The General Congregation has begun, with a homily by Cardinal Francis Rode, C.M. prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. It’s included here, on Creighton’s wonderful GC 35 website: " GC 35 Info" The photo is by Don Doll, S.J., a photographer who is documenting the Congregation. More photos can be found at his website here: " GC 35 Photos " Not surprisingly, and as Vatican officials usually choose to do on these occasions, the cardinal spoke of the fidelity of the Society of Jesus to the Church. ""Consecration to service to Christ cannot be separated from consecration to service to the Church," he said. "It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the ’sentire cum ecclesia’ of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families. The Church is waiting for a light from you to restore the ’sensus Ecclesiae.’" Then, after a few days of Society business, comes the "murmuratio," as the delegates "murmur" about possible generals. James Martin, S.J.
9 years 3 months ago
Just loved his comments - a Vincentian lecturing the Jesuits on "thinking with the Church!" It seems his stress was on church defined as Curia and Pope rather than Church as defined as People of God. Focused more on what not to do than on a future direction and the needs of the current church.
9 years 3 months ago
My initial post was partly tongue in cheek. Per a recent post by John Allen of NCR, Bishop Rode, CM was echoing the perspective of his boss, Cardinal Bertone, a Salesian, and B16's right hand man. I am aware of the tension between Pedro Arrupe and JP II years ago and my comments had more to do with my hope that the GC will move in the direction of Arrupe while maintaining respect for the Pope. As Archbishop Quinn has stated eloquently: "If the Church is in need of continual reform then she is in need of continual criticism." The Society has provided a hopeful future direction to the worldwide Church and at times it has been a positive counter-cultural influence on the Church itself.
9 years 3 months ago
I would be interested to know the opinions of America's (the magazine) Jesuits on the blog and opinions of Karen Hall. She seems to be the blogger with the most popular voice on Jesuit issues, for reasons I don't quite understand: http://somehavehats.typepad.com/some_have_hats/
9 years 3 months ago
I think one of the great opportunities the internet offers is that of equal access; at first glance, a website with eleven readers can seem to share authority with one with a readership many thousands times larger. Oftentimes this is to the benefit of the reader, because the normal hierarchies of knowledge are overturned in favor of a more populist, individual take on matters. Who's to say that a huge news organization, or a prestigious religious organization, has a monopoly on information? In such cases, the more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. Real transparency requires being open to all opinions, all people, all experiences, and through that transparency any group (including the Jesuits) gains knowledge that can help them better serve their apostolates. However, it can also be easy to claim authority and familiarity with an organization (because where's the proof?) on a blog, where opinions can be distorted and alternative views filtered through the lens of the blog owner. In the case of many blogs claiming particular authority or inside information on the Society of Jesus, here's my standard of judgment: who's talking? If the posts (and the comments) are all from the same four or five people, or consistently represent an identical point of view, I ask myself why the 3,000-plus Jesuits in the United States and the 50,000-plus people who work in their apostolates are never represented. Another criterion: "by their fruits you shall know them." Is the point of the website detraction and calumny? Or is there a realistic attempt to portray issues in anything near a balanced approach? If the former is the case, you can adduce from that the real intent of the writers. Which is, unfortunately, often the opposite of the their stated intent. Jim Keane, SJ
9 years 3 months ago
Fr Keane, You mention the potential for blogs claiming particular authority or inside information being filtered and distorted. My experience is that this is the case with any and all forms of media. The same things occur more often in magazines, newsprint, broadcast etc. I dare say that blogs are more likely to present counter points than any of those other mediums. And they often present them more accurately. Most magazines devote no more than two or three pages to readers comments, newspapers generally have one or two pages, and unless you are dealing with talk radio those other mediums have a greater opportunity to edit reader comments. My experience with the blogosphere is that readers are able to express vastly different views with little if any interference from an editor. And many do this without limiting responses to 2000 characters.
9 years 3 months ago
I must say I wholeheartedly agree with Jim Keane. I have been reading Ms. Hall's blog for some time now and have become more and more disillusioned with each post. As a 1986 graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland, I originally started visiting hers and other, Jesuit-oriented blogs to learn more about the Society, its saints, good works, and the people who represent it daily. My personal experience with the Jesuits has been nothing but positive, beginning with John Adam SJ, who was THE priest to the Hungarian-American scouting movement for some 40+ years, through my years at JCU, to my current, volunteer affiliation with the Hungarian Province. Ms. Hall says she loves the Jesuits, and that is why she 'rants,' as she likes to say. However, I honestly believe that she really only loves/respects those Jesuits (listed on her blog as 'Good Old-fashioned St. Ignatius Jesuits' -- and WHAT does THAT mean, btw?) who share HER view of how the Church should be run and how the Society of Jesus should be run, and what St. Ignatius ACTUALLY meant, etc. I'm not saying the Society of Jesus is perfect, but as a Jesuit said to me the other day, 1) we are all sinners and 2) it is our job to seek our own salvation. (I hope I paraphrased him correctly.) Thank you.

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