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Society of Jesus

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The Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, is a male-only Roman Catholic religious order, consisting of priests and religious brothers.

It is an evangelistic order practicing missionary work and education, with many Jesuit schools around the world. The Jesuits, beginning with their founder Ignatius of Loyola, actively recruited among the Conversos (Catholic converts of Jewish heritage). During the Holocaust some German Jesuits risked their lives to rescue or protect Jews. Jesuits also spread disease in the new world, though obviously not realizing it at the time, and killed off native populations. With so many mysterious deaths occurring around them, some natives were wary of Jesuits. The Jesuits blamed these deaths on the natives' heretical religion and converted those who believed them.

The head of the order is the Superior General, based in Rome, sometimes referred to as the Black Pope because of his black priest's garments (in contrast to the Pope's white robes) and influential position.

Criticism of Jesuits[edit]

The Jesuit order has come under strong criticism, largely from Protestants, since its inception in the 15th century. During the Reformation era, it seemed to the Puritans to personify the wealth and corruption they perceived in the Catholic Church, and was constantly suspected of subversion. Often these fears were well founded, as Jesuits were implicated in numerous political intrigues and conspiracies, including the Gunpowder Plot.

Jesuits also tend to attract the ire of ultratraditionalist and hard-conservative Catholics for being "liberal" and more "scientific" than religious. Never mind that there are quite a few conservatives among the order and that in the Church, "liberal" can mean anything from liberation theology to heresy.

Distrust of Jesuits, and conspiracy theories about the order, have continued into the modern era. These theories often focus on the Black Pope, portrayed as the real power behind the Papacy and the Church.

A number of websites posit that the Black Pope has a negative influence on world events (including getting rid of white Popes who refuse to obey their bidding),[1] being linked to Satan,[2] general destruction,[3] and the New World Order.[4] Just to make things more interesting, the current pope is a Jesuit - the first Jesuit pope ever.

See also[edit]