his arms to the service of Christ and Mary.
Piously deceiving his brother as to his destination, he set out on a mule in the month of March. He would go to the shrine of Our Lady at Montserrat, to ask a blessing on his enterprise, and then cross the sea to convert the Mohammedans in Palestine. His temper is seen in an adventure by the way. He fell in with one of the Moors who had put on a thin mantle of Christian profession in order that they might be allowed to remain in Spain, and talked to him of Our Lady of Montserrat. Being far from the town and the ears of Inquisitors, the Moor spoke lightly of the Mother of Christ, and, when the convert showed heat, fled at a gallop. Ignatius wondered, with his hand on his sword, whether or no his new ideal demanded that he should follow and slay the man. He left the point to God, or to his mule, and was taken on the road to Montserrat.
At last he came to the steep mountain, with saw-like peaks, which rises out of the plain some twenty miles to the north-west of Barcelona, with the famous shrine of the Virgin on its flank. In the little town of Iguelada, at the foot of the mountain, he bought the rough outfit of a pilgrim—a tunic of sackcloth, a rope-girdle, a pair of rough sandals, a staff, and a gourd—and made his way up the wild slopes, among the sober cypresses, to the Benedictine monastery which guarded the shrine. For three days he knelt at the feet of one of the holiest of the monks, telling, with many tears, the story of his worldly life. Then he went again to the town, took aside a poor-clad beggar, as Francis of Assisi had done in his chronicle, and exchanged garments with him, putting the sackcloth tunic over his rags. It was the eve of the great festival of Mary, the Annunciation (March 25th), and he spent the night kneeling before the altar, as he had read of good knights doing before they took the field. In the morning he hung his sword in the shrine and set forth. From that moment we shall do well to forget that Ignatius had been a soldier, and seek some other clue to his conduct.
The next step in his journey toward Rome is described at great length in lives of the saint, yet it is not wholly intelligible. Instead of going to Barcelona, where one took ship, he went to Manresa, and his pilgrimage was postponed for nearly a year. He did not take the high road to Barcelona, says his biographer, lest he should meet the people coming to the shrine: a theory which would not only require another theory to explain it, but which gives no explanation of the year’s delay. Others think that he heard there was plague in the port; though the plague would not last a year, and one may question if Ignatius would flee it. The truth seems to be that the idea of spending his life in the East was already yielding in his mind to another design: the plan of forming a Society was dimly breaking on him. He had studied the monastic life in the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat, and had brought away with him a book, written by one of their abbots, over which he would brood to some purpose. He had a vague feeling that the appointed field of adventure might be Europe.
However that may be, he took a road that led away from Barcelona, and as he limped and suffered, for he had discarded the mule and would make his pilgrimage afoot, he asked where he could find a hospital (in those days a mixture of hostel and hospital). He was taken to Manresa, a picturesque little town in one of the valleys of the district, where he lodged in the hospital for a few days, and then, instead of going to Barcelona, found an apartment and became a local celebrity. The beggar to whom he had given his clothes had, naturally, been arrested, and Ignatius was forced to tell his strange story, in order to clear the man and himself. The story grew as it passed from mouth to mouth, and it was presently understood that the dirty, barefoot, ill-clad beggar, who asked a little coarse bread at the doors, and retired to pray and scourge himself, was one of the richest grandees of the eastern provinces. Children followed “Father Sackcloth” about the streets; men sneered at his uncut nails and his long, wild black locks and thin face; women wept, and asked his prayers.
After a few months he found a cavern outside the town, at the foot of the hills, and entered upon the period of endless prayer and wild austerity in which he wrote his book, the Spiritual Exercises. He scourged himself, until the blood came, three times a day: he ate so little, and lived so intense a life, that he was sometimes found unconscious on the floor of the cave, and had to be removed and nursed; his deep black eyes seemed to gleam from the face of a corpse. Thus he lived for six months, and wrote his famous book. I need not analyse that passionate guide to the spiritual life, or consider the legend of its miraculous origin. We know from Benedictine writers that Ignatius had received at Montserrat a copy of the Exercitatorium of their abbot Cisneros, and anyone familiar with Catholic life will know that similar series of “meditations” are, and always have been, very common. There is an original plan in Ignatius’s book, and the period during which the mind must successively brood over sin and hell, virtue and heaven, Christ and the devil, is boldly extended to four weeks. These are technicalities;1 the deeply original thing in the work is its intensity, and for the source of this we need only regard those six months of fierce inner life in the cave near Manresa.
In later years Ignatius claimed that the general design of his Society, and even the chief features of its constitution, were revealed to him in that cavern. “I saw it thus at Manresa,” he used to say when he was asked why such or such a feature was included. In this he is clearly wrong. His Society was, in essence and details, a regiment enlisted to fight Protestantism, and Ignatius certainly knew nothing of Protestantism as a formidable menace to the Pope’s rule in 1522; one may doubt if he was yet aware of the existence of Luther. We may conclude again that he had in mind a vague alternative to his mission to the Mohammedans. Those who are disposed to believe that the Society of Jesus was in any definite sense projected by him at Manresa will find it hard to explain why for five years afterwards he still insisted that his mission was to the Turks.
In January 1523 he set out for Barcelona, trimming his nails, combing and clipping his hair, and exchanging his sack for clothes of coarse grey stuff. He did not wish to attract too much attention, he said. He was detained a few weeks at Barcelona, and begged his bread, and served the poor and the sick, in the way which was to become characteristic of the early Jesuits. On Palm Sunday he entered Rome, lost in a crowd of other pilgrims and beggars, and from there he walked on foot to Venice, whence he sailed in July. Within six months he was back in Venice. The Franciscan monks who controlled the Christian colony at Jerusalem had sent him home very quickly, fearing that his indiscreet fervour would lead to trouble with the Turks. The whole expedition was Quixotic, if it was really meant to be more than a pilgrimage, as Ignatius knew not a word of any language but Basque and Castilian. He returned to Venice in a thin ragged coat, his legs showing flagrantly through his tattered trousers, and in this guise he crossed on foot to Genoa, in hard wintry weather. By the end of February he was again in Barcelona.
For several years yet Ignatius will continue to speak of the conversion of the Turks as his chief mission, but his actions suggest that the alternative in his mind was growing larger. The year’s experience had taught him that the knight of the Lord needed education, and he sat among the boys at Barcelona learning the Latin grammar and startling them by rising into literal ecstasies over the conjugation of the verb “to love.” He now dressed in neat plain clothes, but begged his bread on the way to school and took every occasion to preach the gospel. Once, when he had converted a loose community of nuns, the fast young men of Barcelona, who were angry at this interference with their pleasures, sent their servants to waylay him. They nearly killed him with their staves. Many jeered at him as a hypocrite or a fanatic: many revered him, and a few youths became his first disciples. With three of these he went, after two years’ study in Barcelona, to the University of Alcalà, and began his higher studies. But he was so eager to make an end of this intellectual preparation, and so busy with saving souls and gaining proselytes, that he tried to take simultaneously the successive parts of the stately mediæval curriculum, and learned very little.
His first attempt to found a Society also ended in disastrous failure. Opinion in Alcalà was divided about “the sackcloth men.” Some picturesque figures were known in the religious life of Spain, but no one had yet seen such a thing as this little band of youths, led by a pale and worn man of thirty-two, who went barefoot from house to house, begging their bread, and passed from the schools in the evening to the hospitals or the homes of the poor, or stood boldly in the public squares and told sinners to repent. It was an outrage on the dignity of ecclesiastical life, and so they were denounced to the Inquisition, and two learned priests were sent from Seville to examine them. Mystics were hardly less obnoxious to the Inquisition than secret Jews and Moors, and then there was this new device of Satan which was said to be spreading in Germany. Ignatius and his grey-coated young preachers were arrested and brought before the terrible tribunal. Their doctrine was found to be sound, but they were forbidden to wear a uniform dress and were ordered to put shoes on their feet. They dyed their coats different colours, and returned to their work; as Jesuits have often done since.
Four months afterwards, the officers of the Inquisition fell on them again and put them in prison. Among the women who sought the spiritual guidance of Ignatius were some ladies of wealth, who wished to follow his example. It is said that he did not consent, and they set out, against his will, to beg their bread and tend the sick. This was too much for respectable folk in Alcalà, and Ignatius was closely examined to see whether he was not a secret Jew, since Christians did not do these things. The inquiry ended in the companions being ordered to dress as other students did, and to forbear preaching for four years. It is important to notice how from the first Ignatius, relying on his inner visions, will not bend to any authority if he can help it. He and his youths walked to Salamanca, and resumed their ways, but the eye of the Inquisition was on them, and they were imprisoned again. The authorities now fastened on them a restriction which may puzzle a layman: they were forbidden to attempt to distinguish between mortal and venial sin until their theological studies were completed. It meant, in practice, that they must not disturb the gay sinners of Spain with threats of hell, and for the time it entirely destroyed the design of Ignatius. His disciples fell away, and Ignatius fled to a land where there were no Inquisitors. He crossed the Pyrenees and went the whole length of France on foot.
The seven years which he spent at Paris were of the greatest importance in the life of Ignatius. Of his studies little need be said. He now took the university courses in proper succession, and won his degree in 1534. But these studies were only a means to an end, and he never became a scholar. He discarded books, wrote a very poor Latin, and took long to master Italian. For secular knowledge he had a pious disdain. His followers were to be learned just in so far as it was needed to capture and retain the control of youth and promote the authority of the Pope. The chief interest of the long stay in Paris is that he there founded his Society, and the manner of its foundation is of great importance.
He had not been long at the University before his strange ways set up the usual conflict of opinion. Was he a hypocrite, or a fool, or a saint? From the youths who took the more complimentary view of his ways he picked out a few to form the little band of disciples he was always eager to have, and put them through the Spiritual Exercises. They came out of this fiery ordeal in heroic temper, sold their little possessions, and began to beg their bread; to the extreme indignation of their friends in the Spanish colony. In order to save time for study, Ignatius used to go to the Low Countries in the holidays and beg funds for his “poor students” among the Spanish merchants. One year—the year before Henry VIII. set up the Church of England—he went to London, but we know only that the city was very generous to him. On these alms Ignatius and his disciples maintained their life of prayer, austerity, and philanthropy, living in one of the colleges among the other students and angling prudently for souls. The irritation against Ignatius among the Spaniards became so great that the Rector was persuaded to inflict on him a public flogging, the last disgrace of an unpopular student. He was not flogged, however; nor is there anything really miraculous, as some think, in the Rector’s change of mind. Ignatius feared the effect on his disciples and had a private talk with the Rector before the appointed hour. He had a marvellous power of persuasion and penetration.
These earlier followers seem in time to have fallen away, or never been admitted to his secret designs, and it was not until 1530 that he began to gather about him the men whose names have been inscribed in the history of Europe. In 1530 Ignatius shared his room with a gentle and deeply religious youth from Savoy, Peter Favre, a peasant’s son who had already won the doctor’s cap and priestly orders, as pious as he was clever. He had made a vow of chastity in his thirteenth year, and was now, in his twenty-fifth year, as eager to keep a clean conscience as to advance in learning. He acted as philosophical coach to Ignatius. From Aristotle and Aquinas they passed, in their nightly talk, to other matters, and Favre presently made the Exercises.
Francis Xavier, a Navarrese youth of high birth, was a friend of Favre, and, like him, a brilliant student and keen hungerer for knowledge. He was a young man of great refinement, and his large soft blue eyes looked with disdain on the eccentricities of Ignatius; he was not a little vain of his learning, his handsome person, and his skill in running. Who but Ignatius could have seen the Francis Xavier of a later day, wearing out his life in the conversion of savages, in this elegant and self-conscious scholar? Francis Thompson speaks with admiration of the “holy wiles” by which Ignatius secured this gifted and elusive pupil. He laid hold of him by his vanity. Xavier taught philosophy and was ambitious to have his lecture-room full. Ignatius sat at his feet, brought others to the lectures, and gave them generous praise. After a time Xavier made the Exercises, and, in a secret conversation with Ignatius, was won to the plan of devoting his life to the conversion of the Mohammedans—or to some other religious campaign.
One by one the early Jesuits were captured by the skilful fisher of men. To the first two were soon added Diego Lainez, a Castilian youth of great ability and quiet strength of character, a future General of the Society; Alfonso Salmeron, a fiery and eloquent youth from Toledo, then in his twentieth year, who would become one of the most learned opponents of the Protestants; Nicholas Alfonso, from Valladolid, commonly known, from his native village, as Bobadilla, a fearless and impetuous fighter; and Simon Rodriguez, a handsome Spanish youth of noble birth, who would prove an admirable courtier when kings were to be won. Many others whom Ignatius sought refused to accept his stern ideal, and many were kept in the outer courts of his temple, as it were, and not admitted to share his secret design. The features of the coming Society were singularly foreshadowed. Only these six out of all the friends and companions of Ignatius knew anything of the great plan which filled his mind, and not one of the six knew which of the others were admitted, like himself, to the inner counsels of the master. Each was initiated in the strictest confidence, and forbidden to speak of it to his most intimate friend. It was wholly unlike the foundation of any other religious body.
At last, in July 1534, the six youths were permitted to know each other as comrades in arms. It was time to discuss what form their crusade should take, and Ignatius proposed that, after a week or two of increased austerity and prayer, they should make the vow of self-dedication and decide upon their future. There is the characteristic impress of Ignatius on every feature of the enterprise. The ceremony was not to be in one of the churches of Paris, but away across the meadows in the quiet little chapel of St. Denis on Montmartre; in fact, in the crypt underneath the chapel. And on August 15th they went out from the city gates in the early morning for what proved to be the historic foundation of the Society of Jesus. Paris was still, at that time, a comparatively narrow strip of town on either bank of the Seine centring upon the island which bore the cathedral and the palace. A mile or two of meadows and vineyards lay between it and the green hill of Montmartre, on the slope of which was the old chapel of St. Denis. Underneath the choir was a small vault-like chapel, and in this, on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, the little band of fervent southerners gathered to hear Peter Favre, the only priest amongst them, say the Mass of the Virgin. At its close they knelt in turns before the altar, and each vowed that he would live in poverty and chastity, and either go out to convert the Turks or go wherever the Pope should direct. No rumbling of angry devils was heard on this occasion: the life of Paris flowed on its sparkling way; yet there was born in that dim vault on that August morning one of the most singular and formidable forces in the religious life of Europe.
The Society of Jesus was thus formed, though the seven men did not know it, or adopt any corporate name. They broke their fast and spent the day on the slope of the hill, elated with the joy of brotherhood and the promise of mighty enterprise, talking of the adventurous future. What should be the next step? Again we find the stamp of the peculiar genius of Ignatius on their decision: the features which would degenerate into what is called Jesuitry in the hearts and minds of less sincerely religious men. They were to return to their studies, their philanthropy, and their secrecy, for two years, and they would meet at Venice at the beginning of 1537. Ignatius never hurried. He lived as if he intended to quit the world very speedily; he acted as if he were assured of long life. He was founding a body whose supreme and distinctive aim should be to serve the Pope, yet he concealed his work from the Pope’s representatives as carefully as if he were really forming an auxiliary troop for Martin Luther. Let it be carefully noted, too, that they vowed either to go to Palestine or to serve the Pope in some other way appointed by him. It seems clear that, if Ignatius had not already abandoned the idea of a mission to the Turks, he held it lightly. In Paris he had learned that the spirit of the Reformation was spreading over Europe as fire spreads over a parched prairie. Men talked much of Luther and Calvin, little of Mohammed.
They returned to their colleges and their hospitals for two years, and were known to their companions only as monks who were too ascetic to enter a monastery. Ignatius practised fearful austerities, and his followers fasted and scourged themselves. Xavier looked back with such contrition on his former fame as a runner that he tied cords round his legs until they bit into the flesh and caused a dangerous malady. Probably the long delay was proposed by Ignatius in the hope that he might add to the number of his followers, but he found no more at Paris worthy or willing to be initiated; though three—Le Jay, Paschase Brouet, and Codure—were added after his departure. He had gone to Spain in the spring of 1535. Those of the youths who had property to sacrifice had talked of going to Spain to arrange their affairs, but Ignatius took the work on himself. His health was poor, he said, and he would try his native air; he was also eager to keep them from their native air and disapproving families. In March he walked afoot from Paris to Loyola, begging his bread by the way.
The report of his life had reached the quiet valley at the foot of the Pyrenees, and he found his brother and many admirers waiting in the last stage of his journey. He remained three months in Azpeitia, and, as no one could now interfere with his fiery preaching, he urged his townsmen to repent and startled the province. His sanctity was now beyond question, because a woman had recovered the use of a withered arm by washing his linen. Then he arranged the affairs of his disciples and went to Venice. Here Hozes and the Eguia brothers were added to the secret fraternity, and a year was spent in tending the sick and other work of edification. The year 1537 broke at last, and in its first week the six disciples, worn and ragged from the long journey, joined their master. Walking in demure pairs, a staff in one hand and a chaplet in the other, begging their bread and exhorting all they met to virtue and repentance, the six learned students of the Paris University had covered afoot, in the depth of winter, the hundreds of miles that lay between Paris and Venice; flying before the advances of bold women, beaming under the abuse of the new heretics, facing the Alps more bravely than a Hannibal or a Napoleon. Strong efforts had been made to keep them at Paris. Why abandon their precious work at the University for an unknown world? They had a secret vow, they said; though they probably had little more idea than Ignatius of going to Palestine. None of them learned Arabic or Turkish, or studied the Koran: what they did learn was the Catholic doctrine assailed by the followers of Luther.
For a month or two the strange missionaries mystified and edified Venice. It was known that some of them were nobles, and all brilliant scholars, yet they performed the most repulsive offices for the sick, and at times put their mouths to festering wounds. Cardinal Caraffa, a stern Neapolitan reformer, asked Ignatius to join the new Theatine order which he had just founded, and Ignatius replied that they had vowed to go to Palestine. They would remember their refusal when Caraffa became Pope. At last, in the middle of Lent, Ignatius sent his followers to Rome to ask the Pope’s blessing on their mission. He would not go himself, as he feared the enmity of Caraffa and of the Spanish envoy Ortiz, who had opposed them at Paris. There was, in fact, little danger of Ignatius going without the Pope’s blessing, as a new war with the Turk had broken out, and it would not be unjust to conclude that the real object of Ignatius was to bring his little troop to the notice of Paul III. Ortiz himself procured them an audience, and they received the papal blessing to accompany them to Palestine—if they could get there, the Pope lightly said. It is singular that Ignatius, after waiting so long, should choose a time for their departure when the seas were closed against them.
They were ordained priests at Venice, and then they scattered over Northern Italy, to allow a year’s grace to the Palestinian mission and let other cities see their ways. Bologna, Ferrara, Siena, and Padua—all university towns—now witnessed the strange labours of the nameless knights of Christ. The years were not far distant when men would start with suspicion at the coming of a “Jesuit” and wonder what dark intrigue brought him amongst them, but in those early days they seemed the plainest and most guileless of ministers. Two soberly dressed, barefooted youths, their pale faces warmed by the smile which the master bade them wear under the eyes of men, would enter the gate one evening, covered with the dust of long roads, and mount some stone in the busy street or square; and, when men and women gathered round to see the tricks of these foreign jugglers or tumblers, they would be startled to hear such fiery preaching as had not been heard in Italy since the fresh spring-time of the followers of Francis and Dominic. Then the preachers would beg a crust of bread and a cup of water, and ask for the hospital, where they might serve the sick. They had no name, the inquirer learned, and belonged to no monastic body; they were simple knights-errant in the cause of Christ and the poor. The one feature by which they might, to some close observer, have given an inkling of the future was that they hung about the universities and impressed youths with their learning; or that, while they served the poor, they were pleased to direct the consciences of noble and wealthy women. Yet who would suppose that within twenty years these men would be intriguing for the control of the universities and shaping the counsels of kings?
Ignatius, Favre, and Lainez went to Vicenza, and found a lodging in a ruined monastery near the town. From this they went out daily to beg, and tend the sick, and startle townsfolk and villagers with explosive exhortations, in broken Italian, to lay aside their sins. Again the Inquisition summoned them, and dismissed them. At last, when it was clear that the road to the East was indefinitely closed, Ignatius called his followers from their several towns, and a council was held in the old convent. The events of these early days are known to us only from Jesuit writers of the next generation, and, discarding only the miracles with which they unnecessarily adorn the ways of their founders, we may follow them with little reserve. These men were, beyond question, in deadly earnest, though we shall see that some of them sheltered little human frailties under their hair-shirts. But it is quite plain that, however high and pure their aim was, they formed and carried their plans with a diplomacy, almost an astuteness, of which you will not find a trace in the founding of any other monastic body. One monastic virtue is conspicuously absent from the aureole of St. Ignatius—holy simplicity.
It was decided that Ignatius, Favre, and Lainez should go to Rome, and the others should return to work in their university cities until they were called to Rome. Before they parted, however, they gave themselves a name, since people demanded one. We are, said Ignatius, the “Compañia de Jesu,” the “Company of Jesus”; although the prose of a later generation has translated it the “Society of Jesus.” Then Xavier and Bobadilla went to Bologna, Rodriguez and Le Jay to Ferrara, Salmeron and Brouet to Siena, Codure and Hozes to Padua, to tend the sick, and instruct the children, and angle for recruits; and Ignatius and his companions went on foot, in the depth of winter, to Rome.
Paul III. occupied the papal throne in the year 1537, and looked with troubled eyes to the lands beyond the Alps, where the Reformation was now in full blast. He was by temperament a Pope of the Renaissance, a man of genial culture and artistic feeling, a man who owed his elevation to his sister’s intimacy with a predecessor, and who might, if the age had not turned so sour, have carried even into the papal apartments the graceful vices of his youth. But there was now no mistaking the roll of the distant thunder; Rome was sobered and disposed to put its house in order. Paul, knowing that the appalling corruption of the Vatican, the clergy, and the monks must cease, or else the Vatican and clergy and monks would cease, had appointed a commission of the sterner cardinals to examine Luther’s indictment of his Church, and one of the clearest points of agreement was that the unquestioned degradation of the monks throughout Christendom must be severely punished. The general feeling was that most, if not all, of the monastic orders should be suppressed. It was therefore a peculiarly inopportune time to propose the establishment of a new order. Was Ignatius more holy than Benedict, or Bruno, or Francis, or Dominic? And had not every order that had yet been founded fallen into evil ways within fifty years?
Ignatius was not more holy than Dominic and Francis, but he was shrewder and more alert to the circumstances. He did not propose to rush into the presence of Paul III. He and his companions settled at the Spanish hospital, and began to tend the sick and instruct the children. They began also to have influential admirers. “Let us,” Ignatius had said, as they entered Rome, “avoid all relations with women, except those of the highest rank.” In later years he said of their early work at Rome: “We sought in this way to gain men of learning and of position to our side—or, to speak more correctly, to God’s side.” This identification of “our” side and God’s is the clue to early Jesuitism. Men who were convinced of it might be intensely earnest and unworldly, yet act as if they were ambitious. In fact, they were ambitious to win the wealthy and powerful—Ignatius says it repeatedly—”for the greater glory of God.” And the work went forward with great speed. They received a poor little house in a vineyard at the foot of the Pincian Hill, and went out daily to minister and to edify. One of their first friends was Codacio, a wealthy and important official of the papal court. The better disposition of Ortiz, the Spanish envoy, was also encouraged. Ignatius put him through the Exercises in the old Monte Cassino Abbey, and, when the strain nearly drove him mad, entertained him by performing some of the old Basque dances: a subject for a painter, if ever there was. After a time the Pope received Ignatius very affably, encouraged him to preach, and found academic chairs for Favre and Lainez. Within a month or two Ignatius had made so much progress that Roman gossip marked him as an intriguer for the red hat, which he was not wealthy enough to buy.
Within four months, or at Easter 1538, Ignatius summoned the whole of his followers to Rome. The poor little house in a vineyard was now too small, and Codacio gave them a large house in the Piazza Margana. From this they went out daily to beg and teach and preach, and to visit “ladies of the highest rank.” These eleven eloquent and learned preachers, these nobles who begged their bread and washed verminous invalids, soon divided the Roman world into ardent admirers and ardent critics. An Augustinian friar, in particular, opened fire on them from his pulpit. Ignatius was “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he insisted; let people inquire at Alcalà, and Salamanca, and Paris, and Venice, and see whether he was not wanted by the Inquisition here and there. Friends at the Vatican were reminded that this sort of thing interfered with their good work, and the Pope was induced to inquire into the charges; but even the Pope’s acquittal of them did not silence their critics, and for a time they bore much poverty and anxiety. Half of Rome, if not half of Catholicism, hated the Jesuits from their first year; and it would be absurd to think that this was due to their fervour in denouncing sin. It was due in a very large measure to the diplomatic character of the work of Ignatius, which we perceive so clearly even in the discreet narratives of the early Jesuit historians.
The infant Society was delivered from its perils by returning from the cultivation of the rich and powerful to the service of the weak and powerless. We shall constantly find the fortunes of the early Jesuits vacillating according as they practise one or other of these incongruous activities, and we can quite understand that their critics came to see an element of calculation even in their philanthropy. By their brave ministration to the poor they win the favour of the rich: by the favour of the rich they rise to political and educational work, and the poor are almost forgotten until some epidemic of criticism threatens their very existence. It is quite useless to deny that there was calculation in their humbler ministration when we find Ignatius admitting it from the outset; yet it would be equally untrue to deny that they served the poor with a sincere and often heroic humanity, and that the favour and power they trusted to obtain by doing so were not sought for their personal profit, but for the better discharge of what they conceived to be a high mission.
So it was in the winter which closed the year 1538, in which their project ran some risk of being buried under the stones of their critics. The terrible cold of that winter led to a famine in Rome, and the followers of Ignatius spent day and night in relieving the sufferers and begging alms for them. Their house in the Piazza Margana was converted into a hospital, and no less than four hundred destitute men found a home in it. The sympathy of the pious slowly returned to them. “So happy a diversion had to be put to account,” says Crétineau-Joly, and Ignatius began to draw up the rules of his Society for presentation to the Pope. Night by night the eleven priests sat in council to determine the broad features of their association: to say, especially, if they would add a vow of obedience to their vows of poverty and chastity and thus become a monastic body. In April they decided that they would have a Superior and vow obedience to him; in May they resolved to adopt that masterpiece of the “holy wiles” of Ignatius, the most distinctive and most serviceable feature of the Society—the vow to put themselves at the direct disposal of the Pope. Naturally there was, and is, no religious body in the Catholic Church whose members would not leap with alacrity to obey any order of the Pope, and think it an honour to be selected for such a distinction; indeed, we shall see that no other religious ever ventured to defy or evade the commands of Popes as Jesuits have done. But we must observe how happily this parade of obedience fitted the circumstances. The Pope had entered upon a war against half of Christendom. Heresy was, like an appalling tide, invading even his southern dominions, and it was inevitable that he should be attracted by the proposal to put at his service a body of men of high culture and heroic purpose, who would be ready, at a word, to fly to a threatened point, to penetrate in disguise into the lands of the heretics, to whisper in the ears and fathom the counsels of kings, or to bear the gospel to the new countries beyond the seas.
This was the beginning of the famous Jesuit Constitutions, which were not completed and printed until 1558. A short summary of their proposals was handed by Ignatius, in September, to Cardinal Contarini, who would present it to the Pope. It was read and approved by one of the Pope’s monk-advisers, and Contarini then read it himself to Paul III. “The finger of God is here,” the Pope is reported to have said, and he appointed three cardinals to examine the document with care. Unfortunately for Ignatius, one of the three, Cardinal Guiddiccioni, was so disgusted with the state of the monastic orders that he would not even read the document. It seemed to him preposterous to add to their number at a time when their corruption was ruining the Church. In that sense he and his colleagues reported to the Pope, and Ignatius betook himself, by prayer and good works, to a strenuous assault upon the heavens, that some miracle might open the eyes of the cardinal. And about a year later, the Jesuit historians say, the hostility of Guiddiccioni was miraculously removed. He read the document, and was enchanted with it; and on 27th September 1540 the bull “Regimini militantis Ecclesiae” placed the Society of Jesus at the service of the Counter-Reformation.
It need hardly be added that the “miracle” is susceptible of a natural explanation. There is a curt statement in Orlandini, one of the first historians of the Society, that during the year 1540 letters came to Rome from all the towns where the followers of Ignatius had already worked, telling the marvellous results of their preaching. Ignatius had done much more than pray. Many a time in the course of the next few chapters we shall find a shower of testimonial-letters falling upon a town where there is opposition to the admittance of the Jesuits, and they were not “unsolicited testimonials.” Contarini, too, would not lightly resign himself to defeat by his brother-cardinal. Codacio, Ortiz, and many another, would help the work, under the discreet guidance of Ignatius. Long before the Society was authorised, the Pope was induced to employ the Jesuits for important missions. He had chosen Rodriguez and Xavier, at the pressing request of the King of Portugal, to carry the gospel to the Indies; he had sent Lainez and Favre, at the prayer of a distinguished cardinal, to fight the growth of Protestantism in Parma. Other members of the little group had gone to discharge special missions, and glowing reports of their success came to Rome. The Pope was won, and, when the Pope willed, it would hardly need a miracle to induce Cardinal Guiddiccioni to read a document which it was his office to read. Indeed, the statement that he refused for twelve months to read a paper which the Pope enjoined him to read is incredible; it was a good pretext for a change of mind, and for a miracle. The Society of Jesus was founded on diplomacy.
From this account of the influences which shaped the character of the Society of Jesus before and during its birth we may derive our first clue to the singular history of the Jesuits. They might not implausibly make a proud boast of the fact that they have always borne the intense hostility of heretics and unbelievers, but the very reason they assign for this—their effective service to the Church—prevents them from explaining why they have, from their foundation, incurred an almost equal enmity on the part of a very large proportion of the monks, priests, and laymen of their own Church. “Jealousy,” they whisper; but since no other body in the Church, however learned or active, has experienced this peculiar critical concentration of its neighbours, we are bound to seek a deeper explanation. There are distinctive features of the Jesuit Society which irritate alike the pious and the impious, the Catholic and the non-Catholic.
We begin to perceive these features at the very birth of the Society. Its founder has the temper of a monk, but the times will not permit the establishment of a monastic order of the old type; a new regiment of soldiers of the Church must engage in active foreign service, not degenerate into fatness in domestic barracks. The success of Ignatius was due to the fact that he had other qualities than those of the monk, and he met the new conditions with remarkable shrewdness. It seems to me a mistake to conceive him as a soldier above all things. He was pre-eminently a diplomatist. He infused into the Society the energy and fearlessness of the soldier, but he also equipped it with the weapons of the diplomatist, or, one might say, of the secret-service man. He was a most sincerely and unselfishly religious man, but he used, and taught others to use, devices which the profoundly religious man commonly disdains. The Jesuits were Jesuits from the start. It is a truism, a fulfilment of the known command of Ignatius, that they sought the favour of the rich and powerful; it is a fact lying on the very surface of their history, as written by themselves, that they accommodated their ideals to circumstances as no other religious order had ever done in the first decades of its life; it is the boast of their admirers that they used “holy wiles” in the attainment of their ends. This stamp was impressed on them by inheritance from their sire and the pressure of their surroundings. These things were consecrated by the undoubted sincerity of the early Jesuit ideal; they wanted power only for the service of Christ and the salvation of men. What happened later was that the inner fire, the glow of which sanctified these worldly manœuvres in the mind of the first Jesuits, grew dim and languid, and the traditional policy was developed until even crime and vice and hypocrisy were held to be lawful if they contributed to the power of the Jesuits.
An examination of the rules and the activity of the early Jesuits will make this clear. The Constitutions of the Society were not completed by Ignatius until several years after the establishment, and they were afterwards modified and augmented by Lainez, a less religious man than Ignatius, but it will be useful to consider at once their distinctive and most important features. In the main they follow the usual lines of monastic regulations, and many points which are ascribed to the soldier Ignatius and usually held to be distinctive of his Society are ancient doctrines of the monastic world; such are, the duties of blind obedience, of detachment from family and country, and of surrendering one’s personality. The famous maxim, that a Jesuit must have no more will than a corpse, is familiar in every monastic body, and is even found in the rules of Mohammedan brotherhoods. Some writers have conjectured that Ignatius borrowed much from the Moorish fraternities, but it is difficult to see how he could have any knowledge of them, and the parallels are not important. In any case, the story of the Society will very quickly show us that this grim theory of blind obedience and self-suppression was not carried out in practice; even the earliest Jesuits were by no means will-less corpses and men who sacrificed their affections and individuality.
Tysiące ebooków i audiobooków
Ich liczba ciągle rośnie, a Ty masz gwarancję niezmiennej ceny.
Napisali o nas:
Nowy sposób na e-księgarnię
Czytelnicy nie wierzą
Legimi idzie na całość
Projekt Legimi wielkim wydarzeniem
Spotify for ebooks