Mosheim On Romanist Missions In The Early 17th Century

4. From these colleges and societies issues those swarms of missionaries who travelled over the whole world so far as it is yet discovered, and from among the most ferocious nations gathered congregations which were, if not in reality, yet in name and in some of their usages, Christian. Among these missionaries, the Jesuits, the Dominican, the Franciscans, and the Capuchins obtained the greatest glory. Yet, they mutually assail and publicly accuse each other of disregarding and dishonoring the cause of Christ, and even of corrupting his holy doctrines. The Jesuits in particular are the most spoken against, both by the others who labor with them in the glorious cause of enlarging the Savior’s empire, and by the great body of their own church. For it is alleged that they instill into most of their proselytes not the pure religion which Christ taught, but a lax and corrupt system of faith and practice; that they not only tolerate or wink at practices and opinions are superstitious and profane, but even encourage them among their followers; that they amass vast riches by traffic, and by other unbecoming arts and occupations; that they are eager after worldly honors, and court the favor of the great by adulation and presents; that they involve themselves needlessly in civil affairs, and in the intrigues of courts; that they frequently excite seditions and civil wars in nations; and finally, that they will not obey the Roman pontiff and the vicars and bishops whom he sends out. If one calls for the witnesses to support these heavy charges, he finds himself overwhelmed with their multitude and their splendor. For illustrious and most respectable men are brought forward from every Catholic country; and among these are many on whom no suspicion of envy, credulity, or ignorance can fall, such as cardinals, members of the Congregation for Propagating the Faith, and—what cannot be surpassed—some of the pontiffs themselves. Nor do these witnesses come forward unarmed for the contest; for they assail the doubting with the actual proceedings of the Jesuits, particularly in China, India, Abyssinia, and Japan, to the great injury of the Romish cause.4

4. A great amount of testimony is collected by the author of Histoire de la Compagnie de Jesus Utrecht, 1741; 8vo, throughout the preface.

Mosheim’s Institutes of Ecclesiastical History Ancient and Modern, a new and literal translation from the original Latin with copious additional notes, original and selected. trans. James Murdock, rev. James Seaton Reid, 9th edition (London: William Tegg and Co. 1875), 714.


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One comment

  1. This is one of the reasons Japan closed itself to outsiders at the time: the ruling class not only felt threatened by the rise of Roman Catholicism among the peasantry, but were annoyed by competing claims of various Spanish and Portuguese missionary orders.

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