Category Archives: Jesuit History

#288 – The Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism

The Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism – Xǔ Guāngqǐ, Lǐ Zhīzǎo, and Yáng Tíngyún worked with Jesuit missionaries such as Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ to bring the knowledge of Western science and Catholic faith into China. However, for these Three Pillars, adoption of Christianity was not seen as something new – rather it was seen […]

#277 – Cenodoxus and the Dangers of Pride

During the Counter-Reformation, Jesuits used theater to warn of the dangers of Hell and the guide to the glories of Heaven. Performances of Jacob Bidermann, SJ’s Cenodoxus were no exception, causing some audience members to do penance and leading others into religious vocations. Links: Websites about Cenodoxus and Jacob Bidermann can be found here and […]

#273 – The Coonan Cross Oath

During the Age of Exploration, the encounter between the Thomas Christians of India and the Portuguese led to a tragic schism whose effects are still felt today. Against the threats of Latinization, the Thomas Christians struggled to preserve their faith and traditions. Links: Website of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Website with much information on […]

Today in Catholic History – The Restoration of the Society of Jesus

On 7 August 1814, Pope Pius VII issued the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum or “The care of all churches” which ended Clement XIV’s 1773 suppression of the Society of Jesus and restored the order throughout the world. Clement XIV had been compelled to suppress the Jesuits due to the strong feelings against them by the […]

Today in Catholic History – Exposcit Debitum

On 21 July 1550, Pope Julius III issued the Bull Exposcit Debitum [The Duty Requires] giving final approval to the foundation of the Society of Jesus/Jesuits. This document continues to be the defining text for the mission and charism of the Society of Jesus today. The Bull clearly reflects the spirituality of the Jesuit as […]

Today in Catholic History – Ex Quo Singulari

On 11 July 1742, Pope Benedict XIV issued the bull Ex Quo Singulari which addressed the issues of Catholic missionary activity in China and the Chinese Rites Controversy. Following the example of Matteo Ricci, the Jesuit missionaries in China sought to present the Catholic faith in a way more compatible to traditional Chinese practices so […]

Today in Catholic History – The Baptism of Chitomachon

On the 5th of July, 1640, having been sufficiently instructed in the mysteries of faith, he [the Tayac or Emperor Chitomachon] received the Sacramental waters with solemnity in a little chapel, which for that ceremony and for divine worship he had erected in Indian fashion out of the bark of trees. These are the words […]

Today in Catholic History – Synod of Diamper

On 20 June 1599, the Synod of Diamper began in Udayamperoor/Diamper in Kerala, India] under the leadership of Archbishop Aleixi de Menezes.* When the Portuguese encountered the Thomas Christians after the arrival of explorer Vasco de Gama in 1498, the Thomas Christians were part of the Assyrian Church of the East or Chaldean Church.* As […]

Today in Catholic History – Augustin Bea becomes first president of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity

On 6 June 1960, Cardinal Augustin Bea became the first president for the newly established Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, a department within the Curia responsible for promoting ecumenical relations. Pope John Paul II will later change its name to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Initially, the responsibilities of the Secretariat were to […]

#234 – Martyrdom and Apostasy

Shusako Endo’s book Silence describes the trials and persecutions of the Japanese Catholic Church during the late 1500s and 1600s. But what Endo describes in fiction, Fr. Cristóvão Ferreira, SJ found very real. Links: Hubert Cieslik, S.J. The Case of Christovao Ferreira. The true story behind Endo Shusaku’s best-selling novel Silence. Silence by Shusaku Endo […]


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