SO THE POPE IS A JESUIT, BUT…
• Previous popes have punished Jesuit theologians for being too progressive in preaching and teaching. The last pontiff, Benedict XVI, sent a polite but firm letter inviting the order’s worldwide members to pledge “total adhesion” to Catholic doctrine, including on divorce, homosexuality and liberation theology.
• The Jesuits push a social-justice agenda, and their work with the poor in Latin America in the late 20th century sparked worries in the Vatican that they were embracing Marxist political movements.
• Some Jesuits, especially in the United States and the Netherlands, questioned papal pronouncements on birth control, priestly celibacy and the ban on women priests.
FEELING THE PRESSURE:
• The Society of Jesus - as the Jesuits are formally known - has about 19,200 members in 112 countries, down from a peak of some 36,000 in the 1960s.
• The Jesuits were disbanded by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 after political pressure in Europe and restored in 1814 by Pope Pius VII.
• Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, clashed with the Jesuits. He said the order had become too independent, leftist and political, particularly in Latin America. Many of the theologians disciplined by the Vatican in recent years have been Jesuits.
JESUIT HIGHER EDUCATION
There are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, located in 18 states and the District of Columbia. From Fordham University in New York and Fairfield University in Connecticut to the University of San Francisco and The University of Scranton, the institutions include both major research universities and smaller colleges and universities, according to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
And, yes, they sure can play basketball at some of these Jesuit schools.
Just take a look at your 2013 NCAA Tournament Bracket and you’ll see Jesuits and hoops can go hand in hand. Tiny Gonzaga University, in Spokane, Wash., is a Jesuit school named after St. Aloysius Gonzaga and is a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., is a No. 2 seed, Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wis., is a No. 3, St. Louis University, in St. Louis, Mo., a No. 4, and Creighton University, in Omaha, Neb., a No. 7. All are Jesuit.
Wait … didn’t we forget Notre Dame? And Villanova? Nope. Holy Cross and Augustinian, respectively. Catholic but not Jesuit.
• The Very Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907–1991) 28th Superior General (1965–83) of the Society of Jesus. He led the first rescue party in Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb
• The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, American political activist, poet and professor at Fordham University
• Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. (1897-1983) was a Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus in St. Louis, Mo. He was the lead exorcist in the exorcism of Roland Doe, a 13-year-old Lutheran boy in 1949. The case became the basis of William Peter Blatty’s novel, “The Exorcist.” Bowdern was assisted in the exorcism by fellow Jesuit priest Father Walter Halloran.
The Rev. John Dear, American Catholic priest, Christian pacifist, author and lecturer. He has been arrested multiple times in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience against war, injustice and nuclear weapons.
• “The Exorcist,” starring Scranton’s own Jason Miller. He portrayed a Jesuit in the movie based on the William Peter Blatty novel.
• “The Mission,” starring Robert De Niro. This Oscar-nominated British film tells the story of a Spanish Jesuit mission in South America in 1790. De Niro plays a mercenary and slave driver who kidnaps natives and sells them to nearby plantations but later travels with the Jesuits as a penance.
• JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to found colleges with good basketball teams. (from “A Catholic Dictionary”)
• There is always a right way and a wrong way to proceed: Two Jesuit novices both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their superior for permission. The first asked but was told no. A little while later he spotted his friend smoking. “Why did the superior allow you to smoke but not me?” he asked. His friend replied, “Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed, and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!”
• A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Franciscan were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders. Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him.
The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty.
The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy Family.
The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send the boy to school?”