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A Brief History of the Jesuits

by Shaun Willcock


The Jesuits wasted no time, after the pope had approved of the Order, in involving themselves in everything: the education of the young, hearing of confessions, foreign missions, preaching. They went about their work with fanatical zeal.  Through education, they aimed to control the future leaders of society. They particularly sought to gain control of the education of the children of political leaders and other influential people in the upper classes. Through their leniency in the confessional, as mentioned earlier, they slithered into the affections of the wealthy and powerful. Through foreign missions, they sought to convert the world to Roman Catholicism. Through preaching, they championed papal authority and other Roman Catholic doctrines, thereby strengthening the Papacy at a time when it was reeling from the devastating effects of the Reformation.


This was known as the Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent, in the 1540's, was Rome’s answer to the Reformation – and it was dominated by the Jesuits. The popes soon realised that the Jesuits had become indispensable to the very survival of the Papacy. They literally surrendered the Roman Catholic institution into the hands of the Jesuits. The Papacy was rewarded for doing so: the Jesuits became its tireless champions, and it began to advance once again after its terrible setback in the sixteenth century; but the cost was great, for the “black pope” and his disciples became the power behind the papal throne. They still are.
Step by step, their influence grew in the nations of the world. The popes granted them ever greater privileges and powers. Gregory XIII gave them the right to enter into commerce and banking, a right they were to use enthusiastically in the years ahead. By 1556, they were actively involved in fighting Protestantism in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and England; and were also to be found, hard at work, in India, China, Japan, and the New World.

In working to stamp out Protestantism, the Jesuits used two primary tactics. Politically, once they exercised influence over the ruler, or rulers, of a country, they drove them to persecute the Protestants; and religiously, they actually infiltrated the Protestant churches and denominations, and worked to undermine them from within.  Much could be written about their dark deeds in various nations, such as Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Poland, as well as their atrocities in India, Japan, China and South America, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; but space does not permit. We must confine our attention to the nation where Protestantism took root most firmly in these centuries, and from which the Gospel of Christ was carried to the far corners of the earth: Britain. Naturally enough, it was against Britain that the Jesuits directed their greatest energies.

Their Plots against English Protestantism: 16th and 17th Centuries. Just a few short years after the founding of the Order, the Jesuits had established seminaries on the continent of Europe for the purpose of training young English noblemen as Roman Catholic missionaries. These men, when their training was complete, were sent back to Britain as traitors, to once again subjugate the land to the pope of Rome.  In 1551, the Council of Trent sent secret instructions to the Jesuits of Paris on how to undermine and destroy the “Church of England”. A copy, accidentally dropped by a Jesuit priest in a pulpit in 1568, was found. The instructions were these: “Ye are not to preach all after one method but observe the place wherein you come.


If Lutheranism be prevalent, then preach Calvinism; if Calvinism, then Lutheranism; if in England, then either of them, or John Huss’ opinions, Anabaptism, or any that are contrary to the Holy See of St. Peter, by which your function will not be suspected, and yet you may still act on the interest of Mother Church; there being, as the Council are agreed on, no better way to demolish that Church (the Church of England) of heresy, but by mixture of doctrines, and by adding of ceremonies more than at present permitted. Some of you who undertook to be of this sort of Heretical Episcopal Society, bring it as near to the Mother Church as you can; for then the Lutheran party, the Calvinists, the Anabaptists and other heretics, will be averse thereto, and thereby make the Episcopal heresy odious to all these, and be a means to reduce all in time to Mother Church.”

This document reveals how the Jesuits infiltrate, and thereby seek to destroy, Protestant denominations and churches. There were Jesuits who were double agents, pretending to be Protestant ministers but serving the interests of the Vatican. There can be no doubt that there still are such double agents today. This is in accordance with the prophecy of Paul, given in Acts 20:29, that “grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock”. There have always been, and will always be, false ministers, ministers of Satan, pretending to be the ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-15). It is also important to note that what they sought to do, by this means, has been largely accomplished: Anglicanism is a mixture of doctrines, true and false, and is filled with unscriptural ceremonies. In fact, it is nothing less than a modified version of Romanism.

The Jesuit spies, trained on the continent, furtively spread throughout Britain during Elizabeth’s reign, in various disguises, under fictitious names, preaching, hearing confessions, giving mass. They also secretly printed and distributed pamphlets against the queen, and against the Anglican institution. They accused Elizabeth of various sins, and also plotted her assassination and overthrow.  The various Jesuit plots against Queen Elizabeth I are all thoroughly documented. The documentation in the Public Record Office in London reveals that Pope Gregory sanctioned the assassination, and that the Jesuits tried their best to carry it out. They also were deeply involved in plans for an invasion of England by Roman Catholic Spain, in the 1580's.

In 1584-5, the “Act against Jesuits, Seminary Priests, and other such-like disobedient persons”, was passed in England, ordering all Jesuits to leave the country within forty days because of their rebellions, particularly the plot to kill Elizabeth!  But the Jesuits did not give up. They continued to plot the assassination of the queen, and the invasion of England by Spain. Space does not permit a detailed examination of all the plots; suffice it to say that the Lord did not permit them to succeed, as history reveals.  Even the defeat of the Spanish Armada, however, did not turn the Jesuits from their goal. As late as 1594, at least seven Jesuits plotted to murder Elizabeth. Some of them confessed to the plot. In 1597, there were Jesuit spies within the English Cabinet itself.

When King James I came to the throne, the Jesuits planned what became known as the Gunpowder Plot, in 1605, to blow up the king. Guy Fawkes was their tool. Most of the Jesuits who were behind this foul deed were arrested when the plot was discovered, and hanged. In 1628, an Act was passed in England against sending any to the continent “to be Popishly bred” (educated). The purpose of this Act was to flush out those Englishmen who were spies of the Jesuits. James Wadsworth was one young Englishman who was trained in the Jesuit college in Spain for the work of re-converting England to the Papal religion. In his book, published in the seventeenth century after he left the Jesuits and Romanism, he told how the students in the college would sing vespers and litanies to “Mary” (the Romanists’ goddess) for England’s “conversion”.

King Charles II (1660-1685) was a secret Roman Catholic, who had many secret Roman Catholics at Court; and his successor, James II (1685-1688), was an open Roman Catholic, whose secret advisor was a Jesuit priest; and Roman Catholics held important posts.  And so we could go on. The evidence is available, fact upon fact, proof upon proof, of the sinister and continuous plots of the “secret army of the Papacy” to defeat Protestantism. But let us now move ahead to the eighteenth century, for it was in this century that the Jesuit Order was actually suppressed by the pope of Rome himself.


The Suppression of the Jesuits in the 18th Century

A great loathing of the Order had developed almost universally. The sins of the Jesuits were so great, and so well known, that even Roman Catholic countries sought their destruction. By the middle of the eighteenth century, they had been expelled from about thirty places; but they always returned. A new assault, however, was about to begin.  In 1757, the prime minister of Portugal forbade the Jesuits to preach, removed the Jesuit confessors of the royal family, and finally banished the Society from all Portuguese territories. This was a monumental blow to the Order, for it stirred Europe, and other nations followed suit. In France in 1762, a “statement of arrest” was issued: “The said Institute is inadmissible in any civilised State, as its nature is hostile to all spiritual and temporal authority... a political body working untiringly at usurping all authority, by all kinds of indirect, secret and devious means...” The Jesuits were expelled from France unless they renounced their vows. In Spain, all Jesuit establishments were suppressed. They were banished from Naples, Parma, and Malta.

All these nations sent the Jesuits back to Italy. And this is what a Papist named Cormenin declared of them: “the soil of Italy was polluted by this unclean slime which the nations had rejected, and which they had sent back to Rome, the fountain of all corruption.” The pope, Clement XIII, was under pressure to suppress the entire Jesuit Order. In 1769, on the night before he was about to do so, he suddenly fell ill and cried out, “I am dying!” He did, no doubt the work of the Jesuits. As history proves, they will readily stoop to murdering popes and kings, if it suits them.  Finally, in 1773, Pope Clement XIV signed a brief of dissolution, and even imprisoned the Jesuit General! One can imagine how odious this Society had become, when even the Roman pontiff, under pressure from Romanist nations, was forced to turn against them! But Clement paid with his life, as he knew he would: “this suppression will kill me,” he said. Posters appeared on his palace walls with these letters: ISSSV. Clement knew what they stood for: “In Settembre, Sara Sede Vacante” (In September, the See will be vacant). He was poisoned on September 22, 1774.

Even though they had been suppressed, they continued to exist in various Roman Catholic lands, but secretly. Officially, they were dissolved for 41 years, until Pope Pius VII re-established them in 1814. Various Popish nations, however, continued to banish them in the nineteenth century.  Nevertheless, they continued to expand their influence everywhere – including such non-Romanist nations as Britain, where they were ceaselessly working to destroy Protestantism, and to reverse the political effects of the Reformation. They were numerous in England by the mid-nineteenth century. The Italian statesman, the Marquis d’Azeglio, warned the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1859: “We have got rid of the Jesuits in Italy so far as human power can, but England is swarming with them, and before long you will feel the effects of their presence.” How true his words have proved!


The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

The United States of America, being the bastion of freedom of religion (something Rome cannot tolerate), was, naturally enough, particularly targeted by the Jesuits. They sought to stamp out Protestantism, and turn the US into a Roman Catholic country. In 1865, they added the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln to their terrible list of murders. That his assassin was a tool of the Jesuits, was proved by Charles Chiniquy, an ex-priest and courageous Christian minister, who had been a personal friend of Lincoln’s. “But who was that assassin? Booth was nothing but the tool of the Jesuits. It was Rome who directed his arm, after corrupting his heart and damning his soul.... And, after twenty years of constant and most difficult researches, I come fearlessly today before the American people, to say and prove that the President, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated by the priests and the Jesuits of Rome.” Chiniquy provided ample evidence, as have others as well.


The Jesuits and the World Wars

What about the twentieth century? In this century, no less than any other since the founding of the Order, the Jesuits have been extremely active, usually secretly, behind the scenes; most notably (although this hideous truth has been extremely well covered up) in both world wars! The pope, counselled by the Jesuits, supported Germany and Austria-Hungary in the First World War, hoping to use these powers to discipline France, destroy the Russian Orthodox institution, and defeat England. Jesuits in Ireland, India, Spain, and Australia worked hard for the downfall of England. When the Papal plans were thwarted by the victory of the Allies, the Jesuits began to prepare for the Second World War.

The evidence of Roman Catholic involvement in general, and Jesuit involvement in particular, in World War Two is overwhelming. Once again space does not permit a full treatment here, and the following facts will have to suffice. They are the tip of the iceberg.  In 1939, Hitler placed a Jesuit named Tiso at the head of the Republic of Slovakia. Tiso declared that Romanism and Nazism “work hand in hand at reforming the world.” He did his best to eliminate Protestants and Jews in Slovakia, sending them to concentration camps. In the puppet Nazi state of (Roman Catholic) Croatia, a Jesuit named Stepinac fully supported the Croatian leader in his massacres of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Jews. And many leaders of the Papist Croatian Ustashis, who carried out the terrible killings, were Jesuit and Franciscan priests!

Hitler himself declared: “I learned much from the Order of the Jesuits.” The Nazi, Walter Schellenberg, stated, “The S.S. organisation had been constituted, by Himmler, according to the principles of the Jesuits’ Order.” And Hitler said of Himmler: “I can see Himmler as our Ignatius of Loyola.” Within the SS Central Security Service, top posts were held by priests, particularly Jesuits.  There can be no doubt that the Jesuit Order has the blood of millions upon its hands.

The Jesuits and “Liberation Theology”: a “Catholic Communism”  In the post-war period, with the rise and universal expansion of Communism, the Jesuits have been active, with their usual tireless energy, in promoting a religious brand of Marxism, that has caused untold suffering and bloodshed, particularly in Latin America and Africa. It is called “Liberation Theology.” Priests in Latin America, particularly the Jesuits, began to depict Christ as a revolutionary, “liberating” the “oppressed” by means of violence. Jesuits wrote manuals inspired by Marxism, distorting the Scriptures to make them appear to support their new “theology”; and sadly, the devout Roman Catholics of Latin America, ignorant of the Scriptures, believed them.


Throughout Latin America, the “guerilla priests” multiplied, fighting alongside the revolutionaries, killing and being killed in skirmishes with government forces, and constantly advocating violence. A Jesuit named Luis Pellecer stated in 1981, “Every Jesuit in Central America is actively serving not God, but Marxism and the revolution.” Another Jesuit, Ernesto Cardenal, became Nicaragua’s minister of culture when the Marxists came to power there (indeed, Jesuits have held some top posts in Latin American governments). The Jesuits have not changed. They are as active, today, in politics as they have ever been, working ceaselessly for their great goal: a world controlled from Rome. And they do not care how much blood must be shed, how many wars must be started, as long as they achieve their plans.


The Jesuits and 20th-Century Protestantism

They have not been idle, in the twentieth century, in working for the destruction of Protestantism. We can be absolutely certain that there are Jesuit agents within the Protestant institutions today, who without any doubt hold top positions in many of these around the world; and we can be certain of this for three very good reasons. Firstly, history reveals that they have been infiltrating Protestant institutions almost since their very inception; and there is absolutely no reason to doubt that they are still doing so, for why should they have ceased, when such infiltration pays off? Thus their track record assures us that they are still doing so. Secondly (and this is something very few are aware of), although there were, in 1990, officially almost 24 000 Jesuits operating in 113 countries, the Order has always had “secret auxilliaries” in positions of influence: official members of the Society – but secret ones! Historian Paris wrote: “It is the same today; the 33 000 official members of the Society operate all over the world in the capacity of her personnel, officers of a truly secret army containing in its ranks heads of political parties, high ranking officials, generals, magistrates, physicians, Faculty professors, etc.”


Tens of thousands of secret members of the Society, holding influential posts without anyone being aware of their real identity! He might have added, “Protestant ministers”; for there is historical evidence of their infiltration of Protestantism. Thirdly, that they have indeed successfully penetrated Protestantism worldwide is demonstrated by the hard evidence, there for all to see: Protestantism worldwide is in disarray and retreat, confused doctrinally, collapsing organically, and rushing headlong into unity with the Roman Catholic institution. As this cannot be disputed, we are left with the conclusion that, knowing how they have worked, and for what purpose, ever since they were founded, they have been, quite obviously, extremely successful in achieving their centuries-old goal. Apart from a tiny remnant of truly Biblical Protestants, standing apart and separate from the universal “ecumenical movement”, and maintaining a witness for the truth of the Gospel, Protestantism is dead. But the destruction of Protestantism did not just “happen”: it was made to happen.


And which organisation, of all the organisations that have existed upon the earth in the past four centuries, has worked with such ruthless cunning, and such tireless zeal, for the destruction of Protestantism? The Jesuit Order. And, as this Order has controlled the Papacy for centuries, this is in line with the prophetic Word, which declares that the Great Whore, the religion of the Papal Antichrist, has always been the greatest enemy of biblical Christianity in existence (Rev. 17; Rev. 19; 2 Thess. 2; Dan. 7). Before the Jesuit Order existed, Rome used other means to make war against the saints of God; but in the past four centuries, the Jesuits have been Rome’s most powerful weapon. Thus we find God’s prophetic Word, and the witness of history, agreeing together (as indeed they always do) to condemn the Jesuit Order.


The purpose of this short work has been to give a documented overview, a concise exposé of this sinister and diabolical Order. It is sent forth with the prayer that it will enlighten many. Pastors must warn their flocks of the enemies of the Gospel and of the Church of Christ (Acts 20:28-31). Christians must be on their guard, trying the spirits (1 Jn. 4:1), testing all that they hear with the Word of God, and examining the spiritual credentials of those who say they are Christ’s (Rev. 2:9), or who say they are his ministers (Rev. 2:2), and are not. This is not to say that every false teacher that appears on the scene is a Jesuit! We have met some who seem to think so, and they do far more harm than good, with wild and unfounded accusations. But Christians must be aware of the bigger picture: that there are forces at work, under the direction of the evil “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), waging war against the Church of Christ, and the true Gospel; that Romanism, “the Mother of harlots” (Rev. 17:5), has always been the greatest enemy of the Church and the Gospel; and that the Jesuits are therefore at the very centre of Satan’s purposes, for they rule over the Papal system.


The evidence speaks for itself: let all Christians take heed. And may each believer, by faith in his sovereign Lord, go forward in his service, knowing assuredly that the day is coming when all the enemies of the Lord Christ and his Church will face his wrath; and then, “who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:17). Then shall all his enemies be cast into the lake of fire; all “sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (and the Jesuits have been, and are, guilty of all these sins), shall be shut out of the presence of the Lord forever (Rev. 22:15).





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