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It is an evangelistic order practicing missionary work and education, with many Jesuit schools around the world. The Jesuits, beginning their founding in 1530 by Ignatius of Loyola, actively recruited among the Conversos for their first 30 years (Catholic converts of Jewish heritage). After that, an anti-Converso faction took over that strictly forbade Conversos, or even their descendants, from the order.
Jesuits also spread disease in the new world, though 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. During the Holocaust some German Jesuits risked their lives to rescue or protect Jews.
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
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), being linked to Satan, general destruction, and the New World Order. Just to make things more interesting, the current pope is a Jesuit - the first Jesuit pope ever.
Jesuit Oath in the Library of Congress
The “Jesuit Oath” conspiracy begins with two political candidates running for office in the Seventh Congressional District in Pennsylvania were Eugene C. Bonniwell, a Democrat and a Catholic, and Thomas S. Butler, a Republican and a Quaker were the contestants. Bonniwell, who lost the election, attempted to have the Speaker of the House prevent Butler from taking his seat. The House Committee on Elections investigated the matter and submitted HR1523 to the House on February 15, 1913. Congressman Olmsted requested that it be read into the Congressional record.
There was no mention of a Jesuit Oath in the Congressional Record but a purported Oath of the Knights of Columbus which was used to slander Bonniwell as Bonniwell may have belonged to the Knights of Columbus, at least that is which is alleged. Bonniwell claimed that the supporters of Butler and the West Chester Daily News which was owned by the Republicans and libelously slandered him (Bonniwell) in the manner of publishing anonymously what was purported to be the Knight of Columbus Oath. This is the incident of libelous slander was which was read into the Congressional Record which included the purported Knights of Columbus Oath. The committee itself took a dim view of Butler slandering Bonniwell with what was claimed to be the Knights of Columbus Oath as the committee indicated: This committee cannot condemn too strongly the publication of the false and libelous article referred to in the paper of Mr. Bonniwell, and which was the spurious Knights of Columbus oath, a copy of which is appended to the paper. (H.R. Rep. No. 62-1523 (1913), reprinted in the Congressional Record for February 15, 1913, at p. 3221)
The reason why this was called the Jesuit Oath was before the oath was used to slander Bonniwell as a Knight of Columbus, the same oath had been pinned on the Jesuits as being the oath they had taken.
“” I furthermore promise and declare that I will, when opportunity present, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, sex or condition; and that I will hang, waste, boil, flay, strangle and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants' heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race. That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poniard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed so to do by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus.
|—The bogus "Knights of Columbus" vow in the Congressional Record|
One is left scratching one's head, as the Jesuits are known to be the most liberal of all the sacerdotal orders constantly getting in trouble over what many consider liberalism.
- "St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews" by James W. Reites (1981). Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits. St. Louis, Missouri: American Assistancy Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality. 13 (4). ISSN 2328-5575.
- Maryks, Robert Aleksander (2009). The Jesuit Order as a Synagogue of Jews. Studies in Medieval & Reformation Traditions. pp. 309. ISBN 978-9004179813. pg 117-143
- http://www.remnantofgod.org/blackpope.htm and http://www.sherryshriner.com/black-pope.htm
- See the Wikipedia article on Thomas S. Butler.