Secret Instructions of the Jesuits - Diego Laynez

Chapter XVI:
Outward Contempt of Riches

Of the outward exhibition of a contempt of riches.

I. To prevent the seculars from charging us with covetousness, it will be occasionally proper to refuse the smaller alms, which are offered for services performed by the society; from those, however, who are entirely devoted to us, it is best to accept even the smallest offerings, lest we exhibit avarice, by admitting of none but large gifts.

II. Sepulchre in our churches should be denied to vile persons, although they may have been greatly attached to the order, for a multitude of such tombs, might make us suspected of covetousness, and the very benefits received from the dead, be discovered.

III. Other things being equal, those widows and other persons, who have given most of their effects to the society, are to be treated with more decision and firmness, than others,—that we may avoid the appearance of favoring them, in preference to others, on account of their munificence; the same rule should be observed with regard to the members of the society, but not until they have made a cession and surrender of their wealth to it: after that, if it be necessary, they might be dismissed from the society, but with infinite discretion, in order to secure the present relinquishment, or the devise at death, of at least a part of what they may have presented to the order.