Saturday, January 26, 2008

What should we expect from the Jesuits in the future?

CNS: Jesuit general: Order is close to pope, making differences painful

Father Adolfo Nicolas, elected Jan. 19 to head the world's largest Catholic men's order, told reporters, "The Society of Jesus has always been, from the beginning, and always will be in communion with the Holy Father, and we are happy to be so."

Meeting journalists Jan. 25, he said, "If there are difficulties, it is precisely because we are so close."

Like a married couple, he said, the Jesuits and the pope are bound to one another and committed to working together for the good of the church and the world.

"Only those who love each other can hurt each other," he said.

From time to time difficulties arise, "but this is normal," he said.
Reminds me of the nonsense Fr. Keenan was spilling out to describe our relationship with the Church, which he based on a flawed human model of love.

"The Society of Jesus wants to cooperate with the Vatican and obey the Holy Father. This has not and will not change. We were born in this context, and this is the context that will determine our decisions," the superior said.
And what? We can't obey because we know we are right and the pope is wrong on several issues?

"In Spain, I was a bit intolerant, a bit in the line of 'everything in order,' demanding, because for me religion was still understood in the widespread way of fidelity to a series of religious practices," he said.

"But in Japan, I discovered that true religiosity is much deeper, that you must go to the heart of the person, the heart of the question when we speak of God, just as when we speak of ourselves or of human life," he said.

"It scandalizes the Japanese that we are so strict, intolerant, so unaccepting of diversity," the Jesuit said.
The virtue of religion goes beyond external practices but it does not do away with them, and for it to be cultivated, relies upon them. So do we create our own rule of life, or do we humbly accept what has been given to us? The same is true of charity. What would Professor Amerio say about this? Charity does not negate the need for [revealed] truth, and cannot exist without it.

And he was a professor of theology at Sophia University? Would it be premature to guess that his influence there was more negative than positive?

Now, perhaps the actual interview is more nuanced, and CNS is presenting selections from the interview which lend themselves to an exaggerated misinterpretation of what he really said and thinks. Maybe he is personally orthodox. But the Society of Jesus needs strong leadership (and as far as I know it is hierarchical structure does make it possible for the superior general to initiate reform), and if he is being lukewarm or muddle-headed, I don't see any reform happening during his tenure.

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