In the National Catholic Reporter, Father John P. Lanagan, SJ, of Georgetown takes to task those bishops and cardinals in our country who view abortion as the pre-eminent moral issue of our time and who have the audacity to speak out against the Obama administration because of it. Father Z shows him the errors of his way.
As I noted in my first Jesuitical post, the Society of Jesus certainly seems to often be a force in opposition to the Church these days. However there are good orthodox Jesuits, loyal to the Magisterium. One of them is Father Paul Shaughnessy, currently a Navy Chaplain. Here is what he wrote about his order in 2002:
THE TRAJECTORY of the decline is not hard to trace, and the Jesuit story, though more dramatic, differs little from that of other progressive religious orders in the decades following the Second Vatican Council. Liberalism had been seen to foster tolerance and mutual respect in pluralist secular communities. Yet, being purely negative in content and procedural in application, it proved lethal when imported into an intentional association like the Society of Jesus, one both doctrinally exclusivist and rigidly hierarchical. Almost overnight the pope’s light infantry became a battalion in which every man decided for himself which war he was fighting. The result was an institutional nightmare: confusion and cowardice at the top; despair, rage, and disillusionment in the ranks. American Jesuits went from 8,400 members in 1965 to 3,500 today. Entering novices declined from a peak one-year total of 409 to a low of 38. Worse, the number of priests who jump ship each year roughly equals the number of entering novices; the number of Jesuits who die annually is twice as high as either.
Yet at its heart, the crisis is not one of size but of allegiance. One of the signal services performed by “Passionate Uncertainty” is that it lets us hear influential Jesuits–those who shape policy–speak their minds frankly, in words unsoftened by the public relations personnel in the fund-raising offices. “I am appalled by the direction of the present papacy,” says a university administrator. “I am scandalized by Rome’s intransigent refusal to re-examine its doctrines regarding gender and sex. . . . Frankly I think the church is being governed by thugs.” “The church as we have known it is dying,” a retreat master insists. “I hope and pray that the Society will help to facilitate this death and resurrection.” An academic gloats, “The Society has not sold its soul to the ‘Restoration’ of John Paul II.” Another Jesuit scholar, a church historian, ranks John Paul II as “probably the worst pope of all times”–adding, “He’s not one of the worst popes; he’s the worst. Don’t misquote me.” The respondents make it clear that their contempt for the pope is based almost entirely on his intransigence, his unwillingness to imitate their own adaptability in the matter of doctrine.
I think C. S. Lewis once opined that there were few things lower than a man who is paid to defend certain doctrines and who then works against the doctrines while still taking the money. He was right.