The Holy Founder

The Holy Founder
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Welcome the "Reforming the Jesuits" blog.

This blog has the objective of reforming the Jesuits. The logic is first to show that the Jesuits need to be reformed and second to consider the means needed to achieve that end.

Why should non-Jesuits be concerned about reforming the order?
The Jesuit order like any religious order has as an end to serve Christ by serving His Church. The members of the Church have the right to control the quality of the service that it is receiving.

The service that the Catholic faithful receive comes from institutional decisions and from individual Jesuits. Many love the traditional Society of Jesus, her saints, her mysticism, and her history but are dismayed by the direction taken by the current management. Many have been served by pious orthodox Jesuits but are scandalized by others. It seems that there is an identity crisis. The very institution does not know what its ends are. While the documents of the order are clear, institutional discipline has broken down, some members are confused and leaders have refused to lead.

What should be done? Some argue that the Society should be suppressed again. That would be a shame. Given that the name of the Society of Jesus in Spanish is La Compañía de Jesús, maybe what should be preferred is a hostile takeover of the Company. That does not seem possible. During the crazy post VCII days some Orthodox Spanish Jesuits advanced the proposal of the establishment of a reformed ordered following the example of the Carmelites and Trapists, others proposed the foundation of "strict observance" provinces.

This blog aims to apply moral pressure advancing arguments for what seems to be a clear truth: the Jesuits need reformed. Then it invites brain storming looking for possible solutions. Ideas are powerful but prayer is more powerful. We invite readers to pray. Invoke the Jesuit saints.


Monday, October 29, 2007

The founding document of the Society of Jesus

There is a clear incoherency between what the original intent of the founding fathers of the Society of Jesus and current practices. Below we print one of the founding documents of the Society. In another entry we post an article by Avery Dulles, S.J.. The current management of the Society has another vision or if it shares the vision lacks the courage to order the Present Society of Jesus to the ends for which it was founded.

The Formula of the Institute
"Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross in our society, which we desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his spouse, under the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind. He is a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose:

to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine
, by means of public preaching, lectures, and any other ministration whatsoever of the word of God and further by means of the Spiritual Exercises, the education of children and unlettered persons in Christianity and the spiritual consolation of Christ's faithful through hearing confessions and administering the other sacraments.

Moreover, he should show himself ready to reconcile the estranged, compassionately assist and serve those who are in prisons or hospitals and, indeed, to perform any other works of charity, according to what will seem expedient for the glory of God and the common good."

(The Formula of the Institute is the foundational document of the Society of Jesus. It was first approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III, and confirmed in 1550 by Pope Julius III)

An article by Cardinal Dulles

What Distinguishes the Jesuits?

The Ignatian charism at the dawn of the 21st century

By Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ

This lecture is intended to complete a series of four on the Jesuit founders whose jubilees are being celebrated this year. At Fordham we have had in 2006 one lecture on St. Ignatius, one on Peter Faber, one on Francis Xavier and now, to complete the series, a lecture on the Ignatian charism today. The notion of the Ignatian charism requires some explanation. A charism is a gift of grace, conferred not for one's personal sanctification but for the benefit of others. St. Paul has a famous list of charisms in the 12th chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians. They include the gifts of prophecy, speech, miracle-working and the interpretation of tongues. If these are charisms bestowed on some members of the church, what charisms, if any, are given to St. Ignatius of Loyola? Who are the beneficiaries? Are these charisms still bestowed today? And if so, who are the recipients?

In what follows I shall speak principally of the gifts that St. Ignatius possessed in an eminent way and that he expected to be applied and handed down with God's help in the Society he founded.

The life of St. Ignatius was remarkably focused. Beginning with his long convalescence at Loyola after being wounded at Pamplona in 1521, he was led by God through a series of stages culminating in the foundation and organization of the Society of Jesus. Although the Society, when first officially established in 1540, had only 10 members, including the inner circle of the three whose anniversaries we celebrate this year, all 10 recognized without a shadow of doubt that the true founder of the Society of Jesus, under God, was none other than Ignatius. He was endowed with an extraordinary gift "a charism, one may say" of leadership. His primary achievement was the founding of a new religious order in many ways quite unlike any order that had previously existed. It was an order of men vowed to live in the midst of the world with their eyes continually focused on God, on Jesus Christ and on the needs of the church.

These three foci of the Ignatian vision are compactly expressed in the bull of Pope Paul III in 1540, confirmed by a similar bull of Julius III in 1550. Both these documents quoted in full the Formula of the Institute composed by Ignatius himself. The Formula begins with these lapidary words: "Whoever desires to serve as a soldier of God beneath the banner of the cross in our Society, which we desire to be designated by the name of Jesus, and to serve the Lord alone and the Church, his Spouse, under the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, should, after a vow of perpetual chastity, poverty, and obedience, keep the following in mind."

Focusing on God

The first feature of the Jesuit in this description is to be a soldier of God. Anyone who enters the Society, says the Formula, must first of all keep before his eyes God and then the nature of this Institute which he has embraced and which is, so to speak, a pathway to God. According to his custom Ignatius here distinguishes between the means and the end. The end for which the Jesuit order exists is the greater glory of God. In the constitutions he composed for the Society, Ignatius repeats the formula "ad maiorem Dei gloriam" in the same or similar words 376 times. Because God is God, he deserves all the praise and service we can give him. The use of the comparative "greater" (maiorem) is significant. It signifies the desire to excel, to seek ever more (magis). What we have done and are presently doing is never enough.

Following Jesus Christ

The life of the Jesuit according to the Institute is in the second place centered on Jesus Christ, who is, in the phrase of St. Ignatius, the way that leads to life. The Formula of the Institute specifies that the Society is to be designated by the name of Jesus. St. Ignatius never thought of himself as the head of the Jesuits. He wanted only to be a companion in the following of Jesus, the true head of the Society.

St. Ignatius received a remarkable grace while praying at the chapel of La Storta, just outside Rome, in October 1537, together with Peter Faber and Diego Laínez. He was, as he declares, "very specially visited by the Lord," whom he saw carrying his cross on his shoulder in the presence of his Father, who said to Ignatius, "I want you to serve us." From that moment forth, St. Ignatius never doubted that the Father had placed him with the Son; he insisted adamantly that the new congregation ought to be called the Society of Jesus.

Already in the meditation on the Two Standards in the Spiritual Exercises, written some years earlier, Ignatius had the retreatant ask for the grace to be received under the standard of Christ. And so in the Formula of the Institute he has those entering the Society express the desire to fight under the banner of the cross. This is a commitment to struggle ceaselessly against great odds and to fight bravely, not heeding the wounds, imitating the example of Christ who embraced the cross to accomplish our redemption.

Serving the Church

The third component is the ecclesial. Totally and unequivocally a man of the church, Ignatius writes in the Formula of the Institute that the prospective Jesuit must be resolved to serve "the Lord alone and the Church his spouse." Here we may detect an echo of Ignatius' famous "Rules for Thinking with the Church," at the conclusion of the Spiritual Exercises, where he refuses to admit any discrepancy between the service of Christ and the church.

"I must be convinced," he writes, "that in Christ our Lord, the bridegroom, and in His spouse the Church, only one Spirit holds sway, which governs and rules for the salvation of souls." The hierarchical and Roman Church, he says, is "the true Spouse of Christ our Lord, our holy Mother."

St. Ignatius' allegiance is not to some abstract idea of the church, but to the church as it concretely exists on earth, with the Roman pontiff at its summit. The popes of St. Ignatius' day may not have been the holiest and the wisest of men, but he looked upon them with the eyes of faith and saw in each of them the vicar of Christ for the teaching and government of the universal church. As early as 1534, when the original seven companions took their vows at Montmartre, they had the idea of placing themselves at the disposal of the pope, asking him to assign them to the missions he considered most pressing. After the papal approval of the Institute in 1540, Ignatius established himself at Rome, where he spent the rest of his life in order to be accessible to the pope.

As yet I have stated the goal of the Society of Jesus in only the most general terms the glory of God, the service of Christ and availability to the pope. Ignatius still had to specify what kind of service his order would be prepared to offer. This too is mentioned in the Formula of the Institute. In the sentence following the one I have quoted, St. Ignatius writes: Whoever wishes to enter should know that he is asking to be "a member of a Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine." And then he mentions various means whereby these goals are to be achieved: �public preaching, other ministries of the word of God, spiritual exercises, education in Christianity, hearing confessions, and administering other sacraments.� And then in the next sentence the Formula speaks of certain works of charity: reconciling the estranged, ministering to persons in prisons and hospitals and similar services.

Ten Shining Features of the Society of Jesus A number of attempts have been made in recent years to gather up certain principles that shine through the writings of St. Ignatius and are envisaged as permanent features of the Society he founded. Any such list presupposes, of course, the common elements of all religious orders in the Catholic Church, including the faithful observance of the usual vows of religion: poverty, chastity and obedience. The following 10 features may serve as a summary of what is more specific to the spirit of St. Ignatius.

1. Dedication to the glory of God, the "ever greater God," whom we can never praise and serve enough. This gives the Jesuit a kind of holy restlessness, a ceaseless effort to do better, to achieve the more or, in Latin, the magis. Ignatius may be said to have been a God-intoxicated man in the sense that he made "the greater glory of God" the supreme norm of every action, great or small.
2. Personal love for Jesus Christ and a desire to be counted among his close companions. Repeatedly in the Exercises Jesuits pray to know Christ more clearly, to love him more dearly and to follow him more nearly. Preaching in the towns of Italy, the first companions deliberately imitated the style of life of the disciples whom Jesus had sent forth to evangelize the towns of Galilee.
3. To labor with, in and for the church, thinking at all times with the church in obedience to its pastors. Throughout the Constitutions, Ignatius insists on the teaching of the doctrine that is "safer and more approved," so that students may learn the "more solid and safe doctrine."
4. Availability. To be at the disposal of the church, available to labor in any place, for the sake of the greater and more universal good. Regarding the Society as the spiritual militia of the pope, St. Ignatius sees the whole world, so to speak, as his field of operations. Inspired by this cosmic vision, he admits no divisions based on national frontiers and ethnic ties.
5. Mutual union. Jesuits are to see themselves as parts of a body bound together by a communion of minds and hearts. In the Constitutions St. Ignatius asserted that the Society could not attain its ends unless its members were united by deep affection among themselves and with the head. Many authors quote in this connection the term used by Ignatius of his first companions: "friends in the Lord."
6. Preference for spiritual and priestly ministries. The Jesuits are a priestly order, all of whose professed members must be ordained, although the cooperation of spiritual and lay coadjutors is highly valued. In the choice of ministries, Ignatius writes, "spiritual goods ought to be preferred to bodily," since they are more conducive to the "ultimate and supernatural end."
7. Discernment. Ignatius was a master of the practical life and the art of decision-making. He distinguished carefully between ends and means, choosing the means best suited to achieve the end in view. In the use of means he consistently applied the principle: "tantum... quantum," meaning "as much as helps," but not more. In this connection he teaches the discipline of indifference in the sense of detachment from anything that is not to be sought for its own sake.
8. Adaptability. Ignatius always paid close attention to the times, places and persons with which he was dealing. He took care to frame general laws in such a way as to allow for flexibility in application.
9. Respect for human and natural capacities. Although Ignatius relied primarily on spiritual means, such as divine grace, prayer and sacramental ministry, he took account of natural abilities, learning, culture and manners as gifts to be used for the service and glory of God. For this reason he showed a keen interest in education.
10. An original synthesis of the active and the contemplative life. Jerome Nadal (1507-80) spoke of the Jesuit practice "of seeking a perfection in our prayer and spiritual exercises in order to help our neighbor, and by means of that help of neighbor acquiring yet more perfection in prayer, in order to help our neighbor even more." According to Nadal, it is a special grace of the whole Society to be contemplative not only in moments of withdrawal but also in the midst of action, thus "seeking God in all things."

Wisdom From Recent Popes

In view of my assignment to speak of the Ignatian charism today, I shall shift immediately to the 20th century and to the years since the Second Vatican Council. The popes, as the highest superiors of all Jesuits, have given us wise directives regarding the application of our Jesuit charism to the needs of the day. They have addressed each of the four general congregations held since 1965. On the theory that the charism of the Society is correlative with its mission, I shall particularly examine the injunctions of recent popes.

Addressing the 31st General Congregation on May 7, 1966, Pope Paul VI congratulated the Society for being "the legion ever faithful to the task of protecting the Catholic faith and the Apostolic See." He took the occasion to charge the Jesuits with a new mission: to make a "stout, united stand against atheism," which was rapidly spreading at the time, "frequently masquerading as cultural, scientific, or social progress."

In an address to the second session of the same congregation on Nov. 16, 1966, Paul VI raised questions about whether some Jesuits were accepting naturalistic norms for their apostolate and weakening in that traditional loyalty to the Holy See that had been so dear to St. Ignatius. In its "Decree on the Mission of the Society Today," General Congregation 31 accepted the mandate to confront atheism and offered the Society completely to the church under the direction of the pope.

In his address to the 32nd General Congregation on Dec. 3, 1974, Pope Paul VI referred to the "vocation and charism proper to Jesuits," transmitted by an unbroken tradition, which includes conformity to the will of God and that of the church. In a valuable analysis, he reminded Jesuits of their fourfold vocation: to be religious, to be apostolic, to be priests and to be united with the bishop of Rome. He admonished them not to be seduced by the dazzling perspective of worldly humanism and the pursuit of novelty for its own sake. In subsequent correspondence he renewed his earlier warnings that the Society of Jesus should retain its religious and priestly character and avoid ways of action more appropriate to secular institutes and lay movements. The role of ordained Jesuits, he said, should be clearly distinct from the role of laity.

In response, the 32nd General Congregation strongly reaffirmed the Society's reverence and loyalty to the Holy See and to the magisterium of the church. It underlined the sacerdotal (or priestly) character of the Society, while recognizing the value of the contribution of lay coadjutors.

Pope John Paul II, on Sept. 2, 1983, delivered a homily to the 33rd General Congregation. The Ignatian spirit, he said, is a special charism that makes the Socie ty of Jesus a privileged instrument of the church's action at all levels. After repeating the mandate of Paul VI to resist atheism, he spoke of the danger of confusing the tasks proper to priests with those of the laity. "Intimate knowledge, strong love, and closer following of the Lord," he said, "are the soul of your vocation."

John Paul II, in his allocution to General Congregation 34 on Jan. 5, 1995, spoke of the singular charism of fidelity to the successor of Peter, which marks out the Society of Jesus as being "totally and without reservation of the Church, in the Church, and for the Church." The charism of the Society, he said, should make Jesuits witnesses to the primacy of God and his will, which points to the primacy of spirituality and prayer. He asked that Jesuits, seeking to follow the leadership of St. Francis Xavier in missionary evangelization, be in the forefront of the new evangelization, promoting a deep interior relationship with Jesus Christ, the first evangelizer. In their universities, His Holiness said, Jesuits should teach clear, solid, organic knowledge of Catholic doctrine. They should be very attentive not to confuse their students by questionable teachings, at variance with the church's doctrine on faith and morals.

Benedict XVI, in a speech of April 22, 2006, celebrating the current jubilee year, exhorted the Society to continue in its tradition of imparting solid training in philosophy and theology as a basis for dialogue with modern culture. The Society of Jesus, he said, enjoys an extraordinary legacy in the holiness of St. Ignatius, the missionary zeal of Francis Xavier and the apostolate of Peter Faber among leaders of the Reformation. In many of his addresses this pope has aligned himself with Paul VI and John Paul II by insisting that the primary and indispensable task of the priest is to be an expert in the spiritual life and a witness to the truth of revelation. The promotion of justice in society, he believes, is primarily a responsibility of the laity.

Challenges: Ignatius' Day and Our Day

The challenges of our day are certainly different from those of the 16th century; but they are, I believe, analogous, and for this reason, I would contend, the Society is well positioned to deal with them. Its charism is by no means outdated. The 16th century, like our own, was a time of rapid and radical cultural change. That time witnessed the rise of anthropocentric humanism, the birth of the secular state and the autonomy of the social and physical sciences. Jesuits who have studied their own tradition have stellar examples of scholars who equipped themselves to enter into these new fields and show the coherence between the new learning and the Catholic heritage of faith. We have only to think of the economic and legal philosophy of Luis de Molina (1535-1600) and Juan de Lugo (1583-1660), the astronomical achievements of Christopher Clavius (1537- 1612), the atomic theories of Roger Boscovich (1711-87), and so many other great Jesuit thinkers of the past. They spoke incisively to the problems of their day, building bridges between faith and reason, between theology and science. In our day some Jesuits are venturing into questions concerning cosmic and human origins and into complex problems of biochemistry and genetic engineering, all of which are so vital for the future of faith and morals.

The 16th century had early experiences of globalization. It was the great age of discovery. Jesuits, eager to evangelize the whole world, were leaders in the missionary apostolate to the Americas, to parts of Africa, to India and the Far East. They not only sent missionaries but also trained them to present the Gospel in a manner suited to the cultures of various peoples. Francis Xavier (1506-22) is the most famous, but he was by no means alone. Matteo Ricci (1552- 1610) and Robert de Nobili (1577-1656) are only two of dozens of outstanding missionaries who preached the Gospel in an inculturated form, inspired by the principles of St. Ignatius.

Proclamation in an accommodated style is not less needed today than in the past. The fields are white for the harvest, but the laborers are few. Who can better fill the urgent demand for priests to proclaim the Gospel and administer the sacraments in continents like Africa, where conversions to Christianity are so numerous and so rapid? Jesuits in the young churches, if they are well trained, can take up the task left to them by foreign missionaries.

The age of Ignatius was no stranger to the clash of civilizations. The Muslim world and the Christian world were engaged in incessant warfare. Jews were being mistreated and persecuted in many countries. Jesuit missionaries encountered fierce opposition from religious leaders in practically every country they evangelized. In the course of time, they became leaders in interreligious dialogue. Missionaries learned to respect the good things in native cultures while sifting out the chaff. That is still a task of great urgency today. Jesuits have in their tradition rich resources for learning how and how not to deal with non-Christian religions. Bloody conflict and useless provocation must be avoided, while, on the other hand, Christians must frankly oppose elements in every religion and every culture that promote superstition or injustice.

Between the Protestant nations of northern Europe and the Catholic nations of the south. The Jesuits, few though they were in number, accomplished great things by their energy and heroism. Peter Faber (1506-46) did extraordinary work to stem the tide of heresy in Germany and the Low Countries. He inspired Peter Canisius (1521-97) and a host of others to go forward in his footsteps. One wonders what the Jesuits of those days would have done if they were alive today to see the defection of so many Latino Catholics from the church in the United States and in Central and South America. The need is evident; the principles are clear; but there are all too few talented candidates to take up the task.

Centralization of the church was imperative in the days of St. Ignatius. He himself clearly perceived the need for the papacy as the headquarters of the universal church. He saw that Catholicism must be universal and that nationalism and ethnocentrism could have no place in it. He founded a Society made up of Spaniards, Portuguese, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Englishmen and many others who worked together in an undivided apostolate under the direction of a single general superior. One of the great blessings of the Society of Jesus, today as in the past, is its worldwide horizon. Jesuits are "friends in the Lord" undivided by distinctions of nationality, ethnic origin or social class.

A great weakness of the church in the Europe of St. Ignatius' day was ignorance of the faith. Many priests were barely literate, and the laity in some countries did not know the basic elements of the Creed. Rather than complain and denounce, Ignatius preferred to build. Popular education, he perceived, was on the rise. Taking advantage of the new desire for learning, Ignatius quickly set about founding schools, colleges and seminaries. The educational efforts of the Jesuits in the past count among their greatest services to the church. These educational institutions, I believe, are still among the major blessings that the Society of Jesus offers to the church and to the culture at large.

Jesuits in the past have entered deeply into the intellectual apostolate. Many were leaders in practical sciences such as political theory. They can look back on a great tradition extending from Francisco Suárez in the 16th century to John Courtney Murray in the 20th. Nothing suggests that this type of research has lost its relevance. The church needs loyal and devoted scholars who will carry this type of reflection further, in view of new and developing situations. Here again the Society has much to contribute if sufficient numbers will hear the call.

In the 16th century, the Society of Jesus was at the vanguard of the church in dealing with the problems posed by the Protestant Reformation, by the new science and by access to new continents that had been beyond the awareness of Europeans in the past. Today the church is confronted with mounting secularism, with new advances in technology, and growing globalization and an attending clash of cultures. If anyone should ask whether these developments render the Ignatian charisms obsolete, I would reply with an emphatic no.

The Society can be abreast of the times if it adheres to its original purpose and ideals. The term "Jesuit" is often misunderstood. Not to mention enemies for whom Jesuit is a term of opprobrium, friends of the Society sometimes identify the term with independence of thought and corporate pride, both of which St. Ignatius deplored. Others reduce the Jesuit trademark to a matter of educational techniques, such as the personal care of students, concern for the whole person, rigor in thought and eloquence in expression. These qualities are estimable and have a basis in the teaching of St. Ignatius. But they omit any consideration of the fact that the Society of Jesus is an order of vowed religious in the Catholic Church. They are bound by special allegiance to the pope, the bishop of Rome. And above all, it needs to be mentioned that the Society of Jesus is primarily about a person: Jesus, the redeemer of the world. If the Society were to lose its special devotion to the Lord (which, I firmly trust, will never happen) it would indeed be obsolete. It would be like salt that had lost its savor.

Evangelizing the World

The greatest need of the Society of Jesus, I believe, is to be able to project a clearer vision of its purpose. Its members are engaged in such diverse activities that its unity is obscured. In this respect the recent popes have rendered great assistance. Paul VI helpfully reminded Jesuits that they are a religious order, not a secular institute; that they are a priestly order, not a lay association; that they are apostolic, not monastic; and that they are bound to obedience to the pope, not wholly self-directed.

Pope John Paul II, in directing Jesuits to engage in the new evangelization, identified a focus that perfectly matches the founding idea of the Society. Ignatius was adamant in insisting that it be named for Jesus, its true head. The Spiritual Exercises are centered on the Gospels. Evangelization is exactly what the first Jesuits did as they conducted missions in the towns of Italy. They lived lives of evangelical poverty. Evangelization was the sum and substance of what St. Francis Xavier accomplished in his arduous missionary journeys. And evangelization is at the heart of all Jesuit apostolates in teaching, in research, in spirituality and in the social apostolate. Evangelization, moreover, is what the world most sorely needs today. The figure of Jesus Christ in the Gospels has not lost its attraction. Who should be better qualified to present that figure today than members of the Society that bears his name?

From the Georgetown Voice

I urge the dear reader to compare what Dulles and Ignatius say about the mission of the Society with this note from Georgetown a so called Jesuit University.

October 25, 2007
DeGioia agrees to Pride demands
Kate Mays and Sam Sweeney

Georgetown University President John DeGioia committed last night to a fully-funded and fully-staffed resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students by fall of next year.

DeGioia’s appearance at an open forum in the ICC auditorium came after weeks of pressure from Georgetown’s LGBTQ community for better support following recent hate crimes.

“How do we respond to legitimate requests for a more supportive environment?” DeGioia said. “We can continue to do this in a somewhat informal manner … or we can move forward in a more organized way, through more formal and institutional structures and processes. In this case, it is time for the latter.”
A Day for Pride: DeGioia promises a fully funded, staffed LGBTQ resource center.
Lynn Kirshbaum

DeGioia also announced the formation of three working groups comprised of faculty, staff and students to address GU Pride’s demands for a reformed incidents of bias and hate reporting system, enhanced LGBTQ-related education and a full-time resource center. He expects the working groups, which will report directly to DeGioia and Provost James O’Donnell, to have actionable suggestions within a month of their first meetings.

GU Pride Co-President Scott Chessare (COL ‘10) was thrilled by DeGioia’s promises.

“We won!” he said. “I don’t think we would have believed less than two months ago that there would be so much institutional change in such a short amount of time.”

Throughout his remarks, DeGioia stressed the importance of addressing LGBTQ issues in the context of Georgetown’s Catholic identity.

“At a Catholic and Jesuit university, [we] cannot advocate for policies or practices that are counter to Catholic teaching,” he said. “Part of my responsibility as an administrator … is to ensure that nothing can compromise the integrity of our mission and identity.”

A question and answer session followed DeGioia’s opening remarks. Former GU Pride President Shamisa Zvoma (MSB ‘08) questioned the effectiveness of working groups.

“I have very little confidence in their ability to get things done,” she said, citing the failures of past LGBTQ working groups.

“I have a lot of confidence that in this moment we can do something we haven’t done before and that’s what I’m counting on,” DeGioia responded.

In their questions, several students shared their personal encounters with homophobia at Georgetown. In Arthur Colker’s (SFS ‘11) Chinese class, his professor, to demonstrate correct usage of the Chinese word for “truly strange,” pointed to Colker and said, “Arthur has a boyfriend. That’s truly strange,” according to Colker.

After a pause, DeGioia told Colker, “There are no circumstances under which you should have to experience that.”

DeGioia was hesitant to admit the existence of a homophobic culture at Georgetown, calling it “a dimension of this community which doesn’t resonate with my experience.”

However, he added, “I have seen moments in which the behavior of members of our community can only be described as homophobic.”

The evening ended with a question from LGBTQ resources coordinator Bill McCoy about how Georgetown could attract more faculty and staff able to mentor LGBTQ students.

“The notion of same-sex couples living in our residence halls—no,” DeGioia said. “I don’t see that working out. There are limits to what we can do.”

McCoy said afterwards that DeGioia’s answer “illuminates a barrier on this campus to engage in these issues … in the full context of the LGBTQ community.”

According to Chessare, GU Pride is pleased with DeGioia’s response. “The bottom line is he committed to a resource center,” he said. “I think DeGioia really put himself on the line and that’s the kind of thing a real ally would do.”

Friday, October 26, 2007

One more reason for reform quote from Pete Hamill

An article from the NY Times gives another testimony as to why the Jesuits need reformed.
White Ethnic Politics: Irish and Italian Catholics and Jews, Oh, My!
By Sewell Chan
An Irishman, an Italian and a Jew walked into the grand auditorium of the New York Academy of Medicine on Wednesday evening – not to tell jokes (or be part of one), but to engage an audience of some 400 people in a discussion about white ethnic groups and their evolving roles in the politics and culture of New York City.

The panelists — Edward I. Koch, mayor from 1978 to 1989; Pete Hamill, the journalist and author; and Frank J. Macchiarola, schools chancellor from 1978 to 1983 — had been invited by the Museum of the City of New York to reflect on a new book, “White Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics and the Shaping of Postwar Politics,” by the historian Joshua M. Zeitz.
Snip-- snip---

Mr. Hamill is famous for his storytelling abilities, and he did not disappoint. He recalled guys from the neighborhood, looking for movie listings in The Tablet, a diocesan newspaper in Brooklyn, and making jokes about Cardinal Francis J. Spellman, whom Mr. Hamill called, rather irreverently, a “strike-busting fat boy.”
Mr. Hamill was equally irreverent about the Catholic schools he attended:
They had a kind of madrassa in the morning: “Hail Mary, full of grace.” It’s like these kids you see in Pakistan learning things by rote. But I ended up in a Jesuit high school and the Jesuits have one thing they gave to everybody who’s ever gone to one of these schools: doubt. They’ve probably created more atheists than communism ever did, and standards of excellence that none of us can ever approach.
There is some to his comments. Some Jesuits seem to have the objective of spreading doubt which they call “critical thinking”.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

old news - old reasons for reform

prize winners
Posted by: Diogenes in CWN page - Apr. 16, 2007 9:05 AM ET USA

Back in 1999, Boston Magazine celebrated creation spirituality in its Best of Boston contest, giving the Best Place to Meet a Gay Mate award to

The Jesuit Urban Center, South End. True, many happy couples found their love in the Ralph Lauren paint department of Homo Depot -- er, Home Depot. But Sunday morning Mass at the Jesuit Urban Center spawns more blessed pairings. The Urban Center's liturgy is both classic and contemporary; its mixed congregation is mostly gay; its AIDS and HIV support programs are some of the best in town; and its coffee hour is a great place to get phone numbers. 775 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617-536-8440.

Today, alas, the Boston Globe brings the sad news that those blessed pairings will need to spawn elsewhere.

The Jesuit Urban Center, a predominantly gay Catholic congregation in Boston's South End, will close at the end of July, and the landmark church in which services are held will be put up for sale, the Jesuit religious order announced yesterday.

Congregants who can afford carfare will still be able to worship at the few remaining churches that don't conduct a Libidinal Orthopathy Screening at the door:

[The Jesuit Provincial superior] said that the Jesuits would continue to welcome gays and lesbians to worship at St. Ignatius of Loyola , the parish they oversee in Chestnut Hill, and that there are two other downtown congregations that have been reaching out to gay Catholics, the Paulist Center on Beacon Hill and St. Anthony Shrine, operated by the Franciscans, near Downtown Crossing. ...


"I, and my friends, while not surprised, were saddened," said Dr. Juan Jaime de Zengotita, who has worshiped at the Jesuit Urban Center for four years. "This comes after a few years of rough times for gay Catholics, with Vatican and local Episcopal declarations that have not been so friendly. I don't know what will be the future of gay ministry."

I suppose there's always the Ralph Lauren paint department of Home Depot. After all, anyone interested in cleaving to the Church instead of changing her would walk into the nearest Catholic parish, whatever it happened to be.

Some folks, however, convince themselves they have special needs. For those that demand inscape in their outreach, only The Best will do. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the Jesuit Urban Center's Manhattan counterpart caught the admiring attention of the Village Voice (2001) for its non-judgmental ministry of reconciliation for Thinking Catholics:

Best Place to 'Fess Up -- ST. FRANCIS XAVIER CHURCH: No black box. A priest in a sweater and khakis sits you by a big open window and chats with you about your problems in a nonjudgmental way. Says things like "No matter what you choose, you are loved in the eyes of God." (This was in reference to me telling him I wanted to kiss a girl.) Here, sexuality is as fluid as the blood of Christ. Amen.

Comfort. Being comfortable with who I am. That's the message God became man to communicate to us.

Well, to those better dressed among us.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ecology and the S.J.

This fell into my hands. It is a circular from the Jesuit central office about ecology. Moved by Al Gore's Nobel Prize the central planning office of the Society seems to jump on the bandwagon. This is an example of the nonsense that is on the minds of Jesuit Superiors. In a world where the eternal salvation of millions lies in the balance they propose to use important time in the General Congregation to debate this issue.
Preparation for General Congregation 35 – 4


1. Introduction:

Ecology was one of the themes on which we received many postulates, coming from all parts of the world. This indicates a new sensitivity and a growing concern in the Society.

The postulates recommend that GC35 give this theme special attention, emphasizing the bond between ecology and justice, and affirming it as a constitutive dimension of our mission today. The Society should accept this ecological dimension not only as an apostolic priority, but also should consider it as a permanent dimension of our Mission.

Questions for reflection and community discussion:

* Do we agree with the integrated view offered by these postulates?
* Compared to several years ago, do we have today a “new sensitivity” and “growing concern” about this problem? Or do we consider it rather of interest only to younger generations or to some smaller political parties?

2. Facts justifying the importance of this dimension today:

The postulates refer to certain glaring facts: more frequent ecological disasters, studies demonstrating the worsening situations in some regions and the risks facing the very planet, an increasingly dire impact of all this on the poor, and the growing number of refugees that has resulted.

Regarding the present situation of the Society they point out a paradoxical fact: though the Society and our lay companions enjoy nowadays ample possibilities to join forces with other institutions inside or outside of the church in addressing this enormous ecological problem, nevertheless the Society has not been sufficiently prophetic, nor has it committed itself in an area so critical for the fate of the planet.

Our greatest contribution has been We Live in a Broken World: Reflections on Ecology (Promotio Justitiae 70, 1999), which does not appear to have had much of an impact on the life of the Society.

Questions for reflection and community discussion:

* Are there examples of ecological problems or disasters in our city or region? Are there any serious and effective institutions in our area engaged in this question?
* Do we agree or not with the judgment of some postulates that in this area the Society has lacked a prophetic stance and commitment?
* How do you judge the opinion of some who say that the complexity of this issue makes a commitment by individuals and communities unrealistic, and that only governments have the capacity to respond to it?

3. Recommendations of the coetus praevius:

It is clear that in a changing context the universality of the problem and the sense of shared responsibility have grown greatly since GC34 (cf. Decree 2, nº 9, Decree 20).

On the other hand, reconciliation with nature, as spoken of today, not only embraces but also gives a new standing to the social dimension of the problem, constituting something novel that raises new theological perspectives.

Regarding the contribution of the Society, it is important that we not overlook the “pantheistic” focus of some ecological movements, to say nothing of the difficulty in finding in them a Christological aspect. For this reason the Society is challenged to work with others in theology and spirituality so as to make here a truly Christian contribution.

Nor should we overlook the close bond between the ecological dimension and the matter of justice: Environmental degradation (global warming, deforestation, desertification, flooding, etc.) affect not only nature, God’s creation, and future generations, but principally the poor who live in worsening urban and rural situations because they do not possess the means to protect themselves. “Unscrupulous exploitation of natural resources and the environment degrades the quality of life; it destroys cultures and sinks the poor in misery” (GC34, Decree 3, nº9).

Questions for reflection and community discussion:

* Have we read any articles or books on the ecological problem, and more concretely, any with a focus on the light of faith?
* Where do we think the Society should make its specific contribution in this area? How should we reconsider our option for faith and justice?
* What place does this concern have in the programs of our schools and universities, in the formation of our social centers, in the preaching in our churches and parishes?

GC34, Decree 3, nº9 and Decree 20.
Promotio Justitiae, We Live in a Broken World: Reflections on Ecology, #70, 1999.
The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Vatican 2004, nº 471, 478.
The Ignatian Ecological Network, coordinated by the Secretary for Social Justice in the General Curia.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Jesuit college warned about working with the enemy

Massachusetts bishop issues warning to Jesuit college

Worcester, Oct. 11, 2007 ( - A Massachusetts bishop has strongly criticized a Jesuit-run college in his diocese, hinting that he could withdraw the school's recognition as a Catholic institution.

Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester issued a statement on October 10, responding to protests from lay Catholics about plans for a conference at the College of the Holy Cross in which Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts will make presentations. Siding with the pro-life protestors, Bishop McManus disclosed that he had urged Holy Cross to cancel the conference plans.

The organizations participating in the scheduled event, the bishop said, "promote positions on artificial contraception and abortion that are contrary to the moral teachings of the Catholic Church." Saying that the Church's position on key issues involving respect for life is "manifestly clear," he questioned why a Catholic school would offer these groups a forum. The bishop warned that the conference could create a "situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e. an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil." By canceling the conference, he said, Holy Cross would not infringe upon academic freedom, but would "make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross."

Bishop McManus noted that as the head of the Worcester diocese in which Holy Cross is located he has the "pastoral and canonical responsibility to determine what institutions can properly call themselves Catholic.” He added: "This is a duty that I do not take lightly…"

The bishop concluded his public statement by expressing his "fervent wish" that Holy Cross would cancel plans for the conference, "so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."

Monday, October 8, 2007

From CWN's Diogenes 8 oct 2007

The jesuit and the skull
Posted by: Diogenes - Today 2:50 AM ET USA

There's new book on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled The Jesuit and the Skull, by Amir Aczel. It's reviewed in yesterday's LA Times by Jonathan Kirsch. Kirsch is enthusiastic about Teilhard and about the book; less so about the Church.

Tall, dapper, handsome and aristocratic, Teilhard was a charismatic figure who inevitably attracted the attention of the women around him. But as a Jesuit priest who had taken a vow of chastity, he refused to enter into the sexual union that some of them sought. And because his vows included one of obedience, his most important work, his philosophical writings -- an effort to embrace both a mystical faith in religion and the hard facts disclosed by scientific inquiry -- remained unpublished during his lifetime because the Roman Catholic Church decreed that they were heretical.

Teilhard's most vexing problems revolve around his membership in the Society of Jesus. His popularity and success in the secular world prompted his superiors to send this most cosmopolitan of men into exile in the wilds of Asia and Africa. And because he elected not to break his vow of chastity or withdraw from his order, the love he shared with a sculptress eventually withered and died.

"I am forced to choose," he wrote to a priest friend, "between two opposing ideas; the one, the rather 'brutal' thought that nothing in life really matters except God; the other, an ever-sharpening awareness of how heavy-handed, narrow-minded, and weak is the modern Church."


Tens of thousands of years later, the worst features of organized religion distorted and delimited the life and work of this visionary whom the inheritors of the Inquisition saw as a dangerous heretic. Only after Teilhard's death were his most important works printed, and only because he put the manuscripts beyond church control by bequeathing them to one of the women who had befriended him.

In this case, I think, the organs of the "worst features of organized religion" got it right, and the "heavy-handed, narrow-minded, and weak" Catholic Church proved better a judge of character than Teilhard's sculptress. Tall, dapper, handsome and aristocratic -- I'll have to take Kirsch's word for it here -- Teilhard de Chardin was essentially a fraud. At bottom, he was a Ramada Inn lounge singer posing as a metaphysician.

I cringe to admit I have weighty opinion against me. Both Joseph Ratzinger and Flannery O'Connor were deeply impressed by Teilhard. I can only explain this admiration by the surmise that neither admirer had any formal education in science, and both were thus innocently susceptible to Teilhard's pseudo-scientific pedantries. It's also true that, in the way that Mother Teresa became a living symbol of the Church's love of the wretched, Teilhard by the early 1960s had become a symbol of the conviction that Catholic faith and scientific fact are reconcilable, and he attracted the sympathies of those shared that conviction. The difference is that Mother Teresa was the genuine article.

Teilhard was cut out to be one of those lecture circuit mystagogues that are part guru and part crooner. As is characteristic of the breed, he had an unwholesome liking for grand sounding neologisms and that "tipsy, euphoristic prose-poetry" (Peter Medawar's perfect phrase). As is characteristic of the breed, he was ostentatiously yet solemnly concerned with the forging of some Great Synthesis -- between faith and science in his case. As is characteristic of the breed, his woozy mysticism was peculiarly attractive to a certain kind of woman no longer young. Matthew Fox, Thomas Moore, and Richard Rohr are, perhaps, his closest present day counterparts.

Had Teilhard stuck to his cotton-candy metaphysics, he probably would have been ignored by his principal antagonists both inside and outside the Church. It was his claim to be a serious paleontologist and unflinching respecter of scientific fact that put his theology in the crosshairs. Peter Medawar's famous demolition of Teilhard's The Phenomenon of Man -- worth a read in its entirety -- not only exposed the sleight-of-hand behind his pseudo-science, but pitilessly rubbed Teilhard's nose in his own poetry:

Teilhard is for ever shouting at us: things or affairs are, in alphabetical order, astounding, colossal, endless, enormous, fantastic, giddy, hyper-, immense, implacable, indefinite, inexhaustible, extricable, infinite, infinitesimal, innumerable, irresistible, measureless, mega-, monstrous, mysterious, prodigious, relentless, super-, ultra-, unbelievable, unbridled or unparalleled. When something is described as merely huge we feel let down. After this softening-up process we are ready to take delivery of the neologisms: biota, noosphere, hominisation, complexification. There is much else in the literary idiom of nature-philosophy: nothing-buttery, for example, always part of the minor symptomatology of the bogus. "Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct tract marked on the heart of the element by the psychical converge of the universe upon itself." "Man discovers that he is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself," and evolution is "nothing else than the continual growth of 'psychic' or 'radial' energy". Again, "the Christogenesis of St Paul and St John is nothing else and nothing less than the extension of that noogenesis in which cosmogenesis culminates".

Continual growth of radial energy. Got it.

"On Easter Sunday in 1955," writes Jonathan Kirsch in his review of Aczel, "Teilhard died of a heart attack in New York. Later that year, The Phenomenon of Man, the first of his many books, at last was published, despite every effort of the church to prevent it." If we buy the Kirsch line that this represents a defeat for the Church and a victory of Teilhard, it's still fair to ask: half a century after the Church's failure, whose reputation has suffered more as a consequence?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why the blog

This blog has the objective of reforming the Jesuits. The logic is first to show that the Jesuits need to be reformed and second to consider the means needed to achieve that end.

Why should non-Jesuits be concerned about reforming the order?
The Jesuit order like any religious order has as an end to serve Christ by serving His Church. The members of the Church have the right to control the quality of the service that it is receiving.

The service that the Catholic faithful receive comes from institutional decisions and from individual Jesuits. Many love the traditional Society of Jesus, her saints, her mysticism, and her history but are dismayed by the direction taken by the current management. Many have been served by pious orthodox Jesuits but are scandalized by others. It seems that there is an identity crisis. The very institution does not know what its ends are. While the documents of the order are clear, institutional discipline has broken down, some members are confused and leaders have refused to lead.

In preparation for the upcoming general congregation the General of the Society has asked for prayers and discussion about the identity of the Society. -- Jesuits talk about lay collaboration a lot. So they should not protest if some laity adds their two cents worth.

What should be done? Some argue that the Society should be suppressed again. That would be a shame. Given that the name of the Society of Jesus in Spanish is La Compañía de Jesús, maybe what should be preferred is a hostile takeover of the Company. That does not seem possible. During the crazy post VCII days some Orthodox Spanish Jesuits advanced the proposal of the establishment of a reformed ordered following the example of the Carmelites and Trapists, others proposed the foundation of "strict observance" provinces.

This blog aims to apply moral pressure advancing arguments for what seems to be a clear truth: the Jesuits need reformed. Then it invites brain storming looking for possible solutions. Ideas are powerful but prayer is more powerful. We invite readers to pray. Invoke the Jesuit saints. The third of October is the feast of St. Francis Borja. Ask for his intercession.

From my files by an unknown source

Sorry, I cannot give the bibliographical information on this article. It was in my files without the author's name. It is too good not to share.

Liberal Jesuits & the Late Pope

May the Lord preserve our pontiff and give him life
and make him blessed upon the earth
and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.
Sinéad O'Connor, during a 1992 appearance on SNL, ended her performance of a Bob Marley song by ripping a photo of Pope John Paul II top to bottom while chanting "Fight the real enemy!" Most people who heard of the incident were shocked by the display of hatred. I wasn't. I'm a Jesuit, you see.

Over the course of 28 years in the Society of Jesus, I've watched Wojtyla-hatred turn into one of the principal sub-themes of Jesuit life. I say "theme" and not "policy." The official documents have never departed from the language of deference to the pope. I'm talking about the informal expectations of day to day existence, the culture transmitted not by the printed word but by oblique rewards and punishments, by the smiles and scowls of the men who count. Viewed from within this culture of jesuitry, Sinéad's pontiff-shredding was almost sacramental: an outward sign of an interior reality.

How widespread was this hatred? It's hard to say. Certainly John Paul II always had a staunch minority of admirers and defenders among Jesuits, nor were all superiors inimical to him. The prominence of the theme was a function both of the intensity of the pope-haters and of the tolerance shown this hatred by their brethren -- that is, it was as much a matter of what was left unspoken as what was actually said.

Diogenes has cited a remark made by a Jesuit on the day of the attempt on the Pope's life in May 1981. Fr. Cyril Barrett, S.J. ("in a bellow that filled a London restaurant"), said of the failed assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, "The only thing wrong with that bloody Turk was that he couldn't shoot straight!" Note that this is not the language of passionate disagreement, this is hatred, pure and simple. But the key point is not Barrett's malice, nor even his Sinéad-ish ferocity in expressing it. The really telling fact is that the episode was recounted in Barrett's obituary, in a Jesuit publication, in a tone that, if short of endorsement, suggested nothing worse than a venial lapse of good taste on his part. Classic Cyril!

Before ordination I'd heard my Jesuit professors pray that Wojtyla come to an early death -- and go unrebuked, or rebuked in that jocular vein that signals sympathy. It was the absence of contradiction that spoke loudest. Of course you can come up with many examples of pro-papal utterances by Jesuits, but try to find (comparably public, self-initiated) examples of remonstrance or correction of influential papal detractors by their superiors. You won't. Take the remarks quoted by McDonough and Bianchi in their book (Passionate Uncertainty) on the U.S. Jesuits. From a Jesuit academic: "The Society has not sold its soul to the 'Restoration' of John Paul II." From a Jesuit church historian: "[He's] probably the worst pope of all times" (referring to Wojtyla, and adding) "He's not one of the worst popes; he's THE worst. Don't misquote me." They didn't.

The reason for these Jesuits' Wojtyla-hatred is no mystery. His fiercest adversaries have always been liberal-apostate Catholics: those who, in flat contradiction to the logic of doctrine, press for that doctrine to change. Women may become priests, and approval may be given to contraception, but the institution that enacts these innovations ipso facto has ceased to be part of the Catholic Church. The venom of liberals toward Karol Wojtyla was bitterest, ironically, in precisely that area in which he differed least from his predecessors and in which his successor will differ least from him: in repeating the truism that doctrine, being unchangeable, will not be changed.

Men's hatred for the one who has been unjust to them is trifling compared to their hatred for the one they have treated unjustly; every reminder of him brings a fresh twinge of pain. Liberal-apostates know that their stance is irrational, that they do the pope an injustice in pretending he is free to un-pope himself by altering the deposit of faith. The dreams that progressivists surfaced during Paul VI's pontificate -- of a congregational, sexually emancipated, anti-sacral "picnic" catholicism -- were frankly infantile. Yet Catholics over 50 will remember the emotional mist of auto-suggestion that "the next pope" would move with the times and make these dreams come true. Not all Jesuits got smitten by this vision, but the majority did, and was stunned when Wojtyla failed to act out its fantasy. Many left the Society to seethe outside it; others remained, and seethe within.

I don't want to overstate the case. Several Jesuits around the world have a profound interest in the late Pope and have been careful and articulate expounders of his work. But their endeavors are nearly always made to seem marginal: at best, philosophical hobbyism; at worst, deviationist crankery. When a group of us put together a conference on the Thought of Karol Wojtyla fifteen years ago, we asked the U.S. provinces to distribute a flyer to all Jesuit houses. One socius (2nd-in-command) sent off the flyer with the accompanying note, "This item is being passed on to you without comment" -- which was more than a comment; it was a sneer plus a veiled threat: you may, if you wish, affect to treat Wojtyla with respect, but understand that you have demoted yourself to the second class. We all knew the score.

John Paul is dead, and his despisers must find other bones to gnaw. A younger, less rancorous, and (thanks, in part, to a quarter century of choler) markedly smaller generation of Jesuits is presently in formation. No one knows which man, as pope, the new Jesuits will be called to serve, but the deposit of faith he inherits at the outset of his papacy will be intact at its end. We've come to a fork in the road: Jesuits can continue to serve a make-believe church and rage in impotence against the pope who ignores it, or can reconnect with a tradition of martyrs, more concerned with the conversion of Turks than in improving their marksmanship. "Deliver him not," reads the prayer Pro Pontifice, "to the will of his enemies." It would be good to speak these words once again, pleading for the success of the Society's endeavors instead of their frustration