JESUITS " Sot,-Reading with deep interest Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode's new edition of Dr. David Mathew's history of Catholicism in England (Henry VIII till now), I find at pages 73-4 a passage beginning: " In any discussion of Catholicism in England It is essential not to shirk the question of the profound unponularitY of the Jesuits. It is very difficult to explain it completely."
Dr. Mathew seems to attribute that unpopularity (which, however, perhaps is less than may seem) largely to the Jesuit system of education ,being different from that of the Engltsh non-Catholic public schools, Does such an explanation go to the root of the problem?
In his very vivid book, How the Reformation Happened (1928; p. 227), Hilaire Belton wrote thus of the 16th-century Council of Trent: " Because it defined. ordered, and imposed much, do the enemies of the Church continue to abuse it. They accuse it of making Catholicism a new, a narrow, a mechanical thing, with its precision of rule and strengthening of central authority. But their motive is apparent. They arc vexed that the Church, by such an action, was saved," On pp. 232-3 of the same excellent book Belloc says of the Jesuits themselves: "Those who speak of the failure of the Jesuits in what they attempted and still attempt do not understand the nature either of success or of the Faith. They do not see that a thing designed for forlorn hopes, for the most difficult of situationt, an instrument specially thrown against the positions of greatest peril and least opportunity, is not to be measured by what is unattainable; but by what II attained. . . The Jesuits, for all the tortures they suffered and for all their hardly human constancy, did not save England as they saved Poland. But who else made anything like that effort against such odds? "
A militant, energetic body of skilled warriors, who assail the foe with much suocess, or a Government which saves a State against deadly foes, will be " profoundly unpopular" with those foes and their adherents. What more is needed to explain the degree (which, however, must not be exaggerated) of unpopularity of both the Trent Council and the Society of Jesus amongst many non-Catholics?
J. W. Poverrna.
994,451,4*pr Avenue, lAtSf,