grandees of literature, or the plebeians who glorify the
Arrived in Corrientes, Don Manuel Cabral, a pious officer, received them in his house, and, curiously enough, the population welcomed the Jesuits with enthusiasm, and pressed them earnestly to build a college in the town.
Their college at Asuncion was treated like a town taken by storm: pulpit and font, confessionals and doors, all were torn down and burnt, and, with a view of justifying what was done, the Bishop's partisans spread a report that, as the Jesuits were heretics, their temple was unclean.
The population, more artistic in its instincts than the Bishop, refused to allow the altar, which had been brought from Spain, to be destroyed. Besides the altar, there were also statues of San Ignacio and San Francisco Xavier. These the Bishop wished to turn into St. Peter and St. Paul. With this design he gave them to an Indian carpenter to work upon. The poor man did his best, but only managed to turn out two monstrous blocks, which looked like nothing human.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin which had the eyes turned up to heaven the Bishop wished to alter, and replace the head by another with the eyes turned down to earth, as being more befitting to the statue's sex. The people, less mad or superstitious than the Bishop, refused to allow it, and the image, too, was placed in the Cathedral.
In 1649 the expulsion of an Order so powerful as were the Jesuits caused some commotion through the world at large. Miracles happened opportunely to strengthen waning faith. A fire placed round their church, though it destroyed, refused to blacken; and ropes fixed to the tower of the church, although attached to windlasses, refused to pull it down, so that the tower and church, though gutted, still remained almost intact, and, on the Jesuits' return, were easily repaired, and served as a monument of victory.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a mitre, as poor Cardenas found out. His popularity suffered some decrease by the lack of treasure found in the Jesuits' college, for he had always dangled millions in prospective before the people's eyes to engage them on his side, and, most unluckily, he had no millions to bestow. So, to make all things right, he sent Fray Diego Villalon* to Madrid to represent his interests.
-- * This Villalon has left some curious memoirs in the case which he submitted to the Council of the Indies which sat in Seville. --
The Jesuits upon their side were not inactive. By virtue of a brief of Gregory XIII. they had the privilege of appointing an official called a judge conservator in cases where their honour or their possessions were attacked. Therefore Father Alfonso de Ojeda was sent to Charcas to arrange about the case. At Charcas they found that Cardenas had been before them, and had instituted proceedings against their Order in the High Court. Father Pedro Nolasco, Superior of the Order of Mercy, was appointed judge conservator. He at once summoned the Bishop to appear before him, and arranged to try the case and hear the evidence.
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