Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez




Prologue

These Secret Counsels, the superiors should diligently keep, and preserve among themselves; and only communicate them to a few of the professed, and instill some of them into those who are not professed, when it evidently may be done with much advantage to the society; and then only under the seal of secrecy, and not then as if prescribed by any one, but as the fruits of personal experience; and because many of the professed know these secrets, from their commencement, the Society has especially provided that no one acquainted with them should remove himself to other religious orders, except to the Carthusians, because of their perpetual solitude of life and obligatory silence; which the Holy See has confirmed.

The utmost care should be taken that these counsels should not come into the hands of strangers, because envying our destiny they would maliciously misinterpret them; but should this occur, which must be prevented if possible, let it be denied that these are the principles of the society, and this denial confirmed by those of us, whom we certainly know to be ignorant of these rules; and let our public instructions, and our rules or regulations printed or written, be set in opposition to them.

Let the superiors also, always carefully and cautiously inquire whether these counsels have been made known to strangers by any of us; and also, let none transcribe them for himself or for another, unless by consent of a general or provincial; and if there be a doubt of any one's fitness to be intrusted with such important secrets of the society, convince him that you confide in him, but drop him.