The religious Order founded by St Ignatius Loyola in the sixteenth century has always been controversial. Jesuits spearheaded the Counter-Reformation, played a major role in European politics in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and spread the Catholic faith to foreign lands.
Numerically the Jesuits are still the strongest Order of priests in the Roman Catholic Church. As scholars and educators they have earned international respect but have also been feared as fanatical ‘papists.’ Paradoxically, Jesuits have also been a major force in modernizing the Church in the twentieth century. Who are these men who view themselves as the pope’s special task force? What motivates them to join the Society of Jesus, as Pope Francis did some fifty years ago, and dedicate their lives to ‘the greater Glory of God’?