While our Holy Father was addressing a distinguished delegation from a highly regarded school founded by the Congregation of the Holy Cross, I am quite confident that he did not exempt from the application of his exhortation the twenty-eight colleges and universities founded by his (and my) religious order, the Society of Jesus. There is no question that these institutions also have a crucial role in
“the uncompromising witness… to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.”
It may be that there are some within the Jesuit network of higher education institutions who are willing to compromise on such matters, but I know that there are dedicated, faithful people who view such compromise as a betrayal of one’s duty as a disciple of Christ. Pope Francis is clearly one of them, for he recognizes that the unambiguous witness of the Christian cannot compromise on any matter central to the Catholic faith. Time will tell to what extent his words and the sentiments they carry are shared within the world of Jesuit higher education.