The Current situation of the Jesuits in U.S

Recently I have been reading a lot of works by and about the Jesuits. Presently I am reading selections from the Jesuit Relations, a compilation of letters and essays written by French missionary Jesuits in New France during the mid-seventeenth century. I greatly respect these Jesuits for their erudition, for their bravery and for their deep religious convictions. I am also beginning to read a biography of Edmunc Campion, a Jesuit who was martyred in Elizabethan England. He too is a cool Jesuit.

However, in reading about the Jesuits of our times, I am quite dismayed by the caricature I receive of them. A few weeks back I came across a book called Passionate Uncertainty, which contains numerous interviews of Jesuits and ex-Jesuits, many of which interviews expose problems of homosexuality, heterodox beliefs and gluttonous living (granted, many of these are from last century). At the same time, I have discovered that many Jesuits of the 20th century go their separate ways with the Vatican. Karl Rahner, S.J., for one, utilizes Hegelian thought in his theology, which alone is not heterodox; but his ideas have led some to embrace such radical liberation theology (no surprise, since Marx also based his theories on the Dialectic model used by Hegel). I have also discovered that Benedict XVI, when simply Cardinal Ratzinger, cited the Jesuit publication *America *as containing heterodox views. So, it seems that many Jesuits out there aren’t as orthodox as the Jesuits normally have been.

However, I have come across a few good Jesuits, such as Fr. Pacwa on EWTN; which finding leads me to believe that not all Jesuits are heterodox (of course).

With all this in mind, could some people please help me answer my questions about the present state of the Jesuits:

  1. Is the incidence of heterodox Jesuits any greater than the non-academic orders?

It seems to me that, as the Jesuits are an academic order, they are more frequently exposed to anti-Catholicism and modernist philosophies, which are both prevalent in the university environment where numerous Jesuits are to be found. So, my thinking is that many Jesuits at the university level might be somewhat influenced into thinking in non-Catholic ways.

  1. Does anyone know of any very orthodox Jesuits at the university level?

I am attending a Franciscan university next year, but, if I find that the Franciscans and me don’t well get along together, I am thinking of applying to a Jesuit university, such as the University of Scranton. However, I would only do this if I knew that the Jesuit instructors there were fairly orthodox. Actually, on second thought, I don’t mind a Jesuit who has differing theological views, so long as they are within the range of traditional Catholic/Christian understanding. I wouldn’t want a Jesuit who supports abortion, fornication, etc.; but a Jesuit who takes into consideration the views of Eastern Christianity, Coptic-Oritental Christianity, Assyrian Christianity Medieval Christianity, Tridentine Christianity, etc.–that would be very cool indeed.

  1. Do you personally know of any really intelligent, scholarly and, for the most part, orthodox Jesuits? Where does one usually find these Jesuits?

  2. Is the problem with heterodox Jesuits an individual problem? A provincial problem? A problem limited primarly to universites? Are the Jesuits who teach at the high school level more orthodox in their beliefs than those found at the university level?

In conclusion, I know that there is not one answer to these questions. However, I have only seen a Jesuit in person once, and that was when I was around 8 (I’m now 22). I have a Bolivian friend who had Jesuit teachers in Bolivia, and he said that they were very intelligent, humble and hard-working; but besides him, really don’t have an extensive personal knowledge.

Don’t think that I desire only to hear of negative cases of Jesuits. I would be delighted to hear stories of positive encounters with Jesuit priests. In fact, that’s probably my primary hope in starting this thread :slight_smile:

This is my fear. if my vocation is indeed religous life, i would seriously consider the jesuits, but i fear being amoungst wolves in sheep’s clothing.

According to the National Catholic Register,
“Among the nation’s 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education, Creighton University stands alone. Whereas the others have not revealed which theology faculty members have received the mandatum, a bishop’s statement that they are teaching in line with Church doctrine, Creighton has.”

ncregister.com/features/9creighton.htm

there are! Try looking at the New Orleans Providence; their novitiate is very orthodox; I know a few of the novitiates there, as well as several of the instructors.

The Jesuit’s are not all that bad- they just have a handful that are making a horrible name for them. Slowly they are being relaced by orthodox men, but like everything else, it is taking time, and requires that there are men who have struggled through everything to be ordained to replace those who are heterodox. Remember, too- everyone has heard of the Jesuits- they make GREAT sensational news headlines.

[quote=Madaglan]Recently I have been reading a lot of works by and about the Jesuits. Presently I am reading selections from the Jesuit Relations, a compilation of letters and essays written by French missionary Jesuits in New France during the mid-seventeenth century. I greatly respect these Jesuits for their erudition, for their bravery and for their deep religious convictions. I am also beginning to read a biography of Edmunc Campion, a Jesuit who was martyred in Elizabethan England. He too is a cool Jesuit.

However, in reading about the Jesuits of our times, I am quite dismayed by the caricature I receive of them. A few weeks back I came across a book called Passionate Uncertainty, which contains numerous interviews of Jesuits and ex-Jesuits, many of which interviews expose problems of homosexuality, heterodox beliefs and gluttonous living (granted, many of these are from last century). At the same time, I have discovered that many Jesuits of the 20th century go their separate ways with the Vatican. Karl Rahner, S.J., for one, utilizes Hegelian thought in his theology, which alone is not heterodox; but his ideas have led some to embrace such radical liberation theology (no surprise, since Marx also based his theories on the Dialectic model used by Hegel). I have also discovered that Benedict XVI, when simply Cardinal Ratzinger, cited the Jesuit publication *America *as containing heterodox views. So, it seems that many Jesuits out there aren’t as orthodox as the Jesuits normally have been.

However, I have come across a few good Jesuits, such as Fr. Pacwa on EWTN; which finding leads me to believe that not all Jesuits are heterodox (of course).

With all this in mind, could some people please help me answer my questions about the present state of the Jesuits:

  1. Is the incidence of heterodox Jesuits any greater than the non-academic orders?

It seems to me that, as the Jesuits are an academic order, they are more frequently exposed to anti-Catholicism and modernist philosophies, which are both prevalent in the university environment where numerous Jesuits are to be found. So, my thinking is that many Jesuits at the university level might be somewhat influenced into thinking in non-Catholic ways.

  1. Does anyone know of any very orthodox Jesuits at the university level?

I am attending a Franciscan university next year, but, if I find that the Franciscans and me don’t well get along together, I am thinking of applying to a Jesuit university, such as the University of Scranton. However, I would only do this if I knew that the Jesuit instructors there were fairly orthodox. Actually, on second thought, I don’t mind a Jesuit who has differing theological views, so long as they are within the range of traditional Catholic/Christian understanding. I wouldn’t want a Jesuit who supports abortion, fornication, etc.; but a Jesuit who takes into consideration the views of Eastern Christianity, Coptic-Oritental Christianity, Assyrian Christianity Medieval Christianity, Tridentine Christianity, etc.–that would be very cool indeed.

  1. Do you personally know of any really intelligent, scholarly and, for the most part, orthodox Jesuits? Where does one usually find these Jesuits?

  2. Is the problem with heterodox Jesuits an individual problem? A provincial problem? A problem limited primarly to universites? Are the Jesuits who teach at the high school level more orthodox in their beliefs than those found at the university level?

In conclusion, I know that there is not one answer to these questions. However, I have only seen a Jesuit in person once, and that was when I was around 8 (I’m now 22). I have a Bolivian friend who had Jesuit teachers in Bolivia, and he said that they were very intelligent, humble and hard-working; but besides him, really don’t have an extensive personal knowledge.

Don’t think that I desire only to hear of negative cases of Jesuits. I would be delighted to hear stories of positive encounters with Jesuit priests. In fact, that’s probably my primary hope in starting this thread :slight_smile:
[/quote]

The ones now ordained seem better. But the problem seems to come from the General in ROME: why does he not ask them under holy obedience to use clerical garb and the cassock? Is not OBEDIENCE paramount in the order? WEll it can also satrt with the Provincials.

A man once approached a Dominican monk and said, “pray a novena for me that I might get a Lamborghini.” Confused, the monk asked, “What’s a Lamborghini?” The man explained it was a fancy sports car. The monk replied, “Well, I’m not sure I can pray for that intention, but I will pray for your greater good.”

Dissatisfied, the man approached a Benedictine and also asked him to pray a novena for the same intention. The Benedictine also asked, “What’s a Lamborghini?” and, when informed, responded in the same fashion as the Dominican.

So the man approached a Jesuit and asked him to pray a novena that he might get a Lamborghini. And the Jesuit asked, “What’s a novena?”

Madaglan:
I can’t speak to your questions about the current state of the Jesuits, but I am currently reading a booklet entitled “The Martyrs of New France”, which is very very interesting to say the least. If you havn’t already, you might like to visit the “Saint Marie Among the Hurons” historical site up around Midland Ontario. The booklet I’m reading was put out by the Martyr’s Shrine, that is across the road.
A.H.F.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.