Tag Archives: Jesuits

Popes who belonged to religious orders

Pope Gregory XVI made gambling on papal electi...

Pope Gregory XVI, a Benedictine monk, made gambling on papal elections punishable by excommunication.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th Roman Pontiff he was listed among a rather small and elite group of men who had their intellectual and spiritual formation in religious life. Bergoglio is a member of the Society of Jesus. But who are the others?

The Benedictine monks have 17
Gregory I, Boniface IV, Adeodatus II, Leo IV, John IX, Leo VII, Stephen IX, Gregory VII, Victor, III, Urban II, Paschal II, Gelasius, II, Celestine V, Clement VI, Urban V, Pius VII, Gregory XVI
The Augustine canons and friars have 6
Honorius II, Innocent II, Lucius II, Adrian IV, Gregory VIII, Eugene IV
The Franciscans friars have 4
Nicholas IV, Sixtus IV, Sixtus V, Clement XIV
Secular Franciscans have 2
Pius IX, Leo XIII
The Dominicans friars have 4
Innocent V, Benedict XI, Pius V, Benedict XIII
The Cistercian monks have 2
Eugene III, Benedict XII
The Theatine clerks regular have 
Paul IV
The Jesuit clerks regular have 1
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Francis writes to Adolfo: thanks for prayers and unconditional service to the Church and Christ’s Vicar

Here is the letter of Pope Francis to the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Adolfo Nicolás in response to Jesuit’s letter to His Holiness last week (which you can read here). No mincing of words: thank you for prayers and pledge, an assurance of the Jesuits unconditional service to the Church and the Vicar of Christ. A very debatable position of the Jesuits in the last 50 years. As you can see in the photo, Father General went to visit with the Pope this week.

Dear Father Nicolás,

Adolfo and Francis.jpg

I received with great joy the kind letter you sent me, in your name and that of the Society of Jesus, on the occasion of my election to the See of Peter, in which you assure me of your prayers for me and my apostolic ministry as well as your full disposition to continue serving – unconditionally – the Church and the Vicar of Christ according to the teachings of St. Ignatius Loyola. My heartfelt thanks for this sign of affection and closeness, which I am happy to reciprocate, asking the Lord to illuminate and accompany all Jesuits, so that faithful to the charism received and following in the footsteps of the saints of our beloved Order, they may be evangelical leaven in the world in their pastoral action, but above all in the witness of a life totally dedicated to the service of the Church, the Spouse of Christ, seeking unceasingly the glory of God and the good of souls.

With these sentiments, I ask all Jesuits to pray for me and to entrust me to the loving protection of the Virgin Mary, our Mother in heaven, while as a sign of God’s abundant graces, I give you the Apostolic Blessing with special affection, which I also extend to all those who cooperate with the Society of Jesus in her activities, those who benefit from her good deeds and participate in her spirituality.


Vatican, 16 March 2013

The First American Pope: Catholicism’s turn into an evangelical future

Francis & Giovanni Re.jpgNational Review Online published today George Weigel’s “The First American Pope: Catholicism’s turn into an evangelical future.”

Weigel calls His Holiness, Pope Francis a “True Man of God,” “A Pope for the New Evangelization,” “A pope in defense of human rights and democracy,” “The 2005 runner-up takes the checkered flag in 2013?” and “The first Jesuit pope?”

Jesuit Superior General writes to Pope Francis

Nicolas Adolfo.jpg

In the name of the Society of Jesus, I give thanks to God for the election of our new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., which opens for the Church a path full of hope.


All of us Jesuits accompany with our prayers our brother and we thank him for his generosity in accepting the responsibility of guiding the Church at this crucial time. The name of “Francis” by which we shall now know him evokes for us the Holy Father’s evangelical spirit of closeness to the poor, his identification with simple people, and his commitment to the renewal of the Church. From the very first moment in which he appeared before the people of God, he gave visible witness to his simplicity, his humility, his pastoral experience and his spiritual depth.


“The distinguishing mark of our Society is that it is . . . a companionship . . . bound to the Roman Pontiff by a special bond of love and service.” (Complementary Norms, No. 2, § 2) Thus, we share the joy of the whole Church, and at the same time, wish to express our renewed availability to be sent into the vineyard of the Lord, according to the spirit of our special vow of obedience, that so distinctively unites us with the Holy Father (General Congregation 35, Decree 1, No. 17).


P. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.

Superior General

Rome, 14 March 2013

James Schall hits the target: On the “Art of Jesuitism”

I hate Jesuitism. Perhaps you do too. We stand in good company with Nietzsche and of course with Jesuit Father James Schall.

Full disclosure: I love Father Schall’s work. I love Nietzsche. Both get things correct. It may be surprising that someone as “crazy” as Nietzsche would interest me, or even Catholics. Several years ago I began to believe, after reading another Jesuit’s use of Nietzsche’s thought in one of his essays that we Christians need to take this man seriously. Whether you agreed with the philosopher and Schall is unimportant. What is crucial is that your horizons are stretched and forced to clarify and verify what we know to be true. Nietzsche means to be provocative, even nasty, but to dismiss him is wrongheaded.
Father Schall published an essay “On the Art of Jesuitism” looking at Nietzsche’s experience of Jesuits and their approach. You will be challenged in what both philosophers have to say.
Father James V. Schall, SJ, is a professor at Georgetown University and a well-published author. Father Schall is due to retire from GU.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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