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The Society of Jesus formally approved by Pope Paul III in his bull Regimini Militantis Ecclaesiae of September 1540 was one of many new religious orders of men and women which appeared during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries All of these new orders were both fruit and expression of that renewal of European Catholicism commonly known today as the Catholic Reformation The Jesuits however were the most renowned of these new religions This new religion was the vision of a man named Ignatius of Loyola who simply wanted to pursue a faith that would help more needy people In order to achieve this he eventually set up colleges where his followers could train and educate themselves However like all new things this religion and everyone involved had strong opposition The Jesuits were the largest of the new orders of the Catholic Reformation They were the most clerical and highly organized They were the most Roman - for their Basque founder Ignatius Loyola committed his Company as he usually called it to the service of the papacy and made Rome his headquarters He was the first founder of a major order to do so Jesuits were also the most international of the religions Though always strongly Spanish with a large Portuguese presence the Society quickly gained recruits from Italy Germany France and a surprising number from Central Europe and the British Isles They retained their cosmopolitan character thereafter and they were international in another sense they were to be more widely distributed around the world than even the friars - in the Near and Middle East India the East Indies China Japan Africa and the Americas Broderick That Paul III should ever have approved them is surprising for the mood in Rome at the time of their foundation was unsympathetic to the religious and prevailing reformist opinion was that there should be fewer of them rather than more This was a time for
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