The Jesuit is a member of a
Society founded chiefly for this purpose: to strive especially
for the defense and propagation of the faith and for the progress
of souls in Christian life and doctrine.
|The 35 General Congregation|
debitum of Pope Julius III, July 21, 1550
From experience, the Society
has learned that pivotal to its fidelity in chastity has been
the strong though humble and simple devotion to the Blessed Virgin
that has flourished among us since the time of St. Ignatius.
General Congregation 34, "Chastity in the Society of Jesus,"
Although serving God our Lord
much out of pure love is to be esteemed above all, we ought to
praise much the fear of His Divine Majesty, because not only
filial fear is a thing pious and most holy, but even servile
fear -- when the man reaches nothing else better or more useful
-- helps much to get out of mortal sin. And when he is out, he
easily comes to filial fear, which is all acceptable and grateful
to God our Lord: as being at one with the Divine Love.
Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 18
When Ignatius wondered in Barcelona
whether he should study and how much, it was a question of whether
after his studies he should enter a religious order or go through
the world as he was. And when he thought of entering a religious
order, then he thought and desired to enter one that was corrupt
and unreformed ... to be able to suffer more, and also perhaps
thinking that God would help them.
Saint Ignatius Loyola, §71
The fervour that characterized
our beginnings, manifested in Ignatius and in his friends in
the Lord, must also be apparent in our present day. Father Nadal,
speaking in the name of the first Jesuits, noted that the Society
is a light shining forth from Christ. It fills our beings, arouses
strong desires and urges us to work for the salvation of all
in a mission received from the Vicar of Christ on earth.
Allocution of Father General Peter Hans Kolvenbach
the Congregation of Procurators, Sept 17, 1999.
Today the Jesuit is a man whose
mission is to dedicate himself entirely to the service of faith
and the promotion of justice.
General Congregation 32, "Our
Mission Today," §41
In like manner, we are to [call
to mind the] sin of one who went to hell because of one mortal
sin. Consider also countless others who have been lost for fewer
sins than I have committed.... Enter into conversation with Christ
our Lord. Recall to memory that of those who are in hell; some
came there because they did not believe in the coming of Christ;
others, though they believed, because they did not keep the commandments.
St. Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, §§52,
In the years after final vows,
the ordained Jesuit experiences all the pressures and complexities
of priestly ministry in the Society: he will probably be engaged
in a ministry which makes constant and exhausting demands on
General Congregation 34, "Jesuit Identity and Ministerial
Such men should be appointed
superiors who enjoy a good reputation and authority among their
Complementary Norms, 340
We do not publish this decree
because we judge that infidelity in chastity is widespread within
the Society of Jesus. On the contrary, we are convinced that,
despite the challenges and testings of these years, fidelity
in chastity characterizes the life of the Society today as it
has characterized it in the past.
General Congregation 34, "Chastity
in the Society of Jesus," §228
It would be unreasonable for
traveling Jesuits to expect local people to view their conduct
as it would be understood in their own native land.
Congregation 34, "Chastity in the Society of Jesus,"
Respect for the dignity of the
human person created in the Image of God underlies the growing
international consciousness of the full range of human rights.
General Congregation 34, "Our Mission and Justice,"
And touching our Society, be
it known that we have made a league -- all the Jesuits in the
world, whose succession and multitude most overreach all the
practices of England -- cheerfully to the carry the cross you
shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while
he have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with
your torments, or consumed with your prisons.
Campion, S.J., final address to the Privy Council, 1581
The Society expects from every
Jesuit not only fidelity to his vows but the normal public signs
of this fidelity. Jesuits should embody in their ministry and
in their lives an unequivocal "professional" conduct
(modestia) that manifests their commitments as priests
and as religious. Their manner of proceeding -- both as a community
and as individuals -- ought to preclude any ambiguity about their
lives, enabling those to whom they minister to rely instinctively
upon their disinterestedness and fidelity.
34, "Chastity in the Society of Jesus," 187
As servants of the Gospel, we
are channels of the creative Spirit working in and through our
persons to build the body of Christ.
of Father General to the Congregation of Procurators, Sept 17,
Obedience is to be offered by
all promptly, cheerfully, and in a supernatural spirit, as to
Christ.... Our holy Father Saint Ignatius desired that
we should all excel in the virtue of obedience. Accordingly,
with all our force and energy we should strive to obey, first,
the Sovereign Pontiff, and then the superiors of the Society,
not only in matters of obligation, but also in others, even at
the mere hint of the superior's will, apart from any express
General Congregation 31, "The Life of Obedience,"
In the light of our tradition,
we can say that no ministry which prepares the way for the Kingdom
or which helps to arouse faith in the Gospel is outside the scope
of Jesuit priests. In recent years we have come to recognize
that it is for the priest, as sign and minister of the Lord's
active presence, to be present in or to collaborate with all
human efforts which help in establishing the Kingdom.
Congregation 34, "Jesuit Identity and the Ministerial Priesthood,"
Since Vatican Council II, at
the request of the Church itself, consecrated life has not ceased
being in motion. Still today, even under the pen of certain of
our confreres, publications are not lacking which describe our
deeds, and especially our misdeeds, in this time of permanent
upheaval, showing a certain nostalgia for the times of stability,
when the orientation of a religious institute seemed more sure
Final Allocution of Father General to the Congregation
of Procurators, Sept 23, 1999.
The mission of the Society derives
from our continuing experience of the Crucified and Risen Christ
who invites us to join him in preparing the world to become the
completed Kingdom of God. The focus of Christ's mission is the
prophetic proclamation of the Gospel that challenges people in
the name of the Kingdom of his Father; we are to preach that
Kingdom in poverty.
General Congregation 34, "Servants
of Christ's Mission," §31
Few are called to the life of
a Jesuit, but for the man who is called, chastity only makes
sense as a means to greater love, to a more authentic apostolic
General Congregation 34, "Chastity in the Society
of Jesus," 236
Each Jesuit enriches the Society's
mission and contributes to what Saint Paul calls "the priestly
service of the Gospel of God."
General Congregation 34,
"Jesuit Identity and Ministerial Priesthood," §163
In Jesus Christ, we can accept
the magnitude of this challenge: to work at the integration of
faith and justice, to strive to understand how the Gospel is
to be inculturated, to embark with new zeal on the task of interreligious
dialogue, to continue to join our professional and pastoral skills
to the Ignatian way of proceeding. The Crucified Jesus reminds
us that in weakness and vulnerability God's love can shine forth
General Congregation 34, "United with Christ
on Mission," §7
No community life is possible,
however, and no renewal can be truly fruitful unless each Jesuit
"keep before his eyes God, and the nature of this Institute
which he has embraced and which is, so to speak, a pathway to
God." His vocation summons each Jesuit to find privileged
time and space to pray with Christ, as friend to friend, learning
from this encounter how to be a servant of his mission.
Congregation 34, "United with Christ on Mission," §11
The task for the Jesuit priest,
in the midst of these multiple demands, is to continue a life
of faith and a generous and humble service of Christ. Even if
he is not primarily involved in direct pastoral service of others,
it will help him to keep his priestly identity alive if he is
able to minister regularly to a sacramental community; lay people,
especially the poor, build the personal faith of those who serve
General Congregation 34, "Jesuit Identity and Ministerial
In these years, throughout the
Society, we have been purified in the faith by which we live,
and have grown in our understanding of our central mission. Our
service, especially among the poor, has deepened our life of
faith, both individually and as a body: our faith has become
more paschal, more compassionate, more tender, more evangelical
in its simplicity.
General Congregation 34, "Servants of
Christ's Mission", §15
We never go into politics, never;
politics as such. It is true we try, for instance today, in the
whole question of international justice, to help the underdeveloped
countries and so forth. We are for truth, for justice. If you
call politics this high idea of justice, fine. But if you speak
of politics in the sense of parties, or working for governments,
we are completely out of this.
Father General Pedro Arrupe,
S.J., in a BBC interview by Malcolm Muggeridge, January 25,
I think former Jesuits
are Jesuits. You don't leave. I really believe that. Ignatius
recognized that laymen are the core of the Society. Although
it's not necessarily true canonically, I would say they are Jesuits.
Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., quoted in
Company Magazine, Fall 2000, p. 22.
Nor can it be said that the pope
was speaking of matters that do not involve our faith, since
the essence of his teaching directly concerns the human and divine
dignity of man and of love. In the enormous crisis of growth
which envelops the whole world, the pope himself has been what
the entire Church must be, and Vatican II affirmed, "both
a sign and a safeguard of the transcendence of the human person"
(Gaudium et Spes, §76). For this reason the service
we as Jesuits owe to the Holy Father and to the Church is at
the same time a service we owe to humanity itself.
Father General Pedro Arrupe, S.J. to the whole Society,
on the encyclical Humanae vitae,
in Acta Romana Societatis Iesu. Vol. XV, Fasc. II, 1968
Link (here) to the must read full post at WFF
When you are finished and have returned from reading the full article, go (here) and watch the PBS video of Fr. James Martin, S.J. and Joseph Fessio, S.J. debate some of the issues mentioned.