Jesuit Priests through the image of Shakespeare
On November 8th Dr. Robert Miola, a professor here at Loyola College spoke about the connection of the Shakespearean time period in Protestant England according to the lives of two Jesuit Priests, William Westin, and Henry Garnet. Dr. Miola depicted that Shakespeare was a dedicated Jesuit, but that William Westin and Henry Garnet were seen as untrustworthy Jesuit Priests.
Dr. Miola talked about how people thought that William Westin and Henry Garnet committed unlawful acts and had the reputations of lying and committing fraud in their daily acts when in fact this really was not true. Dr. Miola then gave an example of when Westin read the Ten Commandments to a man whom he encountered, making Satan disappear in his thoughts and actions. Garnet, a mathematician and theologian, was killed because he was accused of lying to the Queen. These two Jesuit Priests in reality were simply following their Jesuit values and were not going to lie about their Christianity to please anyone.
Dr. Miola then began to talk about the connection between Shakespeare and these two Jesuit Priests. He proclaimed that since Shakespeare was considered to be a catholic, an example of Jesuit tradition was portrayed in the play Macbeth because at the end of the play, Macbeth, the main character, becomes a Jesuit.
Living in England during the Protestant Era, Jesuits Priests were looked down upon, because the only true religion to be practiced was Protestant. People were forbidden to worship any other religion including Christianity. Hundreds of people were forced to change their religion and become Protestant or they would be killed. Jesuit Priests William Westin and Henry Garnet knew that they could not deny God in their quest for Christianity. Many people felt that they were not good priests when in actuality they were following their Jesuit traditions, but they felt that God was worth dying for at the end of the day.
Dr. Miola presented his audience with the idea that living by Jesuit values is greater than changing your religion to please another group of people. Westin was thought to have made fake exorcisms by reading the Ten Commandments to a man and making the devil disappear. Garnet was looked upon as a Jesuit priest who wrote an equivocate to defend another Jesuit named Priest Suttle. Westin wrote the equivocate in order to defend Suttle because Suttle had written a pamphlet saying that Christ would lie from time to time, a common way to save a priests life. In the equivocate, Westin claims that Jesuit priests took St. Augustine very seriously as well as lots of strenuous training, and daily praying.
In reality, Jesuits, especially priests, are continuing to carry the influence of Jesus Christ in our lives according to the Jesuit Values in which he has given us. Jesuit Priests, William Westin, and Henry Garnet lived their lives according to their Jesuit Values, but in a time period where what they believed in was an illegal act. Garnet was killed for what he believed in, and died as a martyr. As a student at Loyola College, a private Jesuit institution, living a life by the Jesuits is a daily part of life, and something which I will continue to abide by. Being able to give back to the community for the less fortunate is just one way in which I demonstrate the Jesuit values in which I have been raised by. The four key core values which embody the mission of Loyola, William Westin, and Henry Garnet were demonstrated through the speech that Dr. Robert Miola presented last Thursday evening. They are shown through my academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and work experience which have beneficially furthered my development, and will continue to be a major part of my life.