A Church that could preserve its spiritual life for over two hundred years in the midst of pagan hatred and pagan corruption, without any sacramental help but that of baptism, and without priests, without preaching, without the Holy Sacrifice, and could present itself to the world at the end of that long period of trial and privation with 50,00 °Christians, the remnants of those other hundreds and hundreds of thousands who, through the centuries, had never faltered in their allegiance to Christ, was not a failure. It may be noted, moreover, that this survival of the Faith after long years of privation of the sacraments of the Church is not the exclusive glory of Japan. Other instances will be noted when the Society resumed its work after the Suppression.
THE GREAT STORMS
Manares suspected of ambition – Election of Aquaviva – Beginning of Spanish discontent – Denis Vásquez – The "Ratio Studiorum" – Society's action against Confessors of Kings and Political Embassies – Trouble with the Spanish Inquisition and Philip II – Attempts at a Spanish Schism – The Ormanetto papers – Ribadeneira suspected – Imprisonment of Jesuits by the Spanish Inquisition – Action of Toletus – Extraordinary Congregation called – Exculpation of Aquaviva – The dispute "de Auxiliis" – Antoine Arnauld's attack – Henry IV and Jean Chastel – Reconciliation of Henry IV to the Church – Royal protection – Saint Charles Borromeo – Troubles in Venice – Sarpi – Palafox.
When Mercurian died, on August 1, 1580, Oliver Manares, who, like the deceased General, was a Belgian, called the general congregation for February 7, 1581. Two of the old companions of St. Ignatius, Salmerón and Bobadilla, were there, as were also the able coadjutor of Canisius, Hoffæus, and Claude Matthieu, the latter of whom was beginning to be conspicuous in the League against the King of Navarre. Maldonatus, also, occupied a seat in the distinguished assembly. Before the congregation met, rumors began to be heard that Manares was seeking the generalship for himself. The grounds of the suspicions seem almost too frivolous for an outsider, but in an order which had pronounced so positively against ambition in the Church, it was proper that it should be scrupulously sensitive about any act in the body itself that might resemble it. The grounds of the accusation were that he had sent a present to Father Toletus who was very close to the Pope, and had also once said to a lay-brother: "If I were General, I would do so and so." A committee was appointed to examine the case, and Manares was declared ineligible. The Pope found the action of the congregation excessively rigid, but, possibly, as in the preceding congregation it had been decided that the succession of three Spanish Generals contained in it an element of danger, so it was feared that as the dead General who had appointed one of his own race to be vicar, there might be reason for apprehension in that also. As a matter of fact, the power given to the General to appoint his vicar was by some looked upon as quite unwise, as it afforded at least a remote opportunity for self-perpetuation.
On February 19, 1581, Claudius Aquaviva was elected General of the Society by thirty-two votes out of fifty-one. He was not yet thirty-eight years of age. The Pope was astounded at the choice, but the sequel proved that it was providential. "No one," says Bartoli, "was raised to that dignity who had given more evident or more numerous signs that his election came from God, and perhaps, no one, with the exception of St. Ignatius, has a greater claim to the gratitude of the Society or has helped it more efficaciously to achieve the object for which it was founded." He was the youngest son of the Duke of Atri, and was born at Naples in 1543. As his youth was passed in his father's palace, he could at most only have heard the names of some of the companions of St. Ignatius, but when he was about twenty years of age he was sent to Rome to defend some family interest, and he attracted so much attention that he was retained at court, first by Paul IV, and afterwards by Pius V, both of whom were struck by his superior qualities of mind and heart. There for the first time he came in contact with the Jesuits. It happened that Christopher Rodriguez, John Polanco, and Francis Borgia were frequently admitted to an audience with the Holy Father, and young Aquaviva was so drawn to them when he heard them speaking of Divine things, that he began to make inquiries about their manner of life and the rule they followed. He felt called to join them but he hesitated a while, for the Roman purple was an honor that was assured him; finally, however, he made up his mind, and after the Pontifical Mass on St. Peter's day he fell at Borgia's feet and asked for admission to the Society. When Ormanetto, the papal legate, heard of it, he exclaimed: "The Apostolic College has lost its finest ornament."
Nine years later, Aquaviva was made rector of the Roman Seminary, and then, by a strange coincidence, became rector of the College of Naples, as successor of Dionisio Vásquez, who later on was to be very conspicuous in an attempt by the Spanish members to disrupt the Society, and thus occasion the bitterest trial of Aquaviva's administration as General. After rapidly repairing the ruin that Vásquez had caused in Naples, Aquaviva was made provincial, and was then entrusted with the care of the Roman province. He had served in that capacity only a year when he was elected General. Some years before that, Nadal must have foreseen the promotion when he advised Aquaviva to make the Constitutions of Saint Ignatius his only reading. "You will stand very much in need of it," he said. The congregation formulated sixty-nine decrees, one of which gave the General power to appoint his vicar, and another to interpret the Constitutions. Such interpretations, however, were not to have the force of law, but were to be considered merely as practical directions for government. Another decree regulated the method to be followed in the dissolution of houses and colleges.
Aquaviva's first letter to the Society was concerned chiefly with the qualities which superiors should possess – especially those of vigilance, sweetness and strength. His second was more universal, and dealt with the necessity of a constant renewal of the spiritual life. To him the Society is indebted for the "Directorium," or guide of the Spiritual Exercises.
Under his administration the "Ratio Studiorum," or scheme of studies, was produced. It was the result of fifteen years of collaboration (1584-99) by a number of the most competent scholars that could be found in the Society. It covers the whole educational field from theology down to the grammar of the lower classes, exclusive, however, of the elements. Of course, this "Ratio" has not escaped criticism, for scarcely anything the Society ever attempted has had that good fortune. Thus, to take one out of many, Michelet bemoans the fact that "the Ratio has been; in operation for 300 years and has not yet produced a man." Such a charge, of course, does not call for discussion.
The greatest service that Aquaviva rendered the Society, and for which it will ever bless his memory is that he saved it from destruction in a fight that ran through the thirty years of his Generalate, and in which he found opposed to him Popes, kings, and princes, along with the terrible authority of the Spanish Inquisition and, worst of all, a number of discontented members of the Order, banded together and resorting to the most reprehensible tactics to alter completely the character of the Institute and to rob it of that Catholicity which constitutes its glory and its power.
He began his work by making it impossible, as far as it lay in his power, for a Jesuit to be used as the tool of any prince or potentate, no matter how dazzling might be the dignity with which one so employed was invested, or the glory which his work reflected on the Society. Thus, he put his ban on the office of royal confessor, which some of the members of the Society in those days were compelled to accept. He could not prevent it absolutely just then, but he laid down such stringent laws regarding it, that all ambition or desire of that very unapostolic work was eliminated. Its inconveniences were manifest. It is inconceivable, for instance, that a sovereign like Henry IV, who was a devoted friend of the Society, ever consulted Father Coton about scruples of conscience; for his majesty was never subject to spiritual worry of that description; and on the other hand, the unfortunate confessor was often suspected or accused of influencing or advising political measures with which he could have had nothing whatever to do. Jealousy also, of those who were appointed to the office was inevitable, and dislike and hatred not only of the individual who occupied the post, but of the order to which he belonged was aroused. Even the confessor's own relatives and friends were alienated, because he was forbidden to make use of his spiritual influence for their worldly advantage. Finally, apart from the loss of time, daily contact with the vice of the court, which he could not openly reprehend, necessarily reacted on the spiritual tone of the religious himself.
The same objections obtained for the flamboyant embassies which had been so much in vogue up to that time, and which are still quoted as evidencing the wonderful influence wielded by the Society in those days. They, too, were stopped, for the reason that although they were nearly always connected with the interests of the Faith, yet they were very largely controlled by worldly politics. Hence Possevin, who had made such a stir by his embassies to Muscovy, Sweden, Poland and elsewhere, was relegated to a class-room in Padua. Matthieu, who figured conspicuously in the politico-religious troubles of France as the "Courier de la Ligue," was told to desist from his activities, although Pope Sixtus V judged otherwise; and finally, the most famous orator of his day in France, Father Auger, who was loud in his denunciation of the Holy League, received peremptory orders to desist from discussing the subject at all. His quick obedience to the command was the best sermon he ever preached.
Aquaviva had also a very protracted struggle with Philip II in relation to the Spanish Inquisition. The king had frequently expressed a desire to have a Jesuit in one or other of the conspicuous offices of that tribunal, but Aquaviva stubbornly refused, first, because of the odium attached to the Inquisition itself, and also because he suspected that Philip designed, by that means, to lay hold of the machinery of the Society and control it. His most glorious battle, however, was one that was fought in the Society itself, against an organized movement which was making straight for the destruction of the great work of St. Ignatius. It is somewhat of a stain on the splendid history of the Order, but it should not be concealed or palliated or explained away, for it not only reveals the masterful generalship of Aquaviva, but it also brings out, in splendid relief, the magnificent resisting power of the organization itself.
The Spanish Jesuits were profoundly shocked when the Pope prevented the perpetuation of Spanish rule in the Society. The psychological reason of their surprise was that the average Spaniard at that time was convinced that Spain alone was immune from heresy. As a matter of fact, all the other nations of Europe, Ireland excepted, had been infected, and possibly it was a mistaken loyalty to the Church that prompted a certain number of them to organize a plot to make the Society exclusively Spanish or destroy it.
It will come as a painful discovery for many that the originator of this nefarious scheme was Father Araoz, the nephew of St. Ignatius. Astrain (II, 101) regrets to admit it, but the documents in his hands make it imperative. He quotes letters which show that even in the time of St. Ignatius, Araoz complained of the Roman administration, putting the blame, however, on Polanco. His discontent was more manifest under Laínez, when he maintained that the General should not be elected for life; that provincials and rectors should be voted for, as in other Orders; that there should be a general chapter in Spain to manage its own affairs, and not only that no foreigner should be admitted to a Spanish province, but that there should not even be any communication with non-Spaniards in other sections of the Society. One would not expect such Knownothingism in a Jesuit, but the documents setting forth these facts which were found among the papers of Araoz after his death make it only too manifest. They contain among other things accounts of the opposition of Araoz to Laínez, to Francis Borgia, and to Nadal, none of which is very pleasant reading.
In a letter unearthed by Antonio Ibáñez, the visitor of the province of Toledo, Araoz goes on to say: "(1) We must petition the Pope and ask that all religious orders in Spain shall have a Spanish general, independent of the one in Rome, so as to avoid the danger of heresy. (2) No Spaniard living outside of Spain should be elected general, commissary or visitor in Spain. (3) As there is such a diversity of customs and usages in each nation, they should not mix with one another. (4) General congregations expose the delegates to act as spies for the enemy. (5) The king should write to the cardinal protector of the religious orders not to oppose this plan." Other papers by Spanish Jesuits were found among those of Ormanetto, nuncio at Madrid, who died on June 17, 1577. They call for drastic changes, in the difference of grades, the manner of electing superiors, dismissals from the Society, and such matters. The authorship of the Ormanetto papers could not be determined with certainty, but suspicion fell upon Father Solier, and for a time, even upon Ribadeneira who, at that time, was in Madrid for his health, and was in the habit of calling frequently at the nunciature with Solier. In the following year, it was admitted that the suspicion about him was unfounded. As a matter of fact, he subsequently wrote a denunciation of the conspiracy and a splendid defense of the Institute. That King Philip knew what was going on was revealed by certain remarks he let drop, such as: "Your General does not know how to govern; we need a Spanish superior independent of the General; we have able men here like Ribadeneira and others, etc."
At the end of 1577 it was discovered that Father Dionisio Vásquez, who was of Jewish extraction, was disseminating these ideas by letter and by word of mouth. The friendship that existed between him and Ribadeneira from childhood again threw a cloud over the latter, but finally the provincial learned from Vásquez himself that Ribadeneira knew nothing at all about the whole affair. By that time the names of the chief plotters were revealed, and it was also discovered that Vásquez had given one copy of his memorial to the king and another to the Inquisition. Two more had been shown to various other people. Vásquez alleged eight reasons for this attempt to change the character of the Society: (1) Because the General had to treat with so many depraved and heretical nations, that there was a danger of contaminating the whole Society. (2) Money and subjects were being taken from Spain to benefit other provinces. (3) If any one was in danger of being punished by the Inquisition it was easy to send the culprit elsewhere. (4) Rome was governing by means of information which was frequently false. (5) There were delays in correspondence. (6) As the General never left Rome, he could not visit his subjects. (7) When the king asks for missionaries, Rome often answers that there are none to send. (8) There should be a commissary in Spain, because Spaniards are badly treated in Rome. Astrain notes that these pretences of the danger of heresy, respect for the Inquisition, and the needs of satisfying the king's demands for missionaries were devised merely to win the favor of Philip. Another conspirator whose name appears is Estrada. He is described by the provincial as a "novus homo whose conversation is pestilential."
There was no public manifestation of this spirit of schism in the first years of Aquaviva's Generalship, though in Spain a great deal of underhand plotting was going on between some of the discontented ones and the Inquisition. Four persons, however, had caused grave anxiety to their Superiors, namely: Dionisio Vásquez, Francisco de Abreo, Gonzalo González and Enrique Enríquez. Following in their wake, came Alonso Polanco, nephew of the famous Polanco, José de San Julian, Diego de Santa Cruz, and a certain number of inconspicuous persons whose names it is not necessary to give. In the background, however, there were two men of considerable importance: Mariana, whose writings have given so much trouble to the Society, and José de Acosta. To these Jouvancy in his "Epitome" and Prat in his "Ribadeneira" add the name of Jerome de Acosta, but according to Astrain, the two historians are in error both as to the character of Jerome and his participation in the plot. He was, indeed, suspected of being mixed up in it, but the suspicion was soon dispelled, as in the case of Ribadeneira. Manuel López was at most a suspect, because he was a friend and admirer of Araoz and because, although the oldest man in the province, he gave no aid to the defenders of the Institute. When the fight was ended, however, he pronounced for those who had won.
Meantime Enríquez, by means of false accusations, had induced the Inquisition to put in prison on various charges Fathers Marcen, Lavata, López and the famous Ripalda. That tribunal also expelled others from Valladolid and Castile, and called for the Bulls, the privileges, and the "Ratio studiorum" of the Society. The findings of the judges were put before the king, and the Inquisition then demanded all the copies of the aforesaid documents that the Fathers had (Astrain, III, 376). So far the inquisitors were safe, but they took one step more which ruined the plot in which they were conscious or unconscious participators. Under pain of excommunication they forbade a band of thirty Jesuit missionaries who were on their way to Transylvania to leave Spain, the reason being that they endangered their faith in embarking on such an enterprise. It was the plotter, Enrique Enríquez who suggested this piece of idiocy. When Sixtus V, who was then Pope, heard of the order, he sent such a vigorous reprimand to the Inquisition that all the confiscated papers were immediately restored and the imprisoned theologians were liberated from jail after two years' confinement.
But the enemy was not yet beaten. Anonymous petitions kept pouring in upon the Inquisition, "all of them," says Astrain, "bearing the stamp of the atrabilious Vásquez, the rigorist González, the under-handed Enríquez, and the sombre Abreo." Besides the old demands, a new one was made, namely, the investigation of the Society by an official of the Inquisition. Finally, in the provincial congregation of 1587, the hand of Vásquez was visible when a general congregation was asked for unanimously and a request made for a procurator for the Spanish provinces. Meantime, Philip had been wrought upon and he supported the petition for the visit of an inquisitor, who was none other than D. Jerónimo Manrique, the Bishop of Cartagena, a choice which shows that these Jesuit insurrectos were not gifted with the shrewdness usually attributed to their brethren. For apart from the odiousness of having an unfriendly outsider investigate, it so happened that Manrique had a very unsavory past, and when that was called to the attention of Sixtus, the whole foolish project collapsed of itself, and King Philip confessed his defeat.
All this finally convinced Sixtus V that there was something radically wrong with the Society, and he ordered the Congregation of the Holy Office (the Roman Inquisition) to examine the Constitutions. Aquaviva protested that it was unjust to judge the Order from anonymous writings, many of them forgeries by a single individual; and that the faults were alleged not with a view to correction, but to alter the Institute radically. With regard to the proposal of a capitular government, several objectionable consequences, he said, must follow, such as ambition, simony, laxity of discipline, and the like, and he emphasized the fact that Sixtus himself, only a short time before, had urged the appointment of Italian superiors in France. He convinced the Pope, also, that the exclusiveness advocated by the Spaniards, in refusing subjects from other parts of the world would soon shrivel up the Spanish provinces themselves. Finally, a capitular government in missionary countries was a physical impossibility, and would disrupt the whole Order. Indeed, when Cardinal Colonna mentioned the word "capitular" to the Pope, His Holiness interjected: "I don't want chapters in the Society. You would have one in every city and every family; and that does not suit the system of the Jesuits."
While this was going on, letters were received from the Emperor Rodolf, King Sigismond, the Duke of Bavaria, and other princes and distinguished personages, entreating the Pope to make no change in the Institute. The protest of the Duke of Bavaria especially startled the Pontiff, and he surmised that it was a Jesuit fabrication, or that it had been asked for or suggested. Such was really the case. The points had been drawn up by Alber, the provincial of Germany, and the Duke had heartily approved of them. At that, the Pope relented and declared that he never had any intention of changing the Institute. What he chiefly desired was to prevent certain Jesuits from interfering in politics more than was proper – an allusion, in Sacchini's opinion, to Possevin and Auger, who had already been retired by the General. Sixtus had apparently changed his mind about these semi-political occupations.
Thus ended the year 1589, but the year 1590 had new troubles in store. Up to that time, the Sacred Congregation, whose members, especially Caraffa, were friendly to the Society, had purposely delayed sending in a report to the Pope. He was indignant at this, and handed the case over to four theologians. Their verdict was in conformity with the views of Sixtus. They were more timid than the cardinals. By deduction from Aquaviva's argument against the findings, the first complaint was about the name: "The Society of Jesus." Then follow the various matters of stipends, penances, the profession, the examinations for grade, doctrines, the eighth rule of the Summary forbidding assistance to relatives, obedience, the account of conscience, delay of profession, fraternal correction, censors, and simple vows. Astrain gives Aquaviva's answer to all these charges in detail (III, 465). The cardinals, without exception, admitted Aquaviva's rebuttal, and when they gave the Pope their verdict, he said: "All of you, even those who are of my own creation, favor these Fathers." One thing, however, he insisted on, and that was the change of name, and he therefore ordered Aquaviva to send in a formal request to that effect. There was nothing to do but to submit, and the Pope signed the Brief, but as the bell of San Andrea summoned the novices to litanies that night, Sixtus died, and ever since the tradition runs in Rome that if the litany bell rings when the Pope is sick, his last hour has come. As was to be expected, the Society was accused of having had something to do with the Pope's opportune demise. The successor of Sixtus tore up the Brief, and the Society kept its name.
In spite of all this, the battle continued. Clement VIII succeeded Sixtus V on January 29, 1592, and his election was welcomed by the Spanish rebels, for he was credited with a personal antipathy to Aquaviva. Hence they revived Philip's interest in the matter. His ambassador at Rome was more than friendly to the project, and it was confidently hoped that the great Spanish Jesuit, Toletus, the friend of the Pope, could be won over. The fact that, at the suggestion of Aquaviva, the Pope had rendered a decision about the sacrament of Penance which the Inquisition regarded as an infringement of its rights, again brought that tribunal into the fray. The new plan of the conspirators was, first, to re-assert the claims advanced by Vasquez the year before, and failing that, to demand, at least, a commissary general for Spain. They wrote to Philip asking for his authorization and support. When Aquaviva was apprised of all this, he requested the king to name anyone he chose to pass on the proposal for a commissary. Philip picked out Loyasa, the instructor of the heir apparent; but he, after examining the question, bluntly told the insurgents: "I do not at all share your opinion, and I am positive that Ignatius, like St. Dominic and St. Francis, was inspired by God in the foundation of his Order. One Pope is enough to govern the Church, and one General ought to be enough for the Society." Foiled in this, they induced the Pope and the king to compel the General to call a general congregation; and in order to make it easier to carry out their plot, they persuaded the Pope to send Aquaviva to settle a dispute between the Dukes of Parma and Mantua, thus keeping him out of Rome for three whole months. Toletus is accused of having been a party to this removal of Aquaviva, but the proof adduced is not convincing. At Naples, Aquaviva fell seriously ill, and the Fathers demanded his recall. It was only on his return that he began to appreciate the full extent and bearing of the movement as well as the peril in which the Society was involved. For although all the cardinals were on his side, yet arrayed against him were the king, the Pope and a number of the professed. The case seemed hopeless. Finally, Toletus informed him that the Pope insisted on a general congregation and it was summoned for November 4, 1593.
To make matters worse, Toletus was then made cardinal; whereupon the insurgents asked the Pope to authorize José Acosta and some of his associates to enter the congregation – a privilege they had no claim to – and also to have Toletus preside. The congregation began its sessions on the day appointed. There were sixty-three professed present among them Acosta, but Aquaviva, not Toletus, was in the chair. The usual committee was appointed for the business of the congregation, and Aquaviva insisted that they should begin by investigating the complaints against his administration. They did so, and were amazed to find that all the charges were based on false impressions, personal prejudices, and imaginary acts. They were naturally indignant and when they reported to the Pope, he said: "They wanted to find a culprit and they have discovered a saint." The demands of the Spaniards were then examined. According to Jouvancy, the province of Castile fathered them. They were in the main: a modification of the time and manner of profession; the abolition of grades; the introduction of a new mode of dismissal; and the full use of the "Bulla Cruciata."
The business of the congregation was conducted as usual up to the twenty-first decree. Philip II of Spain had asked that the members of the Society should not avail themselves of the privileges accorded them – first of reading prohibited books; secondly, of absolving from heresy; thirdly, of exemption from honors and dignities outside the Society. The twenty-first decree states that the first two royal requests had already been acted upon. With regard to the third, it was decreed that his majesty should be entreated to use his authority against the acceptance of ecclesiastical and civic honors by members of the Society. It was only in the fifty-second decree that the Society expressed its mind on the race question, by ruling that applicants of Hebrew and Saracenic origin were not to be admitted to the Society. It even declared that those who were admitted through error should be expelled if the error were discovered prior to their profession. It had been found that out of the twenty-seven conspirators, twenty-five were of Jewish or Moorish extraction.
The twenty-seven guilty men were denounced as "false sons, disturbers of the common peace, and revolutionists (architecti rerum novarum) whose punishment had been asked for by many provinces. The congregation, therefore, while grievously bewailing the loss of its spiritual sons, was nevertheless compelled in the interests of domestic union, religious obedience, and the perpetuation of the Society, to employ a severe remedy in the premises." After recounting their charges against the Society, and their claim to be "the whole Society," although they were only a few "degenerate sons" the decree denounces them and their accomplices as having incurred the censures and penalties contained in the Apostolic Bulls, and orders them to be expelled from the Society. "If for one reason or another, they cannot be immediately dismissed they were declared incapable of any office or dignity and denied all active or passive voice." It also orders that "those suspected of being parties to such machinations shall make a solemn oath to support the Constitution as approved by the Popes, and to do nothing against it. If they refuse to take the oath, or having taken it, fail to keep it, they are to be expelled, even if old and professed."
Aquaviva had thus triumphed all along the line. He had not only saved the Institute, but had received the power of expelling every one of the insurgents if they refused the oath of submission. Acosta, the leading rebel, was one of the chief sufferers; although he was the representative of Philip II, he was struck, like his associates, by the condemnation. The one who was punished, most, however, was Toletus, who like Acosta had a Jewish strain, which may explain the moroseness which the delegates remarked whenever they met him, and also his complaints that "the proceedings of the Congregation could not have been worse … that it had treated Philip like a valet."
Toletus, however, continued to fight. On January 12 he advised Aquaviva to propose the discussion of a change of assistants and a sexennial congregation. A commission was immediately formed to wait on the Pope, but it failed to see him; whereupon Toletus appeared on January 14 and informed the General that the two points should be regarded as settled without discussion. Accordingly, four days later, new assistants were elected, but the law of the six-year convocations became a dead letter. On January 8 Toletus had presented a document to the Pontiff urging nine different changes in the Constitutions, adding that Philip II had asked for them, though in reality the king had only asked that they should be discussed. Doubtless Toletus had misunderstood. Fortunately, the Pope would not admit all of the changes, but suggested to the congregation four harmless ones – first, that except for the master of novices, the term of office should be three years; second, that at the end of their term the provincials should give an account of their administration; third that the papal reservations should be observed; and fourth, that the assistants should have a deciding vote. The three first were readily accepted, and the fourth respectfully rejected. The remaining business was then expedited, and the congregation adjourned on January 19, 1594.
The conspirators, however, had not yet been beaten. They proposed to the Pope to appoint Aquaviva Archbishop of Capua. Of course, Aquaviva refused, and then it was cunningly suggested that it would be an excellent thing if the General, in the interests of unity and peace, should visit the Spanish provinces. Philip III, who was now on the throne, had been approached, and he wrote to the Pope to that effect. Clement rather favored the proposition, but Henry IV of France, Sigismund of Poland, the Archdukes Ferdinand and Matthias and other German princes protested. Then the Pope took the matter under consideration, but before he reached any conclusion he died, and the plot was thus thwarted.
The one who planned this visit to Spain was the plotter Mendoza. His purpose was simply to humiliate the General by confronting him with the king, the greatest nobles of the realm and the Inquisition, and then to force from him all sorts of permissions which were in direct violation of the methods of Jesuit life. The story, as it appears in Astrain, is simply amazing. Mendoza had actually procured from the Pope, through the magnates of Spain, permission to receive and spend money as he wished, to be free from all superiors, and to go and live wherever he chose. When Aquaviva protested to the Pope that such permissions were subversive of all religious discipline, His Holiness suggested a way out of the difficulty, which took every one by surprise – Mendoza was made Bishop of Cuzco in Peru. This interference of rich and powerful outsiders in the family life of the Society, as well as the shameful way in which some of the members sought the favor of men of great influence in the State may explain how, after the angry fulminations of the congregation against the Spanish plotters, it took several years to get even a few of them out of the Society.
The dispute, known as the "De Auxiliis," which raged with great theological fury for many years, had for its object the reconciliation of Divine grace with human freedom. "The Dominicans maintained that the difficulty was solved by their theory of physical premotion and predetermination, whereas the Jesuits found the explanation of it in the Scientia media whereby God knows in the objective reality of things what a man would do in any circumstances in which he might be placed. The Dominicans declared that this was conceding too much to free will, and that it tended towards Pelagianism, while the Jesuits complained that the Dominicans did not sufficiently safeguard human liberty and hence seemed to lean towards the doctrines of Calvin" (Astrain). It was not until 1588, that Luis de Molina, whose name is chiefly connected with the doctrine of the Scientia media, got into the fight. Domingo Ibánez, the Dominican professor at Salamanca, was his chief antagonist. The debates continued for five years, and by that time there were public disturbances in several Spanish cities. Clement VIII then took the matter in his own hands, and forbade any further discussion till the Holy See had decided one way or the other. The opinions of universities and theologians were asked for, but by 1602 no conclusion had been arrived at, and between that year and 1605, sixty-eight sessions had been held with no result. Thus it went on till 1607, when the Pope decided that both parties might hold their own opinions, but that each should refrain from censuring the other. In 1611, by order of the Pope, the Inquisition issued a decree forbidding the publication of any book concerning efficacious grace until further action by the Holy See. The prohibition remained in force during the greater part of the seventeenth century. The principal theologians who appeared on the Jesuit side of this controversy were Toletus, Bellarmine, Lessius, Molina, Padilla, Valencia, Arubal, Bastida and Salas.
While these constitutional and theological wars were at their height a discussion of quite another kind was going on in the immediate surroundings of the General. It was to determine what amount of prayer and penitential exercises should be the normal practice of the Society. Maggio and Alarcón, two of the assistants, were for long contemplations and great austerities, while Hoffæus and Emmanuel Rodrigues advocated more sobriety in those two matters. Aquaviva decided for a middle course, declaring that the Society was not established especially for prayer and mortification, but, on the other hand, that it could not endure without a moderate use of these two means of Christian perfection. As this was coincident with the Spanish troubles, these five holy men were like the old Roman senators who were speculating on the improvement of the land which was still occupied by the Carthaginian armies. Meantime, another storm was sweeping over the Society in France.
When Henry IV entered Paris in triumph, his former enemies, the Sorbonne and the parliament, hastened to pay him homage; but something had to be done to make the public forget their previous attitude in his regard. The usual device was resorted to of denouncing the Jesuits. A complaint was manufactured against the College of Clermont, about the infringement of someone's property rights, and the rector was haled to court to answer the charge. The orator for the plaintiffs was Antoine Arnauld, the father of the famous Antoine and Angélique, who were to be, later on, conspicuous figures in the Jansenist heresy. Absolutely disregarding the point at issue, Arnauld launched out in a fierce diatribe against the Jesuits in general; "those trumpets of war," he called them, "those torches of sedition; those roaring tempests that are perpetually disturbing the calm heavens of France. They are Spaniards, enemies of the state, the authors of all the excesses of the League, whose Bacchanalian and Catalinian orgies were held in the Jesuit college and church. The Society is the workshop of Satan, and is filled with traitors and scoundrels, assassins of kings and public parricides. Who slew Henry III? The Jesuits. Ah, my King!" he cried, "when I contemplate thy bloody shirt, tears flow from my eyes and choke my utterance." And yet every one knew that it was his own clients, the Sorbonne and the parliament, who were the centre of all "the orgies of the League"; that it was they who had glorified the assassin of Henry III as a hero, and made the anniversary of his murder a public holiday; that it was they who had heaped abuse on Henry IV, and had sworn that he never should ascend the throne of France, even if he were absolved from heresy by the Pope, and had returned to the Faith. The travesty of truth in this discourse is so glaring that Frenchmen often refer to it as "the second original sin of the Arnauld family," the source, namely, of its ineradicable habit of misrepresentation.
A short time after this, Jean Chastel struck Henry IV with a knife and cut him slightly on the lip. Immediately everyone recalled Arnauld's furious denunciation of the Jesuits, and a descent was made on the college. A scrap of paper was conveniently found in the library, incriminating the custodian, but the volumes upon volumes of denunciations which had been uttered in the university and in parliament, and which were piled upon the library shelves, were not discovered. The scrap of paper sufficed. The college was immediately confiscated, the inmates expelled from France, and after Jean Chastel had been torn asunder by four horses, Father Guéret was stretched on the rack and Father Guignard was hanged. This occurred at the end of December, 1594.
Up to this Henry IV had not yet been reconciled to the Church, for the Pope doubted his sincerity and refused to withdraw the excommunication which the king had incurred at the time of his relapse. At last, however, owing to the persistency of Father Possevin and of Cardinal Toletus, he was absolved from his heresy, and could be acknowledged, with a safe conscience by all Catholics, as the legitimate King of France. The action of Toletus in this matter is all the more remarkable from the fact that he was a Spaniard, and in espousing the cause of Henry he was turning his back on his own sovereign, who was using all his power to prevent the reconciliation. This service was publicly recognized by Henry who thanked the Cardinal for his courageous act, and when Toletus died elaborate obsequies were held by the king's orders in the cathedrals of Paris and Rheims. Of course, the appeal of the banished Jesuits was then readily listened to by the king. He restored Clermont to them; gave them other colleges, including the royal establishment of La Flèche, and was forever after their devoted helper and friend. It must have been a great consolation for Father Aquaviva, during the battle he was waging and from which he was to emerge triumphant, to be told of this support of Henry; and also to hear of the welcome the Society had received in loyal Belgium in spite of the persistent animosity of Louvain. Almost every city had been asking for a college.
About this time, the Jesuits lost a devoted friend in the person of St. Charles Borromeo, who died in 1584. It is a calumny to say that he had turned against them and had taken the seminary of Milan from their direction. It was they themselves who had asked to be relieved of the responsibility, for he had so multiplied their colleges in his diocese, that it was impossible to give the seminary the attention it required. It is true that he was grievously offended by one individual Jesuit who injected himself into a controversy that was going on between the governor and the archbishop, and assailed the great prelate in the pulpit of the very church which had been given to the Society by Borromeo; but Aquaviva quickly brought him to the cardinal's feet to ask forgiveness, and then suspended him for two years from preaching. That incident, however, in no way diminished the affection of the saint for the Society. His last Mass was said in the Jesuit novitiate which he had founded, and he died in the arms of his Jesuit confessor, Father Adorno, two days afterwards.
Seven years later, on June 21, 1591, another saint died, the young Aloysius Gonzaga. Borromeo knew him well, and had given him his first Communion. This boy saint was not only an angel of purity, but also a martyr of charity, for he died of a fever he had caught from the victims of a plague whom he was attending during a pestilence that devastated Italy. The venerable Bellarmine was his confessor and spiritual father, and, later, when he was about to expire, he said to those around him: "Bury me at the feet of Aloysius Gonzaga."
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