Monita Secreta

Alleged secret code of instructions from Acquaviva, fifth general of the Society of Jesus, to the various superiors of the Society, outlining methlods for the increase of Jesuit power and influence. Rich young men were to be enticed into the ranks, wealthy widows wheedled of their fortunes, Jesuits advanced to bishoprics, and other orders belittled, while the world was to be persuaded that the Society was animated by the purest motives. The "Monita" are the fabrication of one Jerome Zahorowski, a Pole, who was discharged from the Society in 1611. They first appeared in 1612 at Cracow in manuscript form, and were printed in the same city in 1614. Credit for the supposed original discovery was most commonly assigned to Duke Christian of Brunswick. Having been born, however, in 1599, he was but a mere boy when they first saw the light. The place of discovery was variously set down as Paderborn, Prague, Liege, Antwerp and Glatz. Subsequent attempts were made to revive the legend, notably in the early 19th century, when an undated edition appeared professing to issue from the Propaganda Press and bearing the testimonies of various Jesuit authorities. Unfortunately, however, the forger discovered a new general, "Felix Aconiti," a personage utterly unknown in the annals of the Society. The external evidence is no less convincing. Bishop Lipski of Cracow (1616) and all Jesuit writers have denounced the fabrication from the first. To these may be added such pronounced anti-Jesuits as von Lang, Dollinger, Friedrich, Huber and Reusch, as well as the Protestant historian Gieseler.

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