True believers

Robert Peter Burns rburns at scf.usc.edu
Sun Nov 5 18:05:22 MST 1995


Jerry asks:

>    SJ (Society of Jesus): Weren't those people the same guys who gave us
>      the "Inquisition"?

Answer: No, that was the Dominicans <the OPs, not the SJs>.

and:

>    that you give us a
>    short *critical* history of the Jesuits. A discussion about theology
>    would probably be pointless, a discussion concerning history is not.
>

I am going into hospital tomorrow for an operation, and so can't
really spend the time necessary to meet this request.  Jesuits,
like Marxists, have plenty of sins to confess, though I can't think of any
really spectacular ones right off the bat, beyond saying that
like the rest of the Catholic Church and a good deal of the human
race, we were slow off the mark when it came to engaging in the
necessary struggles brought about by the rise of industrial capitalism,
and as a body our efforts continue to fall well short of what is
required.  We did practice a paternalistic form of communism among
some indigenous tribes in parts of South America <known
as the "Paraguayan Reductions" and Hollywoodized in "The Mission">
before being persecuted by Portuguese
and Spanish slavetraders and their imperial governments, who objected
to our protection of the locals, with the
result that the Jesuit order was suppressed by the pope in 1773 and
not restored until 1814 <I think these dates are correct, but would
have to look it up>.  Since then some Jesuits have been on the side
of the good guys and some on the side of the bad guys, but's it is
a very complicated, nonmonolithic history.  Maybe when I recover
from my operation--assisted by all your prayers, I'm sure :)--I
can try to answer any specific questions, though I'm not promising.

Peter Burns SJ
rburns at scf.usc.edu


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