Ignatius Loyola’s Militant Vision for his Society

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St. Ignatius synthesized his vision of the goals, lifestyle, and action of his order in the “Formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus”, and had it incorporated into two papal documents signed by Pope Paul III in 1540 and by Pope Julius II in 1550. This is the manifesto that his followers have to uphold in order to be authentic Ignatians. It leaves no doubt about the militant spirit of the Society:

“Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God ((Spanish: “todo el que quiera militar para Dios”) beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the Name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defence and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine, by means of public preaching, lectures and any other ministration whatsoever of the Word of God, and further by means of retreats, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity, and the spiritual consolation of Christ’s faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments. Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals, and indeed, to perform any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good.”