Jesuit Astronomy

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Rigge, William F., S.J.
Schreiber, John, S.J.
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First Paragraph: | Part I. The Old Society, 1540-1773 | In the following pages I have attempted to jot down a few notes concerning the Jesuits of the 17th and 18th centuries and their relation to astronomy: I say notes, because more than that these lines cannot claim to be; as a long sickness has prevented and still prevents me from making them more complete, orderly and uniform. | Part II. The Restored Society 1814-1904 | The Society of Jesus, suppressed in 1773, was restored in 1814. The conditions confronting it had changed considerably during its extinction, and its progress in all directions was beset with new and greater difficulties. Not to mention the necessity of beginning life over again, and passing through the stages of infancy and adolescence unto maturity, the sciences were being modernized and specialized, and books and instruments and courses of study were increasing in number and in technical character. Competition was becoming keen, and means were proportionately smaller. The restored Society was obliged to build its colleges generally at its own expense, as the race of founders and benefactors was practically extinct, so much so, in fact, that whereas tuition had formerly been free in its colleges, special papal dispensation was now necessary to allow fees to be received in them for their support. Persecutions and confiscations were as frequent as ever, and even today the Society of Jesus is either outlawed or barely tolerated in most of its former most flourishing European provinces. Its scientific, and notably its astronomical activity was therefore, and is yet, very much embarrassed by the lack of means and of sufficient leisure, no less than harassed by positive opposition and persecution. However, the old spirit of the Order is fully alive, and in the short space of practically three quarters of a century the new Society has nobly emulated the deeds of the old.
Reprint from Popular Astronomy. | Part I: v.12 pp.9-20 01/1904 | Part II: v.12 pp.375-385 06/1904
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