Probabilism The Roman Catholic Church recognises no standard of ethics except that of her own construction. Protestants look to the Bible as the source of all doctrines of morality. The Church of Rome accords autlority also to tradition, and to the writers of her own communion who have kept within the list of the faithful ones. SEE MORAL THEOLOGY. The expressed opinion of a Church doctor forms a sufficient basis for a legitimate moral decision. 'The eternal and objective foundations of the moral law are thus exchanged for the subjective view of individual persons of eminence (see Wuttke, Christian Ethics, 1, 261-263). Not only is the deciding element the individual, instead of the Church, but that individual whose decision best suits the inquirer (see Sanchez, Op. Mor. i, 9, n. 12 sq., n. 24; Laymann, Theol. Mor.  i, 11). Probabilism is a term used in philosophic parlance, as we may SEE IN THE ARTICLE PROBABLE, but in Christian theology it has become synonymous with Roman Catholic ethics. Though its principal source and advocacy are in the Order of the Jesuits, the whole Church of Rome has by its tacit acceptance of this doctrine become identified with it.
Definition. — Probabilism designates, in the domain of morals, an object so comprehensive, and including so many different branches, that we shall scarcely be able to delineate it here, even in its fundamental features. In order to define it we must depart from that moral idea which is the centre of the domain in which it moves: this centre is the certitude and firm conviction of the moral subject about the legitimacy of his acts. It is the opposite of this subjective consciousness which forms the object of all probabilistic questions. As the ground of the doctrine, it is assumed, then, that in human actions absolute certainty is not always attainable as to their lawfulness or unlawfulness. Short of this certainty, the intellect passes through the stages of "doubt" and of "probability." Probability is a state of consciousness intermediate between certitude and incertitude, but approaching more or less to certitude, without reaching it entirely. Consciousness, in the state of probability, has risen above incertitude. Doubt is a wavering state between two judgments, between negation and affirmation of the goodness or permissibility of an action; it excludes every positive approbation, every positive consent, every permanent decision in favor of either term of the moral antithesis. Probability has passed this uncertain wavering; it does not move hesitatingly to and fro; it has found a point of support, though the latter may not be absolutely trustworthy. In consequence, a more or less positive decision in favor of one or the other term of the question is possible. Such a decision must not originate in any subjective whim; it must be founded on sufficient objective reasons. This gives us the true idea of the probable conscience: "Probabile est id quod probari potest, hoc est, quod rationibus nititur." We may, then, define probability in matters of conscience thus: it is the decision or consent of conscience in regard to the moral permissibility of an action, a decision founded on sufficient reasons, but not excluding all misgivings to the contrary. To the probaeble conscience, then, corresponds, as its foundation, the probable opinion (opinio probubilis). An opinion as to the legitimacy or illegitimacy of an action is the more probable the stronger the reasons on which it rests. These reasons are either intrinsic, a part of the thing itself and its objective nature, or extrinsic, owing their weight to human authorities. The extrinsic probability of an opinion contents itself with the repute and confidence enjoyed by the authorities which support it, while the intrinsic probability endeavors to conceive the rational foundation of the opinion in question. But whichever of these forms probability may assume, it can never be at variance with the decisions and doctrines of the Church. Absence of intrinsic and extrinsic contradictions is the negative condition of probability. To establish true and real probability (probabilitas vera), a positive element is required, to wit, a more or less evident accord with the objective law, either with its spirit or with its more or less clearly expressed dispositions. It results from the nature of opinion that a variety and diversity of opinions be conceived, which, in regard to their legitimacy, are of equal or unequal value. Moreover, in the conflict of views another element will arise as to their comparative "safety;" that is, the greater or less danger of moral culpability which they involve; and this greater or less moral "safety" of a view may or may not coincide with its greater or less "probability." Hence the gradual scale of probable opinions, the highest degree being the opinio probabilissima, but the opinio tenuiter probabilis being entirely excluded. The ascending degrees of the concurrent probable opinions are marked by the opinio mere probabilis, ceque probabilis, and probabilior.
The doctrine of probabilism is founded upon these distinctions. It is taught, with some variations, by four different schools, all of which agree in professing that it is lawfiul. in certain cases, to act upon opinions which are merely probable. These four schools of probabilism are called: Probabilism Simple, Equiprobabilism, Probabiliorism (from probabilior, more probable), and Tutiorism (from tutior, more safe). The first holds that it is lawful to act upon any probable opinion, no matter how slight its probability. The second requires that the opinion shall be "solidly probable," but holds that, provided it be really probable, it is lawful to act upon it, even though the conflicting opinion should be equally probable. The third narrows much more the limits of what is allowed in the conflict of probable opinions, and only permits action on the more probable of the two; but permits this even when the less probable adverse opinion is the "more safe." The fourth requires that in all cases the more safe opinion shall be followed, even when the less safe opinion is much the more probable. The extreme rigorism which the last class requires has caused its division into absolute and mollified tutiorism. "By the certainty of an opinion," says Fuchs, "we are to understand the more or less considerable remoteness of the danger of sin, or of error, or of encroachment on other persons' rights. The more an opinion removes him who chooses it for his guide from the danger of actual sin, the more certain it is. The opinio tutior is that which declares that an action is not allowed; the opinio minus tuta is that which asserts the legitimacy of the action in question. As the being allowed and the not being allowed of an action stand together in the same relation as liberty and law, it may be said that in the first case liberty, in the second law, is favored (libertati favet, legi favet)." To these probabilistic systems is opposed a system espoused by the more consistent of Romish theologians of the Old Catholic type. It is called Antiprobabilism, and in its austere severity does not allow any influence on man's actions, even to the most probable opinion. It reouires that an opinion shall be absolutely morally certain, in order that it may be lawful for a man to act upon it in the light of Christian truth. But this system has been rejected by papal authority, declaring erroneous the assertion "Non licet sequi opinionem vel inter probabiles probabilissimam."
History of Probabilism. — It is commonly said that the system of probabilism is modern; but this is only true of the discussions regarding it, for the doctrine itself, in some of its forms, is as old as the study of ethics, even considered as a moral science. The disputes regarding it arose with the science of casuistry, when men, in the 16th and 17th centuries, began to reduce morals to a system. It formed a leading subject of the controversy between the Jesuits and the Jansenists; but even in its modern form probabilism dates back to the close of the scholastic period. At the Council of Constance, in A.D. 1415, a debate had arisen on the subject of the murder of the duke of Orleans, assassinated in Paris Nov. 23, 1407, at the instigation of his political rival, the duke of Burgundy. The Franciscan Jean Petit had endeavored to justify this crime in an assembly of French noblemen held at Paris March 8, 1408; but his proposition had been condemned, at the request of chancellor Gerson, by the university and the bishop of Paris. When the matter was brought before the council, Martin Porree, bishop of Arras, speaking in behalf of the duke of Burgundy, tried to prevent any conclusions unfavorable to Jean Petit, asserting that several authorities were in favor of Petit, and that, in consequence, his opinion was at least probable, and ought not to be peremptorily disposed of by way of rejection and condemnation. Gerson defended a contrary view of the matter, and the council condemned as heretical the doctrine of the legitimacy of murder committed on the persons of tyrants, and stamped with the name of heretic all those who should pertinaciously maintain it (comp. Mansi, Coll. Conc. 27:705, and 28:868). This resolution left probabilism untouched, and condemned only a false application of its principles in a particular case.
The Dominican Bartolomeo de Medina is considered as the founder of probabilism in its usual signification. Through his commentary on the theological Summa of St. Thomas de Aquinas it entered the schools: "Si est opinio probabilis," he says (quaest. 19, art. 6, concl. 3), "licitum est eam sequi. licet opposita probabilior." Many Thomist theologians adopted this proposition; among them, Bannez, Alvarez, Ledesma, Martinez, and Lopez. Among the Jesuits, the celebrated Vasquez was the first who (1598) positively took sides with the probabilists, and a number of members of his order followed in his footsteps. From this time forth the Jesuits did much for the expansion of the probabilistic doctrines, and the aberrations to which they led. Probabilism came to be synonymous with Jesuitism, so largely were the Jesuits identified with the advocacy of this pernicious dogma. This is, however, easily accounted for. The Jesuits had come on the stage at a time when the Church of Rome was in danger of being broken up, if not of being entirely dismembered. The Reformation had struck her heavy blows, and in some countries she was felled to the ground. Loyola's order aimed at her recovery and restoration. The bride of Christ they saw endangered, and their mission was the salvation of the Romish Church at any price. In a struggle of life and death, as has been aptly said, one is not very careful in the use of measures; and in all warfare the sentiment holds good, though involving manifold violations of ordinary right, that the end sanctifies the means. The Jesuits were well aware that they were an essentially new phenomenon of the churchly lifethat they stood upon purely human invention and power; it need not surprise us, therefore, that they felt called by their fundamental principles to the development of a special system of morality — a system the highest end of which is the glory of God through the exaltation of the visible Church, which, of course, is to them the Romish Church. The purpose — zealously pursued by the Jesuits in the interest of Romish domination — of becoming soul-guarding fathers and conscience-counsellors, especially for men and women of eminence, required, on the other hand, that the Jesuits should acquire for themselves the highest possible repute in ethics — and hence it was requisite that they should become the literary representatives thereof; and, on the other, that this ethics should be moulded in adaptation to this end — should make itself not disagreeable and burdensome, but should become as elastic as possible in view of different wants — should be a "golden net for catching souls," as the Jesuits themselves were wont to call their own pliableness. The more ramified and complex the network of casuistic ethics became, so much the more indispensable were the practiced conscience-counsellors, or, more properly, conscience-advocates; the more stairways and back doors they were able to turn attention to in conscience affairs, so much the more prized and influential they became. This explains the great compass and the peculiar character of Jesuitic ethics. They were but too well aware that it did not harmonize with the moral consciousness of the ancient Church, and they hesitated not to admit that they did not recognise earlier Church tradition as a criterion for morality, but wished rather to lay the foundations for a new tradition. The sophistical artifices in the doctrine of right and morality were not then first thought out and invented by Jesuitism; but it learned them by listening to weak, corrupt human nature, as others had here and there done before it. Jesuitism, moreover, was the first to set up these sophisms as rules; first brought them into an organized system of doctrine, and formed them as methods of the Christian doctrine of morals; first scientifically constituted, authorized, and sanctioned them as leading principles of Catholic morality; and — what is not to be overlooked — has first applied them to the allotment of the moral life to the natural weaknesses of the different ranks and classes, in order that "the kingdom of heaven henceforth may suffer no violence." We will not forget, however, that after the Theatines, in a general assembly of their order, in 1598, had formally renounced probabilism, several members of the Society of Jesus likewise raised their voice against the abuses of the system: we mention among them the Portuguese Ferdinand Rebelle and the Italian Comitolus. A short time afterwards the general of the order. Mutius Vileteschi, expressed similar opinions in a series of writings. We read in one of them: "Nonnullorum ex societate sententise, in rebus praesertim ad mores spectantibus, plus nimio liberae non modo periculum est ne ipsam evertant, sed ne ecclesise etiam Dei universae insignia afferant detrimenta. Omni itaque studio perficiant tit qui docent scribuntne minime hac regula et norma in delectu sententiarum utantur: Tueri quis potest, probabilis est, auctore non caret. Verum ad eas sententias accedant quse tutiores, quee graviores majorisque nominis doctorum suffragiis sunt frequentatae; quae bonis moribus conducunt magis; quee denique pietatem alere et prodesse queunt, non vastare, non perdere." The Sorboluie, too, opened fire upon the probabilistic aberrations with the condemnation of the Magntos director curatorun, vicariorum, et confessariorum of P. Milhard, and the clergy of France continued the battle with praiseworthy zeal. The University of Louvain made similar declarations. In 1653 the Dominicans, in a general chapter held at Rome, joined their voice to these authorities. Again, some Jesuits, among others Candidus Philalethes (Andre Leblanc), censured those of their order who were advocates of probabilism. Yet these antagonistic elements within Jesuitism were the exceptions, not the rule. The rank and file of the Society of Jesus were wedded to their new idols; and as the Jesuits were the chief representatives of Romish ethics in the 16th and 17th centuries, those who chose to attack Romanism levelled their guns directly at probabilism; while those who favored Romanism, or were themselves its supporters, but desired the downfall of Jesuitism, directly charged on this particular body of probabilists. Thus, e.g., Jansenism lifted up its voice against probabilism in order to destroy by this detour their enemies the Jesuits. Pascal, the great, if not immortal, advocate of the Port-Royalists, adopted this method.
In his Lettres Provinciales he puts together these aberrations of members of the Jesuitic Order; and as he represents the doctrine of probability, it is a curious perversion of the principle of authority the application of it to legitimatize doubt and license. He stigmatized probabilism as the "morals of the Jesuits." The great publicity which the Provincial Letters owed to the splendid talent of their author became, especially among the educated classes, an inflexible opinion against Jesuits, which continues to this day. A number of refutations of the Provincial Letters appeared, some of them very awkward. The Jesuit Pirot, in his Apologie pour les Casuistes (Paris, 1657), made the following assertion: If an opinion is probable, it is sure, and can be followed; surety has no degrees, but is indivisible, so far as the moral action connected with a probable opinion is concerned; in consequence, a less probable opinion is as sure as a more probable (Apol. p. 46). Similar opinions were sustained by the Jesuits Matthew de Mova, Honord Lefevre, and Etienne des Champs (Quaestio Facti de Sententia Theologorum Societatis circa Opiniones probabiles, Paris, 1659). The ablest refutation, Riponse aux Lettres provinciales de L. de Montalte; ou Entretiens de Cleandre et Eudoxe, is due to the Jesuit Daniel, the well- known French historian, who gives a very elaborate account of probabilism. He observes that, according to the doctrine of the Jesuits, two conditions are required for the probability of an opinion: first, it can contradict neither the dogmas and truths taught by the Church, nor any evident reason; secondly, it must be founded on sound judgment, and not set up wantonly against the prevailing doctrine of the competent teachers.
Among these tumultuous contests in the domain of Catholic morals, the Apostolic See could not remain silent. The pope condemned the Provincial Letters (Sept. 6. 1657) on one side, and Pirot's Apology on the other (August, 1659). Pope Alexander VII declared against the dangerous excrescences of probabilism in a decree of Sept. 24, 1665; and his successor, Innocent XI, strictly defined its limits by his bull of 1679. The first-mentioned decree commences with these memorable words: "Our most holy father has heard, not without great sorrow, that several opinions, which weaken Christian discipline and prepare destruction to the souls, have been partly revived and partly started for the first time, and that the unbridled license of some extravagant minds increases every day, whereby a way of thinking has crept into the Church which is altogether at variance with Christian simplicity and the doctrine of the holy fathers, and which, should the believers make it the rule of their life, would produce a great moral corruption." Among the moral propositions censured by these two papal decrees, the following concern probabilism: from the first decree, Prop. 27 — "Si liber sit alicujus junioris et moderni, debet opinio censeri probabilis, dum non constet rejectam esse a Sede apostolica tanquam improbabilem;" from the latter, Prop. 1 — "Non est illicitunm in sacramentis conferendis sequi opinionem probabilem de valore sacramenti, relicta tutiore, nisi id vetet lex, conventio ant periculum gravis damni incurrendi. Hinc seenertia probabili tantum utendnm non est in collatione baptismi, ordinis sacerdotalis aut episcopalis." Prop. 2 — "Probabiliter existimo judicem posse judicare juxta opinionem etiam minus probabilem." Prop. 3 — "Generatim, dum probabilitate sive intrinseca sive extrinseca, quantumvis tenui, modo a probabilitatis finibus non exeatur, confisi aliquid agimus, semper prudenter agimus." Prop. 4 — "Ab infidelitate excusabitur infidelis non credens, ductus opinione minus probabili." The antiprobabilistic extreme, represented by the rigorism of the Jansenists, was met by pope Alexander VIII with the condemnation of the proposition referred to above, a condemnation which is contained in the decree of 1690.
The first consequence of the papal declarations was a sharper separation of the parties. Probabilism found its most redoubtable adversaries in the Carmelite Henry of St. Ignatius, the two Dominicans Daniel Concina (Delia Storia del Probabilismo) and Vincent Patuzzi, and in Franzoja and Pet. Ballerini. But all these efforts did not annihilate probabilism whether inside or outside the Order of the Jesuits. though it had to submit to many restrictions. In their fifth general assembly the Jesuits only protested against making probabilism the doctrine of their order. Oliva, the general of the order (in a letter of Feb. 3, 1669), speaks plainly enough in favor of probabilism; and while he declares certainly and truly probable opinions fit to engender a certain conscience (conscientia certa), he asserts, on the other side, that the requirement "sequendi semper in omnibus probabilioremn partem" would be too heavy a burden upon mankind. It was shown, however, much more clearly how deeply probabilism was rooted in the Jesuitic Order when the Spaniard Gonzalez, the general of the order, took with great decision, in 1694, the defence of the opposite system. In his work he dissents from the principle that man, in moral matters, must suffer himself to be guided by a sincere love of truth. Hence he draws the inference that we must always choose what we think to be nearest to truth; if objective truth cannot be obtained, we must at least cling to that which, according to our subjective conviction, is nighest to it. For that reason we can follow even the less sure opinion, if we are convinced of its greater probability. The work written from this stand- point, and which the author meant to dedicate to the general of the order, Oliva, found its way into publicity only after many years. Perhaps Gonzalez would not have ventured, even while general of the order, to publish it if the same work which the casuists of the order wished to suppress had not been greatly approved of by pope Innocent XI. Many of the Jesuits claimed that Gonzalez had, by his disapproval of probabilism, made himself unworthy of his place, and pronounced him self-deposed. Only the protection of the pope saved him (see Wolf, Gesch. der Jesuiten, 1, 173). In his Fundamentum Theologioe Moralis (Rome, 1684) Gonzalez put in the background the authority system hitherto so predominant by giving the preference to the ethical province as the more appropriate judgment-seat of the appellate court. Two other theologians followed in his footsteps, Gilbert and Camarillo, representing the probabilioristic tendency. Gilbert, professor at Toulouse, did not in his work attack the principle of probabilism, only its vulgar form. He asserts that we are certain not to sin if we stick to the absolute probability either of law or of liberty; if we judge sensibly that something is allowed, after examining it sufficiently, taking the circumstances into account, and satisfying ourselves of the soundness of our judgment. While Gilbert treated the subject in a more speculative way, Camarillo, professor at Salamanca, in his treatise De Requla Hontestatis Moralis (Naples, 1702), takes a more historical view of the matter, and shows that modern probabilism has not the testimony of antiquity in its favor, and that since its first appearance the most considerable authorities were against it.
While the probabilists continued in their attempts to again turn the scales — we shall only mention the Tractatus Probabilitatis by Gabriel Gualdus (under the assumed name of Nicolaus Peginletus, Louvain, 1708) and the "Criticisms" of Cardenas (Opp. Carden. Ven. 1710) — and while the party of the probabiliorists grew in strength every day, mediating tendencies appeared. Ammon the works written in this spirit, the Sententia Medio of Alfonzo de Liguori is the best. This distinguished Romanist developed a system of morals which may be described as a kind of practical probabiliorism, in which, by the use of what are called reflex principles, an opinion which objectively is but probable is made subjectively the basis of a certain and safe practical judgment. Liguori teaches that we are bound to keep our actions, as much as possible, in accordance with truth; or at least, as in the case of a more probable opinion, as near to truth as possible. If it should appear that of two opinions one is more favorable to liberty, the other to law, the latter being at the same time more probable, it must be admitted without hesitation. Liguori, in the case where equally strong reasons speak for law and liberty, professes a somewhat different opinion from Gilbert and the rigid probabiliorists — he decides for liberty. Liguori starts in his demonstration from the proposition that a doubtful law is not binding ("lex dubia non obligat"). A dubious law, he further says, is an uncertain law, and a law of this description cannot engender any obligation ("lex incerta non potest certam inducere obligationem"); for in this case of doubt, of uncertainty, liberty is in possession, and in consequence has the right on its side, according to the axiom "In dubio melior est conditio possidentis." This is the strongest point of Liguori's argumentation, but also the point with which it stands and falls; here it has to fight a decisive battle against probabiliorism, or against refined tutiorism. Rassler, in his Norma Recti (Ingold. 1713), takes a similar stand-point between the contending parties, while Charles Emanuel Pallavicini, in his letters on the administration of the sacrament of penitence, claims for the confessors the right to choose between probabilism or probabiliorism, both with proper restrictions.
The maxims of the Jesuits disseminated themselves, like an infectious disease, far beyond the circle of their own order, as is shown by the comprehensive works of the Sicilian Antony Diana (Resolutiones Morales, Antv. 1629-37, 4 vols. fol.; Lugd. 1667; Venet. 1728), who taught, under the express approval of his ecclesiastical superiors, and also of the Jesuits, the doctrine of probabilism in its worst forms. One may act according to a probable opinion, and disregard the more probable one; man is not under obligation to follow the more perfect and the more certain, but it suffices to follow the simply certain and perfect; it would be an unendurable burden were one required to hunt out the more probable opinions (Res. Mo. [Antv. 1637] vol. ii, tract. 13; vol. 4, tract. 3; Summanz , p. 214). The most of the Jesuits taught the same thing. In relation to murder, Diana teaches like Escobar: I am at liberty to kill even him who assails my honor if my honor cannot otherwise be rescued (Res. Mor. 3, 5, 90; Summa, p. 210, 212). When some one has resolved upon a great sin, then one is at liberty to recommend to him a lesser one, because such advice does not relate absolutely to an evil, but to a good, namely, the avoiding of the worse; for example, if I cannot otherwise dissuade a person from an intended adultery than by recommending to him fornication instead thereof, then it is allowable to recommend this to him; not, however, in so far as it is a sin, but in so far as it prevents the sin of adultery. Diana appeals in this connection to many like-judging Jesuit doctors (Res. Mol. [Antv. 1637] vol. 3, tract. 5, 37). If a priest commissions Peter to kill Caius, who is weaker than Peter, but nevertheless Peter comes out second best and gets killed himself, still the priest incurs no guilt, and may continue in the administration of his office (ibid. vol. 3, tract. 15,17). He who resolves upon committing all possible venial sins does not thereby involve himself in any mortal sin (ibid. vol. 3, tract. 6, 24). He who, ex aliqua justa cause, rents a house to another for purposes of prostitution commits no sin (ibid. vol. 3, tract. 6, 45). To eat human flesh, in case of necessity, he holds, with the majority of the Jesuits, as allowable (ibid. tract. 6, 48). He who, in virtue of a promise of marriage, induces a maiden to yield to him is not bound by his promise in case he is of higher rank or richer than she, or in case he can persuade himself that she will not take his promise in serious earnest (ibid. [Antv.] vol. 3, tract. 6, 81; in the spirit of Sanchez and Less). Marriage between brother and sister can be made legitimate by papal dispensation (ibid. vol. 4, tract. 4, 94; sanctioned by several Jesuits). In such moral perversity of view Diana seems only to have been surpassed by the Spanish Netherlander Cistercian Lobkowitz (Theol. Mor. 1645, 1652; comp. Perrault, i, 331 sq.), who, in his scepticism, entirely breaks down the moral consciousness, and declares that nothing is evil per se, but only because it is positively forbidden; hence God can dispense even with all the commandments (comp. the views of Duns Scotus, p. 34) (ibid. 1626); can e.g., allow whoredom and other like sins, for none of these are evils per se. Monks and priests are at liberty to kill the female misused by them when they fear, on her account, for their honor. This writer declares himself expressly and decidedly in favor of the views of the Jesuits. Also the Franciscan Order became infected with the maxims of the Jesuits, as is proved by the very voluminous work of Barthol. Mastrius de Mandula (ibid. 1626), which was published under the express sanction of the officers of the order, and who justifies restrictiones mentales even in oaths (Disp. 11:52, 171, 172, 183, ed. Ven. 1723), and also the murder of tyrants (ibid. 8:27), the murder of the slanderers by an important person, castration, and similar things (ibid. 8:25, 28; 11:110 sq.), as well as probabilism.
The moral system of the Jesuits is, we grant, not, strictly speaking, that of the Romish Church; many of their more extreme maxims the Church has condemned, and the more recent Jesuits themselves find it advisable no longer fully to avow their former principles. Nevertheless Jesuitism, together with its system of morals, is, as has been well said by Wuttke (1, 271, 272), "the ultimate consequential goal of the Church in its turning aside from the Gospel, just as (though in other respects widely different therefrom) Talmudism was the necessary goal of Judaism in its rejection of the Saviour. The error consists in the placing of human discretion and authority in the stead of the unconditionally valid, revealed will of God. Even as earlier Catholicism had intensified the divine command by self- invented, ascetic work-holiness into a seemingly greater severity-had aimed at a higher moral perfection than that required by God — so Jesuitism, with like presumption, lowered the moral law, out of consideration to temporal relations, to a merest minimum requirement; contented itself with a much lower moral perfection than the divine law calls for, and sought out cunning means for lightening even this minimum." Probabilism, moreover, is not a merely fortuitously discovered expedient, but it is in fact an almost inevitable consequence of the historical essence of Jesuitism. The order itself arose neither on the basis of Scripture nor of ancient Church tradition, but sprang absolutely from the daring inventive power of a single man breaking through the limits of ecclesiastical actuality. It is not therefore at all unnatural that it should make the authority of a single spiritually pre-eminent man its highest determining power, and subordinate to this the historical objective form of the moral consciousness. This, then, is the distinguishing characteristic of Jesuitical ethics-that in the place of the eternal objective ground( and criterion of the moral it substitutes subjective opinion, and in the place of an unconditional eternal end a merely conditionally valid one, viz. the defending of the actual, visible Church against all forms of opposition that in the place of the moral conscience it substitutes the human calculating of circumstantial and fortuitous adaptation to the promotion of this its highest end; that it attempts to realize what is per se and absolutely valid by a wide-reaching isolating of the means, and by so doing subordinates morality to the discretion of the single subject. "Though the ethics of the Jesuits are lax and quite too indulgent towards worldly, sinful proclivities and fashions, yet this is only one phase of the matter. A merely worldly-lax moral system, in the usual sense, seems but little applicable to the members of a brotherhood the first rule of which is a perfect renunciation of personal will and personal opinion and self-determination, in a word, unconditional obedience to every command of superiors. and which has actually accomplished in the missionary field the grandest of deeds, and numbers among its members multitudes of heroic martyrs. This lack of strictness in one direction rests by no means on mere worldliness, on pleasure in the delights of this life, but follows, on the one hand, of necessity (as well as does also the rigor of obedience), from the subjectively arbitrary presupposition of the entire order, from the lack of an objective, unshaken foundation, and rests, on the other hand, strictly on calculation; is itself a cunningly devised means to the end; is intended to awaken, especially in the great and mighty of the earth (and the masses of the people are such under some circumstances), a love to the Church, to the mild, friendly, indulgent mother." Jesuitical ethics is the opposite pole of monastic ethics; where the latter requires too much, the former exacts too little. Monastic morality strives to win God for the sinful world, Jesuitical morality seeks to win the sinful world, not indeed for God, but at least for the Church. Monasticism says to God, though not in an evangelical sense, "If I have only thee, then I ask for nothing else in heaven or earth." Jesuitism says about the same thing, but says it to the world, and particularly to the distinguished and powerful. The former turns away in indignant contempt from the worldly life because the world is immersed in sin; the latter generously receives the same into itself, and turns attention away from guilt by denying it. It is true the Jesuits represent also a monastic order, but this order is also a means to an end, and resembles the other nobler orders about as much as wily Reynard resembles the pious pilgrim; and the well-known hostility of the older orders to this brilliantly rising new one was not mere jealousy, but a very natural, and, for the most part, moral protest against the spirit of the same. See Wuttke, Christian Ethics (transl. by Prof. J. P. Lacroix, N. Y. 1874, 2 vols. 12mo), i, 255-272; Staudlin, Gesch. der Sittenlehre Jesu (Gdtting. 1799), i, 441; Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 9:343 sq.; Cotta, De Prob. Morali (Jena, 1728); Rachel, Examen Prob. Jes. (Helmst. 1664, 4to); De Wette, Christl. Sittenlehre, II, ii, 334 sq.; Perrault, Morale des Jesuites (1667, 3 vols.); Ellendorf, Die Moral u. Politik der Jesuiten (1840); Pragmatische Gesch. der Minchsorden (1770), vols. 9 and 10; Deutsches Kirchenblatt, 1875 (review of Gury's Compendium Theologioe Moralis, new ed. Ratisbon, 1874; one of the worst probabilistic advocates); Mosheim,
Eccles. Hist. 4:230; v, 190; Christian Remembrancer, July, 1852, p. 191 sq.; Amer. Quar, Rev. 11:473; Edinb. Rev. 23:320; 92, art. i.