a jesuit thaw?

By Diogenes (articles) | Jan 10, 2008

As the Society of Jesus begins its General Congregation in Rome, there are signs of a new openness to criticism of Jesuit policy on the part of Jesuits themselves. National Catholic Reporter columnist John Dear admits he has "mixed feelings about the Jesuits," the order to which he belongs, which are provoked by what he terms "our history of violence." Dear finds this culture of violence deplorably abetted by contemporary Jesuit endeavors:

The leading Jesuit publication, America, features regular ads paid for by the Pentagon to recruit priests to join the military in support of their killing campaigns.

Too harsh, I think. The true nature of those chaplain ads is almost certainly not evident in their black and white proofs. But Father Dear has even more astringent remarks about Jesuit educational institutions:

On top of this, most of our [Jesuit] universities and high schools train young people how to murder other people in an evil program called Reserve Officer Training Corp, or ROTC. This work goes against everything Jesus gave his life for, everything we stand for.

How very interesting. Rumors, I regret to say, have floated around the blogs from time to time insinuating that the Society of Jesus is resistant to criticism "from within" and particularly hostile to reproaches publicly expressed by her members. Dear's column proves such rumors are a reckless exaggeration, if not outright calumny. A religious congregation that awards its priests such liberty in public reprobation ("most of our schools train young people how to murder other people ...") can hardly be accused of intolerance.

Well can it?

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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