Skip to comments.Top Vatican Cardinal Tells the [Liberal] Jesuits to Clean Up their Act
Posted on 01/07/2008 8:03:28 PM PST by topher
Monday January 7, 2008
Top Vatican Cardinal Tells the Jesuits to Clean Up their Act
Repeatedly spoke about his "sorrow and anxiety" at the state of the Jesuit order in terms of infidelity to the teachings of the Church.
By John-Henry Westen
ROME, January 7, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The top Vatican official who deals with religious orders, Cardinal Franc Rode, addressed the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) today. Cardinal Rode who was installed by Pope Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life spoke repeatedly about his "sorrow and anxiety" at the state of the Jesuit order in terms of infidelity to the teachings of the Church.
Cardinal Rode recalled the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius and his primary formula for the order: "To serve the Lord and his Spouse the Church under the Roman Pontiff"
"It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the sentire cum ecclesia (thinking with the church) of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families," he said.
The once illustrious Jesuits, the great defenders of faith, have over the last 40 years been steeped in dissident controversy. Jesuit priests have featured prominently in the homosexual priest scandal and Jesuit universities and their theologians have been hotbeds of dissent on Church teachings especially those on life and family.
Pope Benedict has put an end to some of the scandal issuing public corrections of several prominent Jesuit theologians. Last year, the editor of the U.S. Jesuit flagship publication 'America', Thomas J. Reese was abruptly resigned after a career of increasing hostility to Church teaching.
The Cardinal's address is being seen by Vatican watchers as another move in the Pope's efforts to restore the order to its former glory.
Later in his address, the Cardinal added, "With sadness and anxiety I also see a growing distancing from the Hierarchy." He explained: "The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service 'under the Roman Pontiff' does not allow for this separation. In the Constitutions which he left you, Ignatius . . . wrote 'we must always keep our mind prepared and quick to obey' . . . the Hierarchical Church"
Addressing specific areas the Prefect said, "May those who, according to your legislation, have to oversee the doctrine of your magazines and publications do so in the light of and according to the "rules for sentire cum ecclesia", with love and respect."
Cardinal Rode did not content himself with correction but challenged the Jesuits to avant-garde position in the culture war - the very area where there have been so many traitors within the ranks of the Jesuits.
"The Tradition of the Society, from the first beginnings of the Collegio Romano always placed itself at the crossroads between Church and society, between faith and culture, between religion and secularism," said the Cardinal. "Recover these avant-garde positions which are so necessary to transmit the eternal truth to today's world, in today's language. Do not abandon this challenge."
See the full address of Cardinal Rode here:
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This is quite an impressive statement... Sounds like the very liberal Jesuits have to become more Christian, and oppose the immoral behavior that is now associated with the order...
This is great news for Conservatives... And those who follow Christ...
Monday January 7, 2008
Full text of Cardinal Franc Rode's Jan. 7 Address to 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)
XXXV General Congregation of the Society of Jesus
His Eminence, the Most Reverend Franc Card. Rodé, C.M.
DEAR MEMBERS OF THE
XXXV GENERAL CONGREGATION OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS
St Ignatius considered the General Congregation work and a distraction (Const. 677) which momentarily interrupts the apostolic commitments of a large number of qualified members of the Society of Jesus and for this reason, clearly differing from what is customary in other religious Institutes, the Constitutions establish that it should be celebrated at determined times and not too often.
Nevertheless, it must be called principally on two occasions: for the election of the Superior General and when things of particular importance or very difficult problems which touch the body of the Society must be treated.
This is the second time in the history of the Society wherein a General Congregation gathers to elect a new Superior General while his predecessor is still living.
The first time was in 1983, when the XXXIII General Congregation accepted the resignation of the much loved Fr. Arrupe, for whom the exercising of the role of governance had become impossible, due to a serious and unforeseen illness. Today it gathers a second time, to discern, before the Lord, the resignation presented by Fr. Kolvenbach, who has directed the Society for nearly twenty-five years with wisdom, prudence, commitment and loyalty. This will be followed by the election of his successor. I wish to express to you, Fr. Kolvenbach, in my name and in the name of the Church, a heartfelt thanks for your fidelity, your wisdom, your righteousness and your example of humility and poverty, Thank you Fr. Kolvenbach.
The election of a new Superior General of the Society of Jesus has a fundamental value for the life of the Society, not only because its centralized hierarchical structure constitutionally concedes to the General full authority for good governance, the conservation and growth of the whole Society, but also because as Saint Ignatius says so well, the wellbeing of the head resounds throughout the whole body and as are the Superiors so in turn will their subjects be. (cf. Const 820) For this reason your founder when pointing out the qualities which the general must have places first of all that he must be a man very united to the Lord our God and familiar with prayer (Const 723). After having mentioned other important qualities which are not easily found in a single person, he ends by saying if any of the above qualities should be missing, at least may he not lack much goodness, love for the Society and good judgment (Const 735).
I join you in your prayer that the Holy Spirit, the father of the poor, giver of graces, and light for hearts will assist you in your discernment and your election.
This Congregation also gathers together to treat important and very difficult matters which touch all members of the Society, such as the direction which the Society is presently taking. The themes upon which the General Congregation will reflect have to do with basic elements for the life of the Society. Certainly you will deal with the identity of todays Jesuit, on the meaning and value of the vow of obedience to the Holy Father which has always defined your religious family, the mission of the Society in the context of globalization and marginalization, community life, apostolic obedience, vocation recruitment and other important themes.
Within your charism and your tradition you can find valuable points of reference to enlighten the choices which the Society must make today.
Certainly and necessarily, during this Congregation you are carrying out an important work but it is not a distraction from your apostolic activity. As St Ignatius teaches you in the Spiritual Exercises you must with the same vision of the three Divine Persons, look at the entire surface of the earth crammed with men (n 102) Listening to the Spirit, the creator who renews the world and returning to the fonts to preserve your identity without losing your own lifestyle, the commitment to discern the signs of the times, the difficulty and responsibility of working out final decisions are activities which are eminently apostolic because they form the base of a new springtime of being religious and of the apostolic commitment of each of your brothers in the Society of Jesus.
Now the vision becomes broader. It is not only for your own Jesuit brothers that you provide a religious and apostolic formation. There are many institutes of Consecrated Life who, following an Ignatian spirituality, pay attention to your choices; there are many future priests in your Colleges and Universities who are preparing for their ministry. There are many peoples from both within and outside the Church who frequent your centers of learning seeking a response to the challenges which science, technology and globalization pose to humanity, to the Church, and to the faith, with the hope of receiving a formation which will make it possible for them to construct a world of truth and freedom, of justice and peace.
Your work must be eminently apostolic with a universal human, ecclesial and evangelical fullness. It must always be carried out in the light of your Charism, in such a way that the growing participation of laity in your activities does not obscure your identity but rather enriches it with the collaboration of those who, coming from other cultures, share your style and your objectives.
Once again I join in your prayer that the Holy Spirit may accompany you in your delicate work.
As a brother who is following your works with great interest and expectation, I want to share with you the joys and hopes (GS. 1) as well as the sorrows and anguish (GS. 1) which I have as a man of the Church called to exercise a difficult service in the field of Consecrated Life, in my role as Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
With pleasure and hope I see the thousands of religious who generously respond to the Lords call and, leaving all they have behind consecrate themselves with an undivided hear to the Lord to be with him and to collaborate with him, in his salvific desire to conquer all things and thus enter unto the Glory of the Father (Spiritual Exercises, 95). It is clear that consecrated life continues to be a divine gift which the Church has received from the Lord (LG 43) and it is for this very reason that the Church wants to carefully watch over it in order that that the proper Charism of each Institute might be evermore known, and, although with the necessary adaptations to respond to the present time, it keeps its proper identity intact for the good of the whole Church. The authenticity of religious life is characterized by the following of Christ and by the exclusive consecration to Him and to his Kingdom through the profession of the evangelical counsels. The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council teaches that this consecration will be the more perfect, in as much as the indissoluble bond of the union of Christ and His bride, the Church, is represented by firm and more stable bonds (LG 44) Consecration to service to Christ cannot be separated from consecration to service to the Church. Ignatius and his first companions considered it thus when they wrote the Formula of your Institute in which the essence of your charism is spelled out: To serve the Lord and his Spouse the Church under the Roman Pontiff (Julio III, Formula I). It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the sentire cum ecclesia of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families. The Church is waiting for a light from you to restore the sensus Ecclesiae. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius are your specialty. The rules of sentire cum Ecclesiae form an integral and essential part of this masterpiece of Catholic spirituality. They form, as it were, a golden clasp which holds the book of The Spiritual Exercises closed.
You hold in your very hands the elements needed to realize and to deepen this desire, this Ignatian and Ecclesial sentiment.
Love for the Church in every sense of the word, be it Church people of God be it hierarchical Church is not a human sentiment which comes and goes according to the people who make it up or according to our conformity with the dispositions emanating from those whom the Lord has placed to direct the Church. Love for the Church is a love based on faith, a gift of the Lord which, precisely because he loves us, he gives us faith in him and in his Spouse, which is the Church. Without the gift of faith in the Church there can be no love for the Church.
I join in your prayer asking the Lord to grant you the grace to grow in your belief in and love for this holy, catholic and apostolic Church which we profess.
With sadness and anxiety I also see a growing distancing from the Hierarchy. The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service under the Roman Pontiff does not allow for this separation. In the Constitutions which he left you, Ignatius wanted to truly shape your mind and in the book of the Exercises (n 353) he wrote we must always keep our mind prepared and quick to obey the true Spouse of Christ and our Holy Mother, the Hierarchical Church. Religious obedience can be understood only as obedience in love. The fundamental nucleus of Ignatian spirituality consists in uniting the love for God with love for the hierarchical Church. Your XXXIII Congregation once again took up this characteristic of obedience declaring that the Society reaffirms in a spirit of faith the traditional bond of love and of service which unites it to the Roman Pontiff You once again took up this principle in the motto In all things love and serve.
You must also place this XXXV General Congregation, which opens with this liturgy, celebrated close to the remains of your founder in this line, which has always been followed by the Society throughout its multi-century history in order to show your desire and your commitment to be faithful to the charism which he left you as an inheritance and to carry it out in ways which better respond to the needs of the Church in our time.
The service of the Society is a service under the banner of the Cross (Formula I). Every service done out of love necessarily implies a self-emptying, a kenosis. But letting go of what one wants to do in order to do what the beloved wants is to transform the kenosis into the image of Christ who learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5, 8). It is for this reason that St. Ignatius, realistically, adds that the Jesuit serves the Church under the banner of the Cross (Formula I).
Ignatius placed himself under the orders of the Roman Pontiff in order to not err in via Domini (Const 605) in the distribution of his religious throughout the world and to be present wherever the needs of the Church were greater.
Times have changed and the Church must today confront new and urgent necessities, I will mention one, which in my judgment is urgent today and is at the same time complex and I propose it for your consideration. It is the need to present to the faithful and to the world the authentic truth revealed in Scripture and Tradition. The doctrinal diversity of those who at all levels, by vocation and mission are called to announce the Kingdom of truth and love, disorients the faithful and leads to a relativism without limits. There is one truth, even though it can always be more deeply known.
It is the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ (DV 10) which is the voucher for revealed truth. The exegetes and theological scholars are involved in working together under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the divine writings (DV 23). Through your long and solid formation, your centers of research, your teaching in the philosophical-theological-biblical fields you are in a privileged position to carry out this difficult mission. Carry it out with study and in-depth examination, carry it out with humility, carry it out with faith in the Church. carry it out with love for the Church.
May those who, according to your legislation, have to oversee the doctrine of your magazines and publications do so in the light of and according to the rules for sentire cum ecclesia, with love and respect.
The feeling of ever growing separation between faith and culture, a separation which constitutes a great impediment for Evangelization (Sapientia Cristiana, proemio) also worries me.
A culture immersed with a true Christian spirit is an instrument which fosters the spreading of the Gospel, faith in God the Creator of the heavens and of the earth. The Tradition of the Society, from the first beginnings of the Collegio Romano always placed itself at the crossroads between Church and society, between faith and culture, between religion and secularism. Recover these avant-garde positions which are so necessary to transmit the eternal truth to todays world, in todays language. Do not abandon this challenge. We know the task is difficult, uncomfortable and risky, and at times little appreciated and even misunderstood, but it is a necessary task for the Church. The apostolic tasks demanded of you by the Church are many and very diverse, but all have a common denominator: the instrument which carries them out, according to an Ignatian phrase must be an instrument united to God. It is the Ignatian echo to the Gospel proclaimed today: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit (Jn.15, 15). Union with the vine, which is love, is realized only through a personal and silent exchange of love which is born in prayer, from the internal knowledge of the Lord who became man for me and who, integral and alive, extends himself to all who are close to us and to all that is close to us. It is not possible to transform the world, or to respond to the challenges of a world which has forgotten love, without being firmly rooted in love.
Ignatius was granted the mystic grace of being a contemplative in action(annotation to the Examine MNAD 5, 172). It was a special grace freely given by God to Ignatius who had trodden a tiring path of fidelity and long hours of prayer in the Retreat at Manresa. It is a grace which, according to Fr. Nadal, is contained in the call of every Jesuit. Guided by your Ignatian magis keep your hearts open to receive the same gift, following in the same path trodden by Ignatius from Loyola to Rome, a path of generosity, of penance, of discernment, of prayer, of apostolic zeal of obedience, of charity, of fidelity to and love for the hierarchical Church.
Despite the urgent apostolic needs, maintain and develop your charism to the point of being and showing yourselves to the world as contemplatives in action who communicate to men and women and to all of creation the love received from God and to orient them once again toward the love of God. Everyone understands the language of love.
The Lord has chosen you to go and bear fruit, fruit that lasts. Go, bear fruit confident that all that you ask the Father in my name, he will give you (cfr. Jn 15, 16).
I join with you in prayer to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit together with Mary, Mother of Divine Grace, invoked by all the members of the Society as Santa Maria della Strada, that he may grant you the grace of seeking and discovering the will of God for the Society of today which will build the Society of tomorrow.
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This new Pope is really shaking things up. His top guy for cleaning up American seminaries is now the new bishop of Baltimore. The days of the “Pink Palace” are over and the Maryland libs are freaking out.
Good! It will be interesting following the fall out. Liberalism has done a lot of damage.
This will hopefully will cause Catholic Universities to become more Catholic.
The Jesuits are the largest order of priests...
They may have some members kicked out because this pope...
At least 40 years late, but I’m glad to see the clean up begin.
Prayers to Sts. Ignatius and Francis Xavier should help...
Hopefully those days are over...
Long overdue. Sadly, the Jesuit order won’t self-correct. Scalps will need to be taken, probably by the hundred, before any difference can be made.
They claimed living the message of Fatima (being pure of heart and mind, as well as prayers and sacrifices) saved their lives after the atomic bomb was dropped (the Little Boy bomb).
One Jesuit was within one mile of ground zero. The 10 Jesuits at Hiroshima seemed to be miraculously saved from radiation effects. Scientists studied these Jesuits to try to figure out why they were unharmed... There was only a supernatural explanation...
There was even a segment of CBS 60 Minutes devoted to this, I think in the 1970's (because the Jesuits were still unaffected)...
Some jesuits (not all) are very liberal. Hopefully, Benedict is going to reign them in big time.
There are still some very good Jesuits, and I would agree with that... But a parish in Dallas, the Jesuit pastor in the 1990s was not very friendly to the pro-life cause, as an example...
Thanks for posting the whole address. Most of it is respectful, in keeping with the need to be polite in the circumstances of the retirement of the current head of the order. But there are strong words of sorrow, which the Jesuits could hardly miss.
The interesting thing, how, is who the Jesuits will choose as their next leader. Will it be another dissenter, who will continue to lead them down the garden path?
It’s really a question whether a religious order can reform itself when the rot has spread so widely. In most cases, religious orders that have decayed to that extent have simply died off, and have been replaced by new, reformed orders. With God, all things are possible; but God does not override the free will of those who choose to disobey and deny Him.
Example, Saint John of the Cross.
He was persecuted by this own order. But I imagine he offered up his sufferings to help reform the order.
That is why the 40 Days for Life movement should spread fear in the hearts of the pro-abortion movment. It will change hearts -- because of the sacrifices made...
Maybe this will pave the way for the canonization of Father Sebastion Rale, a Jesuit who was so hideously murdered by the English and Indians -- that his faithful could not recognize that he was a human being...
I hope he is canonized and that this happens after the order is reformed...
I love how “I am saddened” means “I am going to kick your asses into shape, ladies” in ecclesiastical-speak.
The proof will be in personnel changes.
Forty years is a reasonable duration of time — Vatican time. The church is the anvil upon which heresies are blunted. That’s why I joined — to do my little part to restore her former glory.
Do the Jesuits elect their leader as other orders do? I thought the the Holy Father appointed the Father General of the Society. If so I wish he'd select Father Fessio...he could clean house smartly.
This news, coupled with the return of the Latin Mass makes me very happy.
a fallen Catholic and poor Christian trying to stumble back to God's grace.
Just what I was going to say. All I need to see now is the complete Third Secret.
I’m impressed. It’s about time they cleaned it up.
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This is good to hear.
Perhaps he was a bit distracted by some bigger fish to fry like defeating the Soviet Union in eastern Europed including his home country of Poland.
A true saint will suffer sorrow when the church falls astray...
The Seven Sorrows of Mary comes to mind as an example.
On the other hand, Saint Padre Pio, when he had to, harshly criticized sinners in the confessional so they would be truly repenant.
He did feel bad about getting so much pleasure out of such scolding of sinners in the confessional...
The final example is Jesus in the Temple with the money changers. He had no patience whatsoever or charity for them. He took whips after them... So His punishment of those sinners in the Temple were quite severe.
However, the Jesuits are deeply within the Temple of the Lord, so lashing out at them and their sins may be similar to what Jesus did in the Gospel with the Money Changers...
This could adversely affect the Democratic Party this year, if the Catholic Church starts rejecting socialism and liberal ideas such as homosexuality, abortion, and other things the Jesuits allowed to enter the Church -- especially in Catholic Universities...
When you hear of some priests getting shot in the head in Central America, guess what,....It turn out to be Jesuit's. It seems they were helping the commies run guns or something to Pi$$ off the local dictator. It never fails. They need to stay out of the local politics, but it seems they are always more interested in getting along with the Che Guevara or Chavez types than saving lost souls. They will tell you Jesus was a communist, if you ask them. They seem to have gotten the Church and government mixed up. If you are Christian, you are supposed to give your cloak to a stranger, not take everyone else's cloak and give it to whom you think worthy.
I've often wondered why some of the "good Jesuits" (such as Fr. Fessio) didn't seek permission to start some new order. However, the Jesuit order had a very strong charism, that is, a unique mission and spirituality, and perhaps they hung in there hoping that there would be a return to that someday. The order has been more than decimated; I believe it is the order that has had the sharpest decline in membership and, not coincidentally, the highest AIDS rate of all of them. So perhaps the "good Jesuits" are hoping that they'll be the last men standing and thus will inherit the order and be able to reform it.
Personally, I think so much damage has been done to its internal life and external reputation that this would be impossible, but as you say, with God...
“At least 40 years late, but Im glad to see the clean up begin.”
40 years ago would be 1967. I am curious if that year is of any significance to you personally, because it to me. 1967 was my freshman year in a Jesuit college. For 4 years, I was brainwashed by their “situational ethics” approach to morality. It took me a good 10 years after graduation in 1971 to finally put that nonsense behind me.
During that time,I did and said things that today I am embarrassed to even think of. It is amazing the things you can and will do when you think there are no absolutes.
I am glad I came to my senses before I had children.
The Jesuits were completely liberal, both in politics and their heresies to the Christian scriptures.
But what shocked me more than anything was being invited to a party once, and seeing two male Jesuit priests kissing and groping each other in the corner.
I agree. The Jesuits will only sneer at this speech (and that was all it was), and will wear their defiance as a "Badge of Honor."
The Pope has to defrock, punish, and pour publc shame over scores of Jesuits (and liberal priests) before anything will change.
They are too grounded in their liberalism and heresy.
Only negative reinforcement will get through to them.
Amen and right on!
Fr. Fitzdesmond fitz Fr. Fitzgerald? I hope they don't try any funny stuff with the Christian Brothers. BTW, just had to leave during a "sermon." The prancing pastor sounded as if he were attempting to sell the latest permanent wave machine to a colleague. Cracked me up, actually.
>>Perhaps he was a bit distracted by some bigger fish to fry like defeating the Soviet Union in eastern Europed including his home country of Poland.<<
So what was the excuse after the 80’s?
JPII was a wonderfully spiritual man who let the libs run away with the church. He spent more time talking to heathens than the conservative Catholics, who were begging him to do something.
B16 is cleaning up his mess.
I have no doubt he feels genuine sorrow.
I don’t think that’s totally fair. JP Magnus wasn’t the hardline conservative I would have liked him to be, in the end, but he was no liberal either.
JP2 was doing the groundwork that led to the election of Benedict XVI, which would have been unthinkable in the 1980s.
There was an article by Benedict Groeschel, I’m afraid I forget where I read it, saying that the lesson of history is that religious orders that are that far gone don’t recover.
Of course Groeschel has taken that advice, as have others.
As you probably know, St. Ignatius puts more than the usual emphasis on the vow of obedience. Regretably, although the good Cardinal speaks well of the retiring General of the order, he seems to have covertly encouraged perversion and dissent. Yet he did so covertly, so it must be hard to justify disobeying him or those he has designated to lead.
As you also know, the Jesuits take a special fourth vow to serve the Pope. But when JP II put the order into receivership and tried to run it directly, the Jesuits refused to cooperate, so he finally backed off. Other than dissolving the order, which was done once before (whether justly or not, who knows?), it’s a very difficult situation.
Certainly the first indicator people will look for is whether they elect a faithful and obedient Jesuit to lead them. Frankly, I doubt that they will.
You can read it both ways. St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila reformed the Carmelites, but basically they did so by founding a new order of Discalced Carmelites. There were still Carmelites of the old kind, and they were not reformed.
The same thing with the Benedictines of Cluny. Yes, they were Benedictines, but in practical effect they were a new order of reformed Benedictines.
So, too, Fr. Benedict Groeschel is the founder of the Francisan Friars of the Renewal. Yes, they are Franciscans, but they are also in effect a new order.
You could say the same of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
Probably in a few hundred years the old orders of Benedictines, Franciscans, and Dominicans will have largely died out, but there will be new, reformed orders who will take their places as Benedictines, Franciscans, and Dominicans.
I managed to get on the hook to one of the old orders of Domincan Sisters. They are deeply in debt, their order consists mainly of 90-year-old nuns in what amounts to a nunnery turned nursing facility chronically short of money, always in need of a new furnace or something, basically because all the younger sisters took off and abandoned them. I also happen to donate to the Domican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Their problem is that they have an absolute flood of young, smiling, eager postulants, and they keep needing more money to expand their facilities.
The old order sadly dies, the new order takes its place and attracts new postulants. You see it all over the place.
Wow. That’s a very public dressing down.
Great spiritual man. He only woke up at the end of his life to the problems he ignored.
Only at the end of his life. He let years slip away.