Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Liberal Jesuits & the Late Pope

From a rather disturbing article which we lack the expertise to judge, but which we lay out for consideration and comment.

Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J provides his observations about the hostility, rising sometimes to outright hatred, within the Jesuit order for Pope John Paul II. He begins:
Sinéad O’Connor, during a 1992 appearance on SNL, ended her performance of a Bob Marley song by ripping a photo of Pope John Paul II top to bottom while chanting “Fight the real enemy!” Most people who heard of the incident were shocked by the display of hatred. I wasn’t. I’m a Jesuit, you see.

Over the course of 28 years in the Society of Jesus, I’ve watched Wojtyla-hatred turn into one of the principal sub-themes of Jesuit life. I say “theme” and not “policy.” The official documents have never departed from the language of deference to the pope. I’m talking about the informal expectations of day to day existence, the culture transmitted not by the printed word but by oblique rewards and punishments, by the smiles and scowls of the men who count. Viewed from within this culture of jesuitry, Sinéad’s pontiff-shredding was almost sacramental: an outward sign of an interior reality.
And he goes on to explain the origins of the hostility:
The dreams that progressivists surfaced during Paul VI’s pontificate – of a congregational, sexually emancipated, anti-sacral “picnic” catholicism – were frankly infantile. Yet Catholics over 50 will remember the emotional mist of auto-suggestion that “the next pope” would move with the times and make these dreams come true. Not all Jesuits got smitten by this vision, but the majority did, and was stunned when Wojtyla failed to act out its fantasy. Many left the Society to seethe outside it; others remained, and seethe within.
Mankowski insists that he doesn’t want to overstate the case, and avers that there are a substantial number of supporters of the late Pope in the order. But that doesn’t wipe out the impression he gives with the following recollection:
Before ordination I’d heard my Jesuit professors pray that Wojtyla come to an early death – and go unrebuked, or rebuked in that jocular vein that signals sympathy. It was the absence of contradiction that spoke loudest.
There is a certain logic here when the most worldly of Catholic orders becomes heavily infected with the attitudes of the world, and indeed of secular elites.

But we would prefer to have somebody assure us that Mankowski is simply wrong.

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