Thursday, April 21, 2011

Father Reese, Cardinal Dulles And The Jesuit Wake-Up Call

Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.
Well, Father Reese, what about an institution that lost two-thirds of its members? In the US, the Society of Jesus went from 8,400 members in 1965 to 2,650 last year.
The decline continues with no end in sight. Yet the American Jesuits have not only refused to study the problem of catastrophic decline themselves, they have gone out of their way to knee-cap scholars whose explanations were unflattering. 
Just ask Peter McDonough, the co-author of Passionate Uncertainty: Inside the American Jesuits. The late Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, was not terribly fond of the book; he criticized its implicit liberal bias. Yet Cardinal Dulles still recognized Passionate Uncertainty as “a wake-up call” for the Jesuits.
Link (here) to read the full piece at Catholic Culture.


TonyD said...

I would prefer to see the Jesuits shrink by another 2/3 if they could reflect god's values and judgment. Of course, this would be seen by some as liberal or conservative, as Catholic or unCatholic, and as obedient or disobedient. We should expect such perceptions of the true followers of Christ.

God is not the Pope. God is not the Church. God is not the Bible. Unfortunately, the only way I know to see His way forward is by hearing His voice. I get no sense that the Jesuits hear His voice.

Andrew said...

No, God is not the Pope nor Church nor Bible. Yet He blesses us with a Holy Father, with a Church and Magisterium, with Sacred Scriptures so that we may better know His will and follow him. These things should be seen as gifts and as a way to "hear His voice."

TonyD said...

Yes, God is not the Pope nor the Church nor the Bible. God gets to decide which things are blessings. God gets to decide who hears His voice.

I read an analysis of all prayers done by all Biblical prophets. The most frequent prayer theme asked for others to be able to directly hear the voice of God. Hearing the voice of God confirms God’s omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. His situation-specific judgments should not be replaced by a “false god” built on the reasoning of Man.

Andrew said...

The problem seems to be our definition of Church. One can see the Church as a "false god" or a product of man. Or, one can see the Church as divinely instituted, entrusted with shepherding the faithful.

TonyD said...

The problem is much more than the definition of Church. A person defines himself before God in defining the Church as holding only divine values and judgments.

If the Church says “life unconditionally”, and you accept that, in spite of the values of your neighbors – well, God sees that you are such a person. If the Church says “follow the Magesterium” and you accept that, in spite of being exposed to other values in other contexts, and the value trade-offs associated with those contexts, then you are such a person. If one chooses to ignore centuries of theologians on the topic of infallibility, then you are such a person.

I’m not trying to change anyone’s values. Each of us chooses our values, and then lives with the consequences.

In my own case, I am just trying to help. I am someone who can write about these topics with the authority of actual experience. said...

So, I don't actually believe this will have effect.