The impact of modernity upon Islam has accelerated its historically murderous fundamentalism into paroxysms of world wide terrorism; its effect upon Roman Catholics is the election of a Jesuit Pope. Bot seem acts of equal desperation.
We recall a visit to our bride-to-be’s pastor, seeking his needed permission to marry in our parish rather than in hers. He wondered about our education; we admitted graduation from a local Jesuit university. His response has stayed with us: “Why didn’t you study with Catholic priests?” Jesuits have remained suspected by rulers within and without the Church. For a quick picture, Google the term: “Jesuitical.”
Jesuits have been — and are — powerful within the Catholic Church; they have not been — and are not — trusted. For a Jesuit to become a Pope is hardly less significant than Islams’s planetary mayhem. Both are products of great fear and dismay. (As we see things, of course.)
Argentina’s Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Francis, is doubly an outcast; he has been suspected as much by his own order as any of his brothers have been suspected by the rest of the Church. Yet today, he is Pope. Astonishing!
The head of the Jesuits has traditionally been considered the second most politically powerful of Catholic clergy, just behind the Pope, whom he is pledged to serve. The occupant of that position is often referred to as the “black Pope.” in reference to traditional Jesuit black garb. Francis is the first true black Pope, outranking even the head of his Order. (Something that seems likely to be interesting.)
Being a Jesuit is enough to distinguish Francis from all of his forebears in the Chair of St. Peter. Being a South American adds much more to that. In South America, the clergy have been receptive to the Social Justice movement centered upon the poor; Francis among them. His adoption of a Franciscan public persona is telling in that regard. He is now a Jesuit in Franciscan robes. In Catholic circles, we suppose that this makes him distrusted by both Jesuits and Franciscans. He remains a Bishop of course, though now of a different See; we suppose as well that likely makes him distrusted by bishops. For all their avowed spiritual goals, Catholic as well as other clergy remain human beings.
Francis sees his Church going forward in Africa and Latin America, places where the Social Justice idea engages the masses of poor. He sees it dissolving throughout what used to be called: “Christendom.” But there, the people are too comfortable; there are no such poor masses to react to the gospel of Social Justice.
His Holiness has a problem. The Social Justice movement ultimately relies upon a generous government; it is religious socialism, since the government can only be generous with other peoples’ money. So that is what the Holy Father has to sell, and he is selling it. He is even holding a Global Warming summit shortly, no doubt pleasing to Western government leaders. Rather Jesuitical …
But to hold his Church together when the needs of poor masses on one hand and of recently rich and presently spoiled ex-Christians collide before him will challenge a Pope past our ability to predict. Francis has said that he does not expect to be with us for long; we can see why. His church, a foundation of what we call Western culture, is under attack by Western governments and by Islam and others; its own communicants have been abandoning it for decades for free sex, abortion, convenience marriage and all the rest. What’s a poor Pope to do?
Desperate times, indeed. So desperate that the College of Cardinals has wildly abandoned centuries of tradition to elect the first true Black Pole.That is an unlooked-for victory for the Jesuits. Perhaps Cardinal Bergoglio should have considered taking the mane of King Pyrrhus rather than of Saint Francis. Regardless, we wish him every possible success in his endeavors. We will much prefer to live in his sort of world than in the alternative …