The new Jesuit General, Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal, from Venezuela.
At one time the whole Ultramontane project depended on the Jesuits, that fourth vow that senior Jesuits take of obedience to the person of the Pope, has meant that from their origin there has been a certain special relationship of Pope and Jesuits.
Ignatius of Loyola had said, 'Putting aside all private judgment we should always be ready to accept this principle: I will believe that the white I see is black, if the hierarchical Church so defines it.'
For many the Jesuits are a law unto themselves, a secretive, plotting group, known for their duplicity. From their beginning they grew wealthy and powerful, owning vast estates, the size of countries in South America, they were major exporters of and traders in both Asia and the Americas. Their education establishments were designed to form the influential and the wealthy and to extend their power base.
In the 20th century there were many heroic Jesuits suffering in the prisons and gulags of the Communists, and many struggled on the side of their people against the right-wing dictatorships of South America. Yet there were many accusations that not an insignificant number of the Jesuits themselves had taken on a theology that was more inspired by Marx and Engels than Jesus Christ. In Argentina, as in many places throughout the world the Society was deeply divided. In the case of Argentina and its Provincial, Fr Jorge Bergoglio, the division seems to have focused on eirenical group around the the Provincial, engaging in real-politik and radical cultural-warriors, whether they were wielding the Rosary or the red flag. The divisions have lasted and continued when the Provincial became archbishop of Buenos Aires within the diocese, and now within the Church as a whole.
Their fourth vow is perhaps the Society's greatest problem, really because the Pope's mind and will is interpreted by the General, or by the Provincial. Rarely have Popes revealed their minds to the Society as a whole, Benedict XVI did of course by telling them to return to promoting devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Holy Eucharist. When the General can say he has the Pope's mind on a matter he does indeed become a second Pope, and if the Pope is weak or politically oppressed, the Black Pope can easily become the real power within the Church, especially if the Society of Jesus has control of many the Church's formational, educational and financial institutions.
Bergoglio was banned from even entering a Jesuit house by Arrupe because of his disruptive influence how interesting it will be to see how gets on with the new General.
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