Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Event Analysis Michael Waskiewicz

On Thursday November 8 I attended a talk given by Dr. Robert Miola a professor here at Loyola College.  Dr. Miola is a graduate of Fordham University, and has published twelve books.  Dr. Robert Miola focussed his discussion on Shakespeare and the Jesuits, specifically how they were depicted during Protestant England.  This talk also focused on if Shakespeare himself was a Catholic, and how poorly the Jesuits were viewed as in this time period.

William Westin and Henry Garnet were two Jesuit priests from the Protestant England time period.  Both of them openly practiced their beliefs and accepted the consequences that came with this.  William Weston was a priest who was known for the exorcisms that he performed.  Many of the people at this time did not believe that they were real, and believed that they did not do anything.  He told the story of a man who Weston was attempting to help.  The man said that God had left him and that he saw the devil.  He claimed that his mind was terrorized by sin.  Weston read this man the Ten Commandments in order to help him, and it worked.  The devil disappeared from his visions.  This story proved that Weston could really perform exorcisms, even though many of the public did not believe this was true.

Henry Garnet had the reputation of being a liar.  Many people viewed him as a fraud and he was accused of equivocation.  He did not get into trouble for this charge, but he was later accused of treason against the queen and was put to death.  Garnet devoted himself to Saint Augustine and Saint Ignatius by performing daily prayer and self-reflections.  He was devoted to being a Jesuit and followed the Jesuit mission and practiced Catholic beliefs.  Today Garnet is viewed as a martyr for practicing his faith and accepting the consequences of death, no matter what the cost.

Dr. Miola also brought up the debate about whether Shakespeare was a Catholic or not.  There is no definite answer to this question, but there is some evidence that shows that he may have been a Catholic.  In Shakespeare's plays "Macbeth" and "Hamlet" there are references to purgatory and even directly to Jesuit priests.  At the end of the story "Macbeth," Macbeth, himself becomes a Jesuit.  Shakespeare also mentions purgatory in "Hamlet."  Shakespeare may have hidden his religion and kept it quiet because he did not want to have to go through the same hardships and troubles that both William Weston and Henry Garnet had to endure.

During that time period Protestantism was the only accepted form of religion.  In today's society people are free to choose their religion, and any religion is accepted.  Today's society follows the Jesuit mission of attempting to create justice in the world by giving people the freedom to choose whichever religion they like.  Weston and Garnet both suffered a lot during their lives in order to spread the word of god and the Jesuit mission.  Shakespeare, Catholic or not, introduced Catholicism into some of his stories which introduced Catholicism a little more to the public.  All three of these men were dedicated to changing the society of that time period, in order to make freedom of religion more available to the public.

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