Drawing from published and unpublished Jesuit sources—treatises, handbooks, reports, and letters—this article explores the Jesuit apostolate to Muslim slaves in Naples and in different cities of Spain during the seventeenth century. Under the blanket of missionary rhetoric, a Jesuit viewpoint not otherwise available is found in these sources, which highlight their missionary methods and strategies and clarify the special status of the apostolate to Muslim slaves in the Jesuit mind. While Europe was the setting of missions to Muslim slaves, and the missions were considered a variation of the so-called popular missions, they were often charged with a deeper symbolic value. Because the missionaries’ interlocutors were “infidels,” so different in their culture and in their habits, Jesuits used forms of accommodation extremely similar to those they used in the missions overseas. Converting Muslim slaves in Naples or in Spain was conceived by Jesuits as an alternative and effective way to go on a mission “even among Turks,” as the Jesuit Formula of the Institute stated, despite never leaving European kingdoms for Ottoman lands. Located between the missions overseas, where Jesuits converted the “infidels” in distant lands, and the missions in Europe, where they attempted to save the souls of baptized people who lacked religious education, were “other Indies,” where Jesuits could encounter, convert, and baptize the “infidels” at home.
In a conversation with Emanuele Colombo, Ennio Morricone—one of the great contemporary composers—discusses the maestro’s relation to the Society of Jesus. One of the highlights of this interview is a thin thread that unites the masterful soundtrack Morricone composed for the 1986 movie The Mission (on the Jesuit reducciones in Paraguay) with a Mass he dedicated to the first Jesuit pope, Francis, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Society of Jesus’s restoration (2014)