By Joseph McCabe
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It becomes more and more apparent after the death of Ignatius. Father Sacchini, who takes up the pen laid down by Orlandini, is just as loyal to his order, but it becomes more frequently necessary to excuse and explain, and at times he candidly censures. The Society is shaken by “ very fierce storms,” and one of these breaks upon it in his earliest, pages. ’ The Constitutions provided that at the death of a General there should be a Vicar-General appointed, and he should proceed to summon the leading fathers of Now, Ignatius had every province for the election, 55 56 THE JESUITS ’ appointed a Vicar to assist him in his last years, and it was generally felt that this Father Natalis would be Vicar-General and control the election.
Matter before the Pope, and the Archbishop was directed from Rome to withdraw his opposition. When we turn to Portugal we find an interesting illustration of the early effect of great prosperity on the Society. On the throne at the time was John III. from whose reign all historians date the downfall of what had become one of the most brilliant and wealthy Powers in Europe. Blind to the gross administrative corruption in his kingdom, and to the decay of the stirring patriotism which had borne the Portuguese flag over the globe, John was concerned only about the religious needs of his He had invited Xavier country and his new colonies.
In April they decided that they would have a Superior 24 THE JESUITS and vow obedience to him ; in May they resolved to adopt that masterpiece of the “ holy wiles ” of Ignatius, the most distinctive and most serviceable feature of the Society-the vow to put themselves at the direct disposal of the Pope. Naturally there was, and is, no religious body in the Catholic Church whose members would not leap with alacrity to obey any order of the Pope, and think it an honour to be selected for such a distinction ; indeed, we shall see that no other religious ever ventured to defy or evade the commands of Popes as Jesuits have done.
A Candid History of the Jesuits by Joseph McCabe