Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What A Jesuit Really Is

Interest is composed of a little, not much, religion, of the honesty which each possesses, I suppose in a perfect degree of the rank each occupies, of the fortune enjoyed by each; and of existence, to which all naturally cling. The wolves are in pursuit of all that, among us as in Russia, and they coming at full speed. 
If the Jesuits are thrown to the wolves, there still remain religion, honesty, rank, and fortune, and now if religion must be sacrificed, it will leave behind honesty, which is sufficient for life, with rank and fortune. .... If the wolves attack honesty! But it is so very vague at best, what does one understand by honesty? There are so many kinds! And it is essential to cajole the wolves. 
Rank, for example! Ah! that is serious! It is time to defend one's  self. Men defend their rank if they can! And they will die sooner than abandon fortune! And as it will happen, they -will die! They will die because of the first concession made, which has encouraged the wolves. For the sake of the indifferent, however, as well as for the believers, and even the Atheists, let us see what a Jesuit really is. 
He is a Religious. And what is a Religious? He is a man, who, to unite himself more closely to God, accomplishes of his own free will certain sacrifices, accepts voluntarily certain duties determined by a rule, and assured by vows which bestow the solemn approbation of an authority, admitted by the law of Catholic countries, and which is known as the Church. 
From a purely human point of view, what is more legitimate? What use, more manifestly lawful, can a citizen make of his liberty? Under what pretext, by what right, shall the exercise of this liberty be hindered or restrained? If it appear to you useful and proper to seek to accumulate the goods of the earth, it is your right to do so; if it please me to abandon them, it is equally my right to do so.
It is your right, if it seem to you useful and proper, to found a family; but if I determine to abandon these joys of the hearth, to devote myself to God and to mankind, my right is equal to yours.
 If it seem useful and proper to you to retain your entire independence, it is permitted; but if I fear so much liberty, and wish to limit it, is it prohibited? No, unquestionably not, except by the exercise of a tyranny at once so imbecile and so odious, that in order to gather any examples of it, one is obliged to peruse the worst soiled pages of the foulest volume in our annals. Thus speaks good common sense, thus reason teaches, faith indorses, and the Church approves. And what says history? Does she deny that modern life has sprung from Christ? No.
History shows us the first Christians of Jerusalem laying down their worldly goods at the feet of the Apostles, to live in common, in poverty;
 the deserts of Egypt peopled by solitaries; the East sanctified by the holy men of the desert; the West, by the sons of Augustine, Bruno, Benedict, and Dominic, fathers of those great families of laborers whose work enlightened Europe; who civilized barbarism; taught agriculture; guarded the treasure of literature, and revived the arts; heaping all these benefits upon a world which, in return, has shown them the scorn of its ignorance, and the hatred of its ingratitude. 
In point of being a Religious, the Jesuit is neither a novelty nor a monstrosity. There have been Religious before him. But it is urged "He is a Religious, sui generis, having but one special end, a manner of living that is peculiarly his own; tendencies, obligations, and customs which distinguish him from all other Religious." 
To be sure, and why not! He is a Jesuit, and not a Carthusian, a Benedictine, nor a Franciscan. Just as an artilleryman is a soldier, a cuirassier also, and a hussar the same, although the cuirassier is not a hussar, nor the hussar an artilleryman, nor the artilleryman a cuirassier. The Carthusian prays in his solitude for the world he has quitted; the Trappist sanctifies by his penance the noble and severe labor of the field; the Benedictine consumes his life in the arid researches of science; the Jesuits go beyond the seas, converting to civilization the barbarous tribes of Asia and Africa, the savages of America and Oceanica; or again, with no less bravery, struggle in Europe for truth against error, for the freedom of conscience against the despotism of men and the tyranny of passion. And is this evil? 
The Society of Jesus has never denied that it has one sole end in view. Its glory is to have been instituted for a special and well-defined end; it is a sacred battalion, or it is nothing. 
This is its boast. We have seen, beginning from the sixteenth century, a terrible subversion of ideas; the spirit of revolt sweeping over the world like a violent wind, and having assailed the Church, presently overthrows the political institutions, and even the foundations of society. 
These awful storms, whose consequences we still feel, have celebrated names in history—Protestantism, Jansenism, Philosophy, and the Revolution. Luther, armed with the mutilated Bible, arises against the Church, and presents to the astonished world the spectacle of a triumph as rapid as it is unfortunate, improbable as an ugly dream. But Luther finds the Jesuits opposed to him, and he fails of victory. 
Jansenius disguises, but poorly, in the pages of a spurious Saint Augustine, the first workings of his false and illegitimate Protestantism. The Jesuits close that route against him; he can not pass. The philosophers of the eighteenth century tear up the Bible, deny tradition, and pretend to "crush the Church."
The Jesuits come forward to the combat. They fall, betrayed by the royal authority which they defended, but the earth trembles beneath their fall; royal authority has worked its own ruin, and the God whose existence was denied, seems to turn away from the sight of the queen of nations wallowing in the bloody mire of a Saturnalia that dishonors history. 
 Is God vanquished, however? No. Is the Church crushed? No. One is as impossible as the other. But the Jesuits? Ah! unquestionably the Jesuits can die; they possess neither the eternity of God nor the immortality of the Church in time. But they live! 
Live (here) to the book entitled, The Jesuits!

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