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scenes from a marriage

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Mar 04, 2008

"These days I have found things in the press which are helpful, but also things that are not helpful. Among those that are least helpful, for example, is the search for conflict between Jesuits and the Holy Father, between Jesuits and the Vatican. I do not believe this to be true. The Society of Jesus has always been in communion with the Holy Father and we are happy to be so. Between spouses there are always difficulties; if any of you who are married say there are not I would not believe you. Only people who love each other can hurt each other." -- V. Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1-25-08

[Fr. Vincent O'Keefe, S.J.], like many American bishops, believes the pope has a cultural bias, that "he has a really deep antagonism to the West, certainly towards the United States. I think he feels we're too materialistic, we're too loud, we talk too much, we're spoiled." The Jesuit father asks, "How available is he for this universal Church that a lot of us are looking for?" [Carl Bernstein, His Holiness, 1996]

The Society of Jesus has always been in communion with the Holy Father and we are happy to be so. Between spouses there are always difficulties ... Only people who love each other can hurt each other. -- V. Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.

But the Rev. Patrick Howell, S.J., dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, said he was shocked. "I think most American Catholics were shocked by the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger because he's been known as the guardian for tradition and orthodoxy," the priest said. "What were they thinking?" Howell wondered about the cardinals. "I don't have an answer." [Tacoma News Tribune, 4-20-05]

The Society of Jesus has always been in communion with the Holy Father and we are happy to be so. Between spouses there are always difficulties ... Only people who love each other can hurt each other. -- V. Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.

But Father John Paris, S.J., Walsh professor of bioethics at Boston College, said the pope's remarks were tailored to a specific audience and will have little impact. "I think the best thing to do is ignore it, and it will go away," Paris said. "It's not an authoritative teaching statement." [ St. Petersburg Times, 5-1-04]

The Society of Jesus has always been in communion with the Holy Father and we are happy to be so. Between spouses there are always difficulties ... Only people who love each other can hurt each other. -- V. Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.

"The old canon law said you had to get the approval of the local bishop. Then the Polish pope came in and changed the canon law. He didn't want any priests involved in governments, so I resigned," [Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J.] said. [Boston Pilot, 11-26-04]

The Society of Jesus has always been in communion with the Holy Father and we are happy to be so. Between spouses there are always difficulties ... Only people who love each other can hurt each other. -- V. Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.

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Show 10 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 09, 2008 4:47 PM ET USA

    Sometimes I wonder if the Jesuits are longing for another extended stay in Russia.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 7:50 PM ET USA

    I have no objection to the editorial decision to lay out these items in the 3 lengthy posts. I would distinguish intemperate bashing, which typically consists of palpably angry, harsh, & unsubstantiated attack, from clearly documented critique & holding-to-account. This is a good case of the latter. The length of this indictment is attributable much more to the accused than to the prosecutor, we might say. There's no question re probable cause here. I could add a few counts, I think.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 06, 2008 2:07 AM ET USA

    I happen to agree with Fr. Vincent O'Keefe, S.J. Sure, Americans are too materialistic, loud, we talk too much, and we're spoiled. But so what? Why can't they elect a Pope to meet my needs?!!!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2008 1:15 PM ET USA

    Being in communion with the Pope does not imply that one agrees with everything that the Pope says. As Pope Benedict reminds us, Christianity and especially Catholicism is a rational religion and that implies both the ability and the inclination to enter into discourse are important. This is different than disregarding directives.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2008 11:00 AM ET USA

    Marriage is a relationship/covenant/contract between equals. Since when did Jesuits achieve that status? Based on what the General says, they seem to have become a group of old male narcissists. Maybe they need a shrink, and a Pope.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 05, 2008 7:25 AM ET USA

    Phil, three lengthy posts on this? Where do you find the time? Sure, they're nuts -- don't let it get to you. Nothing you can do about it except make yourself and others bitter, and that is not going to help the situation.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2008 5:42 PM ET USA

    Obedience? But we're the Jesuits! We're exempt from such a thing. Wonder what it will take for them to get the message....I suspect we will all find out in the not too distant future. Pray for it to happen.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2008 3:49 PM ET USA

    True, the Jesuits are in communion with the Holy Father. But is that communion in conformity with what the Holy Father expects and requires from the Jesuits? It is not my inclination to go from a particular Jesuits behavior to a universal judgment of the Order. The Father General needs to take care of that issue before it become more than a pebble in the shoe of the pontiff. More attention the the 4th vow would help.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2008 3:44 PM ET USA

    This marriage is truly dysfunctional.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 04, 2008 2:31 PM ET USA

    Thanks, Phil. This is a real service. It gets beyond generalizations to the specifics. It would be interesting to hand a copy of it to Fr. Gen. Nicholas and ask for his reaction.

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