Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fr. Opprobrium, S.J.

Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J.
In the summer of 1992 a Jesuit graduate student at Harvard, Father Paul Mankowski, completed the background research for an article he planned to write on the relationship between the Society of Jesus and the congressional career of Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit priest who had compiled a consistent record of public support for legalized abortion. 
The original purpose of the article was to have been the exoneration of the former Superior General of the Jesuits, Father Pedro Arrupe. Father Mankowski intended to show that the Drinan candidacy was stage-managed from the US in such a way that Father Arrupe did not have the information he needed in order to make a prudent decision, 
and could thus be absolved from complicity in the scandal created when a Jesuit priest voted to support abortion. With the knowledge and consent of the archivist for the New England Province of the Society, Mankowski made photocopies of the correspondence and office memos pertinent to Drinan’s political career. 
He was anxious for the opinion of a professional historian in determining how the various documents could be used responsibly as supporting evidence for his essay, and provided me with a copy of the correspondence for that purpose. Further scrutiny of the papers convinced Mankowski that Arrupe's part in the affair did not exonerate him from blame, and he decided against going ahead with his original article out of reluctance to increase the opprobrium on the Society of Jesus, 
many of whose members had played an honorable, if ultimately futile, role in the political struggle against abortion. Now that Father Drinan has re-emerged as a political player in the abortion debate, that documentation has assumed a new timeliness. 
Link (here) to the full article entitled, The Strange Political Career of Father Drinan at Catholic Culture

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