The Society of Jesus in England, 1623-1688 : an institutional study
McCoog, Thomas M. (1984) The Society of Jesus in England, 1623-1688 : an institutional study. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1463393~S15
From the Society of Jesus' first appearance in England in 1580,
various political treatises, literary works, and theological discourses
have attributed legendary plots, exploits, and malice to its members.
For nearly two hundred years, the Jesuits were consistently portrayed
as seditious regicides who would sacrifice all to regain England for
Rome. Although modern scholarship has revealed the true nature of the
myth of the evil Jesuits, few historians have attempted to explicate
the reality. There have been biographies of individual sixteenth
century Jesuits and studies of the Society's conflicts with the English
secular clergy and of their pretended plots against the government but
there has been no investigation of the English Jesuits as members of an
international religious order. The Society of Jesus had a "pathway to
God" in its Institute (that is, its Constitutions, decrees, and rules)
which became more complicated throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. Could it be adapted to the special conditions of England?
Were the practices of the Jesuits there harmonious with those prescribed
in the Institute? Or was England so singular that dispensations and
concessions left the Society there scarcely recognizable as such to
other Jesuits? Centring on the period from 1623 to 1688, from the
initial enthusiasm at the erection of the province to the debacle of
James II's collapse and flight, this thesis will consider the English
Jesuits in the context of the Society's Institute.
Not bound by any monastic vow of stability, the early Jesuits were
dispersed throughout the world. The preservation and the confirmation
of union among such members was a constant concern of St Ignatius
Loyola and the early Society. Out of this concern evolved much of the
Society's Institute and its ordinary manner of government, which are
topics of the first chapter.
Although the mission was opened in 1580, England did not become a
fully constituted province until 1623. During the intervening forty-three
years, the mission survived on the institutional fringe of the
Society. It was the Society's first independent, permanent mission and,
as such, was an exception to the customary style of government. Condemned
as a novelty, the mission withstood the threats and objections of other
provinces. Once erected, the English province was remarkably resilient in
its adjustments to the vicissitudes of the English political scene.
As the number of Jesuits increased, "colleges" and "residences"
were established in England. The precise meaning of both terms has
long eluded recusant historians and can only be understood fully if seen
in the context of the Institute. Although most Jesuits lived with
recusant families, there was a consistent effort to have a specific
Jesuit house within each college and residence.
Restricted by the Society's teachings on poverty and threatened by
the penal laws, the province had to be very careful about its financial
arrangements. The Society's Institute placed serious restrictions on
the provincial institutions. Working within those limitations, the
province was able to protect most of its capital and much of its real
estate again t theft, confiscation, and apostasy through lay trustees
and a complex system of interlocking trusts.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Jesuits -- England -- History -- 17th century|
|Official Date:||May 1984|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of History|
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