Monday, February 25, 2008

Jesuit GC 35: Stressing Obedience via Being Brain Dead

As the brain is part of the human body...
this helps explain the success
in obtaining obedience by such persons as Wlodimir Ledochowski

Perinde ac Cadaver

Posted by Robert P. Imbelli

A few weeks back there was a discussion on dotCom of the words of St. Ignatius in the “Constitutions of the Society of Jesus” to the effect that one under obedience should allow himself to be directed “as if he were a lifeless body:” perinde ac cadaver.

One of the blogs on the official website of the 35th General Convention reports this reading of the phrase (cited by the Pope in his letter to Father Kolvenbach) from a member of the General congregation:

there was a discussion about a point in the letter of Pope Benedict XVI to Fr. Kolvenbach at the start of GC35 where the Pope reminds us about St. Ignatius wanting our obedience to be perinde ac cadaver, “like a dead body”. Here is part of an interesting post about this:
“ In the process of obeying a superior… there is the key moment where I choose to obey in accordance with my vow. At that moment I am passive, in a stance of abandoning myself and putting myself at the disposal of the superior, implementing the “take, receive” of the ad amorem. This moment in some ways is akin to the moment when I receive a consolation without cause or an impulse of grace over which I have no control. However prior to that moment there is the full activity of my preparation for the moment of obedience: my discernment, my consultation of others, my dialogue with my superior, perhaps even my representation. And following that moment there is the lengthy process of implementation where I fully engage all my strength in doing what I am asked to do as a Jesuit apostle. The “perinde ac cadaver” moment is the still point at the centre of my activity as a Jesuit, the point which focuses it and energizes it…”

Interesting too that the Pope in his address to the Jesuits at today’s audience ends with the prayer from the Spiritual Exercises to which the above comment refers:

Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will — all that I have and possess. You, Lord, have given all to me. Now I give it back to you, o Lord. Dispose of it according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for that is enough for me.

But before reciting the prayer, Pope Benedict confesses:

mi unisco a voi nella preghiera insegnataci da Sant’Ignazio al termine degli Esercizi – preghiera che sempre mi appare troppo grande, al punto che quasi non oso dirla e che, tuttavia, dovremmo sempre di nuovo riproporci

I join with you in the prayer taught us by Saint Ignatius at the close of his Exercises — a prayer which I always find almost overwhelming, to the point where I almost dare not say it … yet which we must always appropriate anew.

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The Continuing Jesuit GC 35 Meets with Pope Benedict XVI

From the Jesuit Order:
Address by Superior General Adolfo Nicolas

Members of the 35th General Congregation Meet with the Pope

posted by: webmaster on Thursday, February 21, 2008

On February 21, 2008, members of the General Congregation were received by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in a special audience. On behalf of the Society, Superior General Nicolás offered the following words:

Most Holy Father,

I would like my first word to be, in my name and in the name of all present, a heartfelt “thank you” to Your Holiness for kindly receiving today the members of the General Congregation meeting in Rome, after having already bestowed on us the precious gift of a Letter which by way of its rich content and its positive tone, encouraging and affectionate, has most surely been appreciated by the whole Society of Jesus.

Gratitude, indeed, and a strong sense of communion in feeling confirmed in our mission to work at the frontiers where faith and science, faith and justice, and faith and knowledge, confront each other, and in the challenging field of serious reflection and responsible theological research. We are grateful to Your Holiness to have been once more encouraged to follow our Ignatian tradition of service right where the Gospel and the Church suffer the greatest challenges, a service which at times also lends itself to the risk of disturbing a peaceful lifestyle, reputation and security. For us it is a cause of great consolation to note that Your Holiness is more than aware of the dangers that such a commitment exposes to us.

Holy Father, I would like to return once again to the kind and generous Letter which you sent to my predecessor Fr. Kolvenbach and through him to all of us. We have received it with an open heart, meditated on it, reflected on it, we have exchanged our reflections, and we are determined to carry its message and its unconditional words of welcome and acceptance to the whole Society of Jesus.

We wish moreover to convey the spirit of such a message to all our formation structures and to create – taking the message as our starting point – opportunities for reflection and discussion which will enable us to assist our confrères engaged in research and in service.

Our General Congregation, to which Your Holiness has given Your paternal encouragement, is looking, in prayer and in discernment, for the ways through which the Society can renew its commitment to the service of the Church and of humanity.

What inspires and impels us is the Gospel and the Spirit of Christ: if the Lord Jesus was not at the centre of our life we would have no sense of our apostolic activity, we would have no reason for our existence. It is from the Lord Jesus we learn to be near to the poor and suffering, to those who are excluded in this world.

The spirituality of the Society of Jesus has as its source the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. And it is in the light of the Spiritual Exercises – which in their turn inspired the Constitutions of the Society – that the General Congregation is in these days tackling the subjects of our identity and of our mission. The Spiritual Exercises, before becoming a precious tool for the apostolate, are for the Jesuit the touchstone by which to judge our own spiritual maturity.

In communion with the Church and guided by the Magisterium, we seek to dedicate ourselves to profound service, to discernment, to research. The generosity with which so many Jesuits work for the Kingdom of God, even to giving their very lives for the Church, does not mitigate the sense of responsibility that the Society feels it has in the Church. Responsibility that Your Holiness confirms in Your Letter, when You affirm: “The evangelizing work of the Church therefore relies a lot on the formative responsibility that the Society has in the fields of theology, spirituality and mission”.

Alongside the sense of responsibility, must go humility, recognizing that the mystery of God and of man is much greater than our capacity for understanding.

It saddens us, Holy Father, when the inevitable deficiencies and superficialities of some among us are at times used to dramatize and represent as conflicts and clashes what are often only manifestations of limits and human imperfections, or inevitable tensions of everyday life. But all this does not discourage us, nor quell our passion, not only to serve the Church, but also, with a deeper sense of our roots, according to the spirit of the Ignatian tradition, to love the hierarchical Church and the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ.

“En todo amar y servir”. This represents a portrait of who Ignatius is. This is the identity card of a true Jesuit.

And so we consider it a happy and significant circumstance that our meeting with You occurs on this particular day, the vigil of the Feast of the Chair of St Peter, a day of prayer and of union with the Pope and His highest service of universal teaching authority. For this we offer You our good wishes. And now, Holy Father, we are ready and willing, to listen and attend to what You have to say to us.

(translated from the original Italian)

by Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI asked the Jesuits to continue to be pioneers in dialogue, theological research and work for justice, but insisted that they also must make clear their faith and their acceptance of the teachings of the Catholic Church.

"The church needs you, counts on you and continues to turn to you with trust," the pope told more than 200 Jesuits chosen to represent the almost 20,000 members of the Society of Jesus for the order's General Congregation.

Led by Spanish Father Adolfo Nicolas, elected superior general of the order Jan. 19, the congregation delegates met Feb. 21 with the pope.

Father Nicolas told the pope, "In communion with the church and guided by the magisterium, we are seeking to dedicate ourselves deeply to service, discernment and research."

The members of the General Congregation are aware of their responsibility to the church as a whole, he said, but they also are aware of the need for humility, "recognizing that the mystery of God and of the human person is much greater than our ability to understand."

The new superior told the pope that "it saddens us" when people try to present the Jesuits as a group of rebel theologians opposed to traditional church teaching or to the hierarchy.

"The inevitable insufficiencies and superficialities of some of us," he said, "frequently are only manifestations of human limits and imperfections or of the inevitable tensions of daily life."

The Jesuits, he said, love and serve the church, including the hierarchy and the pope himself.

Pope Benedict told the Jesuits that the rapidly changing world with its technological advances and its wars, its aspirations for peace and its threats to the environment, the new possibilities it offers for dialogue and its new forms of poverty call for a response of hope and of salvation from the church.

While 450 years ago the Jesuits were sent to far-off lands to preach the Gospel, "today new peoples do not know the Lord or know him poorly" and are far from the church culturally more than geographically, the pope said.

"The obstacles that challenge those who proclaim the Gospel are not seas or great distances," but rather new barriers that modern societies and cultures have placed between "faith and human knowledge, faith and modern science, faith and the commitment to justice," he said.

Pope Benedict encouraged the Jesuits to continue ensuring a high level of intellectual, cultural and spiritual preparation of their members so that they could cross the barriers and demonstrate how faith not only is not opposed to knowledge, science and justice, but rather is the ingredient that enables them to respond to the deepest desires of the human heart.

Reminding the Jesuits of the letter he sent them before they elected Father Nicolas, Pope Benedict said the Jesuits must continue their theological work on themes related to sexuality and to other religions, but they must do so in a way that helps people understand church teaching on the topics.

"The themes of the salvation of all people in Christ, of sexual morality, of marriage and the family -- continually discussed and questioned today -- must be deepened and enlightened in the context of contemporary reality, but maintaining the harmony with the magisterium that will avoid provoking confusion and concern among the people of God," he told them.

Pope Benedict also objected to the idea some Jesuits have that the order's special fourth vow of obedience to the pope is limited to obeying him when he asks an individual Jesuit or the entire order to undertake a specific mission.

The pope said the "fuller meaning" of the vow, according to the thought of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, is "to love and serve the vicar of Christ on earth with that 'effective and affective' devotion that makes you his precious and irreplaceable collaborators in his service of the universal church."

While the members of the Jesuit General Congregation continue to meet and discuss possible documents to guide the order in the immediate future, they also finalized the membership of the order's central government.

Father James Grummer, a member of the Jesuits' Wisconsin province, was reappointed regional assistant for North America as well as being named one of Father Nicolas' four special assistants. Another of the special assistants is Father Federico Lombardi who will assist Father Nicolas while continuing in his posts as director of the Vatican press office, of Vatican Radio and of the Vatican television center.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kosovo Independence- the Continuing Counter Reformation

The Jesuit's war against religious rivals
with the continuing dismemberment of Serbian-led Yugoslavia

A google search of Kosovo NATO Georgetown reveals numerous hits indicating the promotion of the idea of military intervention against Serbia via Jesuit run Georgetown University.

Serbia sits at the boundary between Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Moslem Europe, just south of the Central European axis marking the boundary of Roman Catholic and Protestant Europe to the north, shown in the map below which shows that boundary as it essentially existed from 1648 to the mid 1940s with the holocaust of the Jewish peoples, and the "KU" of the once Protestant areas of East Prussia, Pomerania and most of Silesia, via the planned revenge of the the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements sanctioning this aim of the counter reformation.

The idea of war[s] for further the gains of the Roman Catholic Church was expounded through the era of Wlodimir Ledochowski, Jesuit Order 26th Superior General (February 11, 1915 - December 13, 1942). See Topic Labels "Wlodimir Ledochowski" and "Kulterkampf Revenge"

Wlodimir Ledochowski

This basic idea continued through the 1990s with the Jesuit Georgetown University promoted war against Serbia via U.S. and NATO forces with a total double standard disregard of the greater crimes of Croatia-- including an infamous 1995 operation to expel some 300,000 ethnic Serbs from the Krjina region -- occurring during the Generalate of 29th Superior General Peter Hans Kolvenbach.

Kosovo Independence- the Continuing Counter Reformation via the SMOM?

Less then one week before his recent death on February 7, 2008, SMOM Grand Master Andrew Bertie meets with top NATO officials on February 1, 2008

Andrew Bertie being greeted by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Bilateral meeting between Andrew Bertie NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Bilateral Meeting with NATO Secretary General Right: Andrew Bertie, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller

Friday, February 22, 2008

Continuing Counter Reformation World Council of Churches Now Seeks New Leader

Faux "Protestants" certainly fall within the continuing counter reformation

World churches council chief resigns

The World Council of Churches (WCC), the major international Christian grouping, launched a search for a new chief after its current head, Samuel Kobia of Kenya, decided to leave after only one five-year term.

The WCC's policy-making Central Committee has decided to appoint a search committee for a new general secretary to be elected at its next meeting in September, the WCC said in a statement.

Minister Kobia, a Methodist whose US doctorate was revealed last week to have been issued by an unaccredited institution, earlier told the committee he would not stand for a second five-year term as general secretary. He said he was taking his decision for private reasons, the WCC said. It said the committee would consider extending his current term, which runs until the end of this year, which the WCC is celebrating as its 60th anniversary.

"The central committee received this news with regret but accepts the decision of the general secretary. We want to respect his decision and privacy," WCC Central Committee moderator Walter Altmann said.

World Council of Churches- Official Site

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SMOM Seeks Grand Master #79

February 8, 2008

'Secretive' Order of Knights Seeks New Grand Master

Fra Andrew Bertie, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, who died today, pictured during a private audience with the Pope

The Order of the Knights of Malta, the powerful, wealthy and mysterious Roman Catholic body that traces its origins to the Crusades, has begun a papal style search for a new leader to combat its “secretive” image after the death of its Grand Master.

Fra Andrew Bertie, 78, the first Briton to head the order and a descendant of the exiled Stuarts, died in a clinic, in Rome where the order has been based for the past 174 years. Elected Grand Master in 1988, he recently complained that the Knights’ charitable activities were overlooked by “conspiracy theorists” who suspected that its humanitarian missions in Iraq and Afghanistan were a cover for “mercenary” activities.

Last month in his traditional New Year's Day address, he said that “misinformation” about the Order of Malta was putting the lives of its volunteers “in grave danger”.

Addressing diplomats accredited to the order, he blamed “confusions created by the media, careless of verifying their sources,” which he said could have “mortal consequences.” He said: “Terrorism — or more exactly, terrorists — deliberately attack civilian populations, including women and children; they make no distinction between combatants and civilians. . . Humanitarian workers on the ground, among whom are members and volunteers of the Order of Malta, are perceived as legitimate targets. They are attacked, ransomed, kidnapped, in occurrences that are becoming more and more frequent; numbers of them have lost their lives.”

He complained that “new conspiracy theories have sprung up over recent months associating the sovereign Order of Malta with a private society of mercenaries which it is said are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan for a foreign government. These assertions have absolutely no factual basis.”

The order has 12,500 members worldwide and is run by the “Council Complete of State”, an inner core made up of some sixty “professed knights” who have taken monk-like vows of poverty, obedience and chastity.

They have begun behind-the-scenes consultations that will culminate in a conclave of the council to vote on a new Grand Master, “in about six months' time” according to insiders. Grand Masters, like Popes, are elected for life. There is no equivalent of the white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney however, since the votes cast are not burned but kept in the order’s archives.

Grand Masters must be able to prove “noble lineage” going back at least two centuries. “The vote is secret, and stays secret until the new Grand Master has revealed his identity to the Pope,” a source said.

Born in 1929, Bertie was educated at Oxford and the University of London and served in the Scots Guards before joining the order in 1956. He worked as a schoolteacher and a financial journalist before taking his vows in 1981. His mother, Lady Jean Crichton-Stuart, was a descendant of the Stuarts.

A charming but intensely shy man, Bertie once told The Times at his frescoed palazzo on Via Condotti near the Spanish Steps that the order had “nothing to hide”. On the other hand its procedures are arcane and aristocratic, with members wearing black robes embroidered with a white eight-pointed cross. On the order’s 900th anniversary in 1999 it, briefly, opened the doors of its complex on the Aventine Hill, where visitors can normally do no more than bend to peep through a keyhole that frames a distant view of St Peter’s.

The order, whose full title is the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and Malta, has 93,000 volunteers involved in humanitarian and charity work around the world — often in conflict zones — ranging from ambulances and disaster relief to maternity hospitals and homes for disabled children. It issues its own passports and stamps, and has diplomatic relations with 99 countries and permanent observer status at the United Nations.

The order traces its origins to the 11th century when merchants from the Republic of Amalfi financed a hospital run by monks in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims to the Holy Land. The order dates its founding to 1099 when the monks took on a military role to protect the pilgrims. When the Crusaders were forced out of the Holy Land by Saladin after the fall of Acre, the order moved to Cyprus, then Rhodes and ultimately to Malta, where the knights reinforced the harbour at Valletta with the massive ramparts of Fort St Angelo, enabling them to withstand sieges by the Ottoman Turks, notably in 1565.

The Knights were eventually forced out of Malta by Napoleon, making their final move to Rome. To mark the 1999 anniversary Malta allowed the order to re-possess Fort St Angelo on a 99-year lease. The Grand Commander of the order, Fra Giacomo della Torre, was sworn in as interim head. The Grand Master, who is addressed as “Your Highness”, carries the title of prince and is considered by the Vatican to be equal in rank to a cardinal.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Andrew Bertie, 78th Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Dies at Age of 78, February 7, 2008

Was SMOM Grand Master since 1988

From Catholic News Agency


Fra' Andrew Bertie, Grand Master of the Order of Malta, passes away

.- Fra’ Andrew Bertie, the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, a man known for his holiness and the modernizing of the order, passed away on February 7 in Rome at the age of 78.

The Sovereign Order of Malta traces its roots back to 1050, when it was known as the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. The lay religious Order consists of 12,500 people who are either Professed Friars or lay men and women referred to as Knights and Dames. All members devote themselves to the exercise of Christian virtue and charity, spiritual perfection within the Church and to serving the poor and the sick, according to the Order’s website.

Fra’ Bertie brought a wide range of gifts to the Order. His educational background included studies at Ampleforth College, Christ Church Oxford and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. After military service in the Scots Guards, he worked as a financial journalist in the City of London, before taking up the senior post in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) at Worth School, Sussex.

Andrew Bertie began his life in the Order of Malta in 1956 and took his solemn religious vows in 1981. When he was elected Grand Master of the Order in 1988, he became the first Englishman to hold the post in the group’s 900 year history.

Besides being known for his linguistic ability—he spoke five languages fluently—Fra’ Bertie is also acknowledged for his role in modernizing the Order’s humanitarian programs, increasing membership and extending the possibilities of aid to the poor and the needy in far-flung regions.

He is also credited with increasing the number of the Order’s bilateral diplomatic missions from 49 to 100. These missions have the delicate task of offering assistance to afflicted countries in times of natural disasters or armed conflicts.

The official announcement of the religious brother’s death describes him as, “A man of quiet reflection and wide interests, although of a certain British reserve,” who “was much loved by all who worked with him on his many projects.”

“When possible, he spent his holidays at his home in Malta, where he was very involved in organizing and teaching judo courses for children as well as tending his farm, whose four different varieties of oranges were a constant source of pride in good weather and anxiety in bad,” the announcement said.

Fra’ Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie was highly decorated and honored during his life. He received four honorary doctorates, several honorary citizenships and more than 50 decorations from other countries.

No mention of cause of death, nor medical details.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: A Dark Horse

New Black Pope A Dark Horse

Adolfo Nicolas
By: Mike Mallowe, The Bulletin

Just a week ago, delegates from the worldwide Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, sat down to the serious business of electing the order's new Superior General. Their mission was accomplished by last Sunday - in what has to be record time for any deliberation involving the Catholic Church.

They selected Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, a man who has spent most of the last 44 years living and working in Japan, East Asia and Oceania. He'll be 72 in April, and his profile up until now could hardly be more modest. All of that, of course, is about to change. The Jesuits are the Catholic Church's front-line missionaries and agents of social activism, in addition to being world-class educators. The leader of that order of almost 20,000 priests and brothers sets an agenda that can have long-lasting political and diplomatic impacts, especially in developing nations.

In every way Fr. Nicolas's election was a surprise. A handful of favorites had emerged in the weeks leading up to the General Congregation and Fr. Nicolas's name was prominently missing from that list. Some insiders were leaning heavily toward the Australian provincial of the order, Fr. Mark Raper. He seemed like a logical choice because he was not only a familiar figure in Rome, but also a priest thoroughly identified with the emerging Church in Asia and the Third World. Fr. Frederico Lombardi, the former head of Vatican Radio and one of Pope Benedict's closest advisors on matters of communication and the media, looked like another favorite. The growth of the Jesuits has been steady and influential throughout India, so a man connected with that populous nation also looked like a good possibility. But the 217 Jesuit delegates in Rome fooled everyone.

The new Black Pope, as the head of the Jesuits is known (to distinguish his simple black cassock from the white robes of the pope), was elevated by his peers despite his relatively advanced age, his aversion to the ceremonial niceties of the Vatican and a career spent on the sort of tough issues that makes the hierarchy of the Church uneasy. In fact, Fr. Nicolas already clashed with the Vatican back in 1998 when he supported a group of Asian bishops who were campaigning hard for more local autonomy in their largely missionary dioceses. When Pope Benedict approved the Jesuits' choice so quickly, that, in itself, was a mild shock.

Fr. Nicolas's pedigree is connected not with the man he is replacing, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, a skillful consensus-builder, but with the most controversial Black Pope in modern history, Fr. Pedro Arrupe. Like Fr. Arrupe, who also spent many years in the Asian missions, Fr. Nicolas is a bright, admired Spanish theologian whose sentiments lie with the poor, the disenfranchised and the voiceless. During his formative years in the order, as a young priest, one of Fr. Nicolas's jobs was to serve as personal barber for Fr. Arrupe. His influence on the new Black Pope was personal and life-long.

After stepping down from a university appointment in Toyko and the leadership of the Jesuits in Japan and the Far East a few years ago, Fr. Nicolas moved out of his official residence and took a small apartment in one of Japan's worst slums. That's where he was working when he was named Superior General.

His election indicates that the Jesuits have every intention of continuing their bold mission of global change and conversion. This has often led to conflicts with local governments, especially in South and Central America.

Not only does Fr. Nicolas evoke glowing comparisons with the fiery, charismatic Fr. Arrupe - whom he calls a "visionary" - but with St. Francis Xavier, himself, the 16th-century Jesuit who became known as the Apostle to the East.

For the next month, the work of the Jesuits' General Congregation in Rome will continue - with Fr. Nicolas setting the tone for meetings that were already prepared to tackle subjects like a redefinition of the Jesuits' organizational identity, a rearticulation of their mission in the context of Third World inequalities and a new
concentration on crimes against the environment, particularly in those developing countries.

Never far from the Jesuits' collective consciousness is their relationship with the Vatican. Before becoming pope, Benedict was critical of some Jesuit theologians and their writings. Very recently, he removed the Vatican's famed astronomical Observatory, traditionally run by Jesuit scientists, from its longtime home in his summer residence.

The Pope also sent a letter to the General Congregation, reminding it of its vow of obedience to the Vatican.

Despite meager coverage of the Black Pope's election by the American media (CNN and Time magazine standing out as exceptions), Fr. Nicolas's new job has generated front-page treatment from New Delhi to London. There's a huge story there that goes far beyond the Jesuits and their change of leadership. The stakes are enormous in East Asia, including a quiet diplomatic offensive that has seen a slow but steady improvement of relations between China and the Vatican during Benedict's short pontificate. Nearly 500 years ago the Jesuits were the first Western missionaries to meet with any kind of success in China after establishing themselves in Japan. Part Two of that story may already be in the works.

Mike Mallowe can be reached at

Adolfo Nicolas and Peter Hans Kolvenbach

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J. and Benedict in Agreement

Jesuits are not in opposition to the Vatican, new Superior General says

From Catholic News Agency

.- At his first official meeting with the press, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas S.J., the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus, strongly denied any contradiction between the Jesuits and the Vatican.

During the meeting held at the General Curia of the Jesuits in Rome, Fr. Nicolas read a prepared statement and took no questions from the some 50 journalists present at the press conference.

Fr. Nicolas’ statement included some brief stories and anecdotes illustrating his long pastoral experience in Asia. "I am in Asia and Asia is in me, and that is good for the Church," he said.

The new head of the Jesuits also said that the General Congregation is the supreme authority of the Society of Jesus, therefore "I am expecting some general guidelines (from the Congregation) to start my mission as Superior General."

"There has never been and there is not opposition between the Pope and the Society of Jesus, between the Jesuits and the Vatican," Fr. Nicolas said in his statement.

"It is not true that there is a theological distance between the new General of the Jesuits and Pope Ratzinger," he added.

"I am an unknown and therefore newspapers are not finding anything about me, so they search and sometimes they invent," he also said.
Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions

Friday, February 1, 2008

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Video "Life to the Full"

Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.: Name-Dated as a Child of the 1930s

From Catholic World News

backs to the future

The name "Adolf" says nothing about his politics, but it dates him as a child of the 1930s -- born before the war that made the name unbestowable. The Jesuits' choice of 71-year-old Adolfo Nicolás as their Superior General is a conscious return to the past -- ironically (yet markedly) more so than was the cardinals' choice of 79-year-old Joseph Ratzinger as Pope in the 2005 conclave.

In terms of his theology, the Spanish-born Jesuit came of age in the early 1970s, but his academic pursuits, unlike Ratzinger's, gave way to work in formation and administration, and the theological jargon of the 1970s remains audible in those of Nicolás's homilies and interviews available on the Web.

Bouncing around the blogs and the GC-35 website, I'm struck by how often the Jesuit electors mention former General Pedro Arrupe (1965-1983) in congratulating themselves on the election of Nicolás. The symbolic connection was clearly important to them: both Arrupe and Nicolás came from Spain and both had worked extensively in Japan. But the world has changed since Arrupe was elected in 1965, and it's odd that Jesuits think Arrupe's abilities would answer to today's problems. Yet, just as many lay Boomers are drawn to "reunion concerts" given by pop musicians whose heyday was in the 1960s and 1970s, by their own account the Jesuit electors were moved by a sentimental attachment to the bygone Arrupe years in their emblematic choice of a General. In fact Nicolás seems to have been summoned to do an Arrupe Nostalgia Tour.

This is not to say that Fr. Nicolás will be disposed to play the role sentiment has projected upon him. He may have his own ideas about his generalship. He is described as a progressive and a man who believes Roman Catholics have "much to learn from Asia," but this tells us almost nothing. His Asian experience includes the Philippines, which is a "developing" country with robust Catholicism and a robust birthrate, and it includes as well Japan, which exhibits all the ills of prosperous secularism and is locked into a demographic death spiral scarcely less dramatic than the Jesuits' own. So what do we Catholics need to learn, and which Asians will be commissioned to teach us? Will the Filipino culture of life be held up for our emulation, or will we be coached in the Japanese art of decorous suicide? One suspects that, as often, the wisdom of the orient will be tailored by what our fellow Westerners are keen to thrust upon us.

As an institution, the Society of Jesus is confronting problems that are more "Japanese" in scope than "Filipino." A photo of a Mass celebrated by the electors last Friday provides an emblematic illustration of the order's bewilderment: we see a single vested celebrant at the altar, with all the other priests scattered in the pews, not concelebrating but garbed as laymen in corduroy and cardigans. Hesitations about the purpose and the value of priesthood, along with uncertainty about the connection of the priesthood to the person of Christ, have contributed to the fuzzy sense of Jesuit identity and that eerie feel of detachment from the Church to which both Cardinal Rodé and Pope Benedict alluded in their communications to the delegates. It seems unlikely that a septuagenarian Arrupe Impersonator would be able to confront the real difficulties. It remains to be seen whether Nicolás will abide by the script or will be his own man.

Pedro Arrupe
Jesuit Superior General (1965-1983)

The Jesuit electors often do refer to Arrupe, much due to the facts that both were Spaniards, who spent significant time in Japan.

Given this article's ironic note of his first name, Adolfo, which was essentially the first name of the 3rd Reich Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, (and asides from the question of whether this name choice reflected the politics of his parents) might it be saying that Adolfo Nicolas may share significant qualities with that period's Jesuit Superior General, Wlodimir (Vladimir) Ledochowski?

Wlodimir Ledochowski
Jesuit Superior General (1915-1942)

More from Catholic World News:

The new "Black Pope" promises more Jesuit turmoil

by Phil Lawler

Rome, Jan. 21, 2008 ( - Since Saturday, when Father Adolfo Nicolas was elected by the 35th general congregation of the Society of Jesus, journalists have been describing the new Jesuit superior general as "Arrupe-esque" and "hard to classify." He may be one or the other, but he can't be both. If he is indeed "Arrupe-esque"-- and I suspect he is-- Father Nicolas is not at all difficult to classify.

Father Pedro Arrupe, the superior general 1965 to 1983, presided over a dramatic transformation of the Jesuit order. Don't take my word for it; consider the judgment of Time magazine, which recalls that Arrupe's leadership "saw the rise of radical Jesuit participation in politics, from the anti-war movement in the US in the 1960s to the liberation theology that swept Latin America."

Photos from the 35th General Congregation
taken by Fr. Don Doll, S.J. - Creighton University
Magis Productions