Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez




Chapter IV:
Preachers and Confessors

What things ought to be recommended to preachers, and confessors, to the great.

I. Our members should so manage, princes and distinguished men, that while they appear to aim singly after the greater glory of God, they may enjoin on them the no greater austerity of conscience than the princes themselves permit; for our aim should be, not at once, but insensibly to look towards temporal and political supremity.

II. It is therefore often to be inculcated upon them, that the distribution of honors and dignities in the state should look to justice; and that God is greatly displeased with rulers, if, instead of respecting it, act from impulse. They should protest often and in a solemn manner, that they wish in no way to interfere in the management of public affairs, but only to speak when invited, from the obligation of their station. When they understand these things well, it should be explained what virtues they ought to possess, who aspire to dignities, and to public and eminent stations; and at the proper time they should nominate and recommend for them, those who are the sincere friends of the society; and this should not be done immediately by ourselves unless the prince should direct it, but it would have a better effect if his friends or favorites would interfere.

III. Hence let our confessors and preachers be informed by our friends what persons are qualified for any office, especially such as are liberal towards the society; let them have the names of these among themselves, and in a proper time with dexterity, either through ourselves or others, propose them to princes.

IV. Let the confessors and preachers most carefully remember, to behave towards princes in a refined and gentle manner, and by no means to glance at them, either in sermons or private conversation; but to remove all apprehension from them, and to exhort them above all, to the cultivation of hope, faith and political justice.

V. Scarcely ever let them accept little presents for private use, but let them exhibit the common necessity of the Province, or College; let them be contented with a chamber plainly furnished, nor clothe themselves too richly: and let them promptly administer comfort and consolation to the most abject persons about the palace, and not seem to be obsequious to the great alone.

VI. As soon as possible after the death of official persons, let due care be taken, that friends of our society may succeed them: yet so as to escape suspicion of usurping authority; for as we said, let them not immediately advance themselves, but faithful and powerful friends, who can bear envy if any should arise.