Monday, April 1, 2013

Peggy Noonan And Jesuit DNA

Peggy Noonan
Pope Francis often refers both to the center of things and the margins. He speaks of the centrality of Christ to the church's efforts. But he often spoke this week of "the edges" of things: The power of a good priest "overflows down to the edges." He even spoke of the edge of Christ's cloak. A papal tweet: "Being with Jesus demands that we go out from ourselves, and from living a tired and habitual faith." All this suggests the new pope's coming approach: into the world, out to the suffering. And all of it, says Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit, reflects the training, spirituality and culture of Francis's Jesuit order. After seven years as a seminarian, Mr. Lowney entered the business world, where for 17 years he worked for J.P. Morgan. His book, "Heroic Leadership," is his take on the "best practices" of the 450-year-old order, and how they apply to other spheres.

"There are a lot of things I really love about his style,"
he said of Francis. "I love the idea that when he [came in] No. 2 in the last conclave -- everyone who ever worked in a company knows what you're supposed to do" if you want to win in the future. " You get a job in Rome, you network, get to know people, be ready for the next time around. Instead, he immediately goes back to Argentina, in no way does he raise his profile, he spends time with the poor -- and the poor don't vote for pope!"
Mr. Lowney says Francis's use of words like "frontier" and "periphery," and his repeated references to taking action, are all part of "the Jesuit DNA." Ignatius Loyola, the order's founder, said his priests should live "with one foot raised," ready to go into the world. "The other religious orders have monasteries and houses, but a Jesuit's most comfortable home is the mission." Jesuits are agile, even ad hoc: "There's a powerful sense of bottom-line mission but ... you give up whatever needs to be given up to satisfy it."
He did not know Jorge Mario Bergoglio but had heard a story about him that struck him as "very Jesuit": "When he was cardinal in Buenos Aires, they did some study that said the ambit of real influence of a church is about 600 meters. So he said, 'Why don't we have storefronts -- put people out there, have more impact?'" A priest answered: "If we did that people might not come to the church." Cardinal Bergoglio asked: "How many people are coming to the church anyway?" The point, said Mr. Lowney, is to be out there, among the people, like the earliest apostles: "We should not be talking to ourselves, we should be looking for the poor sheep ... and not be condemning things we don't like."
Link (here) to the full article by Peggy Noonan

1 comment:

Maria said...

We should not be talking to ourselves, we should be looking for the poor sheep ... and not be condemning things we don't like."

Amen. Amen.