Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits

Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits

Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits

Ignatius Loyola: The Founder of the Jesuits

Excerpt

This chapter discusses three topics: first, the greatness of Ignatius Loyola; second, the difficulty of seeing him in the light of his own ideals; third, the materials for making a true picture of him.

The sixteenth century was an age of that "passion and strong desire" which young German writers toward the end of the eighteenth century wished to describe in poetry, romance and the drama. Their leader, the youthful Goethe, chose well when he took as the hero of his first play a robber baron of the sixteenth century. For during that century ideals, impulses, habits of thought, hopes, fears which their ancestors had ignored or suppressed became dominant in the lives of many people of western Europe. The whole mediæval conception of the universe faded like some grandiose dream as humanity awakened. Just as the prows of Columbus broke the bounds of the ocean which the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans had not dared to pass; just as the telescope of Galileo finally proved in the teeth of theological authority that Joshua could not have made the sun stand still, so in the spiritual sphere large numbers of men broke through the scholastic tradition, not so much by a reasoned process, as because it restricted new beliefs, feelings and habits. The Renascence passed the Alps and during the sixteenth century flooded western Europe from Gibraltar to the shores of the Baltic.

Its influence appeared in the world of action. Two dynasties, each supported by the nascent pride of a great nation, fought for half a century over the spoils of weaker . . .

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