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What It Means That the New Pope Is a Jesuit

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', ethics, freedoms, politics, Pope, religion, society )

- 2293 days ago -
Jesuits are known to be evangelistic eggheads, and sometimes even liberal, though not Pope Francis.


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Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 4:23 pm
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A lot has already been made of Pope Francis’ firsts: First non-European pope in a millennia, the only pontiff to come from Latin American, the inaugural “Francis” in papal lineage. He is also the first Jesuit pope.

So what does that mean?

The Society of Jesus

St. Ignatius of Loyola and a small band of followers at the University of Paris founded the Society of Jesus in an effort to reform the Catholic Church in 1534. Rather than break off as a separate church, the Jesuits became a distinct order of priests in 1534 and received commendation from Pope Paul III in 1537. Sometimes called “God’s Marines” or “The Company,” Jesuit priests take vows of poverty and chastity, and pledge obedience to the pope.

Spreading the word, catching some heat

Missionary work is a core Jesuit value, a fact that has sometimes gotten the priests into hot water.

As Alex Johnson reports for NBC News:

From the beginning, the Jesuits have been aggressively evangelistic; they were the shock troops in the church’s resistance to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and among the first missionaries to set up shop in such far-flung locales as India, Asia, and Central and South America, the Catholic Encyclopedia records.

That activism earned the society a reputation for political scheming by the 1760s, leading to its official suppression by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. Expulsion of the order quickly followed across much of the Catholic world, from France and Portugal to as far away as the Philippines.

“It thereby contributed to the polarization and politicization of the European public sphere in the age of enlightenment,” Christine Vogel, a historian at the University of Rostock in Germany, wrote in a 2010 examination of the suppression.

In 1814, Pope Pius VII restored the Jesuits’ church standing, but a Swiss Constitutional ban on the order was not lifted until 1973.

Education, education, education

The Jesuits have a major reputation for being the eggheads of the Catholic Church, and currently run more than 100 colleges around the world.

Progressive ties, but maybe not for Pope Francis

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Jesuits’ activism has not always gone over well with the Vatican:

Jesuits had a particularly strained relationship with the late Pope John Paul II during the turbulent decades when some in the Church took a leftward turn and Latin America was a front in the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union…

In places like El Salvador, wracked by bloody civil war, they were seen by the local establishment as the enemy. For instance, six Jesuits, including the rector of the Catholic University of El Salvador, and two house maids were gunned down by Salvadoran troops in one of the worst atrocities of the Salvadoran civil war in 1989.

Earlier in Mexico, Jesuits were expelled from the conservative business capital of Monterrey by the local bishop who thought they were too close to leftist students. In Mexico at the time, the Jesuits who had traditionally educated the sons of Latin America’s elite, closed down their leading school in the capital to devote their energies to teaching the poor.

While Francis has already garnered a reputation for austere living and a commitment to the poor, he’s also fiercely conservative. As reported by the Washington Post, he is a “critic of socially progressive trends, including gay marriage, representing a continuity of Benedict XVI’s conservative doctrine.”

It has also been alleged that then-Cardinal Bergoglio had ties to Argentina’s military junta during the country’s Dirty War. As reported by The Guardian:

The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.

By Katie McDonough for Salon and Alternet


Thursday March 14, 2013, 4:27 pm
Very interesting, Kit.

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 5:29 pm

I'm not Catholic but I have respect for the educational excellence that is a tradition with the Jesuits.

Angelika R (143)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 6:30 pm
So do I and pope Franciscus is certainly to be respected for his absolute austerity as well. Of course media is overfilled with comments these days and i agree with one suggesting this is what to expect: sort of a clean up inside the Vatican, more social opening but not touching core points. It looks like the conclave voted for SOME changes but NOT TOO MANY!
Personally, I do like his appearance and humble friendliness! (bus instead of limo, plain white robe etc)

Vicky P (476)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 7:15 pm
hopefully he's not too Conservative

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 14, 2013, 7:19 pm

Sorry, not this man.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Friday March 15, 2013, 9:08 am
Excellent article.

Michela M (3964)
Friday March 15, 2013, 11:17 am
He is just
Pope Francis
Pope Francis " I "............

pam w (139)
Friday March 15, 2013, 11:50 am
We'll see, won't we?

Varcolac Veroscarius (93)
Friday March 15, 2013, 12:02 pm
If I would say what I think about the Popes...


JL A (281)
Friday March 15, 2013, 3:39 pm
Clearly there were worse candidates...but that human rights incident is chilling

Dot A (180)
Friday March 15, 2013, 4:58 pm
The Jesuits are markedly intellectuals, and also great humanitarians, as this is what I experienced at the University of San Francisco; so, I too, feel there is hope that his heart and mind will begin a needed change.

Yvonne White (229)
Friday March 15, 2013, 5:39 pm
I was hopeful when I saw he was a Jesuit..but I'm not holding my breath.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 3:36 am
From the Guardian:
Estela de la Cuadra's mother co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo activist group during the dictatorship to search for missing family members. She was at first astonished, then appalled when a friend texted the news that Bergoglio had been chosen as the new pope.

"It is unthinkable, horrifying given what I know about his history," she said, recalling the disappearance of her sister.

The last time they saw each other was in January 1977 when they were members of leftwing groups formed among the students at La Plata University, then one of the most radical in Argentina.

Her sister, Elena, was three months pregnant and in hiding in Buenos Aires from military snatch squads that had already seized her husband. She "disappeared" a month later and was later seen by survivors in a concentration camp run by the navy.

Desperate, the family used a connection with the global head of the Jesuit order – the "black pope", Pedro Arrupe – to lobby for her release. He put them on to Bergoglio, who provided a letter of introduction to a bishop with connections to the military dictator.

The only answer that came back, said Estela, was that her sister's baby was now "in the hands of a good family. It was irreversible." Neither mother nor child were heard from again.

For Estela, Bergoglio did the bare minimum he had to do to keep in line with the black pope. She says the story underlines the close connections between the Catholic church and the military junta, as well as what she sees as lies and hypocrisy of a new pope who once claimed to have no knowledge of the adoptions of babies being born in concentration camps and then adopted by families close to the regime.

"I've testified in court that Bergoglio knew everything, that he wasn't – despite what he says – uninvolved," said Estela, who believes the church worked with the military to gather intelligence on the families of the missing.
'her sister's baby was now "in the hands of a good family. It was irreversible." Neither mother nor child were heard from again.'

There is a LOT in the Argentine press, a great outcry, REALLY ANGRY about this appointment of a Pope, not at all an "honor" for their country, given the circumstances..... [these articles are in Spanish, of course...]

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 3:46 am
From Naomi Klein's "The SHOCK DOCTRINE" - VERY well-researched and DOCUMENTED, by the way:

An estimated five hundred babies were born inside Argentina's torture centers, and these infants were immediately enlisted in the plan to re-engineer society and create a new breed of model citizens. After a brief nursing period, hundreds of babies were sold or given to couples, most of them directly linked to the dictatorship. The children were raised according to the values of capitalism and Christianity deemed "normal" and healthy by the junta and never told of their heritage, according the the human rights group the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo that has painstakingly tracked down dozens of these children. {NOTE: There was a film made a few years ago, fiction but about this issue.} The babies' parents, considered too "diseased" {i.e., "Communist" or "Socialist"} to be salvageable, were almost always killed in the camps. The baby thefts were not individual excesses but part of an organized state operation. In one court case, an official 1977 Department of the Interior document was submitted as evidence; it was titled "Instructions on procedures to follow with underage children of political or union leaders when their parents are detained or disappeared."

This chapter in Argentina's history has some striking parallels with the mass theft of indigenous children from their families in the U.S., Canada and Australia.....
{The notes in parentheses are mine.}

Also to be noted, are that CATHOLIC NUNS IN CATHOLIC HOSPITALS, WERE TOTALLY COMPLICIT IN THIS. {They were under orders from the Catholic Hierarchy, of course. But, THE NUNS DID THE ACTUAL DIRTY WORK. They were given no choice.}

There is NO WAY, that the Catholic Hierarchy, and Cardinal Bergoglio, DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THIS AND PARTICIPATE FULLY IN IT.
THIS is the Cardinal who said that kids adopted by Gay couples were "unfairly discriminated against"...
Argentina recognizes Gay Marriage, by the way... in spite of the Church!

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 1:16 pm
I was kind of hoping that he would have taken the name Peter. lol

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 5:36 pm
Decades ago, my Catholic parents & grandparents had a special fondness for the Jesuits. Their order was elevated in the minds of many because of their vow of poverty, etc. I never understood, though, because I thought all priests took a vow of poverty. Unfortunately, the new pope seems to have a shiny, new package....but from his previous actions in Argentina, I only see him as being divisive...unless he's changed his mind on many issues. I don't see much hope for change, and intend to ignore him as I've been ignoring them now for decades.

mar l ene dinkins (264)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 6:42 pm
noted thnx!!!!!!!

. (0)
Saturday March 16, 2013, 8:13 pm
I'm not religious, but I really admire the new pope. He went to his hotel and picked up his luggage and paid the bill himself, whereas Pope Benedict would stay in The Vatican and have his staff pick up his luggage. This pope could be just what the church needs.
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