Though rejected by the Jesuits, who found peripatetic formulae a faithful weapon against the enemies of the church, Cartesianism was warmly adopted by the Oratory, which saw in Descartes something of St Augustine, by Port Royal, which discovered a connexion between the new system and Jansenism, and by some amongst the Benedictines and the order of Ste Genevieve.
And so great was the influence of the Jesuits, that the congregation of St Maur, the canons of Ste Genevieve, and the Oratory laid their official ban on the obnoxious doctrines.
Pascal and other members of Port Royal openly expressed their doubts about the place allowed to God in the system; the adherents of Gassendi met it by resuscitating atoms; and the Aristotelians maintained their substantial forms as of old; the Jesuits argued against the arguments for the being of God, and against the theory of innate ideas; whilst Pierre Daniel Huet (1630-1721), bishop of Avranches, once a Cartesian himself, made a vigorous onslaught on the contempt in which his former comrades held literature and history, and enlarged on the vanity of all human aspirations after rational truth.
This was the name in common use when the Jesuits entered China towards the end of the 16th century, and began to send home accurate information about China.
In 1655 a proclamation was issued for administering the laws against the priests and Jesuits, and some executions were carried out.