Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez

Chapter XI:
Against Those Dismissed

What we should all do against those dismissed from the society.

I. Since the dismissed, acquainted with at least a portion of our secrets, frequently do injury on that account, these efforts are to be obviated by the following methods:—before they may be dismissed from the society let them be induced to promise in writing, and swear, that they will never write nor speak any thing injuriously of the society; in the meantime let the superiors preserve in writing, the evil inclinations, defects and vices, which they may have at any time admitted for the clearing of their conscience, according to the constitution of the society, by which, if it shall be necessary, the society can strengthen itself with noblemen and prelates in preventing their promotion.

II. Those who are dismissed, should be published immediately, through our colleges, and the general reasons of their discharge, such as an unmortified mind, disobedience, an indisposition for spiritual exercises, obstinacy, etc. should be accumulated; then let all others be admonished, on no account to associate with them; and if strangers speak of the dismissed, let all uniformly say, and every where declare that the society discharges none but for weighty causes, even as the sea casts up only the dead, etc.; especially let such cases, as have caused us odium, be managed with such caution, as will give plausibility to the dismission.

III. In private exhortations it should be urged that the dismissed are exceedingly unhappy, and constantly soliciting re-admission: and the misfortunes of any, who may have perished miserably, after their departure from the society, should be aggravated.

IV. Whatever accusations those dismissed from the society may bring, are to be opposed by the influence of important men, who should every where declare that the society dismisses no one without strong reasons, and never cuts off sound members: which is proven by the zeal which the society feels and commonly exhibits, for the souls of those without: how much more then for her own members?

V. Again, such noblemen or prelates as the dismissed may have begun to obtain any influence or credit with, should be drawn and bound to the society by every kind of benefit; it should be urged upon them, that the common good of an order, whose fame equals its utility to the church, ought to predominate over the private advantage of any individual; but if their regard for the dismissed should continue, it will be profitable, besides urging the real causes of their dismission, to add other things, which although not certain, may be made to appear probable.

VI. We must by all means, prevent those, especially who have voluntarily deserted the society, from being promoted to any office or dignity in the church, until they shall have submitted and devoted themselves, and their all to the society; and that in such a way, as to make it obvious to all that they are willing to depend entirely upon it.

VII. Timely care should be taken, as much as possible, to prevent their exercising the more distinguished functions of the church, such as preaching, hearing confessions, publishing books, etc., lest they should conciliate the affection and applause of the people; therefore, let the most diligent inquiry be made into their life and conduct, as well as their associations, occupations, etc.; and as it regards the dismissed, even their intentions; for which purpose it will be useful for us to hold confidential intercourse with some one in the families, where the dismissed reside, that the moment any thing equivocal, or censurable, shall be discovered, it may be noised about by persons of inferior condition, devoted to us, and thus noblemen and prelates who might favor them, may be restrained by these indications of future infamy; but if they commit nothing blameworthy, and conduct themselves laudibly, their virtues and commendable actions, are to be depreciated by subtle suggestions, and ambiguous expressions, until the esteem and confidence which they before enjoyed is diminished; for it is the plain interest of the society, that the dismissed, and still more deserters, should be wholly crushed.

VIII. The misfortunes and disastrous events which befall them, ought to be immediately published, but at the same time solicit for them the prayers of the righteous, lest we should be suspected of malevolence; but, amongst ourselves, in every way exaggerate them, thus to retain others.