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course of study; while one of the journals kept alive mainly to glorify the public school system has openly confessed that there is danger from the parochial schools, and that it can be averted only by straining every nerve to make the public schools what they ought to be. But, with our parochial schools giving an education adapted to the wants of the people, based on solid religious principles, infusing stanch and intelligent patriotism, the public schools must. by the ultimate decision of results, show their inferiority in all that constitutes moral excellence.
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE JESUITS BY POPE
THE Jesuits are always a burning question. The warfare
upon the Society is perennial, determined, and never-ending. It is said that the holy founder of the Society, St. Ignatius Loyola, prayed that the Society might never cease to be persecuted, and the facts of history for the last two hundred years serve to confirm the conviction that the prayer was a prophecy which is quite likely to be fulfilled. Even in our own enlightened age, when “men run to and fro and knowledge is increased," and when the progress of light and liberty has served to soften the prejudices and liberalize the minds of all intelligent, right-thinking people, there is a remnant of bigots (a race, by the way, which never dies out) who seem determined to do their utmost in the fulfilment of the prayer of St. Ignatius by keeping up the agitation and perpetuating the persecution of the Society.
In the assaults of these determined enemies of the Society there is, perhaps, no more plausible and telling argument, none upon which the changes are more constantly and persistently rung, than the fact of their expulsion, at different times, from several countries of Europe, and especially their final suppression by Pope Clement XIV. in 1773. Indeed, so constantly and perseveringly has this been represented by these enemies of the Society as convincing evidence of the corruption and dangerous character of the Jesuits, that the mass of the people who are unacquainted with the facts of history are easily persuaded to believe it, and there is too much reason to fear that even many Catholics are stumbled by the fact that the suppression was effected by the Pope, to whose deci
sions, even outside the sphere of his infallibility, they are accustomed to assent almost without question; and they cannot resist the impression that there must have been something radically wrong about the Society, or the Pope never would have resorted to such an extreme measure.
What, then, was the real reason for the suppression of the Jesuits? In one word, it was the choice between two evils, which had been forced upon Clement by a powerful and unscrupulous political combination, the least of which evils seemed to him to be the suppression of the Society. In other words, it was a measure extorted from an unwilling Pope, who was friendly to the Jesuits and had no confidence in their traducers, to save France, Spain, and Portugal from following the example of England by throwing off their allegiance to the head of the Church, thereby apostatizing from the faith and driving the whole Church in those kingdoms into all the untold evils of schism. The history of the machinations by which this melancholy result was brought about constitutes one of the saddest, most deplorable passages in the history of nations.
The spirit of the age was favorable to such a scheme. Two hundred years' experience of the blessings of the "glorious Reformation” had developed a sad condition in the religious world. The spirit of Protestantism had pervaded society to such an extent that faith in Christianity had been very generally undermined, especially among the aristocracy and the leading influential politicians and officials of State. The masses were still Catholic, and the reigning monarchs of the Bourbon type (of unsavory memory) were nominally Catholic; the Catholic religion was the religion of the State, but, unfortunately, the monarchs were weak men and were all under the control of prime ministers who were ambitious, unscrupulous, and in sympathy with the infidel philosophy of the age. Aranda, Prime Minister of Charles III. of Spain, Choiseul of Louis XV. of France, and Pombal of Joseph I. of Portugal, were all members of an infidel oligarchy which at that period really dominated Europe, and they were all jealous of the Church and bent on her destruction. With a keen appreciation of the best means of accomplishing their object, they waged an exterminating war on the Society of Jesus. Without conscience or scruple they used the basest means to destroy the Society because its members were the most able and the most constant defenders of religion and the Church. The history of their infernal machinations to destroy the Order, root and branch, and to expel them from all their countries, is simply a history of infamy of the deepest dye, and the only reason why the conduct of these men is not universally condemned and held up for the execration of mankind by all historians and writers on the subject is the fact that party bias leads Protestants if not actually to justify and sympathize with them, at least to extenuate and apologize for their sins by representing them as having been the authors of great reforms in Church and State.
Louis XV. of France, all the world knows and all the world knew at the time, to the great scandal of the government and people, was governed by his mistresses. The notorious courtesan, the Marquise de Pompadour, hated the Jesuits because they would not countenance, in any shape, the immoral relation subsisting between her and the king, and she used all her powerful influence against them. She was backed by a combination of all the elements of opposition to revealed religion and the purity of public morals. The whole party of Encyclopedists, free thinkers, and infidels of every stripe were naturally their enemies. The remnant of the Jansenist party longed to be revenged on them for their able defence of Catholic truth in opposition to their insidious errors, which had been condemned by the Holy Office. As usual, the Society was misrepresented, reviled, and accused of all sorts of crimes. The Duke de Choiseul, who was in sympathy with the free thinkers, was not at all backward in pressing their suit with his royal master, and in November, 1764, Louis XV. confirmed the edict of Parliament by which the Jesuit colleges were closed and about 4000 of the Fathers, in the most cruel and heartless manner, were compelled to leave France,
Aranda, in Spain, who had acquired complete control over the king, Charles III., labored with unceasing diligence and unrelenting hostility to destroy the Society throughout the Spanish dominions. Some idea of the means employed for the accomplishment of this end may be formed from the fact that forged letters were at times circulated, purporting to have been written by the General of the Jesuits in Rome to the Spanish provincial, containing sentiments of the most offensive and dangerous character. One of those letters ordered the provincial to stir up insurrection among the people; and at another time a letter was placed under the king's eyes purporting to have been written by Father Ricci, the General of the Order, but which the Duke de Choiseul, the French Prime Minister, was accused of fabricating, announcing that he, the General, had succeeded in collecting documents which incontestably proved that Charles III. was the offspring of adultery. This absurd invention made such an impression on the mind of the king and so incensed him against the Society that he at last determined upon their expulsion.
But perhaps the most active, determined, and unscrupulous agent for the destruction of the Society was the infamous Pombal, Prime Minister of Joseph I. of Portugal. This notorious and unHaving
principled schemer had spent some time in London as Portuguese ambassador, and had imbibed sentiments in sympathy with the Protestantism of the English Church establishment. returned home and being, after some time, elevated to the premiership, he determined to attempt the reformation of the church after the English plan throughout the Portuguese dominions. It is probable that he had very little faith himself of any kind, but the mass of the people being still Catholic, he was obliged to act with caution, and hence his whole proceedings were veiled under a thinly-disguised hypocrisy. In pursuance of his nefarious measures he saw the necessity of attacking the Jesuits and, if possible, of expelling them from the kingdom. Hence, under hypocritical professions of a desire to reform the Society of Jesus, he petitioned the Holy Father, Benedict XIV., for a brief of authorization to proceed against them. For this purpose he caused his agents at the Vatican to present to the Holy Father certain documents carefully prepared and full of the most outrageous and barefaced lies, charging the Jesuits with the most infamous crimes. Benedict was on his deathbed. In his heart he did not believe the representations made to him. He had too much reason to know, or at least to suspect the designs of the men who were clamoring for the reformation of a Society which had always been the most efficient agent in the reformation of the people. He did not know, indeed, but that individuals might have been guilty of conduct inconsistent with the spirit and principles of the order, though even of this he had no satisfactory evidence. Yet so earnestly and persistently did these heartless agents press their suit upon the dying Pope that he at length felt compelled to yield to their demands, though not till he had, as he supposed, carefully guarded against the possibility of injustice being done. He was careful in his brief to insist upon their having a fair and impartial trial, and he laid great stress on the necessity of the inquiry being made in such a manner that the innocent should not be made to suffer with the guilty, if, indeed, any guilty should be found, which the whole tenor of the brief showed he was unwilling to believe.
Professedly acting under the authority of this brief, Pombal, instead of instituting a formal inquiry, proceeded at once—in fact, before the brief was properly authenticated to condemn the Society without trial and without the slightest particle of evidence. It is not necessary here to repeat all the outrageous cruelties perpetrated by this remorseless tyrant, this second Henry VIII., in order to accomplish his nefarious purposes; his attacks on the leading Catholic aristocracy who stood in the way of the successful carrying out of his designs; the moral certainty that he concocted the celebrated scheme of assassination in which innocent men and women were implicated, by suborned witnesses, and, finally, as an after-thought, the including of the Jesuits in the general charge and incarcerating them without trial; his cruel, heartless murder of men and women of high position and spotless reputation. Nor need we recall that most infamous and painful transaction, the ruthless destruction by Pombal of the Jesuit missions of Paraguay, the “ Reductions," as they were called, in which those devoted Fathers, with incredible labor, patience, and sacrifices, for two hundred years, had succeeded in redeeming thousands of savages from barbarism and forming them into intelligent, peaceful, and prosperous Christian communities, all, with a heartless cruelty not exceeded by savages themselves, sacrificed to the wicked caprice of a tyrant who had sworn the destruction of the Society and who never rested till he had expelled the whole order from the Portuguese dominions. That act stands out in bold relief as one of the blackest pages in the history of the world, and furnishes infallible evidence of the infamous character of the man who was the principal agent in the final suppression of the Jesuits by Clement XIV.
Among these innocent men, driven from the Portuguese dominions as well as from France and Spain, some were feeble with infirmities of age, or weakened by disease and hard service in laboring for the good of their kind; others were youthful postulants, many of them from aristocratic families, in which they had been brought up in luxury and ease. Yet, with a heroic selfdenial and determination worthy of martyrs, all endured the horrors of the middle passage on shipboard as they were transported to Italy, where hundreds of them were landed and thrown upon the charity of the Holy Father and their friends in the most absolute destitution and even squalor, having been deprived not only of all their earthly possessions, but even of decent clothing and sufficient food.
Choiseul, Aranda, and Pombal had their agents in Rome, who were laboring with unceasing diligence and pertinacity to influence the Sovereign Pontiff against the Society of Jesus. Unfortunately, there were not wanting in those days unworthy ecclesiastics who had been corrupted by power and place and who were employed as tools for the accomplishment of the designs of their ambitious masters. These men had been forced upon the Holy Father against his will, and he could not get rid of them. They had neither conscience nor principle, and they knew, for they were given distinctly to understand, that their favor with their masters and their ultimate reward would depend upon the degree of their success in influencing the Pope. These men were aided in their disreputable work by the Jansenists, the open and declared ene