Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another view of GC35

Over at this blog they have "reprinted" an article from El Diario Montanés de España and which I take the liberty of translating here (as usual comments and emphasis will be mine) and I'll put in [brackets] the literal translation if I have to do the "dynamic equivalence" two-step.

General Congregation 35: In The News

A crucial week for the Jesuits

The "conclave" of the Company enters its fourth day of "murmurations," the internal debate that will decide on Saturday It ain't necessarily so a new Superior and path for the order.

The Jesuits are facing a historic moment, and they know it. Gosh, I hope so. In a situation of clear numerical decline, after traversing the desert during the pontificate Interesting way to phrase it, yes? of John Paul II, during which they were marginalized (!!), and facing the challenges of knowing how to intuit the path of these new times and staying at the forefront of the Church, they are to elect their superior.

The current superior, the Dutchman Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, resigned officially yesterday, as he had announced a year ago, and the 35th General Congregation of the Society, opening this past week, enters enters today four days of "murmuratio."

This is the phase prior to voting and consists, without the pejorative connotation the verb "murmuring" currently has, in talking about possible candidates.

It is in these four days the election coalesces, in hallways and groups meeting throughout the day, without outside contact.

They gather in the Curia of the order, next door to the Vaticano, and they have decided to fast, limiting themselves to fruit, the odd snack and water. This sounds like a detox thing...and I hope it's an omen. There is no pomp, no incense, they dress in street clothes or clerics and they sit in a meeting space.

They are 226 Jesuits, 217 with right to vote Has anyone seen a more detailed explanation as re. who is there that cannot vote and how that was decided?, representing the 20,000 scattered throughout the world. Then, a vote, this time electronically.

The most probable thing is that Saturday morning there will be a new general. The candidates most often heard, although campaigns are prohibited, are the same we have heard for months.

Among them, the Australian provincial Mark Raper, ex-director of refugee services; Mark Rostaert, president of the European Conference of Provincials, and Federico Lombardi, current Vatican spokesman. There is also some talk of Spaniards, such as superior Elías Royón, or Adolfo de Nicolás, stationed in Japan and who participaded in the preparatory comission, or the Basque Ignacio Echarte, elected subsecretary of this "conclave." But a total unknown may also emerge. So all we know is that we don't know.

Cardinal Spidlik, one of the ten cardinals in the order, has suggested [the general ought to be] "someone who knows well Asia and the Mideast, but who also knows Rome." That is, there may be a new general who is Indian or Vietnamese.

Charisma and governance

At the bottom of it all, what the Jesuits want after the long transition of 24 years of Kolvenbach is a new Arrupe, Oy his predecessor, who imprinted in the seventies a revolutionary spin what did I tell you? to the order towards social commitments and commitment to the poor. A figure that has the capacity for governance as well as overwhelming charisma [literally, a "steamrolling charisma".]

Up to what point, that is The Debate. The great question in the subtext remains, 40 years on, the application of Vatican II. What? Still? Among the Jesuits, it is known, there are sectors that are very militant [literally, "cudgel-wielding"], the progressive vanguard of the Church, for whom the Council is still a thing in development.

As St. Ignatius said, "get to the bottom of things." In Jesuit circles, this is the point of view of someone who, for example, thinks of Lombardi as something of a "sellout" and who wants a general "with guts." [Literally, "with gills." No, I don't know either.]

Others lean towards someone distinguished by the virtue of prudence. Hope and fear mingle. Then there's the Vatican. Oh yeah, them. The intranquility love that word over whether the Company will once again wander away [literally "walk out on its mother"] is clear, as Benedict XVI is going precisely in the opposite direction, This says much, dunnit? putting the brakes on the Council: This is going WAY over the top, and fuels the of fears of those who think B16 is "returning the Church back to the Middle Ages." on Sunday he celebrated his first Mass with his back to the people, in keeping with the preconciliar rite recently restored. There is SO MUCH WRONG with this sentence it beggars belief and strains my capacity for charitable explanation. 1) The Holy Father was facing the same direction as the people, towards the Lord, towards the liturgical (and probably geographical) East, 2) the preconciliar -- now "extraordinary" -- form of the Mass was never how can it be restored? 3) It's the same rite (different form). ARGH.

The voice of the Pope was heard from last week through a cardinal, Marc Rodé, Prefect of the Institutes of Consecrated Life, in his homily at the inaugural Mass of the "conclave" in the Church of the Gesú: "I see with sadness and disquiet the noticeable decay in the 'sentire cum Ecclesia' of which your founder spoke so frequently." [This MY translation from the original Spanish of H.E.'s homily]

Among the Jesuits this did not sit very well. This means they were paying closer attention than cycnics thought. Four of the last seven theologians admonished by the Vatican are Jesuits: Roger Haight, Jacques Dupuis, Anthony De Mello and Jon Sobrino. The dilemma between the call to obedience and dialogue "with the street" is something the Company ought solve in these crucial days.


  • At 10:24 AM, January 15, 2008 , Blogger Karen said...

    Terrific. Thank you. The only thing you missed was that "dialogue with the street" means "with those on the street who agree with our POV." Because as someone off the street who agrees with the Pope, I can tell you that they don't want to "dialogue" with me.

    Also calls to mind something I've heard from a Jesuit of a different stripe (than the one writing the blog): "When I hear the word 'dialogue,' I reach for my dogma."

  • At 12:27 PM, January 15, 2008 , Blogger Joe said...

    True, but you have to understand that in the argot of certain people "the street" means "people who are poor and not working in offices or factories or farms who are predisposed to agree with us."

    Kinda like "progressive" means "leftist" instead of "wanting to actually make progress."


  • At 1:25 PM, January 15, 2008 , Blogger Karen said...

    Oh yeah. It's like those "working people" the democrats always talk about. I'm usually too busy working to figure out why I'm not one of them.


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