Who are the Jesuits?
If you’re interested in learning more about Jesuits then its worth reading this piece I wrote back in September (replete with a picture I took of the Duomo, in Florence, in 2007). It repressents a rare opportunity to practically use knowledge obtained from my English and History degree.
The society was founded as an answer to the Reformation by a Spanish knight, Ignatius Loyola, in 1539. It secured papal approval in 1540.
An incredibly influential order, members of the society were heavily involved in European politics from the offset. Jesuits were implicated in plots to overthrow Elizabeth I. They were also associated with the Gunpowder plot to destroy Parliament, after James I made the order illegal. During this time all Catholics in Britain were told they must recant their catholicism or face death.
The term Jesuit was first applied to the society as a reproach and was never employed by its founder, though members and friends of the society later accepted the name.
Today Jesuits continue to be one of the most influential groups in the Roman Catholic church.