jesuits Society of Jesus, The Company of Jesus, The Company
Year of origin 1540 Papal bull Regimini militantis ecclesiae ("To the Government of the Church Militant")
Founder Francis Borja & Ignatius of Loyola
Headquarters Church of the Gesù, Rome
Head of Organization Superior General
Current Leader Adolfo Nicolás
Members 18,815 (2008)
The Jesuits were founded initially as The Company of Jesus on "Assumption Day" August 15, 1534, in a secret ceremony in the crypt of the Chapel of St. Denis by Ignatius of Loyola (born Íñigo López de Loyola) and Francisco Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laínez, and Nicolás Bobadilla all from Spain, Peter Faber from Savoy in France, and Simão Rodrigues from Portugal.
The formation was approved by Francis Borja, of the infamous "Borja" also known as Borgia/Borga, Duke of Grandia, grandson of Pope Alexander VI and the patron of Ignatius of Loyola. Francis Borja was the principle financier and architect in the formalization of the Jesuits into the first dedicated military order of monks of the Catholic Church. He was also responsible for securing the Papal Bull Regimini militantis (September 27, 1540) from Borja family friend Alessandro Farnese Pope Paul III which first gave the Jesuits official status as an order.
Ignatius of Loyola first came to the attention of the young Duke of Grandia by 1529 after Ignatius was again arrested by the Inquisition for practicing extreme religious devotion. Borja saw potential in the extreme military based devotion being preached by Ignatius of Loyola and his desire to establish an order of military monks. It was the young Borja who saved the life of Ignatius from the Inquisition.
At the death of Ignatius in 1557, Francis Borja was expected to be the second Superior General. However, his ambitions were hampered firstly by arch-enemy Giovanni Pietro Carafa as Pope Paul IV (1555-1559). Carafa had been one of the greatest enemies of Borja Pope Alexander VI and immediately nominated Diego Laynez (James Lainez) as Superior General.
Pope Paul IV died in August of 1559 and was replaced by Giovanni Angelo de' Medici (Pope Pius IV). In both cases, Jesuit Superior General Diego Laynez aligned himself closely making him virtually untouchable.
However, after Pope Pius IV rounded up and tortured and murdered Benedetto Accolti and other members of Papal families in an alleged failed plot, Cardinal Borja made his move and Pius IV was poisoned to death on December 9, 1565. A few days later, Superior General Diego Laynez suffered the same fate and soon after Cardinal Francis Borja was unanimously elected the third Superior General.
Unique features of the Jesuit Military Order
Borja strengthened the already substantial powers of the Jesuit Superior General to be greater than any other Order in the history of the Catholic Church.
While technically monks, the Constitution of the Order was unique in that it exempted priests from the cloisted rule (i.e. living in monasteries). Instead, Jesuit monks were to live "in the world". Only the Dominican Priests who were the chief torturers of the Inquisition and the Catholic Church at the time had anything like such freedoms.
However, the Jesuit Constitution from the very beginning went even further in that it permitted and even encouraged the priests not to wear the habit (traditional monk dress) so that they would "blend in" to the world.
Borja secured a Papal Bull from Pope Paul III in 1545 permitting the Jesuits to preach, hear confession, dispense the sacraments and say mass without having to refer to a bishop- effectively placing them outside the control of the regional clergy.
In addition, Borja amended the Constitution of the Jesuit Military Order even further when he bestowed powers to the office of the Superior General of the Jesuits second only to the Pope. By its own constitution from 1565 (and which remains in force even today), the Superior General can absolve priests and new recruits of all their sins, even the sin of heresy and schism, the falsification of apostolic writings. Further, the Superior Generals from the time of Borja onwards had the "official" power by Papal Bull and its by-laws to reverse sentences of excommunication, suspension or interdict and even absolve Jesuit priests guilty of murder and bigamy.
But one of the most stunning victories of Superior General Borja was in the year he died, when he secured under Pope Gregory XIII in 1572 the rights of the Jesuits to deal in commerce and banking - a right that had not been granted to any religious order of the Catholic Church since the Knights Templars four hundred years earlier.
In fact, it is these laws under the Constitution of the Jesuit Order that have rise to the Superior General being known as the Black Pope.
The Jesuits and Education
While from its very beginning, the Military Order of Jesuits were architected to be able to undertake all kinds of dangerous missions from assassination, propaganda, forgery and theft, their primary mission was and remains today the complete defeat of all forces in opposition to the authority of the Roman Catholic Pope - specifically the Protestant movement.
Even in the 16th Century, the Catholic Church sought to suppress and control trade and education through the combination of Papal law, deeds and occassionally force. In contrast, those states who had rejected the supremacy of the Pope such as England and parts of Germany, France, Eastern and Northern Europe were free to pursue commerce and education without restraint.
Of all the consequences of the Reformation, the most dangerous to the Catholic Church was (and still is) education. It is why the Jesuits were forced to adopt a counter position in education at such an early stage. Using their unheralded powers, the Jesuits established a counter education movement to the Protestants, using their priceless access to the secret Vatican archives, the Jesuits dedicated themselves to manipulating every major stream of science and philosophy against the Protestant intellectuals, including subverting their secret societies.
The recruitment and promotion of Education had a secondary benefit for the Jesuits in that it ensured higher calibre recruits and made their services more attractive across the Catholic world. The Jesuits quickly became known as the Order dedicated to education excellence in Catholic countries, a perverse notion considering their original purpose for existence and structure was military.
The Jesuits and Early TradeAnother area where the Jesuits sought to compete against the Protestant states early was in the securing of lucrative trade routes. Thanks to Pope Gregory XIII, the Jesuits were the only religious Order with the power to conduct commerce and banking.
Jesuit Superior General Claudio Acquaviva (1581 - 1615 ) soon put this to good use when in 1580, he ordered Fr Vilela S.J. to purchase of the port of Nagasaki from a local Japanese warlord. General Acquaviva then sent Alessandro Valignano S.J. back to manage the new commercial mission.
The Jesuits promoted heavily the growth of their wholly owned port of Nagasaki, to one of the most profitable trading ports in the world. Jesuit ownership of the port of Nagasaki gave the Society a concrete monopoly in taxation over all imported goods coming into Japan.
The Jesuits under Peter Claver S.J. were also instrumental in the development of the slave trade from Africa to South America to be used in the gold mines. Up to half a million slaves were shipped and arrived under the watch of Peter Claver S. J. Later, the Jesuits transformed Claver from one history's worst slave masters to the patron saint of slaves, Colunbia and African Americans.
However, both Spain and Portugal in particular were angry at the increasing wealth and influence of the Jesuits encroaching on their profits from the slaves and monopolization of trade.
In response to the Portuguese seeking to restrict the Jesuits in Japan by arming their enemies, General Claudio Acquaviva formed an alliance in 1595 with the Dutch in supporting their merchant ships and trade. In response to the new alliance, the English Parliament issued a charter granting a monopoly on the pirate trade alliance of the East India Company in 1600.
In 1602, General Claudio Acquaviva assisted the Jesuit merchants to gain a 21 year charter of monopoly from the States-General of the Netherlands to form the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC in Dutch, literally "United East Indies Company ( Dutch East India Company).
Using the exclusive powers of the Jesuits to conduct banking and commerce, the Dutch East India Company represented one of the most profitable companies of history thanks to its control of spices, slaves, drugs and plantations. The Jesuits only lost control in 1773 at the disbandment of the Order.
The disbandment of the Order
While the initial argument of the Jesuits to its involvement in trade was to corrupt and hamper the activities of Protestant trade, in reality it was Catholic nations who were most upset. Added to the Jesuit woes was the increasing danger to the Order from its duties as chief assassins. Every time a new King or Queen died under their watch, the noble families of Europe became more agitated.
But it was the Jesuit control of education and suppression of liberalism that was to lead to their disbandment. While Protestant nations lept ahead in commerce, industry and education, the Catholic states continued to lose control. Spain, Portugal, the states of Italy and even France had all watched with indignity while England, Germany, Russia and the other Northern European states had grown in wealth and prestige.
In 1758 the minister of Joseph I of Portugal (1750–77), the Marquis of Pombal, expelled the Jesuits from Portugal, and shipped them en masse to Civitavecchia, as a "gift for the Pope." In 1764, King Louis XV of France expelled the Jesuits.
By 1769, the movement to expel the Jesuits had grown in such momentum that there was a real risk the Papal Estates might also be taken. Pope Clement XIII called for a consistory in order to disband the Jesuits, including the preparation of a Papal Bull for the pronouncement. But on February 2, 1769 the night before the Bull to disband the Jesuits was due to be promulgated, General Lorenzo Ricci had the Pope murdered.
His successor, Pope Clement XIV, himself trained by the Jesuits, was more strategic. In July 1773, Pope Clement XIV signed the order Dominus ac Redemptor to disband the Jesuits and their churches and assets were seized in simultaneous raids. In exchange, Pope Clement was given back Avignon and Benevento to the Papal states for "services rendered" to the Royal houses.
The suppression took General Ricci completely by surprise but before he could retaliate, he was arrested on August 17 and imprisoned at Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. But on September 22, 1774 Ricci successfully had Pope Clement XIV assassinated at the age of 68. Ricci remained imprisoned and died there on November 24, 1775 after 15 years as General.
The counter-attack of the Jesuits
The imprisonment and death Ricci and the Letter of Suppression did not bring the desired end of the Jesuits. The Letter was valid only in those countries where it was officially promulgated.
Frederick of Prussia recognizing the value of the Jesuits as educators refused to promulgate the Brief. So, too, Catherine II of Russia forbade its promulgation for the some of the same reasons. At first, some Jesuits became parish priests and continued to teach in the Jesuit Colleges as before.
Since they were recognized legally as Jesuits in those two countries, the Fathers in White Russia called a General Congregation—The First in White Russia. They elected as Vicar General the 53-year-old Father Stanislaus Czerniewicz. He was a leading Jesuit of the Province and was Rector at the College at Polotsk.
Stanislaus Czerniewicz died on July 7, 1785 and the Fathers called the Second Congregation of White Russia to elect a successor. They elected as Vicar General Father Gabriel Lenkiewicz on September 27.
Two years after his election, Gabriel Lenkiewicz S.J. seized an opportunity to inflict revenge upon one of the Royal houses of Europe that contributed to the downfall of the Jesuits. Reform minded King Louis XVI of France had convened an Assembly of Notables - a group of some nobles, bourgeoisie, and bureaucrats selected in order to bypass the Parliament, dominated by the noble families.
In order to improve the standard of living for the poorest of France and halt growing hunger, the King sought the approval of the Assembly to his plan to tax Noble families and the Catholic Church for the first time. The plan outraged the Catholic Bishops and the Jesuits were called in from Russia to provide assistance on how to subvert the good King's plans.
The Jesuits quickly exploited the King's plan to by-pass the thoroughly corrupt Parliament and began printing pamphlets and anti-Monarch material stating the King was actually working against the common people, because by law one third (The Third Estate) of French Parliament were elected from the common people.
Again exploiting the reform minded King's desire to see change work, the Jesuits promoted open riots and a counter movement, claiming it was really the people who wanted change, not the King. To end the chaos, in 1791, King Louis XVI promulgated a new Constitution in which France would function as a constitutional monarchy - providing real political freedom and democracy for the first time for any mainland European nation.
In response, Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) ordered Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II of Austria to attack his brother in law. By 1792, the Jesuit controlled Jacobites had captured the King and for the following two years during the Jesuit "reign of terror" over 40,000 people were executed, mostly without even a trial.
The revolution itself did not at first advance the cause of the Jesuits to see their reinstatement. Instead, it gave renewed confidence to their ability to topple even the oldest of monarchies and so gave rise to the audacious plan to capture the Pope and the wealth of the Catholic Church.
In one of the great misdirections and forgeries of history, loyal Jesuit agent Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette known simply to most as "La Fayette" did not simply abandon his loyal troops and influence to hide in the obscure Belgium region of Liège where he was conveniently held "prisoner" for 5 years. Instead, La Fayette was tasked by the Jesuits to take the vast gold reserves of France to America.
In New York, the stolen French gold was placed in the care of the Bank of New York (founded 1784) and the newly formed Bank of the Manhattan Company (now JP Morgan Chase Bank).
Jesuit agent Antoine Christophe Saliceti had carefully groomed the career of fellow Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte for several years. In 1795, whilst serving in Paris, Napoleon succeeded in crushing a rebellion of royalists and counter-revolutionaries and was promoted by the new regime leader Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras (Paul Barras).
After his marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais, Saliceti ensured Napoleon was given command of the French Army of Italy in March 1796 and ordered to invade Italy, specifically to capture the Pope in Rome.
At the same time, the Jesuits through Switzerland formed the private banks Darier Hentsch & Cie and Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch as custodians for all gold, treasure and contracts seized during the campaign.
However, Pope Pius VI arranged his own peace treaty with Napoleon as Tolentino on February 19, 1797. It took the Jesuits arranging the murder of French brigadier-general Mathurin-Léonard Duphot in Rome, to get Napoleon to finally complete the task of arresting the Pope. Six weeks after the Pope’s transfer to the poor conditions of the citadel of Valence, he died on August 29, 1799.
Back in Rome, the Jesuit agents of Superior General Gabriel Lenkiewicz S.J. reviewed all the treasury notes of the Vatican as to the various locations of Vatican gold and treasure, sending it to Switzerland and Darier Hentsch & Cie Bank. In turn, the bank continued for a time to fund Napoleon for his continued campaigns of conquest.
In November 1798, Gabriel Lenkiewicz S.J. died and on February 1 Father Franz Xavier Kareu was elected Vicar General.
Re-establishment and new military orders of Jesuits
At the death of Pius VI in August 1799 as a French prisoner, Cardinal Count Barnaba Chiaramonti was eventually elected as Pope Pius VII on March 14, 1800. While initially on acceptable terms with Napoleon having secured a Concordant in 1801 and attending his coronation in 1804. However, by 1808, he was a prisoner of France, not by Jesuit intrigue but by Napoleon now running his own race.
After the disasterous Russian campaign had sufficiently weakened the power of Napoleon, Jesuit leader Tadeusz Brzozowski (first Superior General after restoration) met with Pope Pius VII at his prison in Jan/Feb 1814 and secured an agreement with Pope Pius VII to fully restore the Jesuit Order and grant it new lands and rights in Asia upon the agreement: (1) That the Jesuits would arrange for the safe release of the Pope upon the arrest of Napoleon (which occurred in April 1814); (2) That the Jesuits would not undertake anymore actions against any more Popes and restate their pledge of loyalty; (3) That the Pope get back control of the Papal territories and (4) That some of the funds of the Catholic church controlled by the Vatican would be returned.
Subsequently, the Society was restored to the world by the Papal letter "Solicitudine Omnium Ecclesiarum" on August 14, 1814.
Important Announcement Concerning Redemption and Fulfillment
Whilst the Jesuit Order has shown contempt towards the Divine Creator, under the Covenant of One-Heaven (Pactum De Singularis Caelum) the entire Order is granted Divine Redemption including the Sainthood of all Generals and Provincial Generals, the Redemption of Lucifer as a Great Spirit and the Great Order of Wisdom of One Heaven if all evil behaviour is ceased and all sins admitted.
Date of Treaty Ratification Day of Redemption UCA[E1:Y1:A1:S1:M9:D1] also known as Fri, 21 Dec 2012. This shall occur regardless of whether the living General and Provincials of the Jesuit Order Ratify the Covenant of One Heaven or not.