|Superior General Pieter Jan Beckx, S.J.|
If the old saying holds: "Quails rex, tolis grex," and vice versa, then we must conclude that the teachers themselves cannot be devoid of patriotism. Fortunately, we are not confined to this a priori argument. Numerous instances are on record that Jesuits, especially at the time of war. sacrificed themselves in the service of the sick and wounded and on the battlefields. Not to say a word of the many cases recorded of former centuries, we mention one of more recent date. In the Franco-German war of 1870-71, the Maltese Society of Rhineland and Westphalia sent, besides the 1567 Sisters, 342 male religious to tbe service of the sick and wounded. Among these 342 were 159 Jesuits. Of the 81 volunteer army chaplains sent by the same organization, 33 were Jesuits. 1 No less than 80 Jesuits received decorations, and two of them were honored with the "Iron Cross," the highest distinction for heroic conduct on the battlefield. The patriotism of the French Jesuits is not less conspicuous. In every war which was waged by France, a number of Jesuits accompanied the army as chaplains. In 1870-71 several were wounded on the battlefield, and one died at Laon.
The attitude of the Society towards national and political questions has been clearly stated by Father Beckx, General of the Society: "The public and the press busy themselves much about the Society's attitude towards the various forms of government. . . . Now the Society, as a religious Order, has nothing to do with any political party. In all countries and under all forms of government, she confines herself to the exercise of her ministry, having in view only her end — the greater glory of God and the salvation of 'souls, — an end superior to the interests of human politics. Always and everywhere the religious of the Society fulfils loyally the duties of a good citizen and a faithful subject of the power which rules his country. Always and everywhere she tells all by her instructions."
Link (here) to book entitled Jesuit Education