What the Pope really said

With all the commentary flying around the blogosphere about Pope Benedict’s message to the Jesuit General Congregation, it’s helpful now to read an unofficial translation of the pope’s full message to the Society, which, while strongly urging obedience to ’the Word of God’ and the Magisterium, also praises the Society for its charism, its dedication and its varied ministries, and includes an exhortation to continue its work with the poor and marginalized. An excerpt: ’At the same time, I encourage you to continue and to renew your mission for the poor and with the poor. There are unfortunately new causes of poverty and marginalization in a world marked by serious economic imbalances and environmental processes of globalization driven by selfishness rather than solidarity, from armed conflicts both devastating and absurd. As I had the opportunity to reiterate to the Latin American bishops gathered at the Shrine of Aparecida, "the preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith in the God who for us became poor, to enrich us with his poverty (2 Cor 8.9 ). It is therefore natural that whoever would really be a Companion of Jesus, would really share the love for the poor. Our choice to serve the poor is not an ideological one, but it comes from the Gospel. There are numerous dramatic situations of injustice and poverty in the world today, and if there is a need to fight against the structural causes of such situations, then there is also the need to fight the very roots of such evil found in the hearts of man, that sin which separates him from God, without forgetting to come to the aid of those who are in urgent need of help in the spirit of Christ’s Charity. By collecting and developing one of the last enlightened insights of Father Arrupe, your company continues to engage in meritorious service for refugees, who are often the poorest of the poor and who are in need not only of material relief, but also that deeper spiritual closeness, human and psychological, that it is more of your own service.’ In any event, read it for yourself on Creighton University’s website. Once again, this is an unofficial translation:"Pope’s Address to GC35" James Martin, SJ
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 9 months ago
Jim: News flash - one does not exclude the other. Your post is rather nonsensical, as if the Pope's encouragement to the Jesuits to continue meeting Christ in the poor somehow lessens the punch of his clear and constant challenge to the Jesuits to examine their fidelity to the totality of the teaching of the Church. For centuries, Catholics managed to serve the poor valiantly all the while affirming Jesus as Lord unambiguously and adhering to the teachings of the Church on life issues and sexuality - the areas in which the Jesuits seem to have so much trouble. The Pope's point is simply - if you're not going to affirm the centrality and truthfullness of the Church's teaching on soteriology, Christology and morality, your work is nothing more than social work. Which is good work, but not what the Gospel calls us to.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

25,000 children and pilgrim sang the pope “Happy Birthday" today in St. Peter’s Square.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 17, 2017
A reflection for the third Sunday of Advent
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 16, 2017
Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017