William F. Jaenike Black Robes in Paraguay

ISBN 13: 9781933794044

Black Robes in Paraguay

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9781933794044: Black Robes in Paraguay

This slice of 17th and 18th century western history is a saga of love, savage violence, and betrayal that reads like fiction. While it is centered on a famous Roman Catholic order, its international and religious scope makes it of interest to armchair historians of all beliefs including Protestants, Jews, agnostics and secular humanists. In colonial South America the Jesuits established missions among the Guaraní. As the Portuguese and Spanish slavers descended on Paraguay, the Jesuits sought to protect these stone-age Indians in their missions. Their resistance to the colonists attacks contributed to the political problems of the church with Catholic monarchs back in Europe. As a consequence, the monarchs pressured a frightened pope to abolish the Jesuit order. In the long, tortured history of European colonization of the Americas, these Jesuit Black Robes in Paraguay stood out as a breed apart, even from their fellow Jesuits elsewhere. Leaders of the anti-Catholic, anti-Jesuit Enlightenment such as Voltaire and Raynal rallied to the side of these extraordinary Paraguay missionaries. Raynal wrote that never has so much good been done for mankind with so little evil. Ironically, the heretic monarchs of Russia and Prussia invited hundreds of the former Jesuits to run their colleges. In doing so, they inadvertently saved these outcasts to become the nucleus around which a reinvigorated papacy would re-establish the Jesuit order forty years after its abolition.

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About the Author:

William F. Jaenike, an electronics engineer, is a graduate of Manhattan College with a masters from Pace University. He is a retired CEO and chairman of The Depository Trust Company and is an amateur historian with a passion for telling the story of the Guaraní Republic in Paraguay.

Review:

This remarkable story of the 17th and 18th century Jesuit missions in Paraguay is set in the midst of the religious rivalries between the cross and the crown in distant Europe. A great read for all Christians and others of good will. --William T. Dentzer, Jr., Former Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States

The Jesuit reductions in Paraquaria were probably the most successful missionary enterprise in history, a fact still very present in the region. However, this success contributed to the downfall of the founders, and for the general reader this book impressively tells that story, little known to the English-speaking world. --W. Michael Mathes, Professor Emeritus, University of San Francisco; El Colegio de Jalisco

This sweeping story of a barely known slice of history, solidly placed in the context of world events of the times, is well-researched and entertaining replete with colorful background events involving missionaries struggling with cannibals, slavers, man-eating jaguars, fire-ants, plagues and the machinations of monarchs, politicians and prelates. I learned a lot the primary purpose of good history. --Kenneth Veit, former President of Aetna International, Inc. and current chairman of the Phoenix Arizona History Book Club

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William F. Jaenike
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