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|Society of Jesus|
|Motto||Ad maiorem Dei gloriam|
|Formation||27 September 1540|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Church of the Gesù (Mother Church), General Curia (administration)|
|Superior General||Very Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.|
|Key people||Francis Xavier— co-founder|
Ignatius of Loyola— co-founder
Peter Faber— co-founder
|Main organ||General Curia|
|Society of Jesus|
|Motto||Ad maiorem Dei gloriam|
|Formation||27 September 1540|
|Type||Catholic religious order|
|Headquarters||Church of the Gesù (Mother Church), General Curia (administration)|
|Superior General||Very Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.|
|Key people||Francis Xavier— co-founder|
Ignatius of Loyola— co-founder
Peter Faber— co-founder
|Main organ||General Curia|
|Society of Jesus|
History of the Jesuits
The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, S.J., SJ or SI) is a Christian male religious congregation of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents. Jesuits work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.
Ignatius of Loyola founded the society after being wounded in battle and experiencing a religious conversion. He composed the Spiritual Exercises to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including Francis Xavier and Peter Faber, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope. Rule 13 of Ignatius's Rules for Thinking with the Church said: "That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity ... if [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black." Ignatius's plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540 by the bull containing the "Formula of the Institute".
Because of the military background of Ignatius and the members' willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and to live in extreme conditions where required, the opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded for "whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God" (Spanish: "todo el que quiera militar para Dios"), "to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." Therefore Jesuits are sometimes referred to colloquially as "God's Soldiers" or "God's Marines". The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation and later in the implementation of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church.
The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome. The historic curia of St. Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.
|South Latin America||1,221||7%|
|North Latin America||1,226||7%|
|Central and East Europe||1,641||10%|
|United States of America||2,467||14%|
The Jesuits today form the largest men's single religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church, although they are surpassed by the Franciscan family of first orders Order of Friars Minor (OFM), OFM Capuchins, and Conventuals. As of 1 January 2013, Jesuits numbered 17,287: 12,298 clerics regular (priests), 2,878 scholastics (students to become priests), 1,400 brothers (not priests) and 711 novices. In 2012, Mark Raper SJ wrote, "Our numbers have been in decline for the last 40 years – from over 30,000 in the 1960s to fewer than 18,000 today. The steep declines in Europe and North America and consistent decline in Latin America have not been offset by the significant increase in South Asia and a small rise in Africa."
The Society is divided into 83 Provinces with 6 Independent Regions and 10 Dependent Regions. On 1 January 2007, members served in 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and the USA. Their average age was 57.3 years: 63.4 years for priests, 29.9 years for scholastics, and 65.5 years for brothers.
The current Superior General of the Jesuits is Adolfo Nicolás. The Society is characterized by its ministries in the fields of missionary work, human rights, social justice and, most notably, higher education. It operates colleges and universities in various countries around the world and is particularly active in the Philippines and India. In the United States it maintains more than 50 colleges, universities and high schools. A typical conception of the mission of a Jesuit school will often contain such concepts as proposing Christ as the model of human life, the pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning and lifelong spiritual and intellectual growth.
Ignatius laid out his original vision for the new order in the "Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus", which is "the fundamental charter of the order, of which all subsequent official documents were elaborations and to which they had to conform." He ensured that his formula was contained in two papal bulls signed by Pope Paul III in 1540 and by Pope Julius III in 1550. The formula expressed the nature, spirituality, community life and apostolate of the new religious order. Its famous opening statement echoed Ignatius' military background:
Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures and any other ministration whatsoever of the Word of God, and further by means of retreats, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments. Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals, and indeed, to perform any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2014)|
On 15 August 1534, Ignatius of Loyola (born Íñigo López de Loyola), a Spaniard of Basque origin, and six other students at the University of Paris—Francisco Xavier from Navarre (modern Spain), Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, Nicolás Bobadilla from Spain, Peter Faber from Savoy, and Simão Rodrigues from Portugal—met in Montmartre outside Paris, in a crypt beneath the church of Saint Denis, now Saint Pierre de Montmartre.
They called themselves the Company of Jesus, and also Amigos en El Señor or "Friends in the Lord", because they felt "they were placed together by Christ". The name had echoes of the military (as in an infantry "company"), as well as of discipleship (the "companions" of Jesus). The word "company" comes ultimately from Latin, cum + pane = "with bread", or a group that shares meals.
In 1537, they traveled to Italy to seek papal approval for their order. Pope Paul III gave them a commendation, and permitted them to be ordained priests. These initial steps led to the founding of what would be called the Society of Jesus later in 1540. The term societas in Latin is derived from socius, a partner or comrade.
They were ordained at Venice by the bishop of Arbe (24 June). They devoted themselves to preaching and charitable work in Italy, as the Italian War of 1535-1538 renewed between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Venice, the Pope and the Ottoman Empire rendered any journey to Jerusalem impossible.
They presented the project to the Pope Paul III. After months of dispute, a congregation of cardinals reported favorably upon the Constitution presented, and Paul III confirmed the order through the bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae ("To the Government of the Church Militant"), on 27 September 1540, but limited the number of its members to sixty. This is the founding document of the Jesuits as an official Catholic religious order.
This limitation was removed through the bull Exposcit debitum. Ignatius was chosen as the first superior-general (leader of the Jesuits). He sent his companions as missionaries around Europe to create schools, colleges, and seminaries.
In fulfilling the mission of the "Formula of the Institute of the Society", the first Jesuits concentrated on a few key activities. First, they founded schools throughout Europe. Jesuit teachers were rigorously trained in both classical studies and theology, and their schools reflected this. Second, they sent out missionaries across the globe to evangelize those peoples who had not yet heard the Gospel, founding missions in widely diverse regions, such as modern-day Paraguay, Japan, Ontario, and Ethiopia. Finally, though not initially formed for the purpose, they aimed to stop Protestantism from spreading and to preserve communion with Rome and the successor of Peter. The zeal of the Jesuits overcame the drift toward Protestantism in Poland-Lithuania and southern Germany.
Ignatius wrote the Jesuit Constitutions, adopted in 1554, which created a tightly centralized organization and stressed total abnegation and obedience to the Pope and their religious superiors (perinde ac [si] cadaver [essent], "[well-disciplined] like a corpse" as Ignatius put it).
His main principle became the unofficial Jesuit motto: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam ("For the greater glory of God"). This phrase is designed to reflect the idea that any work that is not evil can be meritorious for the spiritual life if it is performed with this intention, even things considered normally indifferent.
The Society of Jesus is classified among institutes as a mendicant order of clerks regular, that is, a body of priests organized for apostolic work, following a religious rule, and relying on alms, or donations, for support.
The term "Jesuit" (of 15th-century origin, meaning one who used too frequently or appropriated the name of Jesus), was first applied to the Society in reproach (1544–52). It was never used by its founder, though members and friends of the Society in time appropriated the name in its positive meaning.
The Jesuits were founded just before the Counter-Reformation (or at least before the date those historians with a classical view of the counter reformation hold to be the beginning of the Counter-Reformation), a movement whose purpose was to reform the Catholic Church from within and to counter the Protestant Reformers, whose teachings were spreading throughout Catholic Europe.
As part of their service to the Roman Church, the Jesuits encouraged people to continue their obedience to scripture as interpreted by Catholic doctrine. Ignatius is known to have written: "o I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."
Ignatius and the early Jesuits did recognize, though, that the hierarchical Church was in dire need of reform. Some of their greatest struggles were against corruption, venality, and spiritual lassitude within the Catholic Church. Ignatius's insistence on an extremely high level of academic preparation for ministry, for instance, was a deliberate response to the relatively poor education of much of the clergy of his time. The Jesuit vow against "ambitioning prelacies" was a deliberate effort to prevent greed for money or power invading Jesuit circles.
As a result, in spite of their loyalty, Ignatius and his successors often tangled with the pope and the Roman Curia. Over the 450 years since its founding, the Society has been called the papal "elite troops" and been forced into suppression.
St. Ignatius and the Jesuits who followed him believed that the reform of the Church had to begin with the conversion of an individual's heart. One of the main tools the Jesuits have used to bring about this conversion has been the Ignatian retreat, called the Spiritual Exercises. During a four-week period of silence, individuals undergo a series of directed meditations on the life of Christ. During this period, they meet regularly with a spiritual director, who helps them understand any call or message from God that they have received in their meditations.
The retreat follows a "Purgative-Illuminative-Unitive" pattern in the tradition of the spirituality of John Cassian and the Desert Fathers. Ignatius' innovation was to make this style of contemplative mysticism available to all people in active life. Further, he used it as a means of rebuilding the spiritual life of the Church. The Exercises became both the basis for the training of Jesuits and one of the essential ministries of the order: giving the exercises to others in what became known as "retreats".
The Jesuits’ contributions to the late Renaissance were significant in their roles both as a missionary order and as the first religious order to operate colleges and universities as a principal and distinct ministry. By the time of Ignatius' death in 1556, the Jesuits were already operating a network of 74 colleges on three continents. A precursor to liberal education, the Jesuit plan of studies incorporated the Classical teachings of Renaissance humanism into the Scholastic structure of Catholic thought.
In addition to teaching faith, the Ratio Studiorum emphasized the study of Latin, Greek, classical literature, poetry, and philosophy as well as non-European languages, sciences and the arts. Furthermore, Jesuit schools encouraged the study of vernacular literature and rhetoric, and thereby became important centers for the training of lawyers and public officials.
The Jesuit schools played an important part in winning back to Catholicism a number of European countries which had for a time been predominantly Protestant, notably Poland and Lithuania. Today, Jesuit colleges and universities are located in over one hundred nations around the world. Under the notion that God can be encountered through created things and especially art, they encouraged the use of ceremony and decoration in Catholic ritual and devotion. Perhaps as a result of this appreciation for art, coupled with their spiritual practice of "finding God in all things", many early Jesuits distinguished themselves in the visual and performing arts as well as in music.
Jesuit priests often acted as confessors to kings during the Early Modern Period. They were an important force in the Counter-Reformation and in the Catholic missions, in part because their relatively loose structure (without the requirements of living in community, saying the divine office together, etc.) allowed them to be flexible in meeting the needs of the people at the time.
It is believed that as a response to the varying Protestant reformations against the Catholic Church, Pope Paul III gave formal approval to St. Ignatius of Loyola to lead this order. This order was the most influential, intellectual Counter Reformation by the Catholic Church. They were most notably marked by their ability for intellectual influence and debate among the aristocracy of Europe. They were also marked by their elaborate open air revival-style meetings. These theatrical provocative and entertaining sermons created their own celebrity status.
Early missions in Japan resulted in the government granting the Jesuits the feudal fiefdom of Nagasaki in 1580. However, this was removed in 1587 due to fears over their growing influence.
Francis Xavier, one of the original companions of Loyola, arrived in Goa, in Portuguese India, in 1541 to consider evangelical service in the Indies. In a 1545 letter to John III of Portugal, he requested an Inquisition to be installed in Goa (see Goa Inquisition). He died in China after a decade of evangelism in Southern India. Two Jesuit missionaries, Johann Grueber and Albert Dorville, reached Lhasa in Tibet in 1661.
Jesuit missions in America were very controversial in Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal where they were seen as interfering with the proper colonial enterprises of the royal governments. The Jesuits were often the only force standing between the Native Americans and slavery. Together throughout South America but especially in present-day Brazil and Paraguay, they formed Christian Native American city-states, called "reductions" (Spanish Reducciones, Portuguese Reduções). These were societies set up according to an idealized theocratic model. It is partly because the Jesuits, such as Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, protected the natives (whom certain Spanish and Portuguese colonizers wanted to enslave) that the Society of Jesus was suppressed.
Jesuit priests such as Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta founded several towns in Brazil in the 16th century, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and were very influential in the pacification, religious conversion and education of Indian nations.
Jesuit scholars working in foreign missions were very important in studying their languages and strove to produce Latinized grammars and dictionaries. This was done, for instance, for Japanese (see Nippo jisho also known as Vocabvlario da Lingoa de Iapam, (Vocabulary of the Japanese Language) a Japanese–Portuguese dictionary written 1603), Vietnamese (French Jesuit missionary Alexandre de Rhodes formalized the Vietnamese alphabet in use today with his 1651 Vietnamese–Portuguese–Latin dictionary Dictionarium Annamiticum Lusitanum et Latinum) and Tupi (the main language of Brazil). Jean François Pons in the 1740s pioneered the study of Sanskrit in the West.
Under Portuguese royal patronage, the order thrived in Goa and until 1759 successfully expanded its activities to education and healthcare. In 1594 they founded the first Roman-style academic institution in the East, St. Paul Jesuit College in Macau. Founded by Alessandro Valignano, it had a great influence on the learning of Eastern languages (Chinese and Japanese) and culture by missionary Jesuits, becoming home to the first western sinologists such as Matteo Ricci. On 17 December 1759, the Marquis of Pombal, Secretary of State in Portugal, expelled the Jesuits from Portugal and Portuguese possessions overseas.
Jesuit missionaries were active among indigenous peoples in New France in North America. Many of them compiled dictionaries or glossaries of the First Nations and Native American languages which they learned. For instance, Jacques Gravier, vicar general of the Illinois Mission in the Mississippi River valley, compiled the most extensive Kaskaskia Illinois–French dictionary among works of the missionaries before his death in 1708.
The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China. The scientific revolution brought by the Jesuits coincided with a time when scientific innovation had declined in China:
[The Jesuits] made efforts to translate western mathematical and astronomical works into Chinese and aroused the interest of Chinese scholars in these sciences. They made very extensive astronomical observation and carried out the first modern cartographic work in China. They also learned to appreciate the scientific achievements of this ancient culture and made them known in Europe. Through their correspondence European scientists first learned about the Chinese science and culture.—Agustín Udías, 
Conversely, the Jesuits were very active in transmitting Chinese knowledge and philosophy to Europe. Confucius's works were translated into European languages through the agency of Jesuit scholars stationed in China, which is why Kǒng Fūzǐ is known in the West under his Latinized name to this day.
Matteo Ricci started to report on the thoughts of Confucius, and father Prospero Intorcetta published the life and works of Confucius into Latin in 1687. It is thought that such works had considerable influence on European thinkers of the period, particularly among the Deists and other philosophical groups of the Enlightenment interested by the integration of the system of morality of Confucius into Catholicism.
With the discovery and colonization of New France during the 17th century, the Society of Jesus and the Jesuits played an active role in Canada. When Samuel de Champlain was placing the foundations of the French colony at Quebec, he realized that this land was inhabited by native tribes that possessed their own languages, customs and traditions. These natives that inhabited modern day Ontario, Quebec, and country around Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay were the Montagnais, the Algonquins and the Huron. Champlain was a Christian man who felt that the soul was the only thing that mattered on Earth and that the souls of these Montagnais, Algonquin, and Huron must be saved. As a result, in 1614 Champlain invited the Recollects from France to spread the word of the true God, to convert the native inhabitants, and to save their souls from eternal damnation in New France. However, in 1624 the French Recollects realized that the magnitude of their task was too much to bear alone and that they would need more missionary bodies. The Recollects sent a delegate to France to invite the Society of Jesus to help them with their mission. The invitation was accepted and Jesuits, Jean de Brebeuf, Ennemond Masse and Charles Lalemant arrived in Quebec in 1625.
The Jesuits became involved in the Huron mission in 1626 and lived among the Huron peoples. Father Brebeuf learned the native language and created the first Huron language dictionary. Due to outside conflicts, though, the Jesuits were forced to leave all of New France and their efforts as Quebec was captured by the Kirke brothers under the English flag. Yet, in 1632 Quebec was returned to the French under the Treaty of Saint Germain-en-Laye and the Jesuits were back in Huronia by 1634.
In 1639 Jesuit Jerome Lalemant decided that the missionaries in Huronia needed a local residence so they could relax, reflect, and conduct activities. As a result, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was established. The Sainte-Marie expanded into a small community and acted as a living replica of European society. The Sainte-Marie became the headquarters of the Jesuits and is now an important part of Canadian history. Throughout most of the 1640s the Jesuits were having a tremendous amount of success. They established 5 chapels in Huronia and baptized over one thousand Huron natives. However, as the Jesuits began to expand westward they encountered more and more Iroquois natives (Huron rivals). With the Iroquois growing jealous of the Hurons’ wealth and fur trade system they began to attack Huron villages in 1648. The Iroquois killed missionaries, burned villages and scattered many of the Huron natives. Both Father Jean de Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were killed in the Iroquois series of raids. It was said that the two men had died as martyrs of the Catholic Church and that their bones would be holy relics. With the knowledge of the invading Iroquois, Father Paul Ragueneau burned down Sainte-Marie instead of allowing the Iroquois get the satisfaction of destroying it. By late June 1649, the French and some Christian Hurons built Sainte-Marie II on Christian Island (Isle de Saint-Joseph). However, the small Sainte-Marie II was facing starvation, lack of supplies and constant threats of Iroquois attack. Sainte-Marie II was abandoned in June 1650 as the remaining Hurons and Jesuits departed for Quebec and Ottawa. With all this destruction the Huron began to claim that the Jesuits were sorcerers sent to their homeland to kill. They would blame the outbreak of disease on the Jesuits, claiming that they were casting spells from their books. With the outbreak of disease, many people began to mistrust the Jesuits and suspect them of witchcraft. As a result of the Iroquois raids and disease, many missionaries, traders, and soldiers were killed or captured. The Huron tribe ceased to exist.
After the collapse of the Huron tribe, the Jesuits were to undertake the task of converting the Iroquois natives themselves. In 1642, previous Jesuits attempted to convert the Iroquois but had little success. The Jesuits risked their own lives and well being for the sake of this Iroquois mission. In 1653 the Iroquois nation had a fall out with the Dutch. They then signed a peace treaty with the French and a mission was established. The Iroquois took the treaty very lightly and soon turned on the French again. In 1658, the Jesuits were having very little success and were under constant threat of being tortured or killed. The Jesuits continued to struggle with the Iroquois until 1687 when they abandoned their permanent posts in the Iroquois homeland.
By 1700 Jesuits began to only maintain their old posts instead of trying to establish new ones beyond Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa. During the Seven Years War, Quebec fell to the English in 1759 and New France was under British control. The English barred the immigration of more Jesuits to New France. By 1763 there were only twenty-one Jesuits that were still stationed in New France. By 1773 only eleven Jesuits remained. During the same year the English crown laid claim to its property in Canada and declared that the Society of Jesus in New France was dissolved.
Father Rafael Ferrer was the first Jesuita de Quito (Jesuit of Quito) to explore and found missions in the upper Amazon regions of South America from 1602 to 1610, which at that period belonged to the Audiencia of Quito, that was a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until the Audiencia of Quito was transferred to the newly created Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. In 1602, Father Rafael Ferrer began to explore the Aguarico, Napo, and Marañon rivers ( Sucumbios region in what is today Ecuador and Peru), and set up, between 1604 and 1605, missions among the Cofane natives. Father Rafael Ferrer was martyred when an apostate native killed him in 1610.
In 1637, the Jesuits of Quito, Gaspar Cugia and Lucas de la Cueva began establishing some Jesuit missions in Mainas or Maynas. These missions were called the Mainas Missions after the Mainas natives that were found on the banks of the Marañon river, around the Pongo de Manseriche region, in close proximity to the close to the Spanish settlement of Borja.
In 1639, the Audiencia of Quito organized an expedition to renew its exploration of the Amazon river and the Quito Jesuit (Jesuita Quiteño) Father Cristobal de Acuña was a part of this expedition. The expedition disembarked from the Napo river February 16, 1639, and arrived in what is today Pará Brazil, on the banks of the Amazon river on December 12, 1639. In 1641, Father Cristobal de Acuña published in Madrid a memoire of his expedition to the Amazon river. The title of the memoire is called Nuevo Descubrimiento del gran rio de las Amazonas, and it was used by academics as a fundamental reference pertaining to the Amazon region.
Between 1637 and 1652, there were 14 missions established along the Marañon river and its southern tributaries – the Huallaga and the Ucayali rivers. Jesuit Fathers de la Cueva and Raimundo de Santacruz opened up 2 new routes of communication with Quito, through the Pastaza and Napo rivers.
Between 1637 and 1715, Samuel Fritz founded 38 missions along the length of the Amazon river, between the Napo and Negro rivers, that were called the Omagua Missions. These missions were continually attacked by the Brazilian Bandeirantes beginning in the year 1705. In 1768, the only Omagua mission that was left was San Joaquin de Omaguas, since it had been moved to a new location on the Napo river away from the Bandeirantes.
In the immense territory of Mainas, also referred to as Maynas, the Jesuitas of Quito, made contact with a number of indigenous tribes which spoke 40 different languages, and founded a total of 173 Jesuit missions with a total population of 150, 000 inhabitants. Because of the constant plague of epidemics (small pox and measles) and warfare with other tribes and the Bandeirantes, the total number of Jesuit Missions were reduced to 40 by 1744. At the time when the Jesuits were expelled from Spanish America in 1767, the Jesuits of Quito registered 36 missions run by 25 Jesuits of Quito in the Audiencia of Quito – 6 Jesuits of Quito in the Napo Missions and Aguarico Missions, and 19 Jesuits of Quito in the Pastaza Missions and Iquitos Missions of Maynas with a total population of 20,000 inhabitants.
The Suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal, France, the Two Sicilies, Parma and the Spanish Empire by 1767 was troubling to the Society's defender, Pope Clement XIII. A decree signed under secular pressure by Pope Clement XIV in July 1773 suppressed the Order. The suppression was carried out in all countries except Prussia and Russia, where Catherine the Great had forbidden the papal decree to be executed. Because millions of Catholics (including many Jesuits) lived in the Polish provinces recently annexed by the Kingdom of Prussia, the Society was able to maintain its existence and carry on its work all through the period of suppression. Subsequently, Pope Pius VI would grant formal permission for the continuation of the Society in Russia and Poland. Based on that permission, Pole Stanislaus Czerniewicz was elected superior of the Society in 1782. Pope Pius VII during his captivity in France, had resolved to restore the Jesuits universally; and after his return to Rome he did so with little delay: on 7 August 1814, by the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum, he reversed the suppression of the Order and therewith, the then Superior in Russia, another Pole, Thaddeus Brzozowski, who had been elected in 1805, acquired universal jurisdiction.
The period following the Restoration of the Jesuits in 1814 was marked by tremendous growth, as evidenced by the large number of Jesuit colleges and universities established in the 19th century. In the United States, 22 of the Society's 28 universities were founded or taken over by the Jesuits during this time. Some claim that the experience of suppression served to heighten orthodoxy among the Jesuits upon restoration. While this claim is debatable, Jesuits were generally supportive of Papal authority within the Church, and some members were associated with the Ultramontanist movement and the declaration of Papal Infallibility in 1870.
In Switzerland, following the defeat of the Sonderbund of some Catholic cantons by the other cantons, the constitution was modified and Jesuits were banished in 1848. The ban was lifted on 20 May 1973, when 54.9% of voters accepted a referendum modifying the Constitution.
The 20th century witnessed both aspects of growth and decline. Following a trend within the Catholic priesthood at large, Jesuit numbers peaked in the 1950s and have declined steadily since. Meanwhile the number of Jesuit institutions has grown considerably, due in large part to a late 20th-century focus on the establishment of Jesuit secondary schools in inner-city areas and an increase in lay association with the order. Among the notable Jesuits of the 20th century, John Courtney Murray, was called one of the "architects of the Second Vatican Council" and drafted what eventually became the council's endorsement of religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae Personae.
In the Constitution of Norway from 1814, a relic from the earlier anti-catholic laws of Denmark-Norway, Paragraph 2 originally read, "The Evangelical-Lutheran religion remains the public religion of the State. Those inhabitants, who confess thereto, are bound to raise their children to the same. Jesuits and monastic orders are not permitted. Jews are still prohibited from entry to the Realm." Jews were first allowed into the Realm in 1851 after the famous Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland had campaigned for it. Monastic orders were permitted in 1897, but the ban on Jesuits was only lifted in 1956.
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In Latin America, the Jesuits have had significant influence in the development of liberation theology, a movement which has been highly controversial in the Catholic theological community and condemned by Pope John Paul II on several fundamental aspects.
Under Superior General Pedro Arrupe, social justice and the preferential option for the poor emerged as dominant themes of the work of the Jesuits. In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed Paolo Dezza S.J., a scholar, to head the Jesuit order as special Papal Delegate, instead of a liberal American, Father Vincent O'Keefe, who was nominated by the Society. The Pope referred to that moment as "an important phase of its history." Dezza "knew of the faults that existed in the Church and in her men, but with caring dedication, full of love and faith, he helped to alleviate their effects, working for the authentic renewal of the Church."
On 16 November 1989, six Jesuit priests (Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Joaquin López y López, Juan Ramon Moreno, and Amado López); their housekeeper, Elba Ramos; and her daughter, Celia Marisela Ramos, were murdered by the Salvadoran military on the campus of the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador, because they had been labeled as subversives by the government. The assassinations galvanized the Society's peace and justice movements, including annual protests at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, where the assassins were trained under US government sponsorship.
On 21 February 2001, Father Avery Dulles, SJ, an internationally known author, lecturer and theologian, was created a Cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II. The son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Cardinal Dulles was long known for his carefully reasoned argumentation and fidelity to the teaching office of the Church. An author of 22 books and over 700 theological articles, Cardinal Dulles died on 12 December 2008 at Fordham University, where he taught for twenty years as the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society. He was, at his passing, one of ten Jesuit cardinals in the Catholic Church.
In 2002, Boston College president Father William P. Leahy, SJ, initiated the Church in the 21st century program as a means of moving the Church "from crisis to renewal." The initiative has provided the Society with a platform for examining issues brought about by the worldwide Catholic sex abuse cases, including the priesthood, celibacy, sexuality, women's roles, and the role of the laity.
On 6 January 2005, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year, wrote that the Jesuits "should truly profit from the jubilee year to examine our way of life and taking the means to live more profoundly the charisms received from our Founders."
In April 2005, Thomas J. Reese, SJ, editor of the American Jesuit weekly magazine America, resigned at the request of the Society. The move was widely published in the media as the result of pressure from the Vatican, following years of criticism by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on articles touching subjects such as HIV/AIDS, religious pluralism, homosexuality and the right of life for the unborn. Following his resignation, Reese spent a year-long sabbatical at Santa Clara University before being named a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C.
On 2 February 2006, Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach informed members of the Society of Jesus, that, with the consent of Pope Benedict XVI, he intended to step down as Superior General in 2008, the year he would turn 80.
On 22 April 2006, Feast of Our Lady, Mother of the Society of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI greeted thousands of Jesuits on pilgrimage to Rome, and took the opportunity to thank God "for having granted to your Company the gift of men of extraordinary sanctity and of exceptional apostolic zeal such as St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis Xavier and Bl Peter Faber." He said "St Ignatius of Loyola was above all a man of God, who gave the first place of his life to God, to his greater glory and his greater service. He was a man of profound prayer, which found its center and its culmination in the daily Eucharistic Celebration."
In May 2006, Benedict XVI also wrote a letter to Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's encyclical Haurietis aquas, on devotion to the Sacred Heart, because the Jesuits have always been "extremely active in the promotion of this essential devotion". In his 3 November 2006 visit to the Pontifical Gregorian University, Benedict XVI cited the university as "one of the greatest services that the Society of Jesus carries out for the universal Church".
The 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus convened on 5 January 2008 and elected Fr. Adolfo Nicolás as the new Superior General on 19 January 2008. A month after, the Pope received members of the General Congregation and urged them to "to continue on the path of this mission in full fidelity to your original charism" and asked them to reflect so as "to rediscover the fullest meaning of your characteristic 'fourth vow' of obedience to the Successor of Peter." For this, he told them to "adhere totally to the Word of God and to the Magisterium's task of preserving the integral truth and unity of Catholic doctrine." This clear identity, according to the Pope, is important so that "many others may share in your ideals and join you effectively and enthusiastically." The Congregation responded with a formal declaration titled "With New Fervor and Dynamism, the Society of Jesus Responds to the Call of Benedict XVI", whereby they confirmed the Society's fidelity to the Pope.
The spirituality practiced by the Jesuits, called Ignatian spirituality, ultimately based on the Catholic faith and the gospels, is drawn from the "Constitutions", "The Letters", and "Autobiography", and most specially from St. Ignatius' "Spiritual Exercises", whose purpose is "to conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment."
The formation (training) of Jesuits seeks to prepare men spiritually, academically and practically for the ministries they will be called to offer the Church and world. St. Ignatius was strongly influenced by the Renaissance and wanted Jesuits to be able to offer whatever ministries were most needed at any given moment, and especially, to be ready to respond to missions (assignments) from the pope. Formation for Priesthood normally takes between 8 and 14 years, depending on the man's background and previous education, and final vows are taken several years after that, making Jesuit formation among the longest of any of the religious orders.
The society is headed by a Superior General. In the Jesuit order, the formal title of the Superior General is Praepositus Generalis, Latin for "provost-general", more commonly called Father General or General, who is elected by the General Congregation for life or until he resigns, is confirmed by the Pope, and has absolute authority in running the society. The current Superior General of the Jesuits is the Spanish Jesuit, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás Pachón who was elected on 19 January 2008.
He is assisted by "assistants", four of whom are "assistants for provident care" and serve as general advisors and a sort of inner council to the superior general, and several other regional assistants each of whom heads an "assistancy", which is either a geographic area (for instance, the North American Assistancy) or an area of ministry (for instance, higher education). The assistants normally reside with the Superior General in Rome. The assistants, together with a number of other advisors, form an advisory council to the General. A vicar general and secretary of the society run day-to-day administration. The General is also required to have an "admonitor", a confidential advisor whose specific job is to warn the General honestly and confidentially when he is acting imprudently or is straying toward disobedience to the Pope or heresy. The central staff of the General is known as the Curia.
The order is divided into geographic provinces, each of which is headed by a Provincial Superior, generally called Father Provincial, chosen by the General. He has authority over all Jesuits and ministries in his area, and is assisted by a socius, who acts as a sort of secretary and chief of staff. With the approval of the General, the father provincial appoints a novice master and a master of tertians to oversee formation, and rectors of local houses of Jesuits.
Each Jesuit community within a province is normally headed by a rector who is assisted by a "minister", from the Latin for "servant", a priest who helps oversee the community's day-to-day needs.
The General Congregation is a meeting of all of the assistants, provincials and additional representatives who are elected by the professed Jesuits of each province. It meets irregularly and rarely, normally to elect a new superior general and/or to take up some major policy issues for the order. The General meets more regularly with smaller councils composed of just the provincials.
Jesuits do not have an official habit. In the Constitutions of the Society, it gives these instructions concerning clothing; "The clothing too should have three characteristics: first, it should be proper; second, conformed to the usage of the country of residence; and third, not contradictory to the poverty we profess..." (Const. 577)
Historically, a "Jesuit-style cassock" became standard issue: it wrapped around the body and was tied with a cincture, rather than the customary buttoned front, a tuftless biretta (only diocesan clergy wore tufts), and a ferraiolo (cape). As such, though Jesuit garb appeared distinctive, and became identifiable over time, it was the common priestly dress of Ignatius' day. During the missionary periods of North America, the various native peoples referred to Jesuits as "Blackrobes" because of their black cassocks.
The Monita Secreta (Secret Instructions of the Jesuits), published in 1612 and in 1614, in Kraków, is alternately alleged to have been written either by Claudio Acquaviva, the fifth general of the society, or written by Jerome Zahorowski. The purported Secret Instructions of the Jesuits are the methods to be adopted by the Jesuits for the acquisition of greater power and influence for the Society and for the Roman Catholic Church.
In England, Henry Garnet, one of the leading English Jesuits, was hanged for misprision of treason, because of his knowledge of the Gunpowder Plot (1605). The Plot was the attempted assassination of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, his family, and most of the Protestant aristocracy in a single attack, by exploding the Houses of Parliament. Another Jesuit, Oswald Tesimond, managed to escape arrest for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.
Jesuits have been accused of using casuistry to obtain justifications for unjustifiable actions. (cf. formulary controversy and Lettres Provinciales, by Blaise Pascal). Hence, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the English language, records “equivocating” as a secondary denotation of the word “Jesuit”. Contemporary critics of the Society of Jesus include Jack Chick, Avro Manhattan, Alberto Rivera, and Malachi Martin, author of The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (1987).
Although in the first 30 years of the existence of the Society of Jesus there were many Jesuit conversos (Catholic-convert Jews), an anti-converso faction led to the Decree de genere (1593) which proclaimed that either Jewish or Muslim ancestry, no matter how distant, was an insurmountable impediment for admission to the Society of Jesus. The 16th-century Decree de genere remained in exclusive force until the 20th century, when it was repealed in 1946.
Within the Roman Catholic Church, there has existed a sometimes tense relationship between Jesuits and the Holy See due to questioning of official Church teaching and papal directives, such as those on abortion, birth control, women deacons, homosexuality, and liberation theology. Usually this theological free thinking is academically oriented, being prevalent at the university level. From this standpoint, the function of this debate is less to challenge the magisterium than illustrate the church's ability to compromise in a pluralist society based on shared values which do not always align with religious teachings. The previous two Popes have appointed Jesuits to powerful positions in the Church; John Paul II appointed Roberto Tucci, S.J., to the College of Cardinals, after serving as the chief organizer of papal trips and public events. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have appointed 10 Jesuit Cardinals to notable jobs. Benedict XVI appointed Jesuits to notable positions in his curia, such as Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J. as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., Vatican Press Secretary. Pope Francis, elected in 2013, has become the first Jesuit Pope.
Twelve Jesuit priests have been formally recognized by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust of World War II: Roger Braun (1910–1981) of France; Pierre Chaillet (1900–1972) of France; Jean-Baptist De Coster (1896–1968) of Belgium; Jean Fleury (1905–1982) of France; Emile Gessler (1891–1958) of Belgium; Jean-Baptiste Janssens (1889–1964) of Belgium; Alphonse Lambrette (1884–1970) of Belgium; Emile Planckaert (b. 1906–2006) of France; Jacob Raile (1894–1949) of Hungary; Henri Revol (1904–1992) of France; Adam Sztark (1907–1942) of Poland; and Henri Van Oostayen (1906–1945) of Belgium.
Several other Jesuits are known to have rescued or given refuge to Jews during that period. A plaque commemorating the 152 Jesuit priests who gave of their lives during the Holocaust was installed at Rockhurst University, a Jesuit university, in Kansas City, Missouri, United States, in April 2007, the first such plaque in the world.
The Nazi regime considered the Jesuits one of their most dangerous enemies. According to John Pollard, the Jesuit's "ethos represented the most intransigent opposition to the philosophy of Nazism." A Jesuit college in the city of Innsbruck served as a center for anti-Nazi resistance and was closed down by the Nazis in 1938. Jesuits were a target for Gestapo prosecution and many Jesuit priests were deported to concentration camps.
The Jesuits have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. For example, the Jesuits have dedicated significant study to earthquakes, and seismology has been described as "the Jesuit science." The Jesuits have been described as "the single most important contributor to experimental physics in the seventeenth century." According to Jonathan Wright in his book God's Soldiers, by the eighteenth century the Jesuits had "contributed to the development of pendulum clocks, pantographs, barometers, reflecting telescopes and microscopes, to scientific fields as various as magnetism, optics and electricity. They observed, in some cases before anyone else, the colored bands on Jupiter's surface, the Andromeda nebula and Saturn's rings. They theorized about the circulation of the blood (independently of Harvey), the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon effected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light."
The Jesuit China missions of the 16th and 17th centuries introduced Western science and astronomy, then undergoing its own revolution, to China. One modern historian writes that in late Ming courts, the Jesuits were "regarded as impressive especially for their knowledge of astronomy, calendar-making, mathematics, hydraulics, and geography." The Society of Jesus introduced, according to Thomas Woods, "a substantial body of scientific knowledge and a vast array of mental tools for understanding the physical universe, including the Euclidean geometry that made planetary motion comprehensible." Another expert quoted by Woods said the scientific revolution brought by the Jesuits coincided with a time when science was at a very low level in China.
Notable Jesuits include missionaries, educators, scientists, artists, philosophers, and the current pope. Among many distinguished early Jesuits was St. Francis Xavier, a missionary to Asia who converted more people to Catholicism than anyone before. José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega, founders of the city of São Paulo, Brazil, were also Jesuit priests. Another famous Jesuit was St. Jean de Brebeuf, a French missionary who was martyred in what was once New France (now Ontario) in Canada during the 17th century. Eusebio Kino is renowned in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico (an area then called the Pimeria Alta). He founded numerous missions and served as the peace bringer between the tribes and the government of New Spain. One other notable Jesuit was Gerard Manley Hopkins, the poet. On 10 April 1912, the Rev. Francis Browne, a Jesuit priest, sailed the first leg of the Titanic's maiden voyage, between Southampton, England, Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland—taking a series of black-and-white photos of life on board the luxury liner. He had planned to stay on the ship to New York but was ordered by his superior to return home instead.
Anthony de Mello was a Jesuit priest and psychotherapist who became widely known for his books on spirituality. Fr. Anthony De Mello developed a new approach to Christian spirituality, by integrating wisdom from eastern and western sources that brought enlightenment to people of all backgrounds.
Although the work of the Jesuits today embraces a wide variety of apostolates, ministries, and civil occupations, they are probably most well known for their educational work. Since the inception of the order, Jesuits have been teachers. Today, there are Jesuit-run universities, colleges, high schools and middle or elementary schools in dozens of countries. Jesuits also serve on the faculties of both Catholic and secular schools as well.
Jesuits are also known for their involvement in publications. La Civiltà Cattolica, a periodical produced in Rome by the Jesuits, has often been used as a semi-official platform for popes and Vatican officials to float ideas for discussion or hint at future statements or positions. In the United States, America magazine has long had a prominent place in intellectual Catholic circles. Most Jesuit colleges and universities have their own presses which produce a variety of books, book series, textbooks and academic publications as well. Ignatius Press, staffed by Jesuits, is an independent publisher of Catholic books, most of which are of the popular academic or lay-intellectual variety.
In Australia, the Jesuits produce a number of magazines, including Eureka Street, Madonna, Australian Catholics, and Province Express.
In Sweden the Catholic cultural magazine Signum, edited by the Newman Institute, covers a broad spectrum of issues concerning faith, culture, research, and society. The printed version of Signum is published eight times per year. In addition, there is an up-to-date website (www.signum.se) containing an article archive dating from 1975 to the present.
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