The late Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., seems to be one of the reasons that the Jesuits declined so fast, so far. Bad stuff happened when he was running the Society of Jesus, so logically it’s his fault. And he let them keep electing him for almost twenty years, so it’s definitely his fault. And when you see Jesuit websites talking about “the renewal of the Society” (when it’s almost gone) and “the second founding” (when he drove it into the ground)… well, it just makes you want to lose your cookies.
And part of the reason he seems to have gotten power in the Society was that he was in Japan when the bombs were dropped. He was from a neutral country, he was associated with the Jesuits of Nagasaki who miraculously survived, and he seems to me to have milked it for the rest of his life.
And yes, maybe this isn’t fair. But he’s the kind of guy who didn’t just learn Zen meditation so that he could understand and do Buddhist outreach. He’s the kind of guy who kept doing it to the point of disregarding his own Jesuit traditions of meditative prayer.
And then he’s the kind of guy who not only decided to meditate upside-down in a headstand, but also who publicizes his headstand meditation.
If he were a goofy guy who didn’t seek power, you’d understand it as just a thing he did, just exploration and quirkiness. But he’s the kind of guy who got power, held onto power for 18 years, and wrote cruddy books about his new idea for the Jesuits being better than that of his founder. The whole thing just screams, “I want to be quirky as a power play.”
Arrupe supposedly coined the term that Jesuits were “men for others.” Actually, it’s a phrase from Bonhoeffer about Jesus… but let’s not be intellectually honest and correct a misquote. A misquote on every freaking Jesuit university webpage I can find is not a technicality. It’s on purpose.
Jesuits are supposed to be men for Jesus, soldiers under His command. Now, that would entail doing things for others, also… but military service is icky, so we can’t use that as an analogy. Even if it’s been working for the Benedictines for 1600 years or so.
Apologies to any good Jesuits out there who liked the guy, but… bleh.