Secret Instructions of the Jesuits
The Secret Instructions of the Jesuits (Latin: Secreta Monita Societatis Jesu), sometimes known simply as the Monita Secreta, is a pamphlet published anonymously in 1614 by Hieronim Zahorowski. The document was authored by a former novitiate of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Zahorowski had hopes of becoming a priest for the Society, but after he failed his exam, despite studying for many years, he grew bitter and as a form of revenge released this document, claiming it was a set of diabolical secret instructions authored by the Superior General of the Society, Claudio Acquaviva. The document has been translated into many different languages and has been a particularly popular weapon amongst the Jansenists and Masons in France, as well as the Protestants in the areas of the British Empire.
Background story in Poland
Zahorowski was born to a wealthy Orthodox Christian aristocratic family in the Volhynia region (what is today in the Western Ukraine). The area had become part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a decade or so before Zahorowsi was born and saw an influx of both Catholic Poles and Jews. Typically for reasons of social prestige, some of the local Orthodox elites converted to Catholicism, Zahorowski amongst them, having converted while studying at the Jesuit College in Lublin and joining the Society of Jesus in 1599 as a novitiate.
The Jesuits placed a high importance on education, teaching the trivium and the process of formation for becoming a priest of the society wasn't easy, requiring high intelligence, time and dedication. Zahorowski himself was studying in one form or another (theology, philosophy, rhetoric, syntax, etc) for thirteen years after becoming affiliated with the Jesuits in 1599, taking him all over the nation. This included spells at institutions in Krakow, Yaroslavl, Lublin, Kalisz, Lviv and Pozan. However, while he was studying theology at Pozan between the years 1609-1612 he failed his exam and thus could not become a fully fledged Jesuit priest.
Zahorowski had to content himself with being ordained as a secular priest in 1612, serving at a parish priest in Gwoździec. Frustrated with his experience with the Jesuits and his dreams shattered, Zahorowski, while a teacher in the lower orders of the Collegium Gostomianum took to writing a stream of anti-Jesuit polemics, for which he was removed in December 1613 and officially expelled from the Order. As an attempt to get revenge, he authored the Secreta Monita which was published with the help of Prince George Zbaraski (whose father was Janusz Zbaraski, a Protestant Voivode of Braclaw) attributing all kinds of nefarious policies to the Jesuits, claiming to be a secret program authored by Claudio Acquaviva, the Superior General of the Jesuits.
The publication and author was condemned in a special edict issued by Marcin Szyszkowski, Bishop of Krakow in 1616 as "filled with slander and libel." Zahorowski, while remaining a parish priest, became embroiled in a legal case with the Jesuits over assets transferred upon joining the Order. Later, Zahorowski became a parish priest at Kamionce and began a process of restoring a church which has been closed during the time of the Protestant Reformation in Poland. As his life came to an end, Zahorowski actually reconciled with the Jesuits and the Provincial Superior of Poland allowed for his burial in the crypt at the Jesuit Church of St. John the Baptist in Lublin, following his death in 1634. Despite this, the affair of the Secreta Monita Societis Jesu would not end with Zahorowski's death but would remain a stock weapon of anti-Jesuits for centuries.
Afterlife of the Monita Secreta
The document has been translated into numerous different languages for use as a tool in different feuds at different times in history. It has a particularly prominent history in France and the Anglosphere (United Kingdom and United States especially). Along with the so-called "Extreme Oath of Induction" (probably devised c. 1912 by the Yankee Quaker Thomas S. Butler, originally as an attack on the Knights of Columbus), it is the main card played to prove that the Jesuits are the "true force" behind "it all." While few serious critics of the Jesuits use it today, the document if invoked, is usually done so by American or Lowland Scots Protestant Judeophiles, who are trying to prove that "its not the Jews" -- Eric Jon Phelps is a good example of this species.
Measured up against practice
Some of the people who present themselves as opposed to the Jesuits, such as the Protestant Richard Frederick Littledale, yet have accepted that the Monita Secreta itself is not actually what it purports to be; that is to say a genuine document written up by the Superior General for official instruction of its members; have asked that the words contained be measured up against the actual practices of the Society in any case. This is similar in a sense to how many Jew-wise people ask that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion be approached.
Commonly cited in this regard is the position espoused by Juan de Mariana✡ from the School of Salamanca (who has been praised by the Ludwig von Mises Institute as a forefather of libertarianism) in his De rege et regis institutione (1598) which states that it is lawful to overthrow a tyrant. When Henry IV Bourbon, King of France was assassinated by François Ravaillac in 1610, it made some in France later very open to the idea that the Monita Secreta was real. In any case, two things are worth noting; (1) de Mariana had Jewish blood (2) the vast majority of the original Monarchomachs, that is to say theorists who advocate popular sovereignty contrary to the king, were Calvinists.
- Secreta monita ou Advis secrets de la Société de Jésus (1661)
- Le Cabinet Jésuitique, contenant plusieurs pièces très curieuses des R. Père Jésuites (1669)
- Les Intrigues secrètes de Jesuites, traduites du Monita secreta (1718)
- Les Mystères les plus secrets des Jesuites contenus en diverses pièces originales (1727)
- Monita secreta Societatis Jesu: Instructions secrètes des jésuites (1879) published by Charles Sauvestre
- A Translation from the French of the Jesuits' Intrigues (1669) published by Henry Compton
- Secret Instructions of the Jesuits: Printed Verbatim from the London Copy of 1725 (1831) published by William McGavin
- The Secret Counsels of the Society of Jesus, in Latin and English (1835) published by Robert Jefferson Breckinridge
- The Secret Instructions of the Jesuits, in Latin And English (1857) by William Craig Brownlee
- El Jesuita sagaz: o consejos secretos que da un jesuita a los hermanos de la Compañia a fin de que esta llegue a dominar el orbe entero (1845)
- Die geheimen Instruktionen der Jesuiten; Latinische und Deutsche (1924) published by Julius Hochstetter
- Ludwig von Mises Institute (6 January 2013). "Biography of Juan de Mariana: The Influence of the Spanish Scholastics (1536-1624) ". External link in
- The Daily Bell (6 January 2013). "The Conversation of Freedom is Not Jewish". External link in
- Jesuits of Jewish Ancestry: A Biographical Dictionary (6 January 2013). "Mariana, Juan de". External link in
- Highlights: The “Secret Instructions of the Jesuits” by Eric Jon Phelps
- Secret Instructions of the Jesuits by Hieronim Zahorowski (William Craig Brownlee translation)