Jesuits ...

I’m just curious what non-Catholics think about Jesuits, because when I was growing up Jesuits were often put down and jokes were frequently made at their expense. (All non-Catholics are welcome to answer but I’m thinking particularly of non-Catholics who are Protestant.)

I am Catholic but do you mind if I give you my opinion behind why?

I don’t know.

I mean, I’m not going to say “I’ll never speak to you again if you tell me” or anything like that; I just say “I don’t know” because there was a thread years that asked a question like this to Catholic posters on CAF, and all the responses either didn’t answer the question and instead posted “Jesuit jokes”, or else answered it with “Because they’re heretics” etc.

The Jesuits spear headed the Counter Reformation, were usually highly educated, very dedicated to the Church, and and so were regarded as a formidable enemy of the Reformation and Protestant Churches.

I think of a lot of the stuff thrown at the Jesuits is simply part and parcel of the distortions and lies thrown at the Catholic Church generally.

My old Protestant (Presbyterian, ex-Methodist and Uniting Church) pastor once said to me (privately in his office) that “Protestants tell a lot of lies about the Catholic Church and Catholics” and that “Protestants can be quite arrogant when it comes to the Catholic Church”.

But he was one of those Protestants who had a lot of regard for the truth, and was prepared to go to some length to make sure that what he said was accurate.

They were not spoken of highly, but rather functioned as a type of Catholic infiltrator who weren’t really Christian. For some reason in my young brain they were parallel with some type of Catholic illuminati. :shrug:

Maybe I haven’t had enough contact with Jesuits, but those I’ve met have been particularly enamored with Gutierrez and his Liberation Theology. Accordingly, they weren’t so interested in spreading the Gospel as they were with living it. Sadly, they saw those two things as somewhat exclusive of each other. That was unsettling to me. I often wondered if they were Christians, or simply Marxists who used Christian terminology. :frowning:

My opinion of the Jesuits changed after this past election season - for the worse

I honestly think it goes back to the Rivalry between the English and the Spanish and if it weren’t the Jesuits (who were not all Spanish) and England had never broken away from the Church it would be something else that originated in Spain. I think basically what it was though is Protestant England kept catching these Jesuit priests so there must have been a conspiracy now of course I don’t agree with that and I certainly don’t think the Society of Jesus was trying to overthrow the crown. I think it important to remember post-reformation England to be loyal to anything other than the state church was considered treason and whether we want to admit that or not here in my country the United States we are still very English. Maybe not in ethnic composition but in how we think about certain groups

I remember doing a poem in High school by Gerard Manley Hopkins (I think, I had to google again). In the short biography it stated he was a Jesuit and apparently that was important to understand the poem. I haven’t even heard the word before.

So I remember the class discussing and agreeing what kind of cult the “Jesuit religion” is and had some kind of consensus he wasn’t a very good guy. I’m sure their thinking wasn’t at all related to Catholicism.

Since then I have a better understanding, but still very neutral on the topic.


One of my philosophy professors was a Jesuit. He was a hard-core, no nonsense kind of guy. One of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Since this was a public university, he always wore a suit and tie to class…never anything that gave him away as a priest. In fact, it was about 4 weeks into the semester when he casually mentioned in class that he was a priest. After that, a couple of the students called him “Father,” but he asked that they refer to him as “Professor” in the classroom setting. Anyway, based on my (very limited) experience, I have respect for Jesuits.

To better understand Gerard Manley Hopkins you need to understand his Catholicism but also some of his poems would do best within the context of the place he wrote them - his Jesuit seminary in northern Wales. It is today a retreat house providing Ignation (Jesuit) retreats, a lovely secluded place called St Beuno’s. They do poetry retreats if you are interested.

I think it was some 20+ years ago that the Church of England accepted (I don’t really know if they have a process akin to canonisation) Ignatius of Loyola a saint. I thought it was a bit odd considering that Ignatius sent his Jesuits to England to convert them back to Catholicism, obviously thinking that they were wrong.

So I would really like to hear from Anglicans (or CoE) why.

It’s probably not going to surprise you that the Anglican Communion, and those Anglican Churches outside it, do not have either a common Calendar of Saints, nor a common method to amend the Calendar, nor a common understanding of what a Saint is… It varies with each autocephalous Church. Here’s a good statement on the CoE. Note the listed names. It includes Loyola, and a few others that might surprise you.

Just noticed that the link may be wonky. Click through to" Calendar of saints (Church of England)", which is the destination I wanted.

Here in Seattle: Jesuits = Social Justice Unitarians

Thanks GKC, but why? Looking through the list (btw, thanks for the link), yes, there are a few names that seems questionable to me. Rossetti? Poetry? Dix? Don’t get me wrong about Dix - I got his books on my shelf and I respect him as a scholar, but he merely studied something that was already there, not innovate or uncovered something new like the Church Doctors did.

And Luther? Let’s not forget that Henry VIII earned his title of Defender of the Faith for his treatise against Luther. If the CoE were to say Luther is now acceptable does that mean the monarch cannot be regaled with that title anymore?

But most baffling to me remains Ignatius. I understand Anglicans have a very different concept of being in communion as compared to Catholics. I can understand picking saints from other Christian churches who are not in communion with you, even if I don’t agree with it. But to pick someone who explicitly made clear that he is rejecting communion with you is inexplicable. I keep getting the image of that young man continuously proclaiming his love for the young lady who wants to have nothing to do with him. For heavens sake, the guy doesn’t like your church!! I can imagine Ignatius in heaven with his head in his hands when another petition from an Anglican comes through, wishing there is a way to turn off that dastardly notification from people he doesn’t like.

Giving the CoE the benefit of the doubt, I would really like to know the basis why they were made saints. What is the intention of having Anglican saints? What is the process and the criteria? Not knowing this, I can only provisionally conclude that it is merely for a feel good feeling and to keep everyone happy. Sorry for any CoE within earshot, it really is so CoE.

It’s more like it is really so Anglican.

I would have thought that More and Fisher would have been the names to boggle your mind the most.

I often find that I can’t explicate Anglicanism, adequately, as I have noted before, though I can often describe it. If the link doesn’t do it for you, you’re on your own. To me, the point is that these are Christian heroes/saints/martyrs, not Anglicans merely, and not even merely those who would appreciate or approve of Anglicanism, at all. Anglicanism can come to the point of admiring a Newman, even if a Newman has rejected Anglicanism. Think of it as an Honours List. Broad minded, those Anglicans.

So, leaving you mind-boggled on that issue, I can add a little something to the idea of Henry and Defensor Fidei/Assertio Septem Sacramentorum. I’ve done it often before. How came Henry’s title?

Henry like sparklies. Was always on the look-out for a new and nifty title, or gee-gaw to add to his collection. In 1512, he petitioned Julius II to award him the title possessed by Louis XII, “Most Christian King” (you didn’t just call yourself something like that, of course; it was awarded). Not sure if “Most Christian” was a singular title, but Julius did award it to Henry, and, for good measure, secretly gave him the French throne. All he had to do to claim it was to defeat Louis in the then on-going unpleasantness between the Holy League and France. That part never happened, though Henry tried. But Henry got his “Christianissimus”.

In 1515, Henry wanted something else to pad his resume. Various ideas were passed around: “Protector of the Holy See”, maybe “Defender”, from the English side. The first was turned down because it already belonged to the Holy Roman Emperor, the second was the property of the Swiss. Some in Rome countered with “King Apostolic” (interesting combination) or “Orthodox”. The Pope vetoed both. In 1516, the title of “Defender of the Faith” was proposed from England. Leo ignored it, and Henry gave up until May, 1521, when Wolsey wrote once again to Rome, asking for a pretty for Henry. Leo passed it to a committee of Cardinals. Forthcoming were suggestions:

“Rex Fidelis”, “Orthodoxus”, “Ecclesiaticus” ,
“Protector”, “Anglicus”

When the Cardinals inquired just why Henry warranted another honor, the part he had played fighting for the Holy See against Louis, 9 years before, was mentioned. And there was the Assertio, of which Rome had heard (it was in draft in May 1521, printed in July, sent to Rome in September, after the Cardinals had been considering the matter for a few months. And it was at least partially Henry’s work. Probably). So, before the Assertio was received and presented to Leo, (his copy bound in cloth-of-gold, hand inscribed to Leo, the 27 other copies more mundane), a list of titles for Henry to choose from was shipped to England.

The Assertio probably tipped the scales. About the time it was presented to Leo, Henry chose the same title that had been suggested by England 6 years before: Defensor Fidei . Leo granted it six weeks after he received the book. Doubtless directly inspired by the Assertio, some cardinals then wanted to add a flourish such as Gloriosus or Fidelissimus, but Leo vetoed it.

So Henry got his sparklie, partially because of the Assertio, partially because of the Holy League, partially because he was a pain in the neck. It was intended as a title for him personally, though he thought it was hereditary. Parliament thought it looked nice, and attached it to the Throne, in 1543. Mary took it off, in her Second Act of repeal, Elizabeth put it back, and it’s there now by legislative fiat. Hence, the title attached to the British Monarchy is not really the same as the one Henry bore. It’s a gift from Parliament. Just uses the same words.

O Dear God, you are right. I didn’t see them. And John Henry Newman as well. Maybe they were home grown Englishmen, and the CoE as a national church wanted to represent all strands of faiths in England. They are kinda like that. So, we should standby to see David Beckham, Gandhi, Ian Paisley etc being saints in CoE.


Interesting point on Henry. Yes the man has the ego what with the field of gold and so on. While we are on the subject of Henry, did he actually write the treatise against Luther, and the Our Father translation into English and Greensleeves. Or were they outsourced, or pure PR hogwash?

As to Beckham, et al, who knows. But I would expect some standards.

As to the Assertio, most scholars feel that there is reason to believe that Hank wrote at least a draft of the first chapter, and possibly the second; there being some evidence of that. Thomas More is generally credited with being the major influence. He himself speaks of there being several hands to the work, and consensus is he was at least the editor. So, some little of it was Henry’s, probably. Some more likely More’s and perhaps an Anon. or two.

As to Greensleeves, no. Though he was musically inclined. Played a fair game of tennis, too. Fell off his horse from time to time.

As to the Pater, no. He did mandate a couple of translations of the Bible. He did none of it.

Hmmm, interesting that he did though we all have to agree that the first Supreme Governor’s theology was rather Catholic.

Anyway, I always found it intriguing that the year of his death was also the founding of the Jesuits, coming back to the OP. Wonder if there was any cause and effect link.

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