Catholic World News News Feature
Pope prods Jesuits on loyalty to Church January 18, 2008
In a message to the 35th general convention of the Society of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI has called for a revival of traditional Jesuit loyalty to the Catholic faith and the Holy See.
"I heartily hope that the present congregation affirms with clarity the authentic charism of the Founder so as to encourage all Jesuits to promote true and healthy Catholic doctrine," the Holy Father wrote in a message to the 225 Jesuit delegates meeting in Rome. The Pope's letter was dated January 10, but made public on January 18, the day before the general congregation was scheduled to elect a new superior general.
Pope Benedict called the Society of Jesus to a "renewed ascetic and apostolic impulse." In more specific terms he suggested that:
… it could prove extremely useful that the general congregation reaffirm, in the spirit of St. Ignatius, its own total adhesion to Catholic doctrine, in particular on those neuralgic points which today are strongly attacked by secular culture, as for example the relationship between Christ and religions; some aspects of the theology of liberation; and various points of sexual morality, especially as regards the indissolubility of marriage and the pastoral care of homosexual persons.
The Pope also reminded the delegates of the special loyalty that Jesuits owe to the Holy See, confirmed "in a vow of immediate obedience to the successor of Peter." That loyalty is urgently needed today, he said, to help preach the Gospel message faithfully to a society "distracted by many discordant voices."
Pope Benedict offered his "most heartfelt gratitude" to the outgoing Jesuit superior, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, for nearly 25 years of leadership. He also thanked all of the Jesuits who have worked faithfully for the Church. He promised his prayers for the success of the general congregation and the future of the Jesuit order.