“Missiones Castrenses”: Jesuits and Soldiers between Pastoral Care and Violence

in Journal of Jesuit Studies

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

The essays that make up this issue of the Journal explore the relations between the Society of Jesus and military life, highlighting the connections between the discipline of war, violence, and religious practice in different contexts from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. There are two, interwoven, principal themes: on one side, the pamphlets written for officers and soldiers (Lavenia offers a fresco of this literature over a long period; Tricoire focuses on the Polish case); and on the other, the experience of the Jesuits within the armies, through the chaplains’ missions, hospital assistance, the setting up of confraternities and associations (Boltanski analyses the France of the wars of religion; Civale the case of the papal troops sent to support the Catholics against the Huguenots in 1569). The contributors have concentrated in the main on the early modern period, but Lavenia and Paiano take the investigation through to the First World War, during which—as the Italian case shows—Jesuits served as chaplains and did their best to win over the army to the Catholic cause, in a climate of brutal nationalism and militarism. Therefore the remit of the authors has not been to revisit the theology and casuistry of war as elaborated by such writers as Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), Gabriel Vázquez (1549–1604), Giovanni Botero (1544–1617), Juan Azor (1535–1603), Luis de Molina (1535–1600), Juan de Mariana (1536–1624), Adam Contzen (1571–1635), Carlo Scribani (1561–1629), Maximilian van der Sandt (1578–1656);1 nor to deal with the confessors of kings and validos who supported the military decisions of the Catholic states with their advice;2 nor yet to examine the field of the art of war, even if some Jesuits compiled lexica and military tracts, or even served as engineers.3 Only touched on, besides, is the theme of preaching and the printing of sermons inspired by war, which are numerous enough up to the twentieth century, especially during mobilization or on the occasion of exemplary deaths.4 The direction of these inquiries belongs rather with that current of studies which concerns itself with the links between discipline, violence, and religion.

For the early modern period, the confrontation between Islam and Christian Europe and the renewal of incitements to holy war in the Catholic/Protestant conflicts have given rise to a fecund season of studies. Without including research into the fallout from the Reconquista in the Iberian peninsula, or into single incidents such as Lepanto, we can look at the collections of essays that have extended the study of the relationship between life at the front, the legitimization of war and hostility for religious causes beyond the watershed of Westphalia—when, according to Carl Schmitt (1888–1985), the European wars were “neutralized.”5 The link between faith, violence, and conflict has been highlighted in relation to several moments: the French civil troubles;6 the Thirty Years’ War, as its fourth centenary approaches;7 religious conflicts in seventeenth-century England;8 and finally Spanish resistance to revolutionary France. For modern Europe, I merely recall the aggression of Francisco Franco against the republican regime in Spain, which saw many priests in the front line, promoting a new holy war against the enemies of the church.9

Four centuries earlier, the struggle against Islamic empires, colonial incursions into areas of the world inhabited by “pagans” and “idolaters” and fratricidal struggles in Europe had kept alive the doctrine of holy war, shaping, beyond the different religious faiths, a common ideology aimed at mobilizing believers on a scale hitherto unknown. But while a “military revolution” was taking place, maintaining the importance of fighting for faith did not simply mean justifying or promoting violence by adapting the vocabulary of the crusades to early modern wars. It was also a question of proposing—or imposing—an exterior and interior discipline capable of deflecting brutality and tempering a propensity towards those sins for which the soldiery was pilloried by satire and Erasmian literature: pillage, duelling, rape, lechery, blasphemy, bigamy, superstition, sacrilege, and godlessness. This meant essentially setting up a model of a zealous soldier which was at odds with a reality in which violence did not distinguish between civilians and troops,10 while conscripts would long continue to be undisciplined and far from devout, although both the Catholic and Protestant party would set up as examples the warriors of the Old Testament (David, the Maccabees, Samson) and any number of saints, paladins, kings, sailors, and Christian leaders. Boltanski and Civale demonstrate the extent to which the effort at forging a Catholic soldier was a fruitless one during the French wars of religion. But the attempt at disciplining the miles Christianus was not without effect and did favor the steady increase in civil ordinances, the establishment of barracks, schools and military tribunals, the introduction of regulated recruitment, and the emergence of a literature aimed at chaplains and those taking up the profession of arms—not only the nobility, but captains and other ranks able to read. The inventors of this genre of catechisms—almost always in the vernacular—were the Jesuits, who committed themselves to working with soldiers and sailors from the Society’s foundation.11

As we will see, the Jesuits were also at the forefront of the process that led to the establishment of regular, hierarchically structured chaplaincies, which between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries rendered the ad hoc war preaching of the past obsolete. Historians have often referred to this period as the “age of discipline”; and its social models, according to the thesis advanced by Oestreich, were based on an idealized miles perpetuus as envisaged by Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) in his Politicorum libri sex (1589); they aimed at moulding a well-trained soldier ready to kill in the name of a good cause: not the crusading knight (a superannuated icon) but the officer or recruit appropriately inducted into large infantry formations. Thus, the neo-Stoic argued, the soldiery would evolve from an anarchic and mercenary rabble to an exemplary corps; the underpinning of the disciplined state. His ideas were forged in the face of the horrors of the wars in Flanders and met with a favorable reception beyond religious boundaries; nonetheless, we can remember, with Oestreich, that Lipsius had been educated in the Jesuit college in Cologne, and that his project owed much to the methods of the ex-courtier Ignatius and his Exercises. As we shall see, the image of the Jesuits as the commandos of the church, the Society’s discipline, its examples of missionary sainthood (from Ignatius and Xavier onwards), were connected to the actual experience of war, since Jesuits—as recalled by Civale—from the times of Francisco de Borja (in office 1565–72) were active on various war fronts, particularly under the aegis of the Iberian empires.12 Moreover, Lipsius was in direct contact with Scribani, Thomas Sailly (1553–1623), and Antonio Possevino (1533–1611). This last, in fact, recommended the works of the philosopher in his Bibliotheca selecta (1593).13

Possevino was the author of Il soldato christiano (1569), the earliest example, together with a text by Edmond Auger (1530–91), of a genre of catechism that would have a long history. These booklets have attracted the interest of some scholars,14 while a good part of the history of early modern chaplains—often themselves authors of such pamphlets—remains to be written. The proceedings of a conference held a decade or so ago neglect the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: a crucial moment for understanding the development of the missio castrensis and how it contributed to the genesis of the disciplined soldier in the barracks of nation states.15 Specific in-depth studies do exist for seventeenth-century England and for Prussia,16 not to mention Sweden; and there is no lack of research into the Catholic world, especially the Spanish monarchy and France (where the Jesuits operated alongside the Lazarites from the seventeenth century, rejoicing in the expulsion of Huguenots from the army in 1685).17 But a comparative study, for the early modern period, does not exist—there are more studies available for the twentieth century. For this reason, the present issue of the Journal will try to link the circulation of catechisms with some of the experiences of Jesuits as missionaries among the soldiery.

The turning point for the Society was the conflict between Spain and the Netherlands.18 It was in Flanders that Sailly, a frequenter of the Plantin printing house circle,19 and previously secretary to Possevino, drafted his own catechism, founded and directed the missio castrensis, and established a confraternity for piously inclined soldiers. Significantly, his first biographer was Scribani, who reported the supposed good Catholic death of Lipsius and himself collaborated with the Plantin works.20 Dozens of letters in the Roman Archive of the Society of Jesus (arsi) and in the Belgian archives provide us with a virtually day-to-day summary of the mission during that protracted war.21 The military authorities had, as early as 1579, appointed the bishop of Cambrai as a chaplain general, and he later delegated the position to Francisco de Umara, who would be accused of fraud. In 1597, Archduke Albert (1559–1621) nominated the archbishop of Malines a permanent vicar general to the armies, but the task of coordinating the numerous priests among the tercios, many who were corrupt if not apostate, proved daunting.22 The profession of chaplain tended to attract the more restless and adventure-seeking clergy and it was hard to find priests for every linguistic category, to the extent that there was a shortage, paradoxically, of Flemish chaplains. These were the circumstances out of which the missio arose.

In Flanders, where Peter Canisius (1521–97) had galvanized the struggle against heresy during his time at Nijmegen (1565),23 many Spanish Jesuits were active from 1574, although they were suspected of being too close to John of Austria (1547–78). The provincial tried to abolish their roles but Visitor Olivier Mannaert (1523–1614) exerted himself in their defence. In 1584, he wrote to Claudio Acquaviva (1543–1615) soliciting the arrival of an alacrem, excitatum, industrium, robustum, expeditum, et patientem (lively, alert, active, stalwart, unencumbered, and forbearing) priest.24 Sailly was himself not in robust health, but he enjoyed the support of Alessandro Farnese (1545–92) (he was his confessor and wrote his epitaph), and his profile seemed the most suitable for a task that the Jesuits told they had accepted as an honorable burden. Thus, immediately after the launching of the missio, in May 1588, instructions were issued, with the approval of the general, to detach chaplains from any “contamination” from the world of war. As Boltanski outlines in her essay, priests should distance themselves from commands, be scrupulous in their dress, in their handling of sacred objects, in their dealings with military superiors and in receiving the soldiers’ last wishes; they should deliver sermons and weekly lessons on the catechism; prevent maltreatment of civilians (albeit with tact, lest the soldiers take it badly) and gain trust through their help for the weakest.25 In furtherance of all this, Sailly founded the Confraternitas Sanctissimi Sacramenti inter milites, approved by Sixtus v (r.1585–90) in 1589.26 The missio deployed twenty-four chaplains, between priests and assistants, but after 1600 Rome halved that number, to Sailly’s distress. The letters he sent to Rome were fervent and bent on convincing the superiors of the mission’s value. He had driven prostitutes out of the camps and converted some heretical soldiers; the fathers had made service in the hospitals more efficient, and divine punishments had struck blasphemers dead unexpectedly. Sailly also praised the piety of Farnese, a sincere soldier of the church, who punished soldiers who besmirched themselves with the sin of rape. Thanks to the Brussels Jesuits, many soldiers had begun to confess regularly and others had been converted by the sight of wonders.27

The Society’s sacrifice was however considerable: in 1600, three Jesuits lost their lives at Nieuwpoort, men who had been spurring on the soldiery while imploring mercy for the Calvinists.28 Holy war should not exclude humaneness; and humaneness was called for at the political level to pardon the errors committed by the Spaniards.29 Suspended during the Twelve Years’ Truce, the missio continued when hostilities recommenced (1621), even after the death of Sailly. The new superior was Herman Hugo (1588–1629), who died of the plague when the glory days of Breda were a distant memory. After 1633, the missio was divided up: six fathers were sent to Artois and Picardy, and six to Meuse, to the fortress of the Marquis de Aytona. From 1623, finally, the missio castrensis was flanked by a missio navalis stationed at Dunkirk, then at Bruges and at Ostend. This was an initiative sponsored by Ambrogio Spinola (1569–1630) and by Father Theodore Rosmer. But the new enterprise was a cause of controversy even within the Society, in that it was concerned not with soldiers but with individuals who were little better than pirates. In 1628, a Jesuit recorded that getting them to partake of the sacraments was a challenge, unless death was on the immediate horizon.30 Nonetheless, crews were gradually induced to confess and take Communion. The missio castrensis was concluded with the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), while the missio navalis continued until 1700.31

The most sophisticated of the catechisms written for soldiers was in fact Sailly’s, the Guidon et pratique spirituelle du soldat chrestien (1590), for which the Plantin-Moretus Museum at Antwerp still has the mock-ups for printing illustrations.32 He also set down his life-experiences in a long Memorial testamentaire, which appeared posthumously. The first part was written in Germany as the chaplain had spent, at the behest of Spinola, some months in the Palatinate at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War, the second part being composed after his return to Brussels. Referring to the writings of Scribani, Sailly listed the duties of generals, judges, doctors, nurses, and anyone involved in the armies, not forgetting the merchants guilty of supplying soldiers with poor quality food and beer. He further enjoined captains to pay their subordinates punctually, called upon the soldiers not to mutiny and dedicated many pages to the training of confessors and the financial requirements of warfare. His recommendations for discipline relied on the example of condottieri such as Farnese and the Archduke Albert, who had employed good chaplains like the Jesuit Pedro de Vivero.33

In 1640, the Flandro-Belgica province celebrated the Society’s first centenary by publishing a commemorative volume embellished with handsome illustrations, the Imago primi saeculi. It rehearsed the history of the Jesuits, their triumphs and martyrdoms, citing missionary exploits and reproducing documents chiefly concerning Flanders. A section of the text lauded the endeavors of the missiones castrenses et navales, with seven emblemata accompanying a historical summary with extracts from the letters of the fathers, living or perished in battle, engaged in chaplaincies on land and sea. The authors maintained that the rescued souls had been numerous; but as criticisms continued, were earnest in defending the Jesuit ministry to soldiers against the accusation of having taken up the task out of self-interest. The chaplains had comforted the troops in the midst of the snows, without food, in extreme conditions. Many priests had died in hospitals or encouraging the soldiers at the front. But the results had justified the effort: the Jesuits could claim to be the originators of a new kind of soldier, the miles Christianus modelled on an idealizing literary blueprint.

Now it was necessary to consolidate what still, after sixty years, appeared precarious, because chaplains were necessary not only in wars but also during truces or peacetimes in the camps, where the education of soldiers could proceed more efficaciously than in battle, where the chaplains were concerned with spurring them on. The navies had been “the haunt of wild animals” before the coming of the Jesuits; and much the same could be said of the infantry, without pastoral and medical care. Now all was changed, and figures such as the priest who had died at Breda proved the worth of the Jesuits, and silenced controversy.34

Even if we should be wary of the propagandistic tones of the text, research by Parker has demonstrated that the religious climate among the tercios and the naval crews was indeed transformed, largely due to the efforts of the Jesuits. Not only had the catechizing and the medical assistance improved, but the scandals that had beset the first chaplains sent into Flanders were a thing of the past.35

If I have dwelt on the experience of the Jesuits in Flanders it is because it had a pioneering and exemplary character, which is not to say that from then on military excesses vanished from Catholic armies. As we know, during the Thirty Years’ War appeals for holy war and exemplary cruelty were a regular occurrence and the clergy were all too embroiled in them.36 But after Westphalia the process of professionalizing the army gave rise to the creation of permanent chaplaincies assisting soldiers and sailors, working with the doctors and the military command in the education of the troops, which became, however, a monopoly of the civil authorities. For the Tridentine church, organized territorially on the basis of parishes, the administration of certain sacraments to the soldiery, particularly confirmation and marriage, was problematic; but after the end of the wars of religion the missions for the sustenance of men under arms continued: in Spain, France, Savoy, Austria, and other militarized states. As we will see, the Jesuits drafted a new generation of catechisms for soldiers and taught in the military academies, giving due weight to civil regulations and the language of the Droit des gens.

In the eighteenth-century publications, an evident fear of the secularization of the soldiery and of officers’ sympathy for Enlightenment and freemasonry show the extent to which chaplains, and not only Catholic ones, were in a state of alarm. But after the suppression of the Society and the French Revolution it was no longer a question of alarm but of envisaging a new holy war against atheism and the enemies of the church. The Jacobins drew heavily on the Christian literature for soldiers and drafted catechisms for “citizens” substituting revolutionary for religious militancy,37 while a portion of the clergy also took up the pen and the sword, taking part in counter-revolutionary hostilities in the Vendée and the countries under assault from French arms, up until the defeat of Napoleon. The clearest example is that of Spain, where, more radically than in the rest of Europe, a crusade against modernity involved a large part of the clergy, including the revived Society, for the whole of the nineteenth century. Later still, in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), the Jesuits were party to Franco’s insurgency and the subsequent repressions, as military chaplains or comforting those on death row; but there were also individual priests, especially beyond Castile, who aligned themselves with the republic, eventually renouncing the cloth or going into exile.38

In the nineteenth century, the Jesuits undertook ministration to armies as part and parcel of the Catholic mission to re-conquer European society; but as we will see, with the exception of the kingdom of Belgium (established in 1831), the political atmosphere was not wholly favorable to the permanent presence of chaplains. So much is evident from the French case,39 while Germany was unified by Lutheranism and the kingdom of Italy kept chaplains at arm’s length until the early twentieth century (see Paiano). Nonetheless, the Jesuits wrote new catechisms and promoted charitable associations for soldiers, while the Catholic emancipation in England favored a discreet presence alongside recruits of the Roman persuasion. Jesuit activity was more in evidence in the pluri-confessional United States, both before and after the Civil War, as has been highlighted by studies too numerous to review here.40 Another area in which the work of Jesuit chaplains found fertile soil was that of the colonial wars: outside the “civilized world,” and at sea, the religious mission and practical assistance to troops again became intertwined, as in the early modern period, to the extent that the Jesuits held up their priests as examples of soldiers and apostles of the faith.41

With the First World War, mass mobilization engaged Catholic priests and Protestant pastors on a scale hitherto unknown, with seminarians called up, service in the hospitals, and the embedding of chaplaincies in the military hierarchy sanctioned by the high command even in France and Italy. Analyses of these phenomena have multiplied of late,42 some dedicated specifically to the Jesuit military clergy.43 It will be sufficient here to note that a tidal wave of sermonizing and pamphlets, printed in their thousands, engulfed the European fronts. These were manuals of moral, hygienic, and sexual behavior, anthologies of prayers, homilies by the higher clergy, periodicals, while traditional catechisms were few.44 Some scholars have noted that this new literature looked back to the early modern period for its models. To this one can add that during that conflict the first nationalist stories of military chaplains appeared, manuals of canon law for the pastoral care of soldiers were printed, and work of previous centuries were dusted off, as for example by Lucien Roure (1857–1954) to celebrate the model of the Christian soldier in France in the first months of the war. In an important article, the Jesuit glossed a catechism written by Claude Fleury (1640–1723) at the time of Louis xiv (r.1654–1715); it had already been resuscitated during the Franco-Prussian War. He also covered the history of more recent manuals for soldiers and the Society’s missions among the troops.45

Later, members of the clergy were to be found alongside the Fascist militias;46 and when the Second World War broke out, they would participate in the hallucinatory climate of that worldwide massacre, lending their support, in Italy and elsewhere, to totalitarian aggression.47 If research into the Cold War period is still too limited to judge whether and to what extent the Jesuits updated their missions in support of the soldiery,48 much remains in any case to be done to fully understand the story of the Society’s relations with the military. Not only do we lack a comprehensive history of its chaplains, but attention might usefully be directed on the theological and canonical levels to the manner in which Jesuits dealt with the soldiers’ dubia circa sacramenta, not only in printed texts but also in the congregations of the Roman Curia and the internal correspondence of the order. Lacking too is an analysis of theatrical productions focusing on the figure of the soldier and the military life.49 If De Lucca has given us a preliminary sketch of education in the military schools, a fertile terrain would also be testimonies regarding the comfort afforded by Jesuits to soldiers waiting on death row,50 not to mention such a largely unexplored source as the diaries of chaplains from the early modern period.51 In conclusion, before the slogan “pro patria mori” (to die for fatherland) sent millions to kill or be killed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for the ideology of the nation, faith was the kindling, which fired the souls of fighting men.52 The Jesuits’ experience as chaplains and their manuals show how narrow was the borderline between discipline and excess of zeal, containment of violence and the temptation to fan its flames.

See Robert Bireley, The Counter-Reformation Prince: Anti-Machiavellianism or Catholic Statecraft in Early Modern Europe (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1990); ­Harro Höpfl, Jesuit Political Thought: The Society of Jesus and the State, c. 1540–1630 (­Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Harald E. Braun, Juan de Mariana and the Early Modern Spanish Political Thought (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007); Gregory M. Reichberg, “Suárez on Just War,” in Interpreting Suárez: Critical Essays, ed. Daniel Schwartz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 185–203; João M.A.A. Fernandes, “Luis de Molina: On War,” in A Companion to Luis de Molina, ed. Matthias Kaufmann and Alexander Aichele (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 227–56; Daniel Schwartz, “Late Scholastic Just War Theory,” in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War, ed. Seth Lazar and Helen Frowe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) (doi: 0.1093/oxfordhb/9780199943418.013.13).

Robert Bireley, The Jesuits and the Thirty Years War: Kings, Courts, and Confessors (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Nicole Reinhardt, Voices of Conscience: Royal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

See, for example, Pedro de Ribadeneyra, “Exhortación para los soldados y capitanes” (1588), in Pedro de Ribadeneyra, Epistolae aliaque scripta inedita, ed. Daniel Restrepo and Ioannes Vilar (Madrid: La Editorial Ibérica, 1923), 2:347–70; Francisco Xavier de Fresneda, Sermones militares (Madrid: Infanzón, 1693) [published posthumously].

See Denis De Lucca, Jesuits and Fortifications: The Contribution of the Jesuits to Military Architecture in the Baroque Age (Leiden: Brill, 2012), who also analyses for example Carlo d’Aquino, Lexicon Militare, 2 vols. and Additiones (Rome: de Rubeis-Bernabò, 1724–27) as well as the Chinese treatises on the art of war published by Charles Amiot in the eighteenth century.

Michael Kaiser and Stefan Kroll, eds., Militär und Religiosität in der Frühen Neuzeit (Münster: Lit, 2004); Claudio Donati and Bernhard R. Kroener, eds., Militari e società civile nell’Europa dell’età moderna (secoli xvixviii) (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2007); David Onnekink, ed., War and Religion after Westphalia, 1648–1713 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009); Georg Schild and Anton Schindling, eds., Geistliche im Krieg (Münster: Aschendorff, 2009); Gianclaudio Civale, ed., Predicazione, esercizi e violenza nell’Europa delle guerre di religione (1560–1715) (Turin: Claudiana, 2014); Ariane Boltanski et al., eds., La Bataille: Du fait d’armes au combat idéologique xi e xix e siècle (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015). The reference is to Carl Schmitt’s controversial The Nomos of the Earth in the International Law of the Jus Publicum Europaeum, ed. Gary L. Ulmen (New York: Telos, 2003).

After Natalie Davis, see Denis Crouzet, Les guerriers de Dieu: La violence au temps des troubles de religion (vers 1525 – vers 1610), 2 vols. (Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 1990); Philip Benedict, “­Prophets in Arms? Ministers in War, Ministers on War: France 1562–74,” in Ritual and Violence: Natalie Zemon Davis and Early Modern France, ed. Graeme Murdock et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 163–96.

Olivier Chaline, La bataille de la Montagne Blanche (8 novembre 1620): Un mystique chez les guerriers (Paris: Noesis, 1999); Anton Schindling and Matthias Asche, eds., Das Strafgericht Gottes. Kriegserfahrungen und Religion im Heiligen Römischen Reich Deutscher Nation im Zeitalter des Dreißigjährigen Krieges (Münster: Aschendorff, 2001); Pärtel Piirimäe, “Just War in Theory and Practice: The Legitimation of Swedish Intervention in the Thirty Years War,” The Historical Journal 45 (2002): 499–523; Holger Berg, Military Occupation under the Eyes of the Lord: Studies in Erfurt during the Thirty Years War (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010); Bertrand Forclaz and Philippe Martin, eds., Religion et piété au défi de la guerre de Trente Ans (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2015).

The debate, initiated by Michael Walzer, John R. Hale, and Conrad Russell, has spawned a considerable literature: John S. Morrill, The Nature of the English Revolution (London: ­Longman, 1993); Glenn Burgess, “Was the Civil War a War of Religion?,” Huntington Library Quarterly 61 (1998): 173–203; Edward Vallance, “Preaching to the Converted: Religious Justifications for the English Civil War,” Huntington Library Quarterly 65 (2002): 395–419; Micheál Ó Siochrú, “Atrocity, Codes of Conduct, and the Irish in the British Civil Wars, 1641–1653,” Past and Present 195 (2007): 55–86; Barbara Donagan, War in England, 1642–1649 (Oxford: ­Oxford University Press, 2008); Glenn Burgess and Charles Prior, eds., England’s Wars of Religion ­Revisited (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011); Charles Prior, A Confusion of Tongues: Britain’s Wars of Reformation, 1625–1642 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

Joaquín Álvarez Barrientos, ed., La Guerra de la Independencia en la cultura española (­Madrid: Siglo xxi, 2008); Alfonso Botti, ed., Clero e guerre spagnole in età contemporanea (1808–1939) (Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino, 2011).

Erica Charters et al., eds., Civilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2012).

For the naval missions, see Mario Zanardi, ed., I gesuiti a Venezia: Momenti e problemi di storia veneziana della Compagnia di Gesù (Rome: Libreria Editrice Gregoriana, 1983), 170–71, 390–91; Gianclaudio Civale, Guerrieri di Cristo: Inquisitori, gesuiti e soldati alla battaglia di Lepanto (Milan: Unicopli, 2009); Carlos A. González Sánchez, “Misión náutica: De libros, discursos y prácticas culturales en la Carrera de Indias de los siglos xvi y xvii,” Cuadernos de historia moderna 13 (2014): 71–86.

See Francisco de Borja de Medina, “Jesuitas en la armada contra Inglaterra (1588): Notas para un centenario,” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 58 (1989): 3–41; Enrique García Hernán, “La asistencia religiosa en la Armada de Lepanto,” Anthologica annua 43 (1996), 213–63; Giampiero Brunelli, Soldati del papa: Politica militare e nobiltà nello Stato della Chiesa (1560–1644) (Rome: Carocci, 2003), 11–17; Gianclaudio Civale, “Francesco Borgia e gli esordi della pastorale gesuitica nei confronti dei soldati (1565–1572),” in Francisco de Borja y su tiempo, 1510–1572: Política, religión y cultura en la Edad Moderna, ed. Enrique García Hernán (Rome: Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu, 2012), 207–22; Vincenzo Lavenia, Il catechismo dei soldati: Guerra e cura d’anime in età moderna (Bologna: Edb, 2014); Ariane Boltanski, “Forger le ‘soldat chrétien’: L’encadrement catholique des troupes pontificales et royales en France en 1568–1569,” Revue historique 669 (2014): 51–85.

Iustus Lipsius, Politicorum sive civilis doctrinae libri sex (Antwerp: Plantin, 1589), liber v (in part. §§ 6 & 13) and liber vi; Gerhard Oestreich, Neostoicism and the Early Modern State, ed. Brigitta Oestreich and Helmut Koenigsberger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). On Lipsius and the controversial political stances adopted by Oestreich, see Martin van Gelderen, “Holland und das Preußentum: Justus Lipsius zwischen Niederländischen Aufstand und brandenburg–preußischen Absolutismus,” Zeitschrift für historische Forschung 23 (1996): 29–56; Peter N. Miller, “Nazis and Neo-Stoics: Otto Brunner and Gerhard Oestreich before and after the Second World War,” Past and Present 176 (2002): 144–86; Jan Waszink, “Introduction,” in Justus Lipsius, Politica: Six Books of Politics (Assen: Van Gorcum, 2004), 3–203. For Lipsius’s relations with the Jesuits: José Ruysschaert, “Le séjour de Juste Lipse à Rome (1568–1570), d’après ses ‘Antiquae Lectiones’ et sa correspondance,” Bulletin de l’Institut historique belge de Rome 24 (1947–48): 139–92; Jacques Kluyskens, “Les années passées par Juste Lipse chez les jésuites à Cologne,” Archivum ­historicum Societatis Iesu 42 (1973): 312–21; Kluyskens, “Justus Lipsius (1547–1600) and the Jesuits, with Four Unpublished Letters,” Humanistica Lovaniensia 23 (1974): 244–70; Erik De Bom, “Carolus Scribani and the Lipsian Legacy: The ‘Politico-Christianus’ and ­Lipsius’s Image of the Good Prince,” in (Un)masking the Realities of Power: Justus Lipsius and the Dynamics of Political Writing in Early Modern Europe, ed. Erik De Bom et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 281–306; Jan Machielsen, “Friendship and Religion in the Republic of Letters: The Return of Justus Lipsius to Catholicism (1591),” Renaissance Studies 27 (2011): 161–82.

For the Catholic world, see Julia Varela, Modos de educación en la España de la Contrarreforma (Madrid: La Piqueta, 1983), 141ff; Raffaele Puddu, I nemici del re: Il racconto della guerra nella Spagna di Filippo ii (Rome: Carocci, 2000), 73–74; Antonio Espino López, Guerra y cultura en la Época Moderna: La tratadística militar hispánica de los siglos xvi y xvii (Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa, 2001), 342–61; Adriano Prosperi, “‘Guerra giusta’ e cristianità divisa tra Cinquecento e Seicento,” in Chiesa e guerra: Dalla ‘benedizione delle armi’ alla ‘Pacem in terris,’ ed. Mimmo Franzinelli and Riccardo Bottoni (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005), 29–90; De Lucca, Jesuits. See also here, footnotes 12 and 18.

Doris L. Bergen, The Sword of the Lord: Military Chaplains from the First to the Twenty-First Century (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).

Anne Laurence, Parliamentary Army Chaplains: 1642–1651 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1990); Margaret Griffin, Regulating Religion and Morality in the King’s Armies ­1639–1646 (Leiden: Brill, 2004); Benjamin Marschke, Absolutely Pietist: Patronage, Fictionalism, and State-Building in the Early Eighteenth-Century Prussian Army Chaplaincy (Tübingen: ­Niemeyer, 2005).

Enrique García Hernán, “Capellanes militares y Reforma Católica,” in Guerra y sociedad en la Monarquía Hispánica: Política, estrategia y cultura en la Europa moderna (1500–1700), ed. Enrique García Hernán and Davide Maffi (Madrid: Mapfre, 2006), 2:709–42; Robert Poinard, L’aumônier militaire d’Ancien Régime: La vie du prêtre aux armée des guerres des religion à la Première République (1568–1795) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012); Arnaud Guinier, L’honneur du soldat: Éthique martiale et discipline guerrière dans la France des Lumières (Seyssel: Champ Vallon, 2014), 313–16.

See Jean Schoonjans, “‘Castra Dei’: L’organisation religieuse des armées d’Alexandre Farnèse,” in Miscellanea historica in honorem Leonis van der Essen (Bruxelles-Paris: Éditions Universitaires, 1947), 523–40; Louis Brouwers, “Misión Castrense,” in Charles O’Neill and Joaquín M.a Domínguez, eds. Diccionario histórico de la Compañía de Jesús: Biográfico-temático, 4 vols. (Rome-Madrid: ihsi–Universidad Pontificia Comillas, 2001), 2687–88; Vincenzo Lavenia, “In God’s Fields: Military Chaplains and Soldiers in Flanders during the Eighty Years’ War,” in Narrating War: Early Modern and Contemporary Perspectives, ed. Marco Mondini and Massimo Rospocher (Bologna–Berlin: Il Mulino–Duncker & ­Humblot, 2013), 99–112.

See Leon Voet, The Golden Compasses: The History of the House of Plantin-Moretus, 2 vols. (Amsterdam-London-New York: Vangendt-Routledge & Kegan Paul-Schram, 1969–72); Dirk Imhof, Jan Moretus and the Continuation of the Plantin Press: A Bibliography of the Works Published and Printed by Jan Moretus I in Antwerp (1589–1610) (Leiden: Brill–Hes & De Graaf, 2014).

Louis Brouwers, “L’‘Elogium’ du père Thomas Sailly S.I. (1553–1623) composé par le père Charles Scribani S.I.,” Archivum historicum Societatis Iesu 48 (1979): 87–124.

The manuscripts on the Jesuit chaplaincies in Belgium are catalogued in Arthur Gaillard, Inventaire sommaire des archives de la Compagnie de Jésus conservées aux Archives Générales du Royaume (Bruxelles: agr, 1910); Hendrik Callewier, Inventaris van het archief van de Nederduitse Provincie der Jezuïeten (Provincia Belgica, vervolgens Provincia Flandro-Belgica) en van het archief van het professenhuis te Antwerpen (1388) 1564–1773 (Brussels: ar, 2006).

Leon van der Essen, “Documents concernant le vicaire général Francisco de Umara et l’organisation religieuse de l’armée espagnole aux Pays-Bas pendant les guerres de Flandre (1597–1599),” Analectes pour servir a l’histoire ecclésiastique de la Belgique 37 (1911): 263–81; Joseph Lefèvre, “L’aumônerie militaire à l’époque de l’archiduc Albert (1598–1621),” Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire 7 (1928): 113–29; Miguel Parrilla Hermida, El hospital militar español de Malinas en los siglos xvi y xvii (Madrid: Ministerio del Ejército, 1964), 27ff.

Judith Pollmann, “Countering the Reformation in France and the Netherlands: Clerical Leadership and Catholic Violence 1560–1585,” Past and Present 190 (2006): 83–120, here 105–7.

Quoted in Alfred Poncelet, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus dans les anciens Pays-Bas, vol. 2, Les oeuvres (Brussels: Académie Royale de Belgique, 1927), 407n2.

Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu [hereafter arsi], Inst. 117a, 517r–518v, “Ordinationes pro missione castrensi.”

Silvia Mostaccio, “La mission militaire jésuite auprès de l’armée des Flandres pendant la guerre de Trente Ans: Conversions et sacrements,” in Religion et piété, 183–202.

See arsi, Fl. Belg. 67, 57r–v (1590); 76r–v (1592); 188r–189r (1598).

Imago primi saeculi Societatis Iesu a Provincia Flandro-Belgica […] repraesentata (Antwerp: Plantin-Moretus, 1640), 808.

See Violet Soen, “Reconquista and Reconciliation in the Dutch Revolt: The Campaign of Governor-General Alexander Farnese,” Journal of Early Modern History 16 (2012): 1–22.

Poncelet, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus, 2:410–24.

Edouard Hambye, L’aumônerie de la flotte de Flandre au xviiè siècle, 1623–1662 (Louvain-Namur-Paris: Nauwelaerts-Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres de Namur, 1967).

Thomas Sailly, Guidon et pratique spirituelle du soldat chrétien (Anvers: Plantin, 1590).

Thomas Sailly, Memorial testamentaire composé en faveur des soldats (Leuven: Hastens, 1622).

Imago primi saeculi, 804–26, 910–13, 941–48. Lydia Salviucci Insolera, L’‘Imago primi saeculi’ (1640) e il significato dell’immagine allegorica nella Compagnia di Gesù (Rome: Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2004); John W. O’Malley, ed., Art, Controversy and the Jesuits: The Imago primi saeculi Societatis Iesu (Philadelphia: Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2015).

Geoffrey Parker, The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road 1567–1659: The Logistic of Spanish Victory and Defeat in the Low Countries’ War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 178–79.

See fn 7 above.

John A. Lynn, The Bayonets of the Republic: Motivation and Tactics in the Army of Revolutionary France, 1791–94 (Urbana-Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 136ff. For a bibliography, see Les catéchismes républicains, ed. Jean-Charles Bouttier and Émilie ­Délivré, special issue of La Révolution française: Cahiers de l’Institut d’histoire de la Révolution ­Française (2009) (http://lrf.revues.org/143).

See Botti, Clero e guerre spagnole in età contemporanea.

See Séverine Blenner-Michel and Jacqueline Lalouette, Servir Dieu en temps de guerre: Guerre et clergés à l’époque contemporaine (xix e xxi e siècles) (Paris: Armand Colin, 2013); Xavier Boniface, L’Armée, l’Église et la République (1879–1914) (Paris: Nouveau ­Monde-Dmpa, 2012).

Still useful is Gilbert Garraghan, The Jesuits of the Middle United States (New York: American Press, 1938), ch. 22; Raymond Schroth, The American Jesuits: A History (New York: New York University Press, 2007).

See J.T. de Miramont, André Denjoy soldat et apôtre, aumônier militaire à Madagascar (Paris: Œuvre de Saint-Paul, 1897).

For Germany, see Heinrich Missalla, “Gott mit uns”: Die deutsche katholische Kriegspredigt 1914–1918 (München: Kösel, 1968). For Italy, see Giorgio Rochat, ed., La spada e la croce: I cappellani militari nelle due guerre mondiali, special issue of Bollettino della Società di Studi Valdesi 112 (1995); Bruno Bignami, La Chiesa in Trincea: Preti nella Grande Guerra (Rome: Salerno Editrice, 2014); Vittorio Pignoloni, ed., I cappellani militari d’Italia nella Grande Guerra: Relazioni e testimonianze (1915–1919) (Cinisello Balsamo: San Paolo, 2014). For the United Kingdom, see Michael Snape, God and the British soldier: Religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars (London: Routledge, 2005); Snape, The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, 1796–1953: Clergy and Fire (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2008); Edward Madigan, Faith under Fire: Anglican Army Chaplains and the Great War (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). For France, see Xavier Boniface, L’Aumônerie militaire française (1914–1962) (Paris: Cerf, 2001).

Marie-Claude Flageat, Les jésuites français dans la Grande Guerre: Témoins, victimes, héros, apôtres (Paris: Cerf, 2008); Damien Burke, ed., Irish Jesuit Chaplains in the First World War (Dublin: Messenger, 2014).

For France a (incomplete) list of dozens of publications can be found in Jean Vic, La littérature de guerre (Paris: Payot, 1918), 2:647–54.

Lucien Roure, “‘Le soldat chrétien,’” Études 52 (1915): 350–72.

Mimmo Franzinelli, Stellette, croce e fascio littorio: L’assistenza religiosa a militari, balilla e camicie nere 1919–1939 (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1995).

For Italy, see Mimmo Franzinelli, Il riarmo dello spirito: I cappellani militari nella seconda guerra mondiale (Paese: Pagus, 1991).

See essays in The Sword. For Italy, see Mimmo Franzinelli, “L’ordinariato militare dal fascismo alla guerra fredda,” in Chiesa e guerra, 475–508, where the Jesuits however are not considered.

See, for example, Jacobus Pontanus, Soldier or Scholar: Stratocles or War, ed. Paul R. Blum and Thomas McCreight (Baltimore: Apprentice House, 2009).

A reflection on the gallows, the chaplains, and military discipline in the Jesuit Giacinto Manara’s Notti malinconiche nelle quali con occasione di assistere i condannati a morte si propongono varie difficoltà (Ferroni: Bologna, 1658), 294. On this book, see Adriano Prosperi, Delitto e perdono: La pena di morte nell’orizzonte mentale dell’Europa cristiana, ­xivxviii secolo (Turin: Einaudi, 2013), 390ff.

For those of the Jesuits Johann Buslidius, confessor to Maximilian of Bavaria and Jeremias Drexel, see Sigmund Riezler, “Kriegstagebücher aus dem ligistischen Hauptquartier 1620,” Abhandlungen der Phil.-Hist. Klasse der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften München 23 (1906): 77–210; Bireley, Jesuits, 41–43.

Ernst H. Kantorowicz, “‘Pro patria mori’ in Medieval Political Thought,” in Kantorowicz, Selected Studies (New York: Augustin, 1965), 308–24.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

“Missiones Castrenses”: Jesuits and Soldiers between Pastoral Care and Violence

in Journal of Jesuit Studies

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 25 25 20
PDF Downloads 3 3 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0