Many local and national religious thinkers are debating on whether or not Pope Francis is still in the Jesuit order. Pope Francis has gathered much attention for being the first pope with a Jesuit background. However, a disagreement has emerged between Jesuits and other religious thinkers. Some are arguing that Pope Francis is still a Jesuit, while others say he is not in the order anymore. According to the Rev. Peter Rogers, S.J., associate professor of languages, Pope Francis is no longer subjected to the Jesuit order because he became a bishop and was not under a superior’s orders. “St. Ignatius, when he founded the Society of Jesus in the 16th century, had it in his rule that no Jesuit was to accept ecclesiastical dignities, so that meant Jesuits were not to become bishops, cardinals and such,” Rogers said.
The Rev. Stephen Rowntree, S.J., associate professor of philosophy, also supports the notion that Pope Francis is not in the Society of Jesus anymore.“He becomes a religious superior over his diocese and over his priests,” Rowntree said. “So, he is out of the chain of command of the Jesuits.”
National Catholic Reporter’s Thomas Reese, wrote in an article, titled “Is Pope Francis still a Jesuit,” that Pope Francis is still a Jesuit, according to canon law. According to Canon 705, a Jesuit can still be a Jesuit, even as a bishop, and does not have to follow a Jesuit superior when he becomes a bishop.
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