Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The same thing, seen another way.

Two things about the ongoing GC35:

Among the more cynical and dejected and pessimistic Jesuit watchers, there is a widespread feeling Cdl. Rodé's homily was a colossal waste of time and energy. This view is derived from these Jesuit watchers being cynical, dejected and pessimistic -- not that such cynicism, dejection and pessimism are altogether inexcusable, mark you -- but I believe they are not looking at the thing through the proper lens.

It may well be the case that for Jesuits such as Jon Sobrino, SJ such a homily might as well have sounded like one of the adults on the Charlie Brown cartoons (Mwahwahwahmwahmwha...) but I doubt that was the point.

Instead, the purpose of the homily might be to:

1- Let the more, er, wayward members of the SoJ know they are not operating as covertly as they thought nor as immunely as they had hoped.
2- Let those whose, uh, digression from Church doctrine might take more tacit (or merely complicit in silence borne of disinterest or fear) forms know what the standards are, and that these are to be met with adherence and compliance.
3- Let those Jesuits who have labored with unswerving adherence to the Holy Father and the Magisterium know they are not forgotten. Also to embolden those who, while loyal and faithful to all tenets of the Faith, might not have felt the courage necessary to express such.
4- Let those among the faithful who sweat out the future of the Society, and who are pained by the actions of some Jesuits and further pained by the apparent impunity with which these actions are met, that they are being heard.
5- Be on record as to saying "There is something wrong here" so, should further corrective measures be needed in the future, it can be pointed out that due warning was given.

I , myself, am not in a gloating mode, gleefully wading in the schadenfreude of the (likely Papal) smackdown which -- let's be honest -- this "straighten-up-and-fly-right" homily was. Instead, I am somewhat sad it had to come to this.

I am treading carefully here because I have many Jesuit friends and I am placing myself at great pains to not be doing the bloggy equivalent of running through a crowd with a chainsaw. Many of them have not acknowledged, or not acknowledged to the extent the situation truly merits, the gravity of the problems faced by the Society, and how deeply rooted these might have become.

Those of us who voice concerns are, for the moment, feeling a measure of validation after years, decades of being told that everything was fine, or that we were starry-eyed dreamers who longed for a SoJ that never existed, or that we were exploiters of the proletariat and exploiters of the people's resources. I mean, sure, that's nice, but I'm not praying for validation. I'm praying for solutions. I have a glimmer of hope, because for years I have been offering up all the direct and oblique references to my/our "triumphalism" or "ultra-montanism" or similar supposed* pejoratives.

When we read that Jesuits consider it their prime objective** "promotion of Justice as well as the Catholic Faith." it sounds quite clearly to me another way of saying "What we think of as Justice first and then, time permitting, the Catholic Faith such as we see it." whereby the Faith is given a secondary position.

The second aspect I'll address is the matter of politics. I have been told, time and again, the leadership of the Society has no political agenda...it's merely pursuing what's right regardless of the consequences.

But the [wait, let me compose myself, lest I say something uncharitable] er...inexplicable emphasis on "climate change" is an absolute, dead giveaway. Let's set aside the matter of "climate change" affecting the poor*** most. Let's further set aside the bewildering situation whereby only ONE request for discussing vocation promotion was forwarded, but an avalanche of requests came in on the matter of climate change.

The problem is that this presupposes the catastrophically flawed assumption "the science is settled" when it comes to climate change, when it is most emphatically NOT settled. (If it had been settled, we wouldn't be getting stories such as this, this or this.) The only people who presuppose and assume the "science is settled" in terms of "climate change" are those nestled, firmly and comfortably on the left side of the political spectrum. Not, you will carefully note, that I'm ascribing anything to those who believe one thing or another, rather I am pointing out the obvious, yet oft-denied political biases among those whose views will brook no dissent (!) on the matter.

So the emphasis on climate change, regardless of who it affects most, clearly belies a patently ideological agenda. Which is why I am, as of now, not particularly sanguine on GC35.

Which leads us to prayer, figuratively and literally. Those of us who believe the leadership of the SoJ (along with too many individual Jesuits in positions of influence and prominence) have, er, lost their way, are now left with NO CHOICE but to pray. I don't see even the merest chemical trace of non-supernatural hope left for a significant, institutional change at GC35. Not when "climate change" proves an infinitely greater concern than vocational freefall.

So we have to recognize that, if the SoJ is to be put along a path of unswerving adherence to the magisterium, and affection to the Holy Father it's only going to come from the Holy Spirit rolling up His sleeves and doing something really impressive. Those of us who hope for a SoJ that mirrors those things His Eminence mentioned in his homily are now utterly dependent on God and His Providence, and that alone. We have nowhere else to go.

And so, to prayer.

-J.

P.S. I like the phrase "Storm Heaven for the Jesuits"

* Me, I think these are compliments, but then again, I would.
** This is not a quote, so calm down.
*** EVERYTHING affects the poor most, which is why poverty is deplorable and we are called, individually, to help those who are poor. DUH.

2 Comments:

  • At 2:42 PM, January 08, 2008 , Blogger Karen said...

    I am praying that the homily was a preamble, and not a declaration for the record.

    However, a declaration for the record is a lot better than nothing, which is what the faithful have been getting re this matter for decades.

    Thank God the Pope is not blind to the extent of the problem. Someone is going to have to explain it to me if he lets it end at the words.

     
  • At 1:27 PM, January 09, 2008 , Blogger Joe said...

    This is not Yorktown, but it is a dumping of tea in the harbor.

    -J.

     

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