This song and dance number, taken from page 224 of Thomas Pynchon's fabulous novel Mason & Dixon, sheds some light upon these, the Vatican's answer to commandos:

    Maire, face forboding, shrugs, "This is the Epoch of our Exile, William. Day upon Day, Jesuits are being expell'd from the kingdoms of Europe. Maria Theresa, God save her, is all but our last Protector. Our time here in the West may be more limited than any of us wishes to think about. Even with our Faith we are as itinerant Strangers. We must consider possible places of refuge...." He crosses his hands upon his Breast. "China...?"
    Emerson sputters into his tea. "Eehhh!-- what makes you think the Chinese'll like you Jezzies any better than the Bourbons do?"
    "They might. They're not Catholic."
    "Nor would yese have to worry about Expulsion or Suppression, Chinese much preferring to,--" Emerson makes a playful Head-chopping gesture. "What charms as it frightens us plain folk," he goes on, "is how Jesuits observe Devotions so transcendent, whilst practicing Crimes so terrestrial,-- their Inventions as woundrously advanced as their use of them is remorselessly ancient. They seem to us at once, benevolent Visitors, from a Place quite beyond our reach, and corrupted Assassins, best kept beyond the reach of."
    "Fair enough," says the priest, "yet, Jeremiah, here you've a Choice at last, between staying at home, and venturing abroad...? For tho' your Faith teaches equality and peace, I've yet to meet one of you Quaker Lads who hasn't the inward desire to be led into some fight. (Lo, William, he blushes.) Why if Authority and Battle be your Meat, lad, our Out-Fit can supply as much as you like. The Wine ration's home-made but all for free,-- the Uniform's not to everyone's taste, yet it does attract the Attention of the ladies, and you'll learn to work all the Machines,--

So,--
Have,--
A,--
'Nother look,-- at the Army that
Wrote the Book,-- take the Path that you
Should've took-- and you'll be
On your way!
Get, up, and, wipe-off-that-chin,
You can begin, to have a
Whole new oth-er life,--
Soldj'ring for Christ,
Reas'nably priced,--
And nobody's missing
The Kids or th' Wife! So,
Here's the Drill,
Take the Quill,
Sign on the Line or any-
Where you will,
There's Heretics a-plenty and a
License to kill, if your're a
Brother in the S. of J.!"

    At the close of which the Priest unhelpfully blurts, "(Celibacy of course being ever strictly enjoin'd.--)/If you're a Brother in the--"
    "What, no fucking?" Dixon acting far too astonish'd, as some other-worldly Accompaniment jingles to a halt.
    "Why, happen our vow of Chastity's the very thing that allows us to approach the Transcendent...?"
    "Happen," growls Emerson, "it's what makes you so mean, methodical, and without pity."

Jes"u*it (?), n. [F. J'esuite, Sp. Jesuita: cf. It. Gesuita.]

1. R. C. Ch.

One of a religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola, and approved in 1540, under the title of The Society of Jesus.

⇒ The order consists of Scholastics, the Professed, the Spiritual Coadjutors, and the Temporal Coadjutors or Lay Brothers. The Jesuit novice after two years becomes a Scholastic, and takes his first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience simply. Some years after, at the close of a second novitiate, he takes his second vows and is ranked among the Coadjutors or Professed. The Professed are bound by a fourth vow, from which only the pope can dispense, requiring them to go wherever the pope may send them for missionary duty. The Coadjutors teach in the schools, and are employed in general missionary labors. The Society is governed by a General who holds office for life. He has associated with him "Assistants" (five at the present time), representing different provinces. The Society was first established in the United States in 1807. The Jesuits have displayed in their enterprises a high degree of zeal, learning, and skill, but, by their enemies, have been generally reputed to use art and intrigue in promoting or accomplishing their purposes, whence the words Jesuit, Jesuitical, and the like, have acquired an opprobrious sense.

2.

Fig.: A crafty person; an intriguer.

Jesuits' bark, Peruvian bark, or the bark of certain species of Cinchona; -- so called because its medicinal properties were first made known in Europe by Jesuit missionaries to South America. -- Jesuits' drops. See Friar's balsam, under Friar. -- Jesuits' nut, the European water chestnut. -- Jesuits' powder, powdered cinchona bark. -- Jesuits' tea, a Chilian leguminous shrub, used as a tea and medicinally.

 

© Webster 1913.

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