Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Jesuits, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The correct name of the body is the Society of Jesus. When Ignatius of Loyola proposed to found an organization, the Protestants of Germany and England had exposed the comprehensive corruption of the monastic orders, and those who advocated reform in Rome itself wanted the suppression of all Orders rather than the establishment of new. Ignatius had great difficulty in securing permission to found even a "Society," whose members should take the usual vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and live in communities without being classed as monks. Permission was granted in 1540 after years of intrigue and deceit - the followers of Ignatius in Rome were directed ostentatiously to serve the sick poor and quietly secure rich youths and the support of rich women - which left a permanent mark on the body. It was characterized also from the start by the martial spirit of the ex-soldier Ignatius and by its special consecration in the Pope's service as a regiment to fight heresy. Its activity was rightly called "Jesuitry" from the first. The vow of poverty, collective as well as individual, was prevented from interfering with the accumulation of wealth, which was a primary aim, by drawing a distinction between "colleges" and "houses of the professed" (equal to monasteries) and claiming that the former could acquire unlimited property. From the first also the characteristic Jesuit practice of spying on each other and tale-bearing was introduced and the vow of obedience was especially stressed. Nicolini mistranslates the Constitutions when he says that the Jesuit is "bound to obey an order to commit sin," but the document is written (here at least) in such crude Latin that one might so interpret it; while in practice a Jesuit superior would always claim that it was his business to judge whether the act prescribed was sinful, and the appalling casuistry of the theologians of the Society would serve his purpose. The charge that they had in addition a secret Constitution (Monita Privata) is disputed. The Jesuits contend that the Polish ex-Jesuit Zahorowski fabricated or falsified the document. He may have tampered with it, but so many copies of the document were found in Jesuit houses when the Society was suppressed in the eighteenth century that it is widely accepted as genuine. Modern Jesuits, on the other hand, try to convince the world of their high character by describing their "Spiritual Exercises" - an intensive periodical course of religious training such as all monks and nuns have - but these spiritual orgies leave no more permanent impression on monks than "revival services" do on an American small town.
      One must judge the Society by its actual history and by the very grave charges against it which the Pope fully endorsed in suppressing it. The Jesuits may never have laid it down in the public gaze that the end justifies the means [see Ends and Means], but it is a platitude of their history that they always proceeded upon that axiom. The special privileges (such as the right of their colleges to grant degrees) which they wheedled from favourable Popes - some Popes hated them as bitterly as most of the monks and clergy have always done - enabled them to capture the universities, and through these and their colleges, to which they drafted the sons of the rich and noble whom they particularly cultivated, they prepared Catholic lands for the ghastly Thirty Years War against Protestantism, in which groups of them followed the armies and hung about the camps. Their system of education, for which their writers have secured a high and spurious reputation, was the narrowest and most vicious (especially in regard to history) in Europe. Its one aim was to inspire hatred of Protestantism. In order to maintain their influence in this respect they pressed their services as confessors of princes and nobles everywhere and connived at their vices. In France, in the time of Louis XIV , the King and all the leading ladies of the Court had Jesuit confessors - Louis had three in succession during the most corrupt seventeen years of his life - and there never was a more debased court. France had at first regarded them with just suspicion, but their leader, Father Manares (whom the Jesuits themselves had later to condemn for corrupt ways), won favour by "discovering" a (fabricated) plot of the Huguenots and prepared the way for the St. Bartholomew Massacre . In non-Catholic lands their propensity for melodramatic secrecy and picturesque or murderous intrigue had full rein. In England, even under "Bloody Mary," they, as Burnet tells in his History of the Reformation (II, 526), overreached themselves by trying to secure all the confiscated monastic property, and after Mary's death their intrigues in disguise and their inspiration of plots soured Elizabeth's policy of toleration. They boast of a hundred Jesuit martyrs in the period that followed. In point of fact only five regularly admitted Jesuits were executed (for plots), and two saved their lives by turning informers. They swelled their list of martyrs by getting priests in prison to "join the Society" before execution. In Scandinavia they strutted in court-dress as ambassadors and even, disguised, taught Lutheran theology in Protestant universities. In India some lived for years as mystics of the Hindu religion, and there (and in China) they made "converts" by permitting (for which Popes repeatedly condemned them) a mixture of Hindu (or Confucian) and Christian ideas and practices, while they worked fraudulent miracles on the ignorant natives. In South America [see Paraguay] they made virtual slaves of and exploited their converts and raised great wealth by trade.
      Local bishops whom they defied and libelled, priests, and monks assailed Rome with complaints, and in 1656 Pascal opened the attack on them in Europe by the scalding charges, especially of lax principles and leniency to vice, of his famous Provincial Letters. The Popes repeatedly condemned their practices (1710, 1715, 1742, and 1744), but dreaded their power and vindictiveness. More than one Pope is said to have been poisoned by them, and we smile at the ingenuous Jesuit plea that we cannot prove it. But Europe had now begun to feel a power more subtle, yet more honest, than that of the Society - that of Voltaire - and the great statesmen who were his pupils moved against them. The Marquis de Pombal got them expelled from Portugal in 1759. Choiseul exposed their trickery and their vast wealth in France and secured their expulsion (1764). Count D'Aranda had them suppressed in Spain (1767), and Tannucci in the Kingdom of Naples. A tense and dramatic struggle now proceeded at Rome, the Jesuits using every device in their large repertory to avert the suppression which the Catholic monarchs demanded, but in 1773 Pope Clement XIV, in the Bull Dominus ac Redemptor Noster, abolished the Society "for ever." The charges against the Jesuits were in large part brought by bishops or priests of high character, but the Jesuit writers airily dismiss them by giving the reader the impression that they were fabrications of wicked enemies of Christ. It would be fatal to admit that the Pope endorsed the indictment, so the apologists uniformly say, in one of their most brazen perversions of facts, that in the Bull "no blame is laid by the Pope on the rules of the Order, or the present condition of its members, or the orthodoxy of their teaching." That is the language of the Catholic Encyclopaedia. The Pope is represented as being reluctantly forced by circumstances to suspend the Society for the time. The truth is that the Pope enumerates at length all the charges against the Jesuits and fully endorses them. He recalls that thirteen previous Popes have condemned their practices and their doctrines after full inquiry, but he says the remedies had "neither efficacy nor strength to put an end to the trouble." Therefore, "recognizing that the Society of Jesus can no longer produce the abundant fruits and the considerable advantages for which it was created," he "suppresses and abolishes the Society for ever." Catholic writers in grossly misrepresenting the Pope's' action, take advantage of the fact that no English translation of the Bull is available, the last published being in The Jesuits by R. Demaus (1873). The essential parts of it are translated from Latin by the present writer in the book listed below. The Society was restored in the sanguinary reaction that followed the fall of Napoleon and the Jesuits returned to their pernicious intrigues. To-day they are a body of very comfortable mediocrities confining their love of intrigue to the capture of rich Catholics for their own parishes for which most priests cordially detest them and angling for aristocratic or semi-aristocratic converts. They have no distinction in learning or literature in spite of their wealth and leisure and they are superior to the other clergy only in their audacity in untruth and their solicitous ministration to the wealthy. See McCabe's Candid History of the Jesuits (1913) [One of several online editions-RW]. F. A. Ridley's The Jesuits (1938) is a sound, shorter, but broader study. A. Close's Jesuit Plots Against Great Britain (1935) is generally reliable. Of the works recommended in Robertson's Courses of Study, all of which are outdated, Nicolini's History of the Jesuits (1853) is unreliable, and Crétineau-Joly's Histoire religieuse, politique, et littéraire de la Compagnie de Jesus (6 vols., 1845-6), which all encyclopaedias recommend as the standard authority, is a monstrous piece of Jesuitry subsidized by the Jesuits themselves.


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