I commented the other day on the election of Fr. Adolfo Nicolás as the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus. I also shared an open letter by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International
to Fr. Nicolás. Since then I have come across an article by George Weigel. (Questions for Father General
) In it he asks many of the same questions that Fr. Euteneuer & I raised (& f ew others as well that need to be asked.)
On the other hand, I also read John Allen's article
from the Not Catholic Reporter (NonCR) as well as their editorial
on the election. All I will say is that the editorial didn't surprize me. The NonCR basically called for the continued disobedience of the rank & file Jesuits & defined as good their promotion of teachings that are opposed to 2000 yrs of Catholic teaching. But what do you expect from a group that hates the truth & calls evil good, denies the existence of sin unless it is something that goes against their definition of social justice. At points the editorial almost sounds Orwellian.
Allen's article was basically an overview of who Fr. Nicolás is & put emphasis on his desire for "harmony with the Vatican." My question, "What does he define as harmony?" Time will tell. But I am not any more convinced he will do what he has to do.
Meanwhile, Papa Benedetto threw down the guantlet in an meeting Thursday (21 February 2008) with Jesuit leaders. (Remember 4th vow, Pope urges Jesuits
, Catholic World News
) He called them to "full fidelity to the original charism.
" He reminded them of St. Ignatius' demand that the Jesuits always work "with the Church and in the Church.
" He told them to seek "that harmony with the magisterium that avoids causing confusion and uncertainty among the People of God.
" He goes on to say the Jesuits should "adhere completely to the Word of God as well as to the magisterium’s charge of conserving the truth and unity of Catholic doctrine in its entirety.
Papa Benedetto shows that he knows the tension is there. But that doesn't excuse their failure to faithfulness. "I well understand that this is a particularly delicate and troublesome issue for you and for many of your colleagues. " But they need to "regain a fuller understanding of your distinctive 'fourth vow' of obedience to the Successor of Peter."
The Pope reminded them of the proper focus in working with the poor & the solution for poverty isn't found in Liberation Theology He reminded them: "the option for the poor is not ideological but rather is born of the Gospel." He went on to remind them of the real root cause of poverty. If they really want to end injustice they need "to fight the deep roots of evil in the very heart of the human being, the sin that separates us from God." This is a clear reminder that a major part of their charism is to evangelize. Something else they have often forgotten in recent years.
The Pope wants the Jesuits to return to what they were ment to do, defend the Church as it is "increasingly under attack from secular culture." As I read this line I saw it as a clear statement from Papa Benedetto that he sees the Jesuits are currently too often doing just the opposite, giving aid & comfort to the Church's enemies. They are currently helping to destroy the Church, not build it up.
Time will tell if they do what the Pope has rightly called them to do. If not, he may be forced to take stronger measures.
Meanwhile, I'd like to offer a suggestion should the Jesuits fail in doing what they should. Those Jesuits who want the Jesuits to return to what they were ment to be should follow the example of St. Theresa of Avila & St. John of the Cross, start a reformed order. I know it may be difficult. There may be things within the rules that could be a hinderance. But, I am sure it can be done.
(Note: 23 Feb 2008, 12:17 AM, Just corrected a major error above. I had accidently wrote NC Register instead of Reporter. The National Catholic Register is an absolutely orthodox newspaper, the Reporter is a hotbed of heterodoxy, heresy & dissent that only occasionally gets it right. I sincerely & heartfeltly apologize to the NC Register staff for my error. & I apologize, as well, to any readers for the confusion I may have caused. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!!!!!)