Questions St. Ignatius Would Ask the New Jesuit General

St. Ignatius Loyola would undoubtedly be happy that a fellow Spaniard, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, is once again at the helm of the Society of Jesus, but I doubt St. Ignatius would be happy about the state of his order at this moment in church history. While I have a healthy respect for the many good Jesuits I have known, I can't be as optimistic about their ability to pull off an internal reform that would make this company, once known as the pope's shock troops, the pre-eminent force of orthodoxy and spiritual renewal in the world. For this to happen, the Jesuits will need strong, decisive leadership — in other words, Fr. Nicolás has his work cut out for him.

Fr. Nicolás has received his share of accolades for his 40 years of missionary work and solid character, but the "hard questions" have yet to be asked, and his accountability is not merely to the Catholics waiting for a resurrection of this order, but also to St. Ignatius himself, who will undoubtedly be posing the hardest questions of all. I believe that the answers to these questions are what will make or break our confidence in the new General's leadership.

First and foremost, Ignatius would ask if he was planning to use his authority to return Jesuit universities to orthodoxy. The list of Jesuit university horror stories is simply appalling to any decent Catholic let alone a saint like Ignatius. When I was in Ecuador last November, the Jesuit university in Quito sponsored a seminar on the "Theology of Che Guevara" (the radical companion of Fidel Castro) as a legitimate public lecture. In America the horrors range from ten Jesuit universities sponsoring the despicable V-Monologues on campus this year, others hosting gay and lesbian student groups, one giving scholarships for training in pro-abortion activism and many others bestowing honorary degrees and speaking platforms to pro-abortion politicians in commencement ceremonies. What will be done about this?

Second, Ignatius would want to know whether Fr. Nicolás will discipline dissenting theologians in their ranks before the US Bishops or the Vatican have to. Fr. Peter Phan of Georgetown is the most recent example, but other "theologians" like ex-priest Daniel McGuire at Marquette and at least one Jesuit "ethicist" who endorsed the killing of Terri Schiavo are outright predators on the faith of young souls and need to be removed. Then there is the nagging scandal of deceased Jesuit, Robert Drinan. Fr. Drinan was a US Congressman in the 70s with a 100% pro-abortion voting record and was never once disciplined by his superiors for his blatantly heretical positions. In fact, he was so benignly pardoned by his superiors that Georgetown Law School rewarded him with an honorary Endowed Chair for human rights!

 Third, what will be done to purge the Jesuits of its misfits, Ignatius would ask. For a starter, Fr. Nicolás could show his seriousness in reform by suspending and removing from office Fr. Michael McFarlane, president of Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts, who flagrantly disobeyed the directive of Bishop Robert McManus not to allow a pro-abortion group to meet on campus. Better yet, he should remove Fr. McFarlane's Provincial who stood by in silent assent to this disgraceful conduct. He might also clean up the ranks of the Jesuit sex offenders who have cost various Jesuit Provinces more than $60 million in lawsuits in the past decade, including the largest single payout from a religious order in history for more than a hundred victims.

Jesuits ranks have thinned from 38,000 Jesuits worldwide in 1965 to about half that number today. Their average age is rising and their seminaries are anything but full. There is a reason for that: lack of orthodoxy coupled with toleration of dissent and misconduct in the ranks. Only strong leadership and a return to discipline will restore the Jesuits to their position as the world's pre-eminent defenders of the Faith — and, like the rest of us, St. Ignatius will surely be watching.

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  • Guest

    Let us pray for Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, that he may by the grace of God deal with the Society's troubles, swiftly, justly, and charitably.

  • Guest

    I'm sure these were difficult words to write. 

    They certainly were difficult to read.

  • Guest


         It is a tragedy that this (once good) group has fallen into the trap of dissent. We must pray that this group can reform itself and set an example for the whole Church.

         Since the dissent over Humanae Vitae the Catholic Church has been given the appearance of being pro-abortion, by example of  the "Catholic" politicians and dissenters who seemed to affirm the pro-abortion side of the issue as being "Catholic". If the political party's true Catholic members had put pressure on on the party's stand, we might have long ago removed Roe V. Wade and saved millions of babies' lives.

        Our nation is now in a grave moral crisis (as are the Jesuits) and America needs an example of real moral leadership to get out the message that REAL Catholics are NOT pro-abortion and that nothing makes it acceptable to to vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

       Abortion is murder of a helpless baby and, even worse, it truly targets our racial minorities. (How can a Black leader target Black babies to be torn to pieces in their mother's wombs? This is shameful and illogical. I challenge those who support Mr. Obama to point this out and help him to see the truth that this procedure does not bring wealth to Blacks but brings death, and woundedness to all women who experience it. It poisons our whole society, and we need good leaders to end it.

        May the Jesuits set an example of Truth about respect of all human life and need for purity of lifestyle. Purity is needed to preserve our society and traditional families and in all sexuality.

       May the Catholic voters lead the way to a government that respects all human life -born and unborn, and promotes strong traditional family life. We must stand firm against global pressures that promote the spread of abortion, pornography, and disrespect for life.

  • Guest

    amen, Grace!

  • Guest

    Fr. Nicolás must now make the ultimate choice for his order:  Will he be the General who renews and rebuilds the Jesuits as a true Society of Jesus and return the order to its former status as defender and teacher of Truth or will he merely be a caretaker of a declining order in its continued demise?


    I was once told by a good priest that "a religious order that stops preaching the Gospel quickly becomes nothing more than a group of underpaid social workers who can't date – and no one will be inspired to give up their life for that!"  I am convinced that the Holy Spirit will not "set his pearls before swine".  He sends the majority of religious vocations to those orders (and dioceses) that are most dedicated to the Truth as faithfully handed on by the Church.


    Any good leader should recognize that a decline in numbers as seen by the Jesuits (and many other orders) is a symptom of greater problems – especially when there are newer orders that are growing rapidly!  The problem is not that the Holy Spirit has stopped giving vocations, rather that He entrusts those vocations to others who will use these gifts to the greater glory of God. 

    If it were me, I would have to conclude that the Holy Spirit was not pleased with the state of my order and immediately work to repent, clean house, and rededicate ourselves to the work of creating a true Society of Jesus.


    Please pray for the Fr. Nicolás (and all religious superiors and diocese bishops) that they may be good stewards of the gift of vocations given them by the Holy Spirit.




  • Guest

    Fr. Nicolas has already voiced his interest and mission, he's planning an Asian campaign. It may be a good strategy of going in a new and positive direction. It still seems like the order doesn't see it's past or present sins and would prefer to look the other way.

    One can never second guess the Holy Spirit or the power of St. Ignatius. If I were a betting man, I would bet that springtime for the order is not yet and we'll have to wait for a real reformer.

  • Guest

    Fr. Nicholas has an arduous journey ahead of him to "get his order back on track".  A local priest here is very pleased with their new leader and is ready for the Jesuit Order to get back to what made them strong. 

    And all Catholics have to start being Catholic instead of "place-holders" in the pew on Sundays.

    Tarheel (Dave)

  • Guest

    For years, I have felt it despicable how tenaciously Satan has grabbed hold of the Jesuit order. Father Nicolas needs our constant and sincere prayers. I have warned my daughter to be wary of the Jesuit universities as she researches the 4-year college she wants to attend. Pray to St. Michael the Archangel to banish Satan from the Jesuit order and that orthodoxy in teaching and obedience to the Word of God be restored.

  • Guest

    Amen.  What a well written article.

  • Guest

    Here is a quote by Father Nicolas:   "The question is how to give the Ignatian experience to a Buddhist," Father Nicolas said. "Not maybe formulated in Christian terms, which is what Ignatius asked, but to go to the core of the experience."


    This is from the leader of an outfit called the Society of JESUS!


    The Spiritual Exercises  of St Ignatius are at the core of Ignatian Spirituality. The purpose of the exercises is to fall in love with Jesus Christ and surrender your life to Him. Someone please tell me how to accomplish that purpose "without speaking in Christian terms"?

    The entire problem of the Jesuits is that they aren't Ignatian. Hey guys, give Ignatius a try, you might like it!


  • Guest

    I know that St. Ignatius is a saint in Heaven, and, therefore, beyond suffering; but it's really hard to believe that the state of his order, his gift to Jesus, doesn't pain him a little.

  • Guest

    Since my son's experience at one of the Jesuit universities several years ago — I had my eyes opened the hard way with their fertile grounds of liberalism and new age theological leanings.  The good he achieved in his base liberal arts education was negated by the blatent disrespect of orthodox theology.  Shameful.  When an SJ institution staff the theology department with Jesus Seminar sponsors ….. something is sorely wrong. 

    I personally feel support from their alumni in the form of donations should be activated. Maybe then the SJ's would listen.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not one who supports a tunnel-vision educational experience … but a call to expose these students to orthodox teachings should carry the same weight.     

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