Cardinal O’Malley on the Society of Jesus

Cardinal O’Malley on the Society of Jesus

Cardinal Sean O’Malley continued his blog last night with a reflection on the Church of Gesu in Rome and the Jesuits. He included the text of a homily he gave to the Boston College Jesuits on the feast of St. Ignatius. I think it’s a subtle (or not so subtle) instruction to the Jesuits to recover their roots and return to their historic roles as the “shock troops” of the Church rather than just the “shocking” troops, if you get my meaning.

He starts out by quoting several famous critics of the Jesuits:

William Crashaw touted the fact that thanks to Luther and Calvin “the Romish Church, that scarlet whore, had fallen on hard times “her cup of abominations was almost drunk up but then the Jesuits had made their entrance, flying like locusts out of the bottomless pit, to repair the ruins of the Romish Church and to fill her golden cup with a new supply of spiritual fornications.”

John Adams, another admirer of the Jesuits wrote to Thomas Jefferson “I do not like the late resurrection of the Jesuits. Shall we not have swarms of them here, in as many shapes and disguises as ever a gypsy king assumed. If any congregation of men could merit eternal perdition on earth and in hell, it is this company of Loyola.”

He recalls that the Gospel tells us that they will hate Jesus’ disciples, but O’Malley warns that “it is important to be hated for the right reasons.” A subtle acknowledgment of the vast criticisms of the Society of Jesus today? Perhaps.

A prescription for renewal

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli