Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Defending the Jesuits

I'm going to take a slight detour in today's post.

As you all know, something I do NOT do here is get into progressive vs. orthodox, or GenX vs. Boomer types of arguments. There are better people doing a better job of that out there.

However, that does not mean I do not have my views, nor perfectly sound (to me, anyway) reasons for holding same. Having said that, I will "out" myself as being a pretty orthodox sort of Catholic. The reasons why are outside the scope of this particular post (nothing too exciting...sorry) but suffice it to say I am orthodox in most areas. I like traditional Churches, Douay-Rheims & Ignatius Bibles, and faithful adherence to the Magisterium.

[To my non-Catholic readers, if you go and get snacks and soothing beverages and talk amongst yourselves, I won't mind, honest.]

A lot of people will look at this, and their eyes will widen in horror, and they will ask how the Hell I could be supportive of the Jesuits.

In certain orthodox circles it is an expected thing to do, to point out some whackjob Jesuit somewhere and (eagerly!) tar the whole Society of Jesus therewith. Let me state clearly, while I generally agree with the assessments of these individual heterodox, dissenting and [near-if-not-actually] heretical Jesuits, I emphatically do not accept the premise the whole Company is an unholy mess of NeoApostate Bedwetters. I would wager there are a lot more Jesuits like Fr. Hardon, Fr. Fessio, Fr. Schall or Fr. Buckley than there are like Fr. Drinan or Fr. Berrigan.

Part of the problem is that Jesuits are generally found in more visible roles, in academia and in media which makes some Latter Day Arian stick out further than would be the case in a different order. In fact, in many cases, the coverage of a given heterodox Jesuit's writings in America Magazine will make a bigger splash among orthodox bloggers than the pastoral actions of some dissent-friendly, heterodoxy-coddling bishop[s] or archbishop[s]. (You know who these are, so I needn't mention them by name.)

By this I don't mean to minimize the problem of some/many/a screaming horde of wayward Jesuits running roughshod over Church teachings, because it is a problem...but it's a Churchwide problem not confined to the SJs. Other orders are just as rampant in the weirdness, but for various factors, don't get the press coverage. Also, as we have noted (with great glee, I must add) the younger elements of the Church are becoming more orthodox, more traditional, thinking more of the next world and how to arrive there, than the current world and how to stay happy on/in it. While this is good, it also means the Higher Ups are likely to be less in line with this thinking and, being large-and-in-charge, can make this displeasure felt in ways which are, um, more binding. For now.

After all, the Catechism says that we ought suffer the grievances of this world patiently.

The real problem is when someone who is orthodox, faithful to the teaching authority of the Church, traditional, etc., discerns a call to become a Jesuit priest or brother (YES, the Jesuits have brothers) and people say "The Jesuits?! What are you, mental? Those guys are [insert pejorative of choice]!" and discourage this man from joining the Society of Jesus. THESE are the guys who are needed by the order. After all, in order for Jesus to evict the moneychangers from the temple, He had to enter the temple.

I have great faith that as surely as Spring has sprung (here in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) and that a great renewal is slowly blossoming within the Church, the Jesuits will be able to cleanse themselves and help lead this renewal.



P.S. I admit, I am spoiled. The local Jesuits are as solidly orthodox as they come (which is rumored to be a reason for them getting in hot water with Those In Authority with some regularity) as well as being dynamic exemplars of evangelization and active service to others.


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