Archive for the ‘Curia’ Category
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.
Rome, 14 March 2013
Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the Society of Jesus, recently spoke about the new evangelization, or missionary outreach, to the 25th Synod of Bishops. The synod brought together over 250 top church leaders for a three-week summit at the Vatican.
Father General Nicolás told the synod that the Ignatian spirituality he was formed in encourages finding God in all things.
“I am afraid that we missionaries have not done it with sufficient depth,” he said. Father General Nicolas also spoke about the need to enrich the universal church with the signs and seeds of God’s presence in other cultures and religions.
Father General Nicolás, who spent most of his priesthood in Japan and in other parts of Asia, said too many church members have “looked for Western signs of faith and sanctity and have not discovered how God has been at work in other peoples. This impoverishes all. We miss important clues, insights and discoveries,” he said.
“The fullness of Christ needs the contribution of all peoples and all cultures,” Father General Nicolás said. He said some of the keys to effective evangelization include:
- The simplicity of the message.
- Generosity in acknowledging the work of God in the life and history of people.
- Being aware of one’s own life as a factor of credibility.
- Forgiveness and reconciliation are the most helpful shortcuts to the heart of the Gospel.
Father Alexander Santora, the current pastor of The Church of Our Lady of Grace & St. Joseph in Hoboken, recently featured Jesuit Father Gerald Blaszczak in his weekly column for The Jersey Journal. Fr. Santora, an alum of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, didn’t know Fr. Blaszczak while they were high school students at Prep, as they only shared the school’s halls for one year. Following graduation, Blaszcsak entered the Society of Jesus.
As a freshman at St. Peter’s Prep in 1966, I was in awe of the seniors who were outstanding athletes, student leaders and academic stars.
Gerald Blaszczak was among the latter and, unfortunately, I never met him personally. He entered the Society of Jesus after graduation in 1967 and through the years I used to hear about his appointment as vice president of Fordham University or pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Manhattan, their flagship parish.
Those are just two of the many appointments of a gifted scholar, linguist, missionary, administrator and priest, tapped last year by the relatively new General Superior of the Jesuits, the Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, to become his Secretary for the Promotion of the Faith, a newly created position.
Since last fall, Blaszczak has resided in Rome with some 50 other Jesuits from around the world and answers only to Nicolas, who reshaped his curia, or advisers, and handpicked Blaszczak. “I heard rumblings last April and then received a letter from the General,” said Blaszczak, who was not seeking the position but admitted, “It’s not in our Jesuit DNA to say no.”
“The world, with all its resources, is incapable of providing humanity with the light to guide it on its path”, said Pope Benedict XVI Friday marking the Feast of the Epiphany with pilgrims present in St Peter’s Square for the midday Angelus, during which he also announced a consistory for the creation of new cardinals. The Holy Father announced a consistory for February 18th, during which he will create 22 new Cardinals. 18 of them will be cardinal-electors, which means they are eligible to vote in conclave.
Pope Benedict also announced that one bishop and four priests who have distinguished themselves in their commitment to the Church, will be made cardinals in the February consistory although they will not be eligible to vote in conclave having passed the age limit of 80 years. Among these Jesuit Father Karl Becker, Professor Emeritus of Dogmatic Theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Jesuit Father James Martin recently wrote about Cardinal-designate Becker’s elevation, especially in light of him being a Jesuit:
“Normally the pope names (or, technically, “creates”) cardinals from the ranks of bishops and archbishops (as with Archbishop Dolan) and these men are often heads of the larger archdioceses. But occasionally the pope names a priest, to honor the man for his life’s work. (Normally they are over 80, not named a bishop so as to spare them from the sacramental duties of a bishop, and are ineligible to vote in a papal conclave.) Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, the American Jesuit theologian, was a recent example. (An interview with Cardinal Dulles a few months before the consistory, including his thoughts on becoming a cardinal, is here.)
In a sitting room where lace doilies top every table, Jesuit Father Robert F. Taft’s gray sweater and wooden cane add to the impression that he’s a refined retired professor.
But then he shared what he believes is the line his former students quote most: “There are two things you do not do alone: liturgy and sex.”
The world renowned liturgical scholar was interviewed Dec. 13 as he prepared to return to the United States after more than 46 years in Rome.
Students and friends share his pithy quotes with relish and his graduate summer school students at the University of Notre Dame even published a collection of them several years ago.
“They’re totally spontaneous. It’s not like I sit in my room before class thinking, ‘What wisecrack can I throw at them today?’ It just happens,” he said.
Father Taft, who said he’s “on the top of the heap” when it comes to knowledge of the Byzantine liturgy, officially retired as a professor at Rome’s Pontifical Oriental Institute in 2002. He was scheduled to move to the Jesuit retirement center in Weston, Mass., just after Christmas and will celebrate his 80th birthday Jan. 9.
With more than 800 titles already to his credit, the Rhode Island native, who was ordained in the Byzantine rite in 1963, still has one big writing project left: completing the sixth and final volume of his history of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, used by both Eastern Catholics and Orthodox.
Packing interrupted work on the book, he said, but the slow progress also is due to less energy and more time devoted to prayer.
“One of the advantages of getting old is that what the Byzantine liturgy refers to as the ‘dread tribunal of Christ’ that you’re going to stand before puts the fear of God into you, and so you move to pray more,” he said. “That already has had an influence on my spiritual life.”
In addition to teaching, Father Taft served for decades as an adviser to the Vatican, writing more than 90 reports, draft documents and expert opinions on matters related to the Eastern churches.
“It’s better to be part of the process than to stand on the sideline and criticize, although I criticize, too,” he said. “My attitude has always been I’d rather have myself writing these decisions than have someone dumber than me doing it.”