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I don't think I'm breaking any new ground by saying that the current state of the Jesuits leaves something to be desired.  Among traditionalists, there's always this lament about what the Jesuits used to be.  I can see that.  However, my personal orientation to issues of degeneration within institutions doesn't leave a lot of room for looking back fondly in the way many Catholics look back on the Jesuits' history.  

I strongly endorse the idea among many right-wing thinkers (Spengler comes to mind most immediately) who dislike the notion of "conservatism" from the outset.  Dugin, though I hate him generally, describes the stupidity of trying to turn back the clock on an institution/society/ideology as restoring a patient to the prodrome of their disease process.  This is why conservatism is a stupid idea prima facie, and it's why my favorite thinkers generally conceive of the right-wing as something that must be forward thinking at its core.  It cannot look to ideologies that degenerated in the past, and it definitely cannot simply aspire to pausing time or retreating a couple of decades while conceding core principles to the other side.

My point with the Jesuits is this: Were they really as great as they are made out to be?  I'm too ignorant on the subject to say.  But somewhere within their constitution or the essence of their spirituality, there had to be a gene or inkling that gave rise to the modern Jesuits.  From what I know of them, it may be as simple as their ultramontanism.  However, this idea of avoiding that which degenerates altogether has made me really averse to delving deeper into Jesuit spirituality.  Should I rethink this?
Quote:My point with the Jesuits is this: Were they really as great as they are made out to be?  I'm too ignorant on the subject to say.  But somewhere within their constitution or the essence of their spirituality, there had to be a gene or inkling that gave rise to the modern Jesuits.  From what I know of them, it may be as simple as their ultramontanism.  However, this idea of avoiding that which degenerates altogether has made me really averse to delving deeper into Jesuit spirituality.  Should I rethink this?

I'm largely a practicing Catholic because of a deep fascination with the Jesuit order and St. Ignatius of Loyola. I won't bore you with my personal history here, but I will admit some romantic notion of duty compels me to come to the Jesuit order's defense. To answer your question bluntly, I do think the Jesuits were as great as they were made out to be (especially the original nine.) Ignatius was a fascinating man who combined genuine Catholic mysticism with a seemingly peerless genius for organizational strategy. When his spiritual exercises are followed while under the guidance of an experienced director (a rare thing these days) they still pack an enormous punch. 

It's hard for me to imagine the counter reformation being successful without the Jesuits. Huge swaths of Germany as well as all of Poland were returned to Catholicism almost entirely because of the Jesuits. Their forward momentum was so strong in fact that there is a romantic theory that claims that had the order not been suppressed they would have wiped out the Protestant heresies entirely. I think that's a bit naive, but I do think that the order never really regained it's initial fire.

 To this day though countless Protestants will fritter away time and money advancing conspiracy theories about how the Jesuits really control everything. I have a Protestant friend who's quite found of these theories and has often told me ominously how "those directions" have brainwashed me against true biblical Christianity. Silly things like that don't simply come into being by themselves. The fact is that the psychological damage Ignatius and his sons inflicted on the initial Protestant rebels is borne by their progeny even today.

As far as their collapse goes I'd point out a couple of things. First the fact that nearly every major order within the Church collapsed after Vatican II would indicate that the Jesuits weren't uniquely poisoned. Secondly I'd point out that the order's collapse followed after General Arrupe deliberately threw out the traditional Jesuit norms. So I don't think you can fairly blame Jesuit spirituality for the collapse. Thirdly the idea that you can trace a religious implosion to a single set of errors it too simplistic. After all you can use that same argument to discredit Catholicism as a whole, and many Eastern Orthodox polemicist do just that. Does not the modern collapse of Catholicism indicate some poisonous entity within the religion itself? I think not.

At the end of the day I think it's all comes down to human sin. When you don't cooperate with God's grace things go off the rails. That's just how it goes. We just have to do the best we can and pass on what has been given to us. That's my two cents anyway.
(03-05-2018, 05:11 AM)MeanGene Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:My point with the Jesuits is this: Were they really as great as they are made out to be?  I'm too ignorant on the subject to say.  But somewhere within their constitution or the essence of their spirituality, there had to be a gene or inkling that gave rise to the modern Jesuits.  From what I know of them, it may be as simple as their ultramontanism.  However, this idea of avoiding that which degenerates altogether has made me really averse to delving deeper into Jesuit spirituality.  Should I rethink this?

I'm largely a practicing Catholic because of a deep fascination with the Jesuit order and St. Ignatius of Loyola. I won't bore you with my personal history here, but I will admit some romantic notion of duty compels me to come to the Jesuit order's defense. To answer your question bluntly, I do think the Jesuits were as great as they were made out to be (especially the original nine.) Ignatius was a fascinating man who combined genuine Catholic mysticism with a seemingly peerless genius for organizational strategy. When his spiritual exercises are followed while under the guidance of an experienced director (a rare thing these days) they still pack an enormous punch. 

It's hard for me to imagine the counter reformation being successful without the Jesuits. Huge swaths of Germany as well as all of Poland were returned to Catholicism almost entirely because of the Jesuits. Their forward momentum was so strong in fact that there is a romantic theory that claims that had the order not been suppressed they would have wiped out the Protestant heresies entirely. I think that's a bit naive, but I do think that the order never really regained it's initial fire.

 To this day though countless Protestants will fritter away time and money advancing conspiracy theories about how the Jesuits really control everything. I have a Protestant friend who's quite found of these theories and has often told me ominously how "those directions" have brainwashed me against true biblical Christianity. Silly things like that don't simply come into being by themselves. The fact is that the psychological damage Ignatius and his sons inflicted on the initial Protestant rebels is borne by their progeny even today.

As far as their collapse goes I'd point out a couple of things. First the fact that nearly every major order within the Church collapsed after Vatican II would indicate that the Jesuits weren't uniquely poisoned. Secondly I'd point out that the order's collapse followed after General Arrupe deliberately threw out the traditional Jesuit norms. So I don't think you can fairly blame Jesuit spirituality for the collapse. Thirdly the idea that you can trace a religious implosion to a single set of errors it too simplistic. After all you can use that same argument to discredit Catholicism as a whole, and many Eastern Orthodox polemicist do just that. Does not the modern collapse of Catholicism indicate some poisonous entity within the religion itself? I think not.

At the end of the day I think it's all comes down to human sin. When you don't cooperate with God's grace things go off the rails. That's just how it goes. We just have to do the best we can and pass on what has been given to us. That's my two cents anyway.

Makes sense to me!  I had a very positive experience with the spiritual exercises on a retreat a few years back when I was literally about two days away from signing paperwork with my diocese and entering seminary.  That was before I began taking an interest in traditionalism.  I hope to do something like it again once I have the time.  Any particular books on the Jesuits or Ignatian spirituality you'd recommend?

Incidentally, I actually do think that the Church has been "infected" in various ways over its history that would have been its downfall were it not for Christ's promise.  That's why I find the Church's conception of its history in stages of declines and renewals to be so fascinating.  I like your point about the Jesuits' involvement in the Counter Reformation, and it's kinda making me think that Spengler's ideas don't really apply in this case.
My grandmother's uncle was a fairly prominent Jesuit priest in his day - a brilliant educator and an extremely intelligent man.  He taught several subjects at Boston College, Holy Cross, Fordham, Gonzaga, and another university that escapes my memory at the moment.  Being somewhat curious about this man, I read up a little bit on the Jesuits, and I have to say there's nobody else like them.

They have been called "God's Marines".  They never back off and have never hesitated to go anywhere that the Bishop of Rome ordered them to go - often where other missionaries have feared to tread.  At the core of their beliefs is a dedication to education, learning, and teaching.  They love to dissect and analyze any topic, issue, or event and look at it from all sides.  Very analytical by their nature.  Sometimes a little too smart for their own good.  ALWAYS thinking 'outside the box'.  Outside the box isn't always congruent with Catholic theology, so there's already fertile ground for what we see today.

Here's where I think things got tricky with the Jesuits.  When they take their Orders of poverty, chastity, and obedience... they take a special fourth vow of obedience to the pope.  Back when Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council, the Jesuits were the quickest to pick up the "football of change" and run with it.  Why?  Because that's what Paul VI ordered them to do, and these "bold" new ways of looking at Catholic theology and the Novus Ordo Mass that sprung from it was right up their alley.  The Jesuits have never been boring and never wait to spring into action when they get something in their heads.  I'll give them that. 

So, since Vatican II, the order has attracted a certain kind of man to the priesthood, and as the older and more orthodox Jesuits passed on, they've lateraled the "Vatican II football/football of change" to the new generation who are running even harder with it today.  I've been to a Mass celebrated by a Jesuit priest once.  The Mass was very "modern" and he was very enthusiastic about it.  Lots of energy.  It just needs to be channeled in a more orthodox direction, I think.

I have never met my great-great uncle Matt, but I would like to think that he would be very concerned with both the present state of the Church and his order. 

What to do about it? 

Here's how things can change, but it can't happen overnight.  A young enough pope with a strong enough will can get them back on track.  I think the Jesuits can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of the Catholic Church, but as corny as this sounds - they need proper supervision.  Putting the Jesuits in their place didn't seem to be a priority for St. John Paul II, and I think that Benedict XVI was too old to really take them on and put his foot down.  Naturally, I'm sure they would have complied with anything Benedict told them to do, but his short pontificate coupled with the election of Pope Francis - a fellow Jesuit - would have undone any real change Benedict could have effected.  Under Pope Francis, the Jesuits are kind of running willy-nilly.  As I said, a strong pope should be able to reign them in and begin to harness their strengths and help to truly rebuild Christ's Church.
(03-05-2018, 05:11 AM)MeanGene Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:My point with the Jesuits is this: Were they really as great as they are made out to be?  I'm too ignorant on the subject to say.  But somewhere within their constitution or the essence of their spirituality, there had to be a gene or inkling that gave rise to the modern Jesuits.  From what I know of them, it may be as simple as their ultramontanism.  However, this idea of avoiding that which degenerates altogether has made me really averse to delving deeper into Jesuit spirituality.  Should I rethink this?

I'm largely a practicing Catholic because of a deep fascination with the Jesuit order and St. Ignatius of Loyola. I won't bore you with my personal history here, but I will admit some romantic notion of duty compels me to come to the Jesuit order's defense. To answer your question bluntly, I do think the Jesuits were as great as they were made out to be (especially the original nine.) Ignatius was a fascinating man who combined genuine Catholic mysticism with a seemingly peerless genius for organizational strategy. When his spiritual exercises are followed while under the guidance of an experienced director (a rare thing these days) they still pack an enormous punch. 

It's hard for me to imagine the counter reformation being successful without the Jesuits. Huge swaths of Germany as well as all of Poland were returned to Catholicism almost entirely because of the Jesuits. Their forward momentum was so strong in fact that there is a romantic theory that claims that had the order not been suppressed they would have wiped out the Protestant heresies entirely. I think that's a bit naive, but I do think that the order never really regained it's initial fire.

 To this day though countless Protestants will fritter away time and money advancing conspiracy theories about how the Jesuits really control everything. I have a Protestant friend who's quite found of these theories and has often told me ominously how "those directions" have brainwashed me against true biblical Christianity. Silly things like that don't simply come into being by themselves. The fact is that the psychological damage Ignatius and his sons inflicted on the initial Protestant rebels is borne by their progeny even today.

As far as their collapse goes I'd point out a couple of things. First the fact that nearly every major order within the Church collapsed after Vatican II would indicate that the Jesuits weren't uniquely poisoned. Secondly I'd point out that the order's collapse followed after General Arrupe deliberately threw out the traditional Jesuit norms. So I don't think you can fairly blame Jesuit spirituality for the collapse. Thirdly the idea that you can trace a religious implosion to a single set of errors it too simplistic. After all you can use that same argument to discredit Catholicism as a whole, and many Eastern Orthodox polemicist do just that. Does not the modern collapse of Catholicism indicate some poisonous entity within the religion itself? I think not.

At the end of the day I think it's all comes down to human sin. When you don't cooperate with God's grace things go off the rails. That's just how it goes. We just have to do the best we can and pass on what has been given to us. That's my two cents anyway.
Peace.....years ago I had a Jesuit for a spiritual director for 12 yrs and he was wonderful, both for direction and retreats.  I noticed however a huge change in the Jesuits later (after he passed away) and could not draw from them any longer.  They changed to become more modern, and also keeping the tabernacle in places it could not be seen.  Their #'s have gone down considerably for retreat attendance.  I too, have a special place in my heart for the Jesuits, knowing they have gone array also.  So, they are now on my prayer list like every other situation in the Church today that seems off - base.  God bless, angeltime
I am not a scholar of the Jesuits nor their history, and know of them only in broad and general terms.  My understanding is that for centuries, they were the crème de la crème of religious orders, and as has already been mentioned herein, did whatever they were told, and to good effect.  Success breeds envy, and I believe it was because of their successes (especially in places where Protestants failed) that so many came to hate them.  This has meant that they've had a huge "bulls-eye" on them as a target to destroy by those who hate the Church.  What a prize it would be if the enemies of the Church could bring down one of the most successful and prestigious of orders.

I also believe, as Our Lady of Fatima warned us, that the 'errors of Russia' have spread to the Jesuits through communist infiltration of their ranks starting back in the 20/30's.  In that regard, through this slow but deliberate infiltration, they were allowed to rot from within to the point that today, as an organization, they are entirely unrecognizable from what they were even 50 years ago.  There are still some very good Jesuits, but for the most part, the Order does not even appear to be Catholic anymore.  When you have its Superior General stating that devil does not exist, and another highly prominent Jesuit referring to the Holy Eucharist simply as "a little bread and wine," you really have to wonder.     
(03-05-2018, 11:09 AM)Bonaventure Wrote: [ -> ]I am not a scholar of the Jesuits nor their history, and know of them only in broad and general terms.  My understanding is that for centuries, they were the crème de la crème of religious orders, and has already been mentioned herein, did whatever they were told, and to good effect.  Success breeds envy, and I believe it was because of their successes (especially in places where Protestants failed) that so many came to hate them.  This has meant that they've had a huge "bulls-eye" on them as a target to destroy by those who hate the Church.  What a prize it would be if the enemies of the Church could bring down one of the most successful and prestigious of orders.

I also believe, as Our Lady of Fatima warned us, that the 'errors of Russia' have spread to the Jesuits through communist infiltration of their ranks starting back in the 20/30's.  In that regard, through this slow but deliberate infiltration, they were allowed to rot from within to the point that today, as an organization, they are entirely unrecognizable from what they were even 50 years ago.  There are still some very good Jesuits, but for the most part, the Order does not even appear to be Catholic anymore.  When you have its Superior General stating that devil does not exist, and another highly prominent Jesuit referring to the Holy Eucharist simply as "a little bread and wine," you really have to wonder.     
Peace.....yes, I agree with your insights.  Years ago the Jesuits were very well respected for their history, missionary work etc., however there has been scandal with them also.  I was told too, that they study for 12 yrs before becoming ordained, so for this they earned a lot of respect also.  Once the modernism took over, they changed their face and are almost unrecognizable.  Younger people wouldnt even know this at all!  They think this is the way is has always been - only those who study the history and also were there for the changes to impact them, get the true and full picture.  Sad, isnt it??  God bless, angeltime sad
Subscribing.
(03-05-2018, 07:27 AM)Imperator Caesar Trump Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-05-2018, 05:11 AM)MeanGene Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:My point with the Jesuits is this: Were they really as great as they are made out to be?  I'm too ignorant on the subject to say.  But somewhere within their constitution or the essence of their spirituality, there had to be a gene or inkling that gave rise to the modern Jesuits.  From what I know of them, it may be as simple as their ultramontanism.  However, this idea of avoiding that which degenerates altogether has made me really averse to delving deeper into Jesuit spirituality.  Should I rethink this?

I'm largely a practicing Catholic because of a deep fascination with the Jesuit order and St. Ignatius of Loyola. I won't bore you with my personal history here, but I will admit some romantic notion of duty compels me to come to the Jesuit order's defense. To answer your question bluntly, I do think the Jesuits were as great as they were made out to be (especially the original nine.) Ignatius was a fascinating man who combined genuine Catholic mysticism with a seemingly peerless genius for organizational strategy. When his spiritual exercises are followed while under the guidance of an experienced director (a rare thing these days) they still pack an enormous punch. 

It's hard for me to imagine the counter reformation being successful without the Jesuits. Huge swaths of Germany as well as all of Poland were returned to Catholicism almost entirely because of the Jesuits. Their forward momentum was so strong in fact that there is a romantic theory that claims that had the order not been suppressed they would have wiped out the Protestant heresies entirely. I think that's a bit naive, but I do think that the order never really regained it's initial fire.

 To this day though countless Protestants will fritter away time and money advancing conspiracy theories about how the Jesuits really control everything. I have a Protestant friend who's quite found of these theories and has often told me ominously how "those directions" have brainwashed me against true biblical Christianity. Silly things like that don't simply come into being by themselves. The fact is that the psychological damage Ignatius and his sons inflicted on the initial Protestant rebels is borne by their progeny even today.

As far as their collapse goes I'd point out a couple of things. First the fact that nearly every major order within the Church collapsed after Vatican II would indicate that the Jesuits weren't uniquely poisoned. Secondly I'd point out that the order's collapse followed after General Arrupe deliberately threw out the traditional Jesuit norms. So I don't think you can fairly blame Jesuit spirituality for the collapse. Thirdly the idea that you can trace a religious implosion to a single set of errors it too simplistic. After all you can use that same argument to discredit Catholicism as a whole, and many Eastern Orthodox polemicist do just that. Does not the modern collapse of Catholicism indicate some poisonous entity within the religion itself? I think not.

At the end of the day I think it's all comes down to human sin. When you don't cooperate with God's grace things go off the rails. That's just how it goes. We just have to do the best we can and pass on what has been given to us. That's my two cents anyway.

Makes sense to me!  I had a very positive experience with the spiritual exercises on a retreat a few years back when I was literally about two days away from signing paperwork with my diocese and entering seminary.  That was before I began taking an interest in traditionalism.  I hope to do something like it again once I have the time.  Any particular books on the Jesuits or Ignatian spirituality you'd recommend?

Incidentally, I actually do think that the Church has been "infected" in various ways over its history that would have been its downfall were it not for Christ's promise.  That's why I find the Church's conception of its history in stages of declines and renewals to be so fascinating.  I like your point about the Jesuits' involvement in the Counter Reformation, and it's kinda making me think that Spengler's ideas don't really apply in this case.

I obviously misunderstood you in your initial post because I agree completely with the highlighted text above. When I get the chance tomorrow I will compile a list of books and other media (with the appropriate links) that I have found personally useful in regards to Jesuit spirituality.
Please do, MG
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