The Ubiquitous Jesuits in the Vatican

December 21, 2022
The Roman College or Gregorian University, founded by Saint Ignatius

“In this last phase of his pontificate – declining in age but not in ambitions - Francis has equipped himself with a veteran attack team, all his own and made up entirely of Jesuits,” observes Sandro Magister on his Settimo Cielo site on October 31, 2022.

Cardinal Jesuits

In addition to Francis himself, the first Jesuit Pope in the history of the Church, there is Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg. “[He is the] [t]op man, in Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s plans, both for today and for tomorrow. For today, the task assigned to him by Francis is to steer, as relator general, the world synod that get underway in 2021 and will last at least until 2024, but in the pope’s mind even beyond, with the task of remodeling the Church under the banner of none other than a permanent ‘synodality.’”

“While for tomorrow it is no mystery Cardinal Hollerich is also Francis’ candidate ‘in pectore’ for his succession, on which the current synod will have decisive influence.”

Sandro Magister emphasizes: “It is impossible not to recall that some of these were the reforms that another great Jesuit, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (1927-2021), had included in the agenda  of the future Church in a memorable 1999 speech.”

“Martini is known to have had a negative view of Bergoglio, but the supporters of the current pontificate are having a field day making him the ‘prophet’ of the reforms for which Francis is supposedly paving the way at last and of which Hollerich has already repeatedly said he is in favor.”  In particular in an interview published by L'Osservatore Romano on October 24.

Opposite Cardinal Hollerich there is another Jesuit, Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria, who in his capacity as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, prohibited the blessing of homosexual unions in a Responsum made public on March 15, 2021. However, it counts for little in the system put in place by Francis.

It appears to be just window dressing meant to provide a facade of symmetry. He is required “in the meantime to answer ‘no’ to these cardinals – and there have been some – who have asked him to call Hollerich back to respect for correct doctrine.” It is a purely rhetorical reminder, without any concrete effect.

“There are two other Jesuits whom Francis has recently made cardinals and has put on the team in important roles.” The first is the Canadian Jesuit Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. “Czerny was also the special secretary of the synod on the Amazon. From the defense of nature to migrants, to the ‘popular movements,’ he is the man Bergoglio avails himself of in these fields he favors.”

“The second is the Italian Gianfranco Ghirlanda, former rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and a seasoned expert in canon law.”  According to Sandro Magister, one of his  missions is that of “translating into juridical provisions the imperious acts that Francis carries out with the air of an absolute monarch.” He is responsible for, among other things, the “dismantling and refounding imposed by the pope on the Order of Malta.”

The “Cardinal Point” Jesuits

The Pope has placed other Jesuits who are not cardinals in key roles, at his service. “In the general secretariat of the synod of bishops, there is a consultant who is in fact the associate closest to Cardinal Hollerich. It is Fr. Giacomo Costa, former editor of the magazine Aggiornamenti Sociali of the Milan Jesuits and vice-president of the Fondazione Carlo Maria Martini.”

“Not to mention, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civiltà Cattolica and very close to Francis since his election as pope; he too is very active and urgent in promoting the world synod on synodality.”

“And then there is the chapter on Vatican finances, where Francis has appointed the Spanish Jesuit Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy [from which he has just resigned ‘for personal reasons,’ on November 30. Ed.], the office that oversees the entire sector.”

“Moreover, for a couple of years there has been a Jesuit at St. Peter's Basilica, alongside the Cardinal Archpriest Mauro Gambetti, the pope’s vicar general for Vatican City. It is Francesco Occhetta, Secretary General of the ‘Fratelli tutti’ Foundation and until 2020 political columnist for La Civiltà Cattolica.”

“There is also a Jesuit among the auxiliary bishops of the diocese of Rome of which the Pope is the bishop: Daniele Libanori, who is entrusted with the pastoral charge of the city center.”

Finally, at the Pontifical Academy for Life, there is another Jesuit “who for Pope Francis is of far greater clout and value” than its president Vincenzo Paglia. “His name is Carlo Casalone. He is  66 years old. From 1995 to 2008 he was editor of the magazine of the Milan Jesuits Aggiornamenti Sociali, and from 2008 to 2014 Superior of the Province of Italy of the Society of Jesus.”

Today he teaches moral theology and bioethics at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and since 2013 he has been president of the Fondazione Carlo Maria Martini.”

Martini, again and again, he who, in his last book-interview [Nighttime Conversations in Jerusalem], did not hesitate to accuse Humanæ vitae of causing “serious damage” to the Church by prohibiting artificial contraception, when it should have taken “a new culture of tenderness and an approach to sexuality that is more free from prejudice.”