Monday, October 18, 2010


Father Robert PARSONS, the head of the English Jesuits, was born in 1546 in Somer.set.shire and went from Oxford to Baliol College, where he took his degrees and became a tutor, twice taking the oath abjuring the pope but never taking orders in the English church. He was forced to retire from Oxford and shortly afterwards, becoming a Roman Catholic, he went to Padua to study medicine , but changed his mind and went to Rome, where he offered himself to the Jesuit society in 1575 and became a Jesuit priest in 1578. In 1580 he was selected with Campion to Jesuit missionary work in England and landed there in disguise on June 11, immediately beginning vigorous, secret and highly successful work. For a year he continued but when Campion was taken, Parsons escaped to the continent and never returned to England. Although cautioned not to interfere in matters of state, he began to formulate the plans for a Catholic invasion of England which terminated in the unsuccessful Armada, after which he organized theological seminaries in Valladolid, St. Lucas, Seville, Lisbon and St. Omer. He died at Rome on April 15, 1610. Some of his best known writings are, The Conference on the Succession to the Crown, in which he advocated the right of the people to dispose the natural heir for religious reasons, and the possession of a copy of which parliament made treason; Reply to the Edict of Elizabeth; Memorial for the Reformation; His Apology and Manifestation of the Great Folly and Bad Spirit of Certain in England Calling Themselves Secular Priests.