Maryks Robert Aleksander - The jesuit order as a synagogue of jews

Author : Maryks Robert Aleksander
Title : The jesuit order as a synagogue of jews Jesuits of jewish ancestry and purity-of-blood laws in the early society of Jesus
Year : 2010

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Introduction. In an email reacting to my lecture on the Jesuits of Jewish origins at the Jesuit Ricci Institute of Macau in November 2007, a Jesuit told me briefl y the story of his Jewish lineage. While his other Sephardic ancestors went to Istanbul, Baghdad, Tehran, and - through the Silk Road - up to Shanghai, where they remained Jewish until today, both his grandparents were descendants of Jews who settled in Palermo and Trabia (Sicily), where they converted to Catholicism in order to survive (in the baptismal registers, which are still extant, they are described as “usurers”). Yet, they kept practicing Judaism secretly. From Friday evening through Saturday evening, his grandfather would hide the image of baby Jesus from a large framed picture of St. Anthony that he kept in his home. It was, in fact, a wind-up music box. On Fridays he would wind up the mechanism and push a button, so that Jesus would disappear out of St. Anthony’s arms, hidden in the upper frame of the picture. On Saturdays, he then would push the button again, so that Jesus would come back out from hiding into St. Anthony’s arms. As eldest son in his family, my correspondent was told this story by his father (who passed away in 1979), who also had asked him to eat only kosher food. None of his siblings was required to do so - they in fact hide their origins, since they are a devout practicing Catholic family. Had the Jesuit who wrote me this email asked to enter the Jesuit Order between 1593 and 1608, his Jewish ancestry would have constituted a legal impediment to his admission, just because his character would have been allegedly compromised by his impure blood, no matter how distant his Jewish ancestors were. Had he asked to become a Jesuit between 1608 and 1946, his background would have been reviewed up to the fi ft h generation and the story of his heterodox paternal grandfather could, therefore, have been cited as reason to prevent him from entering the Order. However, had he become a professed Jesuit between 1540 and 1593, no law would have prevented him from following his vocation, even though not every confrere would have supported it. ...

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