As promised the last time I want to give tell you a little more about what I have found about the Jesuit order of the Catholic church. Of course, that is Pope Francis’ roots.
Jesuits are for the most part very much into dealing with the current times. To many of the conservative wing of the church the Jesuits seem heretical, as they are seen as willing to cast off some of the traditions that the conservatives see as unrefutable. They are very much more mission oriented compared to the rest of the church.
Plainly speaking, Jesuits want to make the church better fit the habits and customs of the mission area. That approach is very threatening to those who consider tradition as the core of the church. Jesuits meld into the community instead of trying to change the community.
With all that in mind, Pope Francis’ reign started out very different than that of Pope John Paul, or Pope Benedict who were much more aligned with the conservative traditionalist part of the church.
The first day of Pope Francis’ reign he chose to ride in a Fiat instead of the black Mercedes of his predecessors. He chose to live in the Vatican guest house instead of the papal palace. He dressed simply in papal white without capes and hats and red shoes. He very early in his time made the statement
“if someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?
That sentence struck horror in some of the established hierarchy in Rome and around the world. Plain and simple Pope Francis intended to be a reformer who will move the church out of its scandal ridden recent past. Some say he is intent of correcting the pendulum that had swung too far the the right with their Benedictine vision of the church.
His recent stands that clergy who have been accused of sexual abuse should face the full brunt of civil laws and that they would no longer be protected by the siege mentality of the past. Much of the Vatican inner circle which was all about protecting tradition at all costs, was about to go to war with the new Pope’s message of the Father’s forgiving warmth. The battle for the meaning of the church had begun in those first few days.
Next time I will delve deeper into the face that Pope Francis hopes to put on the Roman Catholic Church and the battles that will certainly ensue as a result.