Jesuit history

Edmund Campion and Evelyn Waugh
How did the patron saint of the Jesuits in Britain, who was martyred on 1 December 1581, transform the life of one England’s most celebrated authors nearly 400 years later? Gerard Kilroy, the co-editor of a new edition of Evelyn Waugh's Edmund Campion, describes the motivations behind and evolution of Waugh’s ‘work of imaginative literature’.  Thomas More and John Fisher were canonised by Pope Pius XI on 19 May 1935; in the same month, Evelyn Waugh finished writing his gripping...
Peter Mullan as Henry Garnet SJ in Gunpowder
The opening half of episode 3 of Gunpowder was a vast improvement on the episode that preceded it.Thankfully it kept fairly close to the broadly known facts, and was a simple but presentable visualisation of the events. It covered the final loading of the parliamentary undercroft with barrels of explosives; the breakdown of the Gunpowder Plot (either via an anonymous letter to Lord Monteagle or a creative twist hinting at betrayal by the Spanish); the fleeing of the plotters to the Midlands;...
Gunpowder
This really is becoming something of a dog’s dinner.Except for the central fact that a group of blokes are planning to blow up the English parliament, the details of Gunpowder are becoming somewhat disconnected to the known facts of the Gunpowder Plot. People and places are adrift, incidents and portrayals are going badly out of focus, and time is bending more than in an episode of Star Trek.As in episode I, the production values of episode 2 are high, and obviously money has been poured into...
Liv Tyler, Edward Wintour and Kit Harington in 'Gunpowder'
There is a famous philosophical proposition that if an infinite number of monkeys sat at an infinite number of typewriters, all combinations of letters of the alphabet would eventually be made and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare would emerge.The American comedian, Bob Newhart, picked up this conceit in one of his stand-up monologues by suggesting that, if such an experiment was to be attempted, it would need monitors to go around and observe what the monkeys were writing.In the sketch...
From 'The Life of St Ignatius Loyola' by Peter Paul Rubens
To educate the youth of Europe? To fight the spread of Protestantism? While many people would guess that one or both of these ambitions drove Ignatius of Loyola to found the Jesuits, he actually had something else in mind: a mission to the Muslim world. For the feast of St Ignatius, Damian Howard SJ considers how ‘Islam haunted Ignatius’s understanding of his calling’ and celebrates the fruitful work of the many Jesuits who have tried to realise Ignatius’s vision in...
Fr Robert Persons, venerable college rome
The 1st of May saw the second in a series of lectures at the Venerable English College in Rome, hosted by Maurice Whitehead. Its to celebrate aspects of the history of the VEC and of the English and Welsh Catholic community, as well as to salute the munificence of Urs and Francesca Schwarzenbach as major donors to the VEC.  The archives at the VEC date back to the foundation of the English Hospice in Rome in 1362 and constitute the oldest British archive outside the United Kingdom....
From ‘Portrait of Queen Elisabeth I’ by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
At the juncture at which we leave Hilary Mantel’s tale as Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies conclude, there has been a rupture in the relationship between England and Rome. But this was by no means the end of the story. Daniel Kearney takes us forward to the reign of Elizabeth I and explores the how the early Jesuits tried to preserve Catholicism in Tudor England. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood.  So the faith was planted:...
The Great Fire of London
Viewers of ITV’s The Great Fire, which concludes this week, will have seen the unfolding of a conspiracy theory in which the finger of blame for the Great Fire of London is pointed directly at Catholics. This is not pure dramatisation – there was no shortage of anti-Catholic sentiment in 17th century England, not least because of the events of 5 November 1605. Historian Thomas M. McCoog SJ surveys the religious and political landscape in which Catholics – and particularly...
Jesuit historian Thomas McCoog traces the Society of Jesus’s return, after its suppression, to its former standing.  It was in Belarus that the Society’s star began to shine again, and as the 18th century drew to a close, the rulers of Europe gradually sought the Jesuits’ return to their countries. In this conclusion to our series, we read about the restoration of the Society of Jesus, the bicentenary of which is being celebrated this month.Read more of Thomas McCoog'...
The papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor detailed Pope Clement XIV’s instructions for the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, but its execution was not consistent across kingdoms or dioceses.  Thomas McCoog SJ continues his background to the restoration of the Society by exploring how a network of now-former Jesuits survived after the Society’s suppression and were given new hope with the election of Pope Pius VI. Read more of Thomas McCoog's series on the restoration of...

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