PopeWatch: Jesuits

In 2008 Pope Benedict had this to say to the Jesuits:


And precisely in order to offer the entire Society of Jesus clear guidelines to support its generous and faithful apostolic dedication, it might prove particularly useful for the Congregation to reassert, in the spirit of St Ignatius, its own total adherence to Catholic doctrine, especially to its key points, under severe attack today by the secular culture, such as, for example, the relationship between Christ and religions, certain aspects of liberation theology and the various points of sexual morals, especially those concerning the indissolubility of marriage and the pastoral care of homosexuals. Reverend and dear Father, I am convinced that the Society senses the historic importance of this General Congregation and, guided by the Holy Spirit, desires once again, as beloved John Paul II said in January 1995, to reaffirm “unequivocally and without any hesitation its specific way to God, which St Ignatius sketched out in the Formula Instituti: loving fidelity to your charism will be the certain source of renewed effectiveness” (ORE, ibid., n. 3). Furthermore, how timely were my venerable Predecessor Paul VI’s words on a similar occasion: “All of us must be vigilant so that the necessary adaptation will not be accompanied to the detriment of the fundamental identity or essential character of the role of the Jesuit as it is described in the Formula Instituti, as the history and particular spirituality of the Order propose it, and as the authentic interpretation of the very needs of the times seem still today to require it. This image must not be altered; it must not be distorted” (3 December 1974; ORE, 12 December, p. 5).

Go here to read the rest.

In 2019 Pope Francis thinks he and the Jesuits are simpatico:


The universal apostolic preferences of the Jesuits “are in harmony with the current apostolic priorities of the Church expressed through the ordinary magisterium of the Pope, the synods, the episcopal conferences, especially in the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’”. This is what Pope Francis emphasized in a letter addressed to the Jesuit General, Father Arturo Sosa.

The Pope endorsed the four “apostolic preferences” of the Jesuits:



Illustrating the 4 apostolic preferences, Fr. Sosa told Vatican News that discernment is a necessity for the Church. The spiritual exercises, he added, are a preferential path for the Jesuits. It is also fundamental, as far as the exercises are concerned, to take the path of creativity.  According to the Jesuit General, new forms must be found so that the exercises adapt to different groups, realities and contexts.


Walking with those who are discarded, said Father Sosa, means approaching the world of the poor and going to the suburbs to meet the people. “We want to take a path, he added, to promote social justice. “We want to promote a change in the economic, political and social structures that cause injustice. “We want to eliminate the scourge of abuse from the life of the Church and society,”  a drama that the Jesuit General said is manifest out in various forms, including in sexual abuse and abuse of power.


According to Fr. Sosa, walking with young people also means looking at the world from their perspective.  Young people, he explained, can help understand the changes in society, to grasp the sense of a new culture. We must therefore “open up spaces for young people, for their creativity”, he said, adding they must also learn from the young.


The fourth preference concerns our common home – the created world.  Father Sosa said we must try to participate in urgent actions that can help curb and stem the deterioration of the environment. Alternative formulas must also be sought. To respond to these preferences, said the head of the Jesuits, a great challenge is that of collaboration which he considered a strong point of their action. 

Go here to read the rest.

For a group calling itself the Jesuits, Christ is notable by His Absence in these goals.  Come to think of it, the same thing could be said about this Pontificate.  May our next Jesuit Pope be elected on the Twelfth of Never.

More to explorer


  1. St. Ignatius of Loyola must be terribly disappointed in what the order he founded has become. This decline must have been in process for a long time for things to have gotten as bad as they are now.

  2. Jesuits are typically noted for casuistic reasoning (see the link below). John Adams was a noted opponent of the Jesuits in letters and a book. And even Pascal, early on, spoke against them:

    “The zenith of casuistry was from 1550 to 1650 C.E., when the Jesuit religious order extensively used casuistry, particularly in practicing the private, Roman Catholic confessional. The term casuistry quickly became pejorative with Blaise Pascal’s attack on its misuse. In Provincial Letters (1656–7)[2] he scolded the Jesuits for using casuistic reasoning in confession to placate wealthy Church donors, whilst punishing poor penitents. Pascal charged that aristocratic penitents could confess their sins one day, recommit the sin the next day, generously donate the following day, then return to re-confess their sins and only receive the lightest punishment; ”

    (from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Casuistry)
    A clear demonstration of such casuistic reasoning has been the support of “America,” the Jesuit USA organ, for abortion promoting presidential candidates: Gore, Obama, etc.

  3. Pascal’s bset summary is in the 5th Provincial Letter: “Know then that their object is not the corruption of manners- that is not their design. But as little is it their sole aim to reform them- that would be bad policy. Their idea is briefly this: They have such a good opinion of themselves as to believe that it is useful, and in some sort essentially necessary to the good of religion, that their influence should extend everywhere, and that they should govern all consciences. And the Evangelical or severe maxims being best fitted for managing some sorts of people, they avail themselves of these when they find them favourable to their purpose. But as these maxims do not suit the views of the great bulk of the people, they waive them in the case of such persons, in order to keep on good terms with all the world. Accordingly, having to deal with persons of all classes and of all different nations, they find it necessary to have casuists assorted to match this diversity.”

  4. How could an order that was so keen on the discernment of spirits fall so easily to overweening pride?…
    Oh, yeah, that’s why.

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