Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Translatin' Blues.

Over at La Cigüeña de la Torre [Which means "The Tower Stork" in Spanish. No, me either.] an article was posted in reaction to the election of Fr. Nicolás as Superior General of the SoJ. Since I live to serve humanity, here's my "dynamic equivalence" translation with the [literal translation in brackets] my emphasis in bold, and comments in italics.

This Is Getting Very Ugly

The enemies of the Church are exultant. The ones on the outside as well as the ones on the inside. The election of Fr. Nicolás is a posthumous victory -- vengeance -- of Arrupe over John Paul II and a "take that" [literally "swallow this"] to Benedict XVI. While I can't say this is what happened, I'm pained to say if this was the case it would not surprise me. From what my Jesuit spies friends told me at the time, I remember too keenly that many Jesuits were dismayed over the election of B16.

I have said, and continue thinking, it is still too early to judge the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Of course, I do not much like his antecedents. But I know the Jesuits too well. I was born to a family deeply jesuitical, was educated by them, have had numerous [literally, "a hugely numerous amount of"] friends in the Order, have written not a little about them...

Therefore I am sure Father Nicolás will not clash with the hierarchical Church. I almost dare to guarantee he, knowing better than anyone else what his pedigree is, will spare no efforts in making gestures of solicitude and obedience to the Holy Father. The important word? You guessed it: "Gestures." He already has on his back the inmense weight of being the successor of St. Ignatius. And that is capable of annulling all of the past.

One thing is one's tastes and inclinations and another one's duties. The very discussed [Literally, "discussed backwards and forwards"] Fr. Arrupe never confronted the Pope. He acknowledged, very possibly with inner disgust but formal obedience, I believe that "formal obedience" is always seen in terms of "what is the minimum required to fulfill my contractual obligation?" what came from the Holy See. Any other attitude is impossible. There is no room for confrontation between the "Black Pope" and the "White Pope." That's like Luxembourg declaring war against France. I'm not so sure this analogy works well...

I understand the dreams of the enemies, external and internal, of the Church. But dreams are just that. They have nothing to do with reality.

I believe we are not looking at a good election. It is my supposition, and hope I am wrong, that Fr. Nicolás will continue to preside over the decline, ever more notable [literally, "notorious"], of the Society. He won't be the restorer it so badly needs. What's that adage of about "When the student is ready..."? The impression is also given the Jesuit electors, fruit of the current climate [literally "airs"] in the Order, had wanted to make quite clear and open their desire for the status quo and not for amending [the Society, presumably]. A thing that is certainly worrisome. To many of us it seemed the electors were bristling at the Holy See's calls for fidelity to doctrine and affection and obedience to the Holy Father.
It is what it is. [Literally, "that's what's there."]

It is said the least intelligent Jesuit is a master watchmaker. While I have known the odd one who can barely pass muster, it is certain they have considerable intellect in their leadership. There will not be any external confrontation. Maybe, to quell dissidencies, he will call on other voices. I'm not really clear on what this writer means. Time will out.

I am not the least worried about a Nicolás-Ratzinger fight, because it will never happen. It would be the death of the Society of Jesus. What I do believe is that with the new Father General the slow suicide of a glorious Order will continue. Oy. Maybe we can get 7-8 friends and relatives and, when the SoJ comes home one Friday, we can have an intervention. May God wish me to be wrong.

Possibly Fr. Nicolás was not the candidate Benedict XVI would have wanted. But no more than that. Neither is he the one I would have wanted. But I still believe we have to wait. There has never been a victory of the Jesuits over the Church. It is impossible. That could never happen. If it was even attempted, it is clearly evident who would be defeated.

The Usual Suspects [literally, "the same ones as always"] can rest assured that impossible dreams are no use [literally, "will not serve."] They always turn against the dreamers. With inmense disappointments.

Therefore I do not wish to dream Fr. Nicolás will become the Pignatelli of the 21st Century. But [or "yet"] I am sure he will not clash with the Pope on any matter. As to what he may believe in the bottom of his heart is none of my business.

I conclude with something deeply personal. Which, therefore, falls under no category. Mere anecdote. A very dear companion at Renfe, already quite aged but I think still living, an engineer of immense knowledge of the way, brother to two Jesuits and a religious sister of the Sacred Heart, told me one day: "I feel quite old."

Which he was not being barely older than sixty, so I asked him: "Why do you say that?"

"Because the Pope is younger than I."

I remain younger than the Pope and the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus. When the latter turns seventy two, I will be sixty seven. That's for those who want to retire me. I do not plan to heed them.




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