What does Jesuit mean

Who or what are “Jesuits” - and what is the “Jesuit Order”?

Both terms can be traced back to the Spaniard Ignatius von Loyola (* 1491 / ° 1556) who founded the “Society of Jesus” (* 1491 / ° 1556) in Paris in 1534 with the taking of the vow of poverty and celibacy.“Societas Jesu“) Founded by Pope Paul III in 1540. (* 1468 / ° 1549) with the founding bull "Regimini militantis ecclesiae" (“To the government of the Warring Church“) Was sanctioned.

Loyola's movement, that of the "Jesuits" / "Jesuit Order", was now recognized by the papal side.

The general"

From then on, Ignatius von Loyola tried to achieve the goals as spokesman and “general” - almost like a crusade - until his death (V.defending and spreading the catholic faith worldwide) to enforce his order, which does not live in monasteries but is organized according to military rules. And with some success!


The highest principles of the order were - among other things -

  • renunciation of everything worldly,
  • proselytizing unbelievers (for example in Africa, India and America),
  • the fight against heresy as well
  • the upbringing and education of the members of the order.


Ignatius founded Jesuit seminars, from which an inexhaustible number of Jesuit teachers, trainers and heralds of the Catholic faith emerged in the period that followed. The schedule was extensive, and included studying philosophy, mathematics, Latin, theology, literature, physics and much more.

A graduate of this education was / is not only considered to be extremely clever, knowledgeable and competent, but was / is - so it is said - also thoroughly convinced of the greatness of the Catholic Church.


Although the Jesuits were also exposed to persecution over the centuries, suspected of conspiracy, banned as a medal in the 18th century and referred to as a "pest of the people" in the Nazi Empire, they are - in the opinion of the people - still valid today (as in "SPIEGEL-Online" from 13/14. March 2013 to read) as “Intellectual spearhead of the Catholic Church“.

Speaking of which

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was elected on March 13, 2013 and comes from Argentina, now Pope Francis, is the first Jesuit to sit on the “See of Peter”, as everyone in the world never tires of, who - it seems - is already in the first During the days of his pontificate, he tried to orientate his office according to the principles of the Jesuit order (including modesty, renunciation of status symbols, humility).

Author: Manfred Zorn