September 14th 1562 - Broët Paschase
† in Paris
Paschasius Broët came from a wealthy farmer family in North France. In a small village of the Picardie, not far of Amiens, he was born about the year 1500. He was pious, kind-hearted and cheerful, an athletic figure with a face that was framed by a blond beard.
In the year 1524 he was ordained priest. After ten years pastoral care in the homeland, he came at the end of 1534 to Paris, to finish his studies. He became acquainted with Peter Faber who gave him the Spiritual Exercises, and followed the friend circle of Ignatius. At the renewal of the vows on the Montmartre in 1535 he took part with his compatriots Jay and Codure, which had also been won by Faber.
Broët worked as minister in various cities of Italy and France. In Rome he took repeatedly part in the considerations of the first companions about the establishment of the Society of Jesus. His energy was proved by the establishment of the colleges in Bologna and Ferrara. In 1551 Ignatius appointed him first Provincial in Italy and in 1552 Provincial in France.
For eight years he had to fight with the active resistance of the Frenchmen. That resistance came especially from the Paris Cardinal Archbishop Eustache du Bellay, from the French Parliament, and from the Theological Faculty of the University of Paris. They mentioned as serious points of criticism:
- The name 'Society of Jesus' is arrogant.
- The traditions of the order life are ignored.
- The pastoral privileges violate the rights of the bishops and of the religious instances.
Also various orders, like the Dominicans, the Franciscans and the Carmelites demanded soon the expulsion of the Jesuits from France. Posters in the whole city, and the denunciation from many pulpits set ablaze a storm against the Society of Jesus in public.
The Jesuits, particularly Polanco, rejected the criticism and argued:
- There is an order of the 'Gesuati' in Italy, and other orders bear the name of the Most Holy Trinity or of the Holy Ghost.
- The pastoral privileges of the Society of Jesus are comparable with those of the mendicant orders, and are no menace to the clergy.
- There are many positive testimonies of the pope and of bishops and princes.
In May 1555 the Episcopal Court of Justice in Paris called the Provincial Broët and informed him that the members of the Society of Jesus were prohibited under penalty of excommunication to do any pastoral activities in Paris.
But the order had not only opponents in France. Among the great friends ranked e.g. the young Cardinal Charles de Guise and the Bishop von Clermont, who placed his palace in the Rue de la Harpe at the Jesuits' disposal, for a college which chose later the name Collège Louis Le Grand.
Only in 1561 at the conference to Poissy in which Laínez played a prominent role, crown and clergy granted the acknowledgment of the Society of Jesus. In the next year the French Parliament followed.
Broët died in Paris on September 14th 1562 due to an infection that he had got by nursing plague patients.
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