Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez




Chapter XVII:
Advancing Interests of the Society

Of the method of advancing the interest of the society.

I. On this subject, it should be the grand effort of all, to be always uniform in sentiment, or at least, to declare to others that they are so, even in relation to the smallest matter, from whence it must necessarily be, no matter how great the disturbance of human affairs, that the society shall be continually increased and strengthened.

II. Let all so endeavour to shine, by their learning and their conduct, that other orders, and especially such members of them as preach, are pastors, etc., may be so eclipsed, that at length the common people may desire that we exclusively, should perform all offices; let it be openly taught, however, that learning alone is not sufficient for pastors, but they must be well grounded in their peculiar duties, for the society can help them with counsel, which for that very reason, sets so great a value on its acquirements.

III. Kings and princes ought to be impressed with the truth that under present circumstances, the Catholic faith cannot exist without politism—but this demands great discretion; for which purpose our members must have rendered themselves acceptable to the great, and acquainted with their most secret purposes.

IV. They should have the advantage of the most recent, important, and certain information, from every quarter.

V. It would be advantageous, if we could cautiously and secretly foment dissentions amongst nobles and princes, even to the mutual wasting of their strength; but if they seem likely to be reconciled, the society should immediately endeavor to pacify them, lest it should be effected by some other intervention.

VI. The opinion that the society was produced by a remarkable interposition of divine providence, for the restoration of the church, depressed by heretics, according to the revelation of the abbot JOACHIM, ought to be sedulously inculcated, on the great, as well as the common people.

VII. As soon as the favor of distinguished men and bishops is conciliated, let our members secure the cases and canonries, for the complete reformation of the clergy, who once lived under certain regulations with their respective bishops, and advanced toward perfection; then they should aspire to abbacies and prelacies, which, if we consider the sloth and stupidity of the monks, might be easily obtained when they become vacant: for it would be exceedingly advantageous to the church for all the bishopricks to be held by the society, indeed for it to possess the apostolic see; especially when his holiness once more becomes a great temporal prince: wherefore let every method be used, prudently and secretly by degrees, to enlarge the temporalities of the society, as there can be no doubt, but that the golden age of constant and universal peace would then abide, and with it, the divine blessing, upon the church.

VIII. But when the hope of attaining to this state may not be bright, and inasmuch as offences needs must come, we must temporarily change our policy, and excite princes whose friendship we enjoy, to mutual and fierce contests; in order that the society may be solicited and employed every where for the general pacification, and then as the constant author of good, be compensated with the principal benefices and ecclesiastical dignities.

IX. In fine, let the society, by acquiring the favors and authority of princes, endeavor at least to effect this,—that all shall fear, who will not love us.