SUMMARY to 1775

  Francis Xavier

                    1480             1500              1520               1540                1560                1580             1600              1620              1640


                                ALEX.VI  JULIUS II L.10CL.VII PAUL IIIPL IVPIU.IVPIU. VGR.XIII         


                                                  '12-LAT.V-17            '37CEE    '45-TRENT-63║                                                   18 30 YEARS WAR 48


                                              1491 ―   St. IGNATIUS LOYOLA  ―  1556   ║ 

                                                 ║1506 - St. Francis XAVIER -1552

                                                                                        1540-St.Edmund CAMPION-1581║  

                                                                                                         1552    ―      Matteo RICCI     ―    1610  ║  

                                                                                                                                                     1593 ―  St. Jean DE BREBEUF 1649 ║  


                      1474      ―           Bartolome   DE LAS CASAS           ―          1566     ║ 




                                                                                 1527       ―          PHILIP II of Spain        ―      1598


                        1478 ―  St. THOMAS MORE  1535   ║                                                                      '05 GP.Plot


                                      |    HENRY VII |         HENRY VIII         |Edw.6| MARY I |       ELIZABETH I      |    JAMES I    |   CHARLES I   |

                                            145-[85]-1509                   1491-[1509]-1547               47-53  1516-[53]-58            1533[58]03                   1566-[1603]-25          1600-25]-49


                            1489    ―   THOMAS CRANMER        1556   ║               ║  1573    ―   Archbishop WILLIAM LAUD         1645   


                                                               ║        1527                ―       JOHN DEE        ―                  1608         


                         1483  ―   MARTIN LUTHER       1546  ║                            1575  JACOB BOEHME     1624  


                                                          1509       JOHN CALVIN        1564



                    1480             1500              1520               1540                1560                1580             1600              1620              1640

The following is adapted from Thomas Madden, The Catholic Church in the Modern Age, Lecture 2 “To the Corners of the Earth: Overseas Missions”, The Modern Scholar, audio CD Course Guide pp. 8-10


Although struggling at home, the Catholic Church was expanding at an unprecedented level overseas. It did so by working with the Catholic states, particularly the Spanish and Portuguese, who were actively colonizing the New World and Far East. Those states saw the winning of souls for Christ as an important element in their program. Conversely, Protestant powers like the British and Dutch approached their colonies as purely commercial ventures. They had no interest in spreading their faith to the outside world.

 The success of the Catholic missions was also due to the persistence and dedication of the religious orders—particularly the Jesuits, but also the Franciscans and Dominicans. One of the earliest Jesuits, St. Francis Xavier, was sent to India at the invitation of King John III of Portugal. In 1542 he established a base at Goa and then preached in India and the islands. After establishing a Jesuit house on Goa, he was able to bring Indians into the order and send them on missions into India. In 1549 Xavier landed in Japan and, after learning the language, began preaching to great effect. Two years later he returned to Goa and prepared for a mission to China. He died in 1552 on his journey to China. During the ten years of his mission he was responsible for the conversion of millions in India, south Asia, and Japan.

 After Xavier’s death, the missions in India stumbled. In order to make Christianity more amenable to Indian culture, the Jesuit Robert de’ Nobili made allowances for the Hindu caste system, even incorporating it into Catholic rituals. The so-called “Malabar Rites” became a fierce bone of contention between the Jesuits in India and the Franciscans. They survived, however, until 1744 when Pope Benedict XIV condemned them. The subsequent suppression of the Jesuits and the invasion of Holland saw the rapid decline in Catholicism in India.

 In China, a Catholic mission was brought by the well-educated scientist and mathematician, the Jesuit Matteo Ricci. Because of his erudition Ricci made a good impression on the upper classes. Like de’ Nobili, Ricci allowed Chinese converts to keep some of their local customs—a decision that was later sharply criticized by the Franciscans and Dominicans. In 1742 Pope Benedict XIV condemned the “Chinese Rites.” This led to the expulsion of missionaries in China and the persecution of the faith.

In Japan initial missionary efforts by the Jesuits were successful from 1549 to 1587, until the first persecution and martyrdom of St. Paul Miki, SJ, and his companions in 1597 — the 26 martyrs of Japan — by the feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In 1600, the shogun (military dictator) Tokugawa Ieyasu unified Japan; but beginning in 1614 he ordered all missionaries out of the country, issuing a decree forbidding the practice of Christianity.

 Catholic missionaries had much greater success in the New World. Jesuits, Franciscans, and Dominicans accompanied the conquistadors, bringing the Catholic faith and attempting to dissuade the Indians from human sacrifice. Spanish victories and the ravages of disease helped to convince many Indians that Christianity was the true faith (i.e the God of the Spanish was more powerful in war and sent plague as a punishment). By 1600 about two-thirds of the Indians in South and Central America were converted.

Additional Spanish missionaries went to Florida and California, where they were particularly successful. Franciscans and Dominicans succeeded the Jesuits after the suppression of the Jesuits.  In the north, Jesuit missionaries in Quebec worked among the Indians, particularly the Hurons and Algonquins. The Iroquois strongly opposed the “Blackrobes,” capturing and brutally killing many of them. These missions were extended even down the Mississippi valley to New Orleans. Overall, they were very successful, although the later secession of New France to England greatly hampered it.

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