Friday, February 03, 2006

You've Gotta Love That Jesuit Radicality

The decree for the General Congregation and other related documentation have been disseminated from the Jesuit Curia electronically.

Of course, it didn't take long for copies to show up at Loggia House.

Apparently, 21 recommended agenda items were presented at Loyola when the Major Superiors met in November. A 2/3 vote was required to secure the place of these on the docket of the GC. As the Father-General informed his Provincials (emphases from the original), "the ones concerning governance, collaboration with the laity, community life, formation and identity" received the most overwhelming support.

In the detailed section on points for reflection in the "collaboration with the laity" department, notable mention is made on
"How to modify our Formation so that Jesuits can work effectively with Lay and Religious collaborators. That is, become persons who can respect others, be able to relate to them at a level of equality, work under them and function as team members and good facilitators."
As you see, and Grazie Dio, clericalism (i.e. "I am Father, hear me roar") is not the Jesuit style. There's Christianity in them thar hills....

Also in the package was the Father-General's De statu, or "State of the Society" Address, given at Loyola in November. Remember that Peter-Hans Kolvenbach enjoys a particularly close relationship with the reigning Pope.

In speaking of "the all-important intellectual apostolate of the Society," Kolvenbach told his confreres that, "we find ourselves confronted with a paradox." Continuing on, the Father-General said
On the one hand the Church looks to us as an important source of inspiration and guidance in the work of clarifying and interpreting contemporary problems through research, discussion and writing. At the same time, on the other hand, especially in philosophy and theology, Jesuits are sometimes frustrated and discouraged by the criticisms of some clergy and laity who are suspicious of any innovative or exploratory thinking and who report to church authorities any publication they consider unsound or even heretical. Happily, we note that generally Jesuit scholars show a strong sense of “sentire cum ecclesia”, despite the occasional arrogant statement and some few instances of destructive criticism, even of somewhat unorthodox teaching.

This leaves the Major Superiors with the difficult and delicate task of not stifling the spirit while still ensuring orthodoxy, even though this may not appear to be so in the eyes of some critics. The Complementary Norms urge on us “the significance of the intellectual dimension of all our ministries”. And so we are bound to support and encourage the often lengthy specialized formation necessary for a serious contribution to this apostolate. We need to exercise a common discernment in the selection of those who are sent for such studies, so that the Society will give the quality of service the Church continues to expect of Jesuits. Not everyone is endowed for advanced study. Also, we cannot assume alone this ministry. Research in all fields is so advanced that we must learn to cooperate and work along with scholars of the academic world. The question of the universal Society’s preferential option for this apostolate will have to be examined by this gathering, in a special meeting. May the depletion of our resources not mean at the same time a lowering of academic preparation. The Society must respond as an apostolic body to the pressing needs of the actual situation.
Money quote: "May the depletion of our resources not mean at the same time a lowering of academic preparation."

Oh, if only the dioceses felt the same way.