November 14, 2007
Jesuit priests were depicted poorly during Protestant England. This is shocking because today the Jesuits live by their mission, which servers and helps others. During his speech on Thursday, November 8, 2007, Dr. Robert Miola, a professor here at Loyola College, focused his discussion on Shakespeare and the Jesuits named William Westin and Henry Garnet. These two Jesuit Priests had very bad reputations and were seen as fakes when truly they were the opposite.
Miola posed the question if Shakespeare was a Catholic and if his plays can help us determine this. This question remains unanswered; however, many people have there own opinions. Miola said that some people believed Shakespeare was Catholic because at the end of Macbeth, Macbeth becomes a Jesuit. Also, Shakespeare mentioned purgatory in Hamlet.
Westin was noted for performing exorcisms, but many did not believe they were real. He told a story about a man who was being terrorized by his sins; therefore, he was seeing the devil. Westin read the Ten Commandments to the man and the devil disappeared. This story proved that Westin was no fake.
Garnet’s reputation was that of a liar and a fraud because he was held responsible for equivocation. He wrote the doctrine of equivocation to defend another Jesuit priest. It said that they took Saint Augustine seriously, trained in classes, and performed the daily Examen made by St. Ignatius. The Examen is a quick pray exercise that allows anyone to reflect on their day and their relationship with God. This is an essential aspect of a Jesuit Priests life. Garnet wrote that you cannot equivocate, or pretend to be one thing, because every Christian needs to suffer for Christ if need be. Garnet was a martyr; killed for treason against the queen.
During this time in England, the only acceptable religion was Protestant. Many people lied about their true religion, so they would not be killed. Garnet was saying this was wrong and if you were Catholic you should not hide it, even if it meant your life.
Today the Jesuit priests live by serving others to improve our world. Here at Loyola College, the Jesuits educate our body, mind, and soul. They provide us with plenty of opportunities to reach out to the less fortunate and they prepare us for the future in the classroom by making us well-rounded individuals.
It is hard to see how these men who act in compassion were neglected and known as liars during Shakespeare’s time. I believe the only reason for this was because of the time period. Despite not being accepted, the Jesuits proved they were true believers of God and they never gave up. Many early Jesuits died for their faith and because of their struggle Jesuits today do not have to defend their beliefs. Instead they can practice Catholicity freely and better our world.