By Joseph McCabe
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Additional resources for A Candid History of the Jesuits
During the next fifteen years Ignatius remained at Rome, making only three short and relatively unimportant missions into Italy. They had moved from the house in the Piazza Margana to the foot of the Capitoline Hill, where the famous church of the Gesit now is. The old church of Sta Maria della Strada had been given to them, and Codacio (who had joined the Society and given his wealth to it) had built a house beside it for them. When Sta Maria proved too small, they proposed to build a larger church, and nearly secured the services of Michael Angelo ; but the actual Gesu was begun in 1568 by Cardinal Alexander Farnese.
What happened later was that the inner fire, the glow of which sanctified these worldly manceuvres in the mind of the first Jesuits, grew dim and languid, and the traditional policy was developed until even crime and vice and hypocrisy were held to be lawful if they contributed to the power of the Jesuits. An examination of the rules and the activity of the early Jesuits will make this clear. The Constitutions of the Society were not completed by Ignatius until several years after the establishment, and they were afterwards modified and augmented by Lainez, a less religious man than Ignatius, but it will be useful to consider at once their distinctive and most important THE FIRST JESUITS 29 / In the main they follow the usual lines of features.
Limped back, grave and humble, to the house for the silent evening meal. When the novices were abed, the prefect came to give him a minute account of the day’s life in the house, and, when the prefect was abed, the large eyes still flashed in the worn, olive-tinted face. He slept only four hours a night. But all these pages of the written biography of Jgnatius are of less interest than the unwritten, To understand his real life during those fifteen years of twenty-hour workdays you have to study the adventures of his colleagues far away : to mark how the hostility of bishops and doctors and princes is disarmed by a papal privilege or a papal recommendation, how the Protestant plague cannot break out’ anywhere but a Jesuit appears, how the most nicely fitted man is sent for each special mission, how the man disappears when there is, rightly or wrongly, a cry of scandal, how the long white arms of Ignatius Loyola seem to stretch over the planet from Sta Maria della Strada, near the Pope’s palace.
A Candid History of the Jesuits by Joseph McCabe