Monday, October 15, 2007

Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski's 1915 Election According to The Washington Post

Jesuits’ Head Not Partisan on War

March 15, 1915

Some misapprehension seems to prevail on this side of the Atlantic with regard to the new general of the order of the Jesuits, Count Vladimir Ledochowski, who is said to be intensely pro-German, and to have been elected largely through the influence of the Kaiser.

Now Count Ledochowski was born as an Austrian subject, but is first and foremost a Pole, and is very far from being persona grata with Emperor William or the Berlin government. Indeed, on his selection eight years ago as assistant to the late general for the provinces that included Germany, the choice was bitterly assailed by the enter German press, especially by that of Prussia, while he himself came in for no end of abuse on the part of those newspapers accredited with official inspiration from the Berlin government.

It was not the Germans who played the leading role in securing his election to the chieftaincy of the order, but the American representatives thereof. The electors were made up of sixteen Italians and fifteen Americans from the United States: there were thirteen French, ten Spaniards, four Poles, four English, and Irish Jesuits, three each from Holland, Austria, Portugal, Brazil and Belgium, and only three from Germany.

America’s Voice Potent

From this it will be seen that the United States had five times as many participants in the elections as Germany, and that working in conjunction with the four Poles, the four English and Irish Jesuits, the three Belgians and thirteen French, they would have been able to carry the day, even if the sixteen Italians had been against them, which was not the case.

One of the first acts of the new general has been to select a member to take his place as assistant for Germany, that is to say, to have charge and supervision of all Jesuit interests, not only in the German empire, but in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Belgium and Holland as well. Instead of choosing a German for the office, he nominated a Dutchman, namely Father Oppenrals, until now provincial of the Order of the Netherlands. The other four assistants of the late general have been confirmed in their offices.

The only trouble about the new general, who is 49 years of age, is his somewhat frail health. He is, like too many if his Polish countrymen, a marvelous linguist: a nephew of the late Cardinal Ledochowski; and his sister, Countess Ledochowski, is well known throughout the Catholic world as the founder and president of the work known as that of St. Peter Claver, which is doing so much for the African missions.

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