Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

...and the winner is...

Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ is the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

The lovely and gracious Karen has weighed in in her own, um, way which she calls "cautiously pessimistic." Karen considers herself an "impatient idealist." I don't. I consider myself an "optimistic cynic" and thus my immediate, reflexive reaction differs somewhat from hers.

Anyhoo, here's mine:

What I have read by Fr. Nicolás is a bit more...uh...touchy-feely than I'd prefer, the views attributed to him* on orthodoxy give me pause and, to be perfectly blunt, this glowing review (from a publication with which I find myself in frequent and sharp disagreement) has prematurely added several hundred grey hairs to my scalp. As a sort of barometric thing, Jesuits who, as Wodehouse phrased it, "give me acute dyspepsia" are ecstatic. This worries me further.

My guess was -- and ask Karen, I'm on record on this -- that given the level and type of, er, direction which the Vatican has offered GC35, the delegates would have chosen someone they considered Kolvenbach-ish. Someone whom they believe can keep the peace with the Holy See, while not compromising the...er...current direction of the Society. The thinking seems to have been (and feel free to disabuse me) "How can we keep going the way we have been going without getting this Pope in our face? Who can we get to keep the Vatican off our [backside] so we can do what we want?"

Since this is what I expected, and therefore I'm not particularly disappointed or elated. It seems the SoJ got someone along the lines of what I expected them to get. While my own hopes were for someone in a more Fr. Ledochowski sort of vein, I have learned from the Jesuits that basing an expectation on a hope is not a viable course of action.

I believed, and shall continue to believe until a preponderance of evidence overwhelms me otherwise, the problems which beset the SoJ and which I have enumerated here will never be addressed until the SoJ as a corporative body acknowledges it has problems. While the SoJ thinks its declining numbers means the challenge is to figure out how to introduce greater lay participation and not fostering vocations they cannot possibly be ready to admit what bedevils them. Therefore we, as neoclassical fans of the SoJ, shouldn't expect a marked change in direction.

Yet.

-J.

* I'm aware this is not Father's express views on the matter.

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