Pope Asks Jesuits to be Faithful to their Original Spirit

Source: FSSPX News


On February 21, Benedict XVI received the 225 Jesuits who had been meeting in Rome since last January 7, for the 35th General Congregation of the Order, together with the new Father General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas. The Jesuits had just completed the last series of nominations with the election of 9 regional assistants who will help the Father General and his General Assistants in their tasks.

“The Church needs you, relies on you,” declared the pope to the sons of St. Ignatius, after having asked of them “full fidelity to [their] original charism.” He invited them  “to set out once again in the tracks of [their] predecessors with the same courage and intelligence, but also with an equally profound motivation of faith and enthusiasm to serve the Lord and his Church.”

“While you strive to build bridges of understanding and dialogue with those who do not belong to the Church or have difficulty in accepting her outlook or messages, at the same time you must loyally take on the Church’s fundamental duty to remain faithful to her mandate and to adhere totally to the Word of God and to the Magisterium’s task of preserving the integral truth and unity of Catholic doctrine.”

Next, he underlined that: “you must also take care that your work and institutions always maintain a clear and explicit identity, so that the goal of your apostolic activity is neither ambiguous nor obscure and that many others may share in your ideals.”

Referring to the meditation on the two flags [of the fight between good and evil], the pope added that “These [negative] forces are manifest today in many ways but are especially evident in such overriding cultural trends as subjectivism, relativism, hedonism and practical materialism. This is the reason why I asked you for a renewed commitment to promoting and defending Catholic doctrine, especially... its key points, under severe attack today by the secular culture." Evoking “the themes, continuously discussed and called into question today, of the salvation of all humanity in Christ, of sexual morality, of marriage and the family,” Benedict XVI invited the Society of Jesus to “preserve that harmony with the Magisterium which avoids causing confusion and dismay among the People of God.”

In his address, Benedict XVI exhorted the Jesuits “today to reflect in order to rediscover the fullest meaning of your characteristic ‘fourth vow’ of obedience to the Successor of Peter, which does not only involve the readiness to be sent on mission to distant lands but also - in the most genuine Ignatian spirit of feeling with the Church and in the Church - to love and serve the Vicar of Christ on earth with that effective and affective devotion which must make you his invaluable and irreplaceable collaborators in his service for the universal Church.”

“Lastly, I ask you to focus special attention on that ministry of Spiritual Exercises which has been a characteristic feature of your Society from the outset. The Exercises are not only the source of your spirituality and the matrix of your Constitutions but also a gift which the Spirit of the Lord has made to the entire Church. It is your task to continue to make them a valuable and effective means for the spiritual growth of souls, for their initiation to prayer, to meditation in this secularized world where God seems to be absent.”

Addressing the pope, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas regretted that “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 he added: “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.” (Sources: Apic/VIS/vatican.va/jesuites.com)