Thursday, May 23, 2013

Catholics Seem To Have Forgotten How Greatly The Protestants Feared The Jesuits

Hammer of Heretics
John Donne, as Protestant controversialist, singled out the Jesuits for special opposition in Ignatius His Conclave. Now that the religious controversies of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation are largely submerged in an ocean of indifference, even Catholics seem to have forgotten how greatly the Protestants feared the Jesuits.   The dread of Jesuit sophistication is well expressed, in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene, when Errour vomits forth literature:
Therewith she spewed out of her filthy maw
A flood of poison horrible and black,
Full of great lumps of flesh and gobbets raw
Which stunk so vilely, that it forced him slack
His grasping hold, and from her turn him back:
Her vomit full of books and papers was,
With loathly frogs and toads, which eyes did lack.
When St. Robert Southwell arrived in England in 1586, intercepted communications identified him only as RobertusElizabethan authorities took the newcomer for elder Jesuit Robert Parsons—and were terrified at the very thought of the Catholic havoc he might cause.  St. Peter Canisius was feared throughout the German-speaking world as the Catholic “Hammer of Heretics.”  And he did hammer them, too.
Link (here) to Crisis Magazine to read the full article.

1 comment:

Qualis Rex said...

I don't think anyone familiar with Catholic history can doubt the good the Jesuits did in the early days of the reformation. But they, like the SSPX, outgrew their "mission statement" and became too big for their britches, challenging Papal/hierarchical authority. I can think of few orders with more blood and dishonor on their hands. Well...maybe the Maryknollers at this point (but only as a very distant second).