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To understand Pope Francis, you have to understand the Jesuits

Discussion in 'Pope Francis' started by davidtlig, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    To understand Pope Francis, you have to understand the Jesuits

    This new article from the Catholic News Agency is superb. Rather than post the whole thing here, I'll just quote a short bit which is relevant to many of the complaints about Francis that people make on the forum.

    Pope Francis “is completely steeped in Jesuit tradition and is a man completely of the exercises,” Fr. Reedy said, explaining that one of the first things he tells people when he speaks about the Pope is that “you can hear the spiritual exercises active in what he says.”

    In listening to Pope Francis “you can hear a Jesuit who has contemplated the life of Jesus,” the priest said, noting that Francis' pedagogical or didactic style “is very much patterned on Jesus’, who often gave very oblique and obscure answers to questions.”

    Christ did this, he said, “to specifically avoid a kind of legalism that just wants a solid answer that can then be manipulated in some way,” whereas true discernment means “you’re not interested in rules for the sake of rules, (or) tools that can be manipulated or used as weapons; what you’re interested in is finding the best, the truest, the most holy, the most transformative.”

    In essence, “you’re always looking for what is the spirit of the law: why does the law exist, what it is, what is it trying to do?”

    What can be done is to “have people trained in what the rules are, why they exist, and how to help these people engage that system in a way that can contribute toward their holiness, to their growth in conforming to Christ.”
    The whole article is at http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/n...ncis-you-have-to-understand-the-jesuits-23526
  2. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    More propaganda to give the impression that Pope Francis is anything less than heterodox. It's is anything but the truth. I have attending enough Jesuit spirituality to know that St. Ignatius did nothing but uphold the rigid teachings of Christ's law's and God's commandments. No where can one find any the type of ambiguity towards God's moral laws and commandments that Pope Francis is spilling forth. Let us see if Father Reedy can quote any of the ambiguous teachings of Pope Francis. He won't, cause he can't.
    little me and BrianK like this.
  3. Jarg

    Jarg Archangels

    The problem with many Jesuits of our time is that they have become obsessed with legalism and they almost worship 'incompleteness' and anything that counters human logic, as the greatest of all things. Whenever they hear a solid answer their red flag goes up and they think it is legalism. It is almost like they have become allergic to solid answers. Jesus provided so many solid answers without fear of legalism - His whole life on earth is in itself a solid answer to man's sin. The Ten Commandments, and Jesus most remarkable speeches are solid answers. He even went as far as explaining his Parables to ensure they were clearly understood. And when Jesus speaks mysteriously He shows us the true sense of His words IF we listen with faith and most importantly, with a faithful heart (if we listened like the world does then we end up in a riddle of incompleteness and ambiguity that can fancies whichever doctrine may serve to justify our contemporary eschizofrenia). The risk of legalism always exists because we are human and imperfect, but to obsess over legalism and swim in ambiguity is just as bad, and is somewhat disrespectful to the audience who is left in no mans land, in chaos and confusion. Virtue is in balance, as Aristotle would say.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
    Byron, Dolours, Mario and 1 other person like this.
  4. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    The problem with the Jesuits is that they've just realised that the Apostles didn't have tape recorders and they can't manage without sound bytes for their twitter feeds and lectures. All that elitist intellectualism has taken its toll. God help them. They're more to be pitied than laughed at, although it would be funny if it weren't so serious.
  5. Mario

    Mario Powers


    Ignatian spirituality, and its related forms of discernment, have played a central role in my participation in the Regnum Christi Movement from 1992-2012. I think the article does a good job of highlighting some of it's components. This is especially true when discerning how God wanted me to harness my talents for the sake of the Church, or discerning how my calling influenced when to sell my house and in what location should I buy a new one for my family. In Ignatian discernment, the best, the truest, the most holy, the most transformative are crucial in discerning the Lord's Will.

    If we take the role of accompaniment expressed in Amoris Letitia it is also easy to see it's roots in Jesuit thought. For the couples are confronted by dilemmas not always conformable to black and white answers. Often, it requires input from a priest or wise person to see their way through a difficult situation. Let me give you an example that occurred in my own parish. A group of young mothers were instructed in the dangers of the contraceptive mentality and introduced to NFP. Sadly, this was done in a format in which their husbands failed to participate. So when in their enthusiasm, they approached their husbands, a number of the men balked, unconvinced and unwilling to let go of "contraceptive protection". Ouch!:oops: How are these wives to now proceed? They have a clearer understanding of the truth, but in marriage it takes two to tango. It would seem that Church teaching against contraceptives is now straining the relationship of some husbands and wives. But can we simply jettison the teaching for the sake of peace? It is a messy situation. It is easy to see now that Ignatian spirituality would have helped them see the need to involve their husbands much sooner.

    However, Ignatian principles shouldn't be used to circumvent objective moral norms. They can, however, be used to discern how to proceed without rejecting objective moral norms in the process. That will often require embracing the Cross out of love for Christ.

    Let's pray for the resistant husbands, that the truth may set them free and defuse the stressful circumstances.

    Safe in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary!
    Don_D likes this.
  6. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

    That's right David, you have to understand the APOSTASY of the JESUITS. Oh there may be a few hanging on that are orthodox but did you know that the Jesuits take an extra vow, complete obedience to the pope. This means that all the time St John Paul2 was disciplining the Jesuits and their communist form of catholicism, liberation theology (didn't our Lady warn us about this), PF was totally ignoring him, totally disobedient and practicing and following all those apostates whom the pope was disciplining. This is all you have to know about our current pope.
    SgCatholic and Dolours like this.
  7. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    Interesting Picadillo, I was just reading last evening on Father John Hardon's writings on their obedience to the pope. This puts their rule at risk when a bad Pope comes forward who teaches another doctrine other then what has been handed on.
    picadillo likes this.
  8. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Was the vow of obedience introduced because the order was in danger of being disbanded? I'm not sure about that but I do know that the Jesuits have something of a chequered history. Makes me wonder what the College of Cardinals were smoking when the elevated a Jesuit to the papacy. Looking back, it was at a time when the abuse scandals were the journalists favourite stick for beating the Church and the Cardinals were probably desperate to get it off the front pages. I'm sure the journalists' sources inside the Church (those who labelled Cardinal Ratzinger the Pope's Rottweiler when he was given the job of cleaning up that mess) aren't blameless.

    I saw a little footnote on one of the British news channels last week that the current Archibishop of Canterbury has asked the retired Archbishop to step down (I don't know how someone can step down from retirement) because of the Anglican Church's record of covering up child abuse. Note that the reporting was by way of the line of text that runs across the bottom of the screen during the news. I didn't hear it reported verbally on any of the news bulletins. In contrast, every single mention of child abuse in the Catholic Church was treated as major news and included in the headlines of every news bulletin yet it's the Anglican Church that is the established Church of England headed by the Monarch.
    picadillo likes this.
  9. picadillo

    picadillo Powers

    Here is what Pope Benedict said to the heretical order of Jeuits in 2005:

    Pope Benedict XVI gave the world's Jesuits a pointed reminder of their oath of fidelity, during a February 21 audience with participants in the 35th general congregation of the Society of Jesus.

    Meeting with the Jesuit leaders as they concluded their general congregation—at which they had elected a new superior general, Father Adolfo Nicolas—the Holy Father stressed that the Jesuit order today should act "in full fidelity to the original charism."

    That original charism, the Pope continued, is marked by devotion and obedience to the Church and the Roman Pontiff; he reminded the Jesuit leaders of St. Ignatius' demand that his followers should always work "with the Church and in the Church."

    Preserving harmony with the Church, Pope Benedict continued, is a particularly important task today, at a time when there is a "confusion of messages" in society on many fundamental issues. He exhorted the Jesuits to seek "that harmony with the magisterium that avoids causing confusion and uncertainty among the People of God." All members of the Society of Jesus, he said, should "adhere completely to the Word of God as well as to the magisterium’s charge of conserving the truth and unity of Catholic doctrine in its entirety."

    "I well understand that this is a particularly delicate and troublesome issue for you and for many of your colleagues," the Pope told the Jesuit officials. Nevertheless he said that the Jesuit order must tackle the challenge and "regain a fuller understanding of your distinctive 'fourth vow' of obedience to the Successor of Peter."

    During their general congregation, the Pontiff noted, the Jesuits had discussed some of the most critical debates of the day, "such as the salvation of all in Christ, sexual morality, and marriage and the family." On these issues, he said, the Church needs the intellectual support of the Jesuit order, to protect Catholic teaching on points that are "increasingly under attack from secular culture."

    Pope Benedict expressed his confidence that the Jesuit order could become a powerful force for Catholic truth in today's world. The Society of Jesus, he said, is "a religious order which in the course of its 500-year history has been capable of challenging cultural historical adversities to bring the Gospel to all corners of the world."

    The Pope encouraged the Jesuits to continue their work among the poor, but cautioned that this work should not be politicized. He observed that "the option for the poor is not ideological but rather is born of the Gospel." And while fighting against injustice, he added, the Jesuits must remember that it is also necessary "to fight the deep roots of evil in the very heart of the human being, the sin that separates us from God."

    "to fight the deep roots of evil in the very heart of the human being, the sin that separates us from God."

    I guess PF is just ignoring/being disobedient to this.

    Source: Global Catholic Network

    Although we strive to provide you with relevant and reliable information on this news blog, the views and opinions expressed in the news stories posted on this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Amazing Discoveries. The AD News Blog is intended only as a service to provide you with interesting end-time related news or to keep you abreast of events and attitudes of our current day. The postings are not intended to be an official statement or recommendation of Amazing Discoveries. The reader should make his or her own judgment as to the usefulness of the information provided here.
  10. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Let's not forget that Cardinal Ratzinger was the Prefect of the CDF during Pope John Paul's papacy. Pope John Paul was no pushover so it was easier to cast aspersions on the CDF than to openly oppose the Pope. The Jesuits were into Liberation Theology and Pope John Paul had lived the experience of communism and how it operates. It's Pope John Paul's teaching, supported by Pope Benedict as Prefect of the CDF and later as Pope himself, which is under attack. The modernists in the Church hated Pope John Paul because they couldn't best him. Much of the dissent from Church teaching came out in the open with the open rebellion against Humane Vitae. Rather than correcting their error or fading into obscurity by starting their own Church built in their own image and likeness, they held on to their plummy posts and continued to spread their errors in seminaries, in educational institutions and in parishes. Reading some of the background to what happened more recently in the Jesuit order, I think it could be argued that a large proportion of the mass falling away from the faith and the current de facto schism in the Church could be laid at the door of Jesuits. The following news articles, which will take a few posts due to text length, should give a snapshot:
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  11. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Time Magazine, November 1981: http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,922654,00.html

    Religion: John Paul Takes On the Jesuits
    The Pope picks his own team to head the powerful order

    The Jesuits swear an oath of obedience to the papacy but, throughout their 441-year history, their independent ways and elitist style have ruffled many Popes. John Paul II, no stranger to controversy, last week took a bold step to bridle the Society of Jesus. In a move interpreted as a warning to all religious orders, he suspended the normal workings of the Jesuit Constitutions, removed the acting leader of the organization and replaced him with two Italian Jesuits who enjoy the Vatican's confidence: Paolo Dezza, 79, and Joseph Pittau, 53.

    John Paul has entered a high-stakes game. The Jesuits are the largest (27,000) and the most dominant of the men's orders, with far-flung influence in education, theology and missions. The Superior General of the society is considered the second most powerful figure in Roman Catholicism.

    Pontiffs have intervened in the past by dictating the elections of Superiors General. In 1773 Pope Clement XIV even dissolved the society, a 41-year-long humiliation that some Jesuit intellectuals close to the Vatican are comparing with John Paul's treatment.

    The current conflict has been building ever since the Second Vatican Council, when some Jesuits began busying themselves in social action and in questioning papal teachings. In 1973 a harried Pope Paul VI wrote Superior General Pedro Arrupe to "express our desire, indeed our demand," that the Jesuits remain loyal to the papacy. In 1979 Pope John Paul II directed Arrupe to wipe out secularism and other "regrettable shortcomings."

    Last year Arrupe, Superior General since 1965, cited age and health in asking John Paul's permission to resign. In August, felled by a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, Arrupe, 73, followed Jesuit legal procedure and selected a Vicar General (interim leader), American Father Vincent O'Keefe, 61, to run the order. O'Keefe is a former president of Fordham University. Unable to speak intelligibly because of his illness, Arrupe has not replied to John Paul's announcement that he was naming Dezza as "a delegate who will represent me more closely in the society" until a General Congregation elects Arrupe's permanent successor.

    When Arrupe was chosen Superior General, Dezza and O'Keefe were among his four advisers. Dezza, no reactionary but well to the right of both Arrupe and O'Keefe, is a philosopher and onetime rector of Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University. John Paul named the energetic Pittau to assist the aged, partially blind Dezza and take over "should he be impeded or die." Pittau, considered a moderate, is the sort of well-trained, efficient academic who catches John Paul's eye. A Harvard Ph.D. in sociology, he is rector of Tokyo's Sophia University and, since last year, leader of the Japan province. O'Keefe remains an adviser to the new team and refuses to comment.

    In a letter to Arrupe, John Paul saw a need for "more thorough preparation of the society" before a General Congregation is held. That is being read as a signal that John Paul wants the Jesuits to shape up before the election of a new leader. As a result, no one in Rome sees a replacement for the Dezza-Pittau administration until at least 1983 and perhaps years beyond that.
  12. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    The New York Times, October 1984: http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/28/w...-liberation-theology-and-social-activism.html


    The head of the Jesuit order says he strongly supports Latin American theologians and church workers who seek to promote social justice. And he says the teachings known as the theology of liberation must be ''recognized as possible and necessary.''

    The Vatican recently criticized some elements of liberation theology as relying too heavily on Marxist analysis, but it affirmed the church's fight against oppression in Central and South America.

    The Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, chosen as Superior General of the Jesuits a year ago, said in an interview in New York last week that the order would continue to aid efforts for social justice in Latin America.

    New Vatican Statement Due

    The 55-year-old Superior General expressed some disappointment with what he described as negative aspects of the Vatican document, issued Sept. 3. He said he expected a second statment on the subject in the near future to be much more positive.

    Agostino Cardinal Casaroli, the Vatican Secretary of State, announced last week that the coming statement would stress the need for social action by the church.

    Father Kolvenbach, emphasizing that several variations of liberation theology exist, said there might be situations where it was ''absolutely necessary to use the terminology of Marxism'' to explain social and economic conditions.

    Says Class Struggle Exists

    As an example, he said: ''You cannot say you should never use a term like the 'struggle of class.' It's something that exists.''

    But use of such terms ''should not be done with a Marxist interpretation but with a Christian one,'' Father Kolvenbach said. Marxist concepts such as class warfare and historical materialism cannot be used to justify Christian action, he said.

    Since their 32d general congregation in 1975, the Jesuits have proclaimed a joint mission of faith and justice. Many have taken a leading role in advancing theologies of liberation, which attempt to apply church teachings to the problems of social justice in Latin America.

    The Jesuit leader, who is Dutch, spent two days in New York after meetings with regional leaders of the order in Latin America and the United States. During his stay in the city, he visited Fordham University and spoke to supporters of the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome.

    Father Kolvenbach, a linguist who spent many years in the Middle East, said nuns, priests and others pressing for social justice could find ample warrant for their actions in recent Roman Catholic Church teachings.

    Though Jesuits have drawn fire for their increasing social activism, Father Kolvenbach said emphatically that the order would continue on its social mission.

    ''The promotion of justice is not something that only some Jesuits are called to,'' he said in the interview, conducted on Monday in English. ''It is a mission given to every Jesuit, pastor, educator or social worker.''

    To carry out that purpose, Father Kolvenbach said Jesuits would require ''an even deeper spirituality and a more critical sense of social reality than we perhaps have been accustomed to having.'' Latin Jesuits 'Opened Our Eyes'

    Jesuits from Latin America provided the main incentive for this mission, Father Kolvenbach said. ''We would never have had the preferential love for the poor without the Jesuits of Central and South America,'' he explained. ''They opened our eyes to the need for liberation.''

    He added that the Roman Catholic Church throughout the Western Hemisphere was being closely watched by Pope John Paul II.

    ''The Holy Father really believes the church of the two Americas, North and South, is the church of the future,'' he said. ''This may explain his special concern for the church here.''

    The Vatican's faulting of aspects of liberation theology came just days before one of its leading proponents, the Rev. Leonardo Boff of Brazil, was questioned in Rome by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

    Though the Vatican's statement did not name individual theologians or point to specific writings, Father Boff was understood to be one of those whose works were being called into question by the document. No action has been taken against Father Boff, a Franciscan friar who was accompanied supportively to the secret Vatican examination by two Brazilian prelates. Pope's Two-Pronged Appeal

    Meanwhile, the Pope has underscored his advocacy of church involvement in social justice in Latin America while warning against Marxist influence. On his visit to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico this month, he again made this two-pronged appeal.

    Reflecting on the trip in his Oct. 17 audience at the Vatican, the Pope said, ''It was a joy to be with the bishops of Latin America as they renewed their preferential option for the poor and looked forward with hope to the future.''

    Since Father Kolvenbach took over as the 29th Superior General from the Rev. Pedro Arrupe, who resigned because of poor health, he has been acquainting himself the Jesuits' operations throughout the world.

    The most serious problem facing Jesuits, he said, is numbers. Membership in the church's largest order of priests and brothers has fallen from 36,000 to 26,000. He said he expected the total to stabilize at 24,000.
  13. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Having read the above, now look at this tribute in the Jesuit run America Magazine on the death of Fr. Vincent O'Keefe. Note that the author is none other than Fr. James Martin and it was written in August 2012 when Benedict was still Pope: https://www.americamagazine.org/issue/5149/many-things/many-things

    Of Many Things

    One of the great figures in contemporary Jesuit history died this summer. On June 22, Vincent T. O’Keefe, S.J., died at age 92 at the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in New York. “Vinny,” as he was almost universally known (“Vince” to his family), was not only a former president of Fordham (1963-65) but also served in Rome as an assistant (beginning in 1965) and then as a general assistant and general counselor (1975-81) to Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the superior general of the Society of Jesus. After Father Arrupe had a debilitating stroke in 1981, he appointed Father O’Keefe to be vicar general of the Society.

    Shortly after Father O’Keefe’s appointment, Pope John Paul II appointed his own “personal delegate,” an Italian Jesuit, Paolo Dezza, to take over the governance of the Society of Jesus, effectively replacing Father O’Keefe. Jesuits worldwide were stunned, and hurt, by the pope’s decision. Father Arrupe wept when he heard the news.

    When Father O’Keefe was serving as superior of the America House Jesuit Community in the late 1990s, he was often asked by Jesuit superiors to speak to young Jesuits not only about his own life as a Jesuit and his work alongside Father Arrupe, but also about this painful chapter in Jesuit history. Vinny’s take was that a few of John Paul’s advisers had spoken against the Jesuits and had convinced the pope of the Society’s (supposed) widespread disobedience. And, as Vinny frequently noted, when Father Arrupe spoke to John Paul, he was often so deferential that he was unikely to mount a “defense.” At the same time, Father Arrupe would say to some Jesuits, “Please make it easier for me to defend you!” Despite Father General’s efforts, the mistrust continued.

    After the “papal intervention,” many commentators predicted widespread disobedience among the Jesuits: public statements, mass exoduses and acts of disobedience. That never happened. Both Father Arrupe and Father O’Keefe pointed Jesuits worldwide to their vows of obedience. Later Pope John Paul would speak warmly of both the Society’s obedience and of Father Arrupe; the pope also visited Arrupe in the Jesuit infirmary shortly before his death in 1991. (Privately the Holy Father was said to have been dismayed about having been misled about the Jesuits.) In 1983 Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., was elected superior general in a general congregation of Jesuits from around the world, and he became a trusted adviser of Pope John Paul.

    Many Jesuits credit Vinny’s faithful response to the papal intervention as a calming influence in the Society of Jesus at that critical time. For that reason, among many, he was beloved among thousands of Jesuits worldwide.

    For myself, besides being privileged to listen to Vinny’s lighthearted recollections of Father Arrupe and his more anguished stories about the papal intervention, I will most remember Vinny as a consummate host. After so many years in the Jesuit headquarters in Rome, where he welcomed guests from around the globe, he had a rare talent for welcoming with a smile pretty much anyone who dropped by. He also told some of the best jokes I’ve ever heard.

    Vinny often told of the Jesuit superior general’s being asked (frequently), “Where is the Society of Jesus going?” and surprising everyone with his response. Father Arrupe, comfortable with the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit and with living in times of uncertainty, answered, “I don’t know!”

    Where is Vinny going? To reside forever, we pray, with his friend Servant of God Pedro Arrupe, with all the saints, and with the Lord he served in both good times and bad.

    This article also appeared in print, under the headline "Of Many Things," in the August 27, 2012 issue.

    Indeed we do need to look at the Jesuits to understand what Pope Francis is about and none of it inspires any confidence that the Deposit of Faith is safe under his stewardship. God help us.
    SgCatholic likes this.
  14. Jarg

    Jarg Archangels

    It seems to me pretty clear that a large portion of the jesuits have followed their own intellect, discernment and theology since the 70s crisis, in an underground and pretty arrogant disobedience to the popes and the Magisterium. Growing up in Madrid and with cousins/friends going to jesuit schools/universities, it was not unusual to hear from them that they were taught I
    in subtle ways that cohabitation and contraception was possible if God was included on their plans (what a diabolical distortion of God's will) , that abortion was not sth to obsessed with, that the important thing is social justice - understood as distributive justice, so the poor, equality, etc-; even the divinity of Christ was called into question by some teachers at ICADE, the prestigious Jesuit university in Madrid. America Magazine is representative of that rather large portion of the jesuits. A smaller portion of teachers and priests inside the jesuits I think have remained faithful to the popes, just like any other movement that takes the Church teachings seriously. What is interesting is that even today when you read the stuff coming out of America mag or ncronline.org you realize they continue to follow their own gospel and credo, as they abuse the pope's words and proposals to advance their PC agenda inside the Church - they even present themselves as faithful spokespersons of the pope.In this group something like the state of grace, confession with a priest or the possibility of a sacrilegious communion is sth they stop believing in probably in 70s, and that is why they read Amoris like now everyone can finally go to communion in the lutheran sense, but they have stopped believing in the Real Presence - kind of like in the movie 'Catholics'.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
    AED and Dolours like this.
  15. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    Sanctity Through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
    by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

    Let me be as clear as I can. Why speak on this subject of Sanctity through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius? Because, as one modern pope after another tells us, our century is the most sin-laden century in human history. Ordinary Catholics will not survive. Ordinary bishops will not survive. Ordinary priests and religious will not survive. Ordinary fathers and mothers will not survive. Only heroic Catholics, I don’t say will survive, but only heroic Catholics can re-Christianize one paganized nation after another, including our own.

    What this means, therefore, is, there must be heroic Catholicity, which is my name for sanctity. Why? Otherwise, what is happening in so many countries over the centuries will happen to our own. We need, more than ever, saints to convert a paganized America.

    How to do this? I would not be a member of the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, if I did not share with you my convictions. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, for now over four hundred years, have been the proven means of sanctifying by now millions of what otherwise would have been ordinary Catholics. To make the Spiritual Exercises means to spend a weekend, a full week, but preferably thirty full days in meditating on the Spiritual Exercises with at least three hours of meditation a day.

    My purpose in the present conference is to identify what I call the key features of the Spiritual Exercises. These key features of the Spiritual Exercises I number at seven. In the forty-minutes I have been given to share with you, I would like to communicate both with you and to you what I am convinced is nothing less than a divinely-provided means of performing moral miracles in changing ordinary Catholics into heroic Catholics, the kind that are needed to re-Christianize one once-Christian nation after another, including our own.

    Key Features of the Spiritual Exercises
    Let me first identify these seven features. First, what I call making a spiritual inventory of our lives. Secondly, recognizing we’ve got a true, truly interior freedom of the will to do one thing: to choose the will of God. Third, in God’s providence we are to be channels of grace to others. Fourth, what St. Ignatius calls the Third Degree of Humility. Fifth, accept the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of the Truth. We know only as much as God’s revealed truth as we accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome. Sixth, a deep, strong love of the Cross. And finally, strange statement, sin in the providence of God.

    Spiritual Inventory
    First then, how do the Spiritual Exercises provide us with the means of growing in sanctity? They do so by providing us with the need for making an inventory of the creatures in our lives. No business place, no Pizza Hut, not even the smallest business, I would say, would succeed, would even survive, unless the owner or proprietor would make a daily inventory of how much was sold, how much money was taken in. In other words, it is just common sense to make an inventory and here, as Ignatius makes so clear, is an inventory of the creatures that God puts into our lives. We are constantly, day and night, surrounded, enveloped in what we call creatures. But we’d better know, we’d better know, how these creatures that are such an essential part of our lives, how they are to be used. These creatures include all the people. They include everything we see, everything we read, every experience we have in life. St. Ignatius classifies all these creatures in four categories.

    • Some of these persons, places and things, some of these thoughts and desires are to be enjoyed. We’d better, we’d better identify which of these persons, places and things God wants us to enjoy. And, thank God for providing these enjoyable creatures in our lives. But first, make sure you know what persons, what places, what books, what experiences God wants you to enjoy.

    • God puts into our lives, hear it, deliberately, this is God, God puts persons, places and things into our lives that He wants us to endure. Father, are you saying there are persons in our lives placed there by God for us to endure? Yes! And we’d better know which creatures God wants us to endure. After today’s sessions, you wives, please don’t go back to your husbands and tell them, “I learned something I never knew before. God put you into my life, that by enduring you, I might reach my heavenly destiny.”

    • There are creatures in our lives that God wants us to get rid of, remove. Why? Oh, they may be very pleasant, but they are the occasions of sin. Find out what are these creatures? What thoughts, what desires, what reading, what radio and television programs are occasions of sin and remove, and the word is remove, these creatures from your life.

    • And finally, what creatures does God want me, not to remove because they are occasions of sin, but that God wants me to sacrifice, to give up. Not because I have to, but because out of love for God, I surrender, give up, in other words, sacrifice. So far, No. 1.

    Free Will
    No. 2. St. Ignatius was a contemporary of Martin Luther, born and died almost at the same time. If there is one principle of the spiritual life that Martin Luther and his Protestant followers denied, no exception, they all denied that we have true freedom of the will. In other words, in classic historic Protestantism, those will reach heaven who are pre-destined for heaven. Those will not reach heaven who are pre-destined for eternal damnation. Don’t you dare talk about a free will with which you can either cooperate with God’s grace or resist God’s grace. Martin Luther broke with the Catholic Church in 1517. Already in 1520, Pope Leo X condemned Martin Luther’s writings and among the condemned heresies was Luther’s claim we do not have true freedom of the will. As Catholics, we believe we have a free will. And the purpose of that free will is to choose. To choose what? To choose what God wants us to choose. Does it mean to choose what we don’t like? Sure! What we like has nothing to do with what God wants us to choose. The key is to choose what God knows we need. But let me tell you, my fiftieth year in the priesthood, how much I’ve learned. The happiest people on earth are those who use their free wills to choose what God wants them to choose. And the most unhappy people in the world are those who choose what they want. The pro-choicers are all unhappy people. If by pro-choice, as we know, they mean choosing what you want.

    Channels of Grace
    Third feature of Ignatian spirituality: If I spoke for the next ten hours, I could not spend too much time or be too explicit in explaining that sanctity, hear it, sanctity is not an end in itself. We’re not to become holy just to be holy. No! We are to become holy in order that God might use us as channels of communicators of His grace to others. Only holy people sanctify others. No one else does. Only patient people are used by God as channels of His grace of patience for others. Only humble people are used by God to bring others the virtue of humility. Only chaste people are used by God to bring chastity to others. You parents, in the name of Jesus Christ, live, live your married life, with, what the Church calls, marital chastity. And the two principal sins against marital chastity are infidelity and contraception. Do you hear me? Only chaste persons are used by God to bring chastity to everyone whose lives they touch. And so on down the litany of the virtues. Holiness is not an end in itself. God wants us to become holy so that we might then be used by God to bring sanctity to others.

    Third Degree of Humility
    Fourth feature of Ignatian spirituality: What St. Ignatius calls the Third Degree of Humility. The first degree is to avoid mortal sin. The second degree is to avoid venial sin. The third degree of humility is not only to avoid what is sinful, but to choose and hear the word, to choose what is more pleasing to God, even though no sin is involved. When I left my widowed mother all alone and told a wonderful girl who already had a wedding date set for our marriage that I was entering the Society of Jesus – I still can’t believe that I made the choice to sacrifice what naturally speaking, I would have preferred. I repeat, I still cannot believe, that with God’s grace, I made the choice. The Third Degree of Humility means choosing what is more pleasing to God. Choosing what is more difficult, more demanding, more self-sacrificing, not because you have to under the pain of sin, but because you love Jesus Christ, and out of love for Him, you want to be like Him in choosing what He chose. As St. Paul tells us, having joy set before Him, He chose the Cross. How today’s world needs, dear God, how today’s world needs Catholics who are aware of God’s great love for them, shedding His blood on Calvary out of love for us. And therefore, love wants to repay the one it claims to love. If God became man, hear it, a man in order to show His love for us, dying on His Calvary, we, if we really, really, really love Jesus Christ, we will follow His example and dare I say it, prefer the Cross because the God who created us out of nothing became man and chose the Cross out of love for us.
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  16. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    Obedience to the Bishop of Rome
    Fifth feature of Ignatian spirituality and bedrock to the Spiritual Exercises: Believing and acting on one’s faith that the Bishop of Rome is the Vicar of Truth in the world. It is no wonder that St. Ignatius, when he founded the Society of Jesus, told his professed members to take a fourth vow besides the standard vows of consecrated chastity, poverty and obedience, a vow of obedience to the Bishop of Rome. Only God knows, only He, the price I’ve paid over the years of my Jesuit life, for striving with God’s grace to remain faithful to the Vicar of Christ. Last night I read, and by the way, in a Detroit publication, a long article by Andrew Greeley, not just criticizing, but blasting Mother Angelica. Don’t you know, he told her that we’ve got a conscience, we’ve got a conscience, and that conscience is our highest norm of morality? Who do you think you are, said Greeley to Mother Angelica, appealing to the Bishop of Rome? It’s our conscience we are to follow. Well, as Catholics, let’s be clear. Of course we are to follow our conscience, but our conscience must be enlightened, must, I repeat the imperative verb, must be enlightened by the Vicar of Christ. No wonder Andrew Greeley sometime ago published a thick book – I will never forget the title of one of his chapters. The chapter was on Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humane Vitae. And the title of this chapter in Greeley’s book was “That g--d---- Encyclical.” It is not just at the heart of Ignatian spirituality, it is the heart of our faith as Catholics to recognize that when God became man, and identified Himself by saying “I am the Truth,” that when He appointed Peter as His visible ambassador on earth and the successors of Peter as the Bishops of Rome, they are the Vicars of Truth! Oh, how many Catholics need to re-examine their consciences and ask themselves how faithful are they to the recognizing the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s divinely-ordained ambassador for the truth.

    Love of the Cross
    Sixth feature of Ignatian spirituality: Love of the Cross. Over the years of my priesthood, I can tell you, I’ve grown and am growing theologically, I trust, everyday. I didn’t used to talk this way, but I do now. Notice, it is not merely enduring the Cross. It is not merely suffering the Cross. It is not merely resigning myself to the trials, the sufferings, the pain in my life. No! No! It is loving the Cross. And the reason is obvious. In most people’s vocabulary, “cross” as a word is a noun. But in God’s vocabulary, it is a verb. The Cross is the will of God crossing our wills. And God is a divine mathematician. How often He will cross our wills, not at 75, or 80, or even 85 degrees, or 89.1 degrees, He will cross our lives and the more He loves us – I say this from the depths of my heart – the more He loves us, the more He will give us the privilege of crossing our wills at 90 degrees. Embracing the Cross, not because we love pain. In fact, in the theological definition of pain, in case you haven’t heard, is pain defined as whatever contradicts the human will, but – what an important adversative this is – when you love the one who is sending you the pain, the one who is behind, beneath, around the suffering in your life, once you believe it is the loving God, then – and I believe every syllable of the next sentence – your life is changed. There are no more problems in life because then, like the Christ whom we claim to love, we embrace what we call the Cross and thus repay the God whom we claim to love with the most precious possession in our lives, our wills. Let me be as plain as I can: this is how God redeemed the world, by dying on Calvary out of love for us. And sanctity is meaningless unless the virtue that we cultivate is meant as a communicator of grace to others. And most precious communication of grace that God can use us to share with others is the love of His Cross.

    The Providence of Sin
    I still have a No. 7. Strange closing to this conference – the providence of sin. Whatever else St. Ignatius understood, he understood sin. He was a deep sinner until he was converted. He knew that most people, with almost no exception, who would make the Spiritual Exercises would be sinners who, please God, had come to their senses and were converted. Sin is part of God’s mysterious permissive providence. Hear it and please, don’t forget. God allowed us to sin, maybe very deeply, maybe over a period of years for this purpose, the more deeply we have sinned, hear it, the more holy God wants us to become. Most of the saints in heaven, the Church teaches, are converted sinners. Remember what Christ asked Peter after Christ’s Resurrection? Peter had denied the Master three times. He was sorry. Christ asked Him, “Simon, do you love Me more than these do?” and He pointed to the other apostles. How could Peter know how much the other apostles loved Jesus? He couldn’t. But he knew how much he should love the Savior. Having sinned so deeply, he was to love Jesus with extraordinary depth and generosity. Sin in all of our lives has a twofold purpose – to keep us humble and to inspire us to grow in sanctity. Having indulged our own wills by sinning, we are to spend the rest of our lives sacrificing our own sweet, oh how saccharine sweet, self-will to the will of God in becoming saints.

    Lord Jesus, we thank you for giving us the converted sinner Iñigo, who became Ignatius of Loyola, to teach us through his Spiritual Exercises that what Christ most wants from us is that we become saints. But dear Lord, you know how blind we are. You know how weak we are. We beg you, give us the light for the mind to see Your will and strength for our free will to conform our own selfish wills to Your divine will so that through us, dear Jesus, we might bring others to heaven with us because none of us will reach heaven alone. We shall either bring others to heaven with us, or we shall not reach our eternal destiny ourselves. Amen.

    Assumption Grotto Church, Detroit
    March 16, 1996
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  17. Richard67

    Richard67 Powers

    Just couldn't resist this one:

    A Franciscan, a Dominican, and a Jesuit were sitting in a room when the lights went out. The Franciscan said, “My brothers, let us take this opportunity to consider the debt we owe to our sister, the light.” The Dominican said, “Yes, but let us also take this opportunity to contemplate the difference between light and dark.” Meanwhile, the Jesuit went to the basement, found the fuse box, and reset the breaker.
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  18. josephite

    josephite Powers

    Truly beautiful!
    What a saintly priest, is Father Hardon!

    I struggle with Number 1, 'spiritual inventory', knowing which creatures to endure and of course which creatures to sacrifice; I believe this is really the embracing of the cross. To love of the cross.

    Sometimes my little will wants to throw the cross and this is when I must come in silence before my Lord, hidden in the cross of the tabernacle and recieve His Peace, His Strength, His Knowing.

    May Father Hardon pray for all of us, the church militant, as we proceed, embracing our Holy crosses, towards our true home. Amen.
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  19. AED

    AED Powers

    Thanks so much for posting this.
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  20. Jarg

    Jarg Archangels

    I wonder what St Ignatious would have said in the case of a pope departing from the Truth as confirmed by his predecessors. He must have known about pope Liberius in the 4th century. If the popes of his time had followed Luther in some aspect, what would he have said or do? Would he have acted like St Catherine of Siena, exhorting the pope with rather harsh words to go back to the right Way?

    I feel there ain't right now in the Catholic Church a great saint, public figure, such as Mother Theresa, Padre Pio, Saint JoseMaria, St JPII, or st Pius X, to really give voice to the Holy Spirit and speak on such pressing matters being discussed within the Church. Maybe this lack of public saintly figures is part The tribulation. Because they all spoke very clearly about such matters as the divorced and remarried being discussed today but it's like what they said is totally ignored by many high prelates in the Church now.
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