Another Jesuit v. Dominican Discussion


#1

I know this distinction has been embarked on a dozen times before, but I was wondering if someone would help me out by trying to pin down the difference between the Jebbies and the Skunks?

I'm interested in seeing how they contrast on two levels:
(1) Ignatian v. Dominican spirituality.
(2) The figure of the Jesuit father and the Dominican friar-priest.

Caveat: I know the obvious differences (fixed habit for the Dominican, communal life and prayer for the Dominican, longer study for the Jesuit, mendicant friar v. clerk regulars, &c.). I'm looking for someone who knows a lot about this stuff to (a) direct me to a trustworthy breakdown of the subject, and/or (b) put his knowledge on the page.


#2

Jebbies and skunks?! It's more like Shadowy Conspirators and Awesome Penguin Heroes! :D

Being only a spiritual Dominican and lately baptised, I have no authority on which to base my assertions. All I can tell you is that I know them to be true from listening to almost every lecture given by Irish and North American Dominicans, and reading many biographies on Dominican saints. Though I be a total amateur, the reality of the spirit really gets imparted over time via books and study.

Now, Jesuits and Dominicans differ very essentially in terms of contemplation.

A Jesuit will contemplate a scene by entering into it with such totality that he "becomes" one of the characters in the scene. He will become inebriated by the wine of the Wedding of Cana, and will see, smell, hear, and touch all the senses as a Guest; on the other hand, he might go so far and so deep into the blessed Virgin's mind that he imagines he is the blessed Virgin by meditation. He asks our holy Saviour the questions, and tries to imagine Jesus Christ saying to him "what is that to thee? my hour is not yet come"! He will try extremely hard to know the circumstances: whether it was an open-air court, whether any torchlight was needed, whether there were men and women and children here or there, and the contours of the whole place: so he can better enter into the scene. A Jesuit "acts out" the scene as a player in the very sacred drama itself. He sees through the eyes of Mary or the Devil or our Lord, and uses all the angles and perspectives to say "yes" to God throughout the day, knowing what all the agents and actors were like intimately. He uses this contemplation to say "yes" or "no" to everything in the day, by himself and with total inward consideration, asking: "am I the devil today? am I Christ today? did I act like the Virgin today, or like a drunken guest?"

A Dominican will not enter the personality of each character in a scene he is contemplating. He will, instead, take the eagle's-eye view and detach himself. Instead of looking at the Feast through the eyes of Mary, he will consider the tenderness of Mary's concern for the guests and her love for Christ, wishing that His glory be manifest for the sake of her beloved Israel. The friar-preacher relates everything he sees to theological concepts, sometimes abstract indeed. He will see the Marriage of Cana and relates it to a thousand other events in Scripture: seeing water flowing from the Temple, and its relation to water turned into wine, or the water and blood flowing from Christ being the true water, and Christ the true Temple foreseen by Ezekiel. He will apply every single parable our Lord ever spoke, and try to put it together in a great logical puzzle, fitting it with the event at Cana. The waiter-boys carrying water jugs, and the guests in awe at the new wine of St. John's Gospel become the angels the saints of Revelation. Everything is related theologically, philosophically, and in life, by way of study and contemplation. The Dominican takes what he has contemplated, and displays this theological puzzle for all other people to contemplate.

In my opinion, the Jesuit spirit of Cana would tend more toward teaching other individual people what the story said to him at X time on Y day in Z year. The Dominican spirit of Cana would tend more toward showing all the faithful what the story of Cana says to all generations, and how every symbol, event, person, type, and history in Scripture is related to it. Jesuits seem to be primarily pastoral and mystical in this contemplation, whereas Dominicans want strong theological truths to be made manifest to all who hear them preach.

Very broadly-speaking, a Dominican sermon based on some contemplation is a homiletic event, whereas a Jesuit sermon based on some contemplation is very pastoral and intimate. A Jesuit contemplates for his own soul's perfection, and to give others the ability to relate Scriptural stories to their own subjective lives on Monday, June 13; whereas a Dominican contemplates for his own soul's perfection, and to show others grand, universal, objective theological things he has extracted from contemplation. A Dominican contemplates solely so he can preach something new and teach the faithful something orthodox every day, and a Jesuit contemplates so he may better understand and other specific individuals may better understand as they live their personal lives.

Both a Jesuit novice and a Dominican priest have confirmed this comparison. Dominicans contemplate for the sake of the wider goal, and Jesuits contemplate for the sake of individual imagination and revelation. The former want to contemplate for the sake of general Truth being known to all peoples, and the latter want to contemplate so they can find out what the Lord is saying to Me, You, and Others on a specific day in a specific circumstance. :)

My source is a very trustworthy set of lectures from the 1980's in the Dominican House of studies, from Washington, D.C.! It's online if you want to listen, but it's something like 24 hours of in-depth course material in history, philosophy, theology, and practice.


#3

Any spokespeople for the Jesuits here?

GloriousOrder has Dominican written all over him.


#4

[quote="cara1, post:3, topic:243604"]
GloriousOrder has Dominican written all over him.

[/quote]

:eek: You've made my day!

I do hope we get some Jesuits to balance us, but I'm afraid they're too busy plotting out the next 4-5 popes. :D


#5

I listened to those lectures by Fr. Hinnebusch. Fascinating, informative, and well-worth one’s time (all 25 hours of it!). They’re available here:

dominicanhistory.blogspot.com/2011/05/lectures-in-dominican-history-part-1.html


#6

Well, Dominicans typically espouse Thomism of one form or another, while Jesuits seem to be a little less "restrictive’ in thinking (e.g. Fr. Molina and Sts. Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius were all Jesuits, and the Society has also had been many scientists within its ranks). Ignatian spirituality is rather practical (“finding God in everyday life,”), and we have all heard jokes or stories about Jesuit logic (…pride, heterodoxy, etc.)! In addition, Dominicans are technically mendicant preachers, while Jesuits are clerics regular who place an emphasis on obedience. I love the “Jebbies,” but I wish that they had great habits like the Friar-Preachers!


#7

Hahah! I am sure that the Father Superior is revising his Protestant hit-list, too!


#8

And it does not seem fair how some Jesuits within the past century (e.g. Fr. Pacwa and Cardinal Martini) were ordained in the mid-twenties like “normal” priests are, while I doubt that one will find any Jesuit priests today who are under the age of 30 (at least in the U.S.)! But the same probably goes for most Dominicans.


#9

Habits are pretty hot. In addition to the tunic, there’s that cape and scapular. Are you sure you would like to wear one?


#10

Hmm… I read the entire thing. Very interesting: I’ve never seen the difference between Jesuit and Dominican charisms as being reduced to basically objective and subjective approaches, although it does seem to make sense given my limited experience of both.


#11

My source is a very trustworthy set of lectures from the 1980's in the Dominican House of studies, from Washington, D.C.! It's online if you want to listen, but it's something like 24 hours of in-depth course material in history, philosophy, theology, and practice.

Good, I'm on maturnity leave so if you'd like to provide the links I have 3 weeks to finish them. :)


#12

It’s rather hard to find all 24/25 parts, because they’re scattered everywhere! Also, the parts sort of melt into one another. If one lecture is 1 hour long, the actual session ends at 55 minutes and the second one begins with only 5 minutes left in Part 1! It’s all complete, though, and it’s INCREDIBLY informative. I hope someone posts another thing like it that deals with the Jesuit viewpoint, because this is very comprehensive. It covers history, vocations, different forms of Consecrated life, and the life of Dominic.

Here is a general set of them (missing Number 1!!!) to tide you over:

blip.tv/lectures-in-dominican-history


#13

The first one is there, I think, on page 5, or in the blog link Thepeug posted above. I'm going to have a listen.


#14

Enjoy, my friend... :)

I really like the fact that this scholarly old Dominican gives a neutral explanation of all the various branches. He starts with the earliest forms of monasticism, such as Jewish prophets fasting in the desert and living consecrated lives to cleanse their lips. From this, St. Anthony of the Desert naturally flows, then the line evolves through the Desert Fathers to St. Benedict, across the lines to the cathedral schools, extern schools, Cluny, Citeaux, Canons Regular, Friars, Clerics Regular (Jebbies), and down to today. Everything is accurately described and arranged chronologically, with in-depth clarifications. He really lingers on every detail, as a member of a "study" Order should!

For a Dominican, he is very generous both to Franciscans and Jesuits. :D What do you expect, anyway, from the saintliest Order around?


#15

I think that it would be fun to wear an authetic toga (with a tunic underneath, of course) or a man’s kimono with all the accessories! So, yes, I would love to dress like a Dominican. When the weather is too warm, one can almost always omit the cloak. However, as I have implied, I am more inclined towards the Society of Jesus.


#16

The intellectual tradition of the Dominicans appeals to me. I'm an academic who loves to read, debate, and investigate so that is hardly surprising. Obviously, the Jesuits have a long and distinguished academic tradition of their own as well.

One issue for me as a married man, who is not too interested in celibacy (:D), is that it is my understanding that the Jesuits experimented with a Lay Order but that they discontinued it while the Dominicans have one which seems active and strong. I am moving to a parish soon where they have a chapter of the Dominican Laity and I am planning on checking it out. I have also initiated talks with the Southern Province of the Lay Order so that I can start learning a bit now. If the Jesuits did have a Lay Order, I would be quite open to learning more about it though I do feel a bit of a call towards the Dominican way of thinking from the little I know.

In addition, I have initiated talks with Opus Dei as I do like their focus on finding God in everyday life through your normal work and married vocation (very similar to the Jesuits in some ways it seems to me). However, since the nearest Opus Dei center will be 2+ hours away from where I will be living and I am equally attracted to the Dominican Laity at this point, I will likely discern my vocation there first before looking at Opus Dei more closely. If I do not feel that the Order of Preachers is a good match, or if I am not a good match for them, I will probably pursue The Work more closely to discern a vocation there.

In the meantime, I have a great deal to read and study and lots of prayer to do.


#17

The blog to for which I posted a link earlier has all 25 parts on it. If you listen to part 2 and can't find part 3 on the sidebar, just type "lectures in Dominican history part 3" into the search tab, and it's provided.


#18

Ah, the elusive Jesuits... looks like we won't be hearing anything from their end. :'-(


#19

Common’ folks, give the Society of Jesus a break. First of all, you’re unlikely to meet one on them on this fora for the same reason that you’re unlikely to meet a Dominican Friar. These fora are really for amateurs in the Catholic faith. There are three religious communities that consider themselves way above that and for very good reason, they are very far ahead of the rest of us. They are the Dominicans, Jesuits and Salesians. They’re theological geniuses. The discussions that we have on CAF would bore them to death. If this were a scholarly site, you could find tons of Dominicans, Salesians and Jesuits.

Second, you don’t want the Jesuits in habits. That would be contrary to the vision of St. Ignatius. He wanted Clerks Regular. They were to live and dress as diocesan priests in each region where they found themselves, while at the same time; they would live the vowed life in a religious order. Their life is not to be conventual or monastic. Whereas friars bring the monastic to the world. Basically, a friar is a monk without a cloister. That’s the biggest difference between a Jesuit and a Dominican. A Jesuit is not monastic. He is not bound to community life, as is a friar. He is not bound to recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours or community mass, as is a friar. He can live alone or with his brothers, whereas friars must live with their communities. You cannot pack up a Dominican and send him off to Asia as they did St. Francis Xavier. The Jesuit is trained to live alone, pray alone, and sustain his spiritual life on his own, if necessary. Whereas Dominicans go off in teams called communities, the Jesuits go off on their own or in teams.

Third, the Jesuits are not bound to an ascetical practice of poverty, as are Dominicans. What does this mean? While they do not own anything as individuals, they are allowed to make use of many things that a friar would not have. Their quarters and houses are more comfortable than a priory. A priory is more ascetic.

Fourth, the Dominicans can live in large communities or smaller fraternities. The Jesuits usually live in very small communities unless they are attached to a large institution such as a university. However, they come and go more freely than friars. The life of the Dominican is more structured around the Liturgy of the Hours and community functions such as meals, and recreation.

Both are clerical institutes. They have lay-brothers as do monastic orders. The lay brothers usually keep things going while the priests are out in ministry. This makes both of them very different from Franciscan and Carmelite Friars, who don’t have lay-brothers in that sense. They have brothers who are lay, because they are not ordained, but these men are equal to the priests. They work outside or inside the community and can have the same level of education as the priests or higher. This is not common among Jesuit and Dominican brothers. The Jesuit lay-brothers are very well educated; whereas the Dominican lay-brothers usually have a college education and that’s it. The Jesuit may have a Master’s Degree or a PhD in the typical Jesuit tradition. In both communities, only the priests can hold office, unlike other mendicants and monastic where anyone in solemn vows can hold office.

Jesuits look at the life of prayer through the intellect. They are contemplatives. Make no mistake about that. However, they approach the spiritual life through reason. The Dominican is very Augustinian. He approaches prayer and contemplation through love. The Dominican would observe the wonders of God. The Jesuit would analyze them. Both end up in the same place. They both end up giving glory to God for his greatness. The approach is different.

More Dominicans are engaged in parish work than Jesuits. Part of the vision of St. Dominic was to arm an army of pastors. The vision of St. Ignatius was an army of reformers. The Jesuit mission is to reform the Church. Remember, St. Ignatius lived in the middle of the Protestant Reformation. There was a need for counter reformation.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#20

[quote="JReducation, post:19, topic:243604"]
He can live alone or with his brothers, whereas friars must live with their communities. You cannot pack up a Dominican and send him off to Asia as they did St. Francis Xavier. The Jesuit is trained to live alone, pray alone, and sustain his spiritual life on his own, if necessary. Whereas Dominicans go off in teams called communities, the Jesuits go off on their own or in teams.

[/quote]

And I think the practicum for this comes on the 7th and/or 8th year of Jesuit formation called a regency. Each Jesuit Scholastic is sent either on their own or with another Jesuit to spend 2 years (or more) at certain apostolates, and they are to avoid other Jesuit communities and formation houses.

Here's a peek into a life of a Jesuit regent...
faithofacenturion.blogspot.com/2010/10/tribute-to-richie-fernando-sj.html

The vision of St. Ignatius was an army of reformers. The Jesuit mission is to reform the Church. Remember, St. Ignatius lived in the middle of the Protestant Reformation. There was a need for counter reformation.

I think they were one of the reasons a number of european nations reverted to Catholicism at that time.


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