Today in Religion – Jesuit Order


In 1764 France expelled the Jesuit Order.

The official name of the Jesuit Order is the Society of Jesus. A Spanish soldier turned priest created the order to help win people back to the Catholic faith. He chose to use education as the pathway to complete his goals. Through the Jesuits set up universities, charities, and missions across the world. By the 1700s the Jesuits had become a large and influential group.

Most often when a group becomes that large and influential, people in power want to reduce the organization’s power. Secular leaders became wary and people began attacking the Jesuit Order. Voltaire embraced anti-catholic rhetoric and often attacked the Jesuit order in his writings.

The villainization of the Society of Jesus worked. Many secular leaders and kings pressured church authorities to stop the Jesuits. In France, the king went so far as to decree the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1764. Though persecuted, the Society of Jesus survived and still exists today.

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