The Society of Jesus ... A Conspiracy to Educate the Masses
A few years ago Inigo Lopez of Loyola was hit in the leg by a cannon ball and while recovering he had a spiritual awakening: reporting visions of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. He has spent days and months in quiet contemplation and prayer and has developed a program of spiritual exercises that can bring one closer to Jesus. Inigo is better known today as Saint Ignacius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, or as his current detractors call the group: the Jesuits... meaning those who use the name of Jesus a little too much for comfortable conversation. (You know the type.) In a few years the Society will receive the official sanction of the Pope and they will embrace the label of "Jesuit" in good humor at first and then proudly. The exact number of Jesuits at this time is exactly seven including Saint Ignatius. These men take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience at the chapel of Saint Peter in Loyola. Their current mission is to oppose the Protestant Reformation. (John Calvin is leaving town right now though not because of the Jesuits in particular.) Their goal will be to educate the world and they will succeed admirably in their goal into the modern day.       
John Calvin's Conversion and How Conversion Works
As always, dates are inexact. Late last year, the law student, John Calvin, undergoes a spiritual awakening. His whole frame of reference has changed. He writes a commentary on the need for reform within the Church and he assumes it will get a reasonable hearing. His friend, Nicholas Cop, uses John's commentary as a basis for a public lecture and all hell breaks loose. The King of France has not been happy with the Reformation, and he believes that Cop and Calvin are radical reformists. As the legend goes, they are on the run. John Calvin's reputation will grow quickly and a whole new movement called "Calvinism" will grow around him. Martin Luther is a Saxon (read as barbarian) and a populist, John Calvin is a man of classic learning and good middle-class breading. Ultimately Martin Luther will shake the world, but John Calvin is going to give it a few good shakes as well.    
King Henry the 8th and Loyalty Oaths
The Church of England has separated from the Catholic Church mostly due to King Henry the 8th's pressure on the English bishops to give him an annulment from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Some have blamed this split in the Church on Lollardy, the movement that grew around John Wycliffe, but there is no real evidence that. Parliament passes the First Succession Act, and the Treasons Act which calls for loyalty oaths to the King and agreeing that his marriage to Anne Boleyn is good and right. To refuse to take this oath is considered treason. Those beheaded next year will be Sir Thomas More, Cardinal John Fisher of Rochester, and a line of Carthusian monks, a Brigittine monk, Franciscan friars, and 14 Dutch Anabaptists. It's just getting started.        
Jewish Mysticism: The Holy Ari is Born *
Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Holy Ari or the Holy Lion) is born this year in Jerusalem. He will change the way Jewish mysticism is approached and he is sometimes called the father of modern Jewish mysticism which is Kabbalah. However, Gershom Scholem will bring Jewish mysticism to the attention of academics in the modern day. 
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1534, Wikipedia.
- * The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
- Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “In 1521, his leg was badly wounded while he was defending the city of Pamplona, in north central Spain, against the besieging French. In the enforced inactivity that followed, Loyola's thoughts turned from warfare to religion and eventually combined the two. In 1534, he organized a group which he visualized as soldiers in the cause of Jesus. He obtained the approval of Pope Paul III in 1540, and thus was founded the Society of Jesus.”
- Ignatius of Loyola - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “'On the morning of the 15th of August, 1534, in the chapel of church of Saint Peter, at Montmartre, Loyola and his six companions, of whom only one was a priest, met and took upon themselves the solemn vows of their lifelong work.' Ignatius of Loyola was the main creator and initial Superior General of the Society of Jesus, a religious organization of the Catholic Church whose members, known as Jesuits, served the Pope as missionaries.”
- List of battles of the Italian Wars - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “It was at this battle that Inigo Lopez de Loyola, better known as St. Ignatius of Loyola, suffered severe injuries, a Navarrese cannonball shattering his leg. It is said that after the battle the Navarrese so admired his bravery that they carried him all the way back to his home in Loyola.”
- Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “Divided into four thematic 'weeks' of variable length, designed to be carried out over a period of 28 to 30 days. They were composed with the intention of helping the retreatant to discern Jesus in his life, leading him to a personal commitment to follow him.”
- About Us - The Jesuits. Jesuits.org (Official Site, USA) (2015). Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “As members of a religious order, Jesuits take three vows — of poverty, chastity and obedience — and a fourth vow of obedience specifically in regard to worldwide mission. In other words, Jesuits must be ready to accept whatever mission the Pope requires, a vow that is reflective of our broader dedication to the universal Church, and to the greater good of all people from all faiths and cultures.”
- (1910) The Society of Jesus, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “The term 'Jesuit' (of fifteenth-century origin, meaning one who used too frequently or appropriated the name of Jesus), was first applied to the society in reproach (1544-52), and was never employed by its founder, though members and friends of the society in time accepted the name in its good sense.”
- sanction - definition of sanction. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “Authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid.”
- The Jews & the Jesuits. OzTorah (2015). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “There was probably a Jewish connection with the formation of the Society of Jesus. Diego (Jaime) Laynez, Loyolo's successor was from a family that was probably originally Jewish, as was Juan Alonso de Polanco, Loyola's secretary. He was prepared to allow &lquot;new Christians&rquot; into the order and in 1552 admitted Giovann Baptista Eliano, a grandson of the Hebraist, Elijah Levita. By the end of the 16th century the order ruled against accepting &lquot;new Christians&rquot; and a later ruling in 1608 required at least five generations of Christian identity, which restriction was removed in 1946.”
- John Calvin - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 10 March 2015. “'God by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life. Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness, I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, that although I did not altogether leave off other studies, yet I pursued them with less ardour.'”
- John Calvin. Christian Classics Ethereal Library (2015). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “By 1532 Calvin finished his law studies and also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman philosopher, Seneca. The following year Calvin fled Paris because of contacts with individuals who through lectures and writings opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought that in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden and unexpected conversion that he writes about in his foreword to his commentary on the Psalms.”
- (1910) John Calvin, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “Francis I was, indeed, handling Protestants severely, and Calvin, now Doctor of Law at Orléans, composed, so the story runs, an oration on Christian philosophy which Nicholas Cop delivered on All Saints' Day, 1532, both writer and speaker having to take instant flight from pursuit by the royal inquisitors. This legend has been rejected by modern critics.”
- (1536) "Introduction", Institutes of the Christian Religion, Rev. John Murray (Introduction). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “However highly we assess Calvin's exegetical talent and product, his eminence as an exegete must not be allowed to overshadow what was, after all, his greatest gift. He was par excellence a theologian. It was his systematizing genius preeminently that equipped him for the prosecution and completion of his masterpiece.”
- (1902) "Lecture IX: Conversion", The Varieties of Religious Experience, Dr. Russell A. Dewey, PhD. (Comments on William James). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “Here is my copy of William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. This classic book was first published in 1902, and has remained in print ever since. The basic issues James discusses here remain of vital concern to people in psychology and religion today.”
- Treasons Act 1534 - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Thomas More - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Treason Act 1547 - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- First Succession Act - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- Church of England - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “In 1534, King Henry VIII separated the English Church from Rome. A theological separation had been foreshadowed by various movements within the English Church such as Lollardy, but the English Reformation gained political support when Henry VIII wanted an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn.”
- (1910) Lollards, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “The little stream of English heresy cannot be said to have added much to the Protestant flood which rolled in from the Continent. It did, however, bear witness to the existence of a spirit of discontent, and may have prepared the ground for religious revolt near London and in the eastern counties, though there is no evidence that any of the more prominent early reformers were Lollards before they were Protestants.”
- (1910) Henry VIII, The Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “An Act of Succession entailed the crown on the children of Anne Boleyn, and an oath was drawn up to be exacted of every person of lawful age. It was the refusal to take this oath, the preamble of which declared Henry's marriage with Catherine null from the beginning, which sent More and Fisher to the Tower, and eventually to the block. A certain number of Carthusian monks, Brigittines, and Observant Franciscans imitated their firmness and shared their fate. All these have been beatified in modern times by Pope Leo XIII.”
- San Francisco archbishop answers disapproving letter from lawmakers. San Jose Mercury News (February 20, 2015). Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “Cordileone adds he respects the lawmakers' right to hire whoever may advance their mission and that he is asking for the same respect.”
- "SF Supes tell archbishop his morality clauses are unwanted - SFGate", San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Newspapers, March 6, 2015. Retrieved on 12 March 2015. “And in the first formal and public accounting of their overwhelming opposition to the archbishop's efforts, more than 80 percent of the teachers and staff from the four high schools issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting the archbishop's proposed language for the faculty handbook.”
- Alex Shrugged notes: Remember that "New Years" in England is March 25th so take all dates with a grain of salt.
- Isaac Luria - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 February 2015.
- Herbert Weiner. 9 1/2 Mystics: the Kabbalah Today. Collier Books. ISBN 0020897715.