Any group that rises quickly, become close to the ones in power, become powerful in their own right, amass large amount s of money, and become quite popular become an object of suspicion and rumors. The Jesuits were founded in the early period of the Renaissance and quickly rose in number and power. It did not take long before they became the object of wrath and rumors. The Jesuits became one of the earliest rumored secret societies in history.
The Society of Jesus was founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1540. It was originally called “The Company of Jesus” with the intention to educate and send out missionaries. The order grew quickly and spread throughout Europe. As the order grew, so did their popularity with the papacy. It did not take long before jealousy raised its ugly green head. Many vied for the ear of the papacy and the approval of the reigning Pope. As the Jesuits were in that position, they became the object of hate and persecution.
Enough pressure from royal courts forced Pope Clement XIV in 1773 suppressed the order. This led to assumed approval to persecute the Jesuits. Their property was illegally confiscated across Europe and there were driven underground. It wouldn’t be until 1814 that the order was reinstated by Pope Pius VII as the need for education was seen and the Jesuits were renown for their educational system.
Their numbers increased again quickly. It was not long before their numbers were higher than when they were suppressed. With this rise, the presence of the Jesuits was seen throughout royal courts and positions of power. This led to renewed accusations of influencing and controlling governments. Many accused the order of unethical and criminal political moves that resulted in the death of many innocent people.
One of the most horrific accusations toward the Jesuits is their role in World War II and Nazi Germany. Many have stated that it is the Jesuits who brought Hitler to power, gave him the means to begin his advance against Europe, and the approval and support to exterminate all Jews. With the Jesuit influence and money, they supposedly saw a way to keep their power and rid Europe of all that stood against them. They are said to hide under the power of the Church and are the secret army of assassins the Church uses to achieve its means.
Some have even stated their role in the massacres of the Native Americans by Cortez and other explorers. Anyone within and without the Vatican who have opposed the Jesuits have been rumored to have been murdered.
This is one secret society that history can support in many areas. The society does exist. It has a long history of influence and power. A review of history shows much jealousy aimed at the order which have resulted in persecution and allegations of murder and corruption. How much of it is true can only be speculated at. They are either the object of power hungry groups or they really are what their enemies claim.
As for now, history can only say that the Jesuits are the main educational branch of the Catholic Church who have been persecuted many centuries and accused of horrendous actions throughout history.