Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez




Chapter XIV:
Reserved Cases

Of reserved cases, and of cause of dismission from the society.

I. Besides the cases laid down in the constitutions, in which a superior alone, or an ordinary confessor, by the license of the superior, can grant absolution, there are, sodomy, wantonness, fornication, adultery, incest, male or female uncleanness as well as one's becoming the cause, or even the occasion, and through the utmost zeal, even of any injury to the society, to its honor or success,—all which are just causes for dismission.

II. When any one shall sacramentally confess any thing of this kind, he shall not be absolved, until he has promised, that, besides the confession, he will, personally or through his confessor, discover himself to the superior; then the superior must determine what seems best for the common good of the society; for if there be certain hope, that the crime may be concealed, it can be punished by an adequate penance, if otherwise, let him be immediately dismissed; the confessor, however, will be careful not to tell the penitent his danger of dismission.

III. If any confessor should hear, from a strange woman, that she has carnally known some member of the society, he must not absolve her, unless besides her confession, she reveals the name of her paramour, nor even then, until she shall solemnly swear never to disclose it again to any mortal, without the society's consent.

IV. If two members, sin carnally, and one discovers it first, let him be retained in the society, and the other dismissed; but the one retained should be afterwards so humbled and constantly worried, that through weariness and impatience, he may offer an occasion for dismission, which is to be instantly seized.

V. Our society must, if it would perpetuate in the church its noble and exalted association, cut off such persons, as appear at all unfit for our purpose, even though they begin well; and occasion will readily be found, if they be continually vexed, and all things managed contrary to their wishes, by subjecting them to harsh superiors, depriving them of more honorable pursuits and functions, etc., until they murmur.

VI. None are by any means to be retained, who openly oppose the superiors, or complain either publicly or privately, to their companions, or what is worse to those not members; nor in like manner, they who, whether at home or abroad, condemn our method of proceeding, as to the acquisition or administration of wealth, or indeed any thing else, as, for example, the method of crushing and suppressing the disaffected, or the dismissed, etc.; neither they who tolerate or defend the Venetians, the French, or any others from whom the society has suffered oppression or still sorer injuries.

VII. All who are to be dismissed should be treated beforehand with the greatest severity; let them be deprived of their usual employment; let them be applied first to one thing, then to another, and no matter how well they may succeed, blame them, and under this pretence change their employment; for the slightest accidental faults, impose heavy penances, rebuke them publicly in an insupportable manner, and finally discharge them, as if they were pernicious to others; but let an opportunity for this be selected, which will be the least apprehended by them.

VIII. If any of our members should have a sure prospect of obtaining a bishopric, or other ecclesiastical dignity, he should be compelled, in addition to the accustomed vow of the society, to take another, that he will always esteem and commend our institution, that he will use no confessor, who is not one of us, in short that he will determine nothing, in any important matter, but in accordance with the judgment of the society; in consequence of the non-observance of which by Cardinal TOLET, the society obtained from the holy see, that afterwards no Maronite, the perfidious offspring of the Jews or Mahomedans, should be admitted; and whoever refuses this vow, no matter how distinguished he may be, must be dismissed as the worst enemy of the society.