Front Page Titles (by Subject) 70.: The Jesuits - Judgments on History and Historians
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70.: The Jesuits - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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Any mere examination of the institutions and the discipline of the order, as based on the constitutiones and the exercitia spiritualia increases our understanding only moderately. Institutions were not lacking in the other orders, either; but the Jesuits lived by them in the decisive periods. Other orders, too, had in stock asseverations and precepts, especially as to obedience.
All very powerful orders are centralistic in effect and are parallels and props of the papal system—for instance, in the thirteenth century the mendicant orders, a veritable undoing for bishops and priests. The Jesuits then made a special cult of the papacy.
Around the middle of the sixteenth century the dangerous situation of the universal church definitely demanded a stronger, more constant activity from the center and a greater availability of ecclesiastical resources in all countries. The Jesuits and the Council of Trent achieved this.
A half-unconscious total will, stronger than the intentions and calculations of Ignatius, his colleagues, and the popes, drove the phenomenon to the fore.
When St. Ignatius (his physiognomy was uncanny!) arrived in Venice in 1537 with companions and good recommendations to the Spanish Embassy, he hoped for the friendship of Contarini and Caraffa. But the latter took him for a swindler and would have nothing to do with him. Contarini, on the other hand, was soon bewitched by him and became his protector. In October of 1538 he set out for Rome, with Contarini’s recommendation to the pope himself. After strong resistance Ignatius prevailed. On September 27, 1540, Paul III sanctioned the founding of the order.
Strong influences from Ignatius’ military past might have shaped the idea of absolute subordination that is characteristic of his discipline. St. Pachomius and St. Martin of Tours had also been officers.
The decisive thing about Jesuitism is that it established close contact between the Spanish reform and its way of thinking and the Roman papacy. Henceforth we are concerned with the universal church. Nevertheless, Charles V and Philip II might still have been of the opinion that they knew how to guard the interests of religion and church better than the popes.
The Jesuits are the strongest idealizers of papal power, the infallible teaching office, the universal episcopate, and papal world dominion.
To what extent did Ignatius himself realize the significance of his foundation?