Probably This Isn’t Fair

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.


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2 responses to “Probably This Isn’t Fair

  1. Oh, it’s got a seriously disturbing chance of being quite fair, but it’d take someone who is a geek that has seen enough geeks in big enough geek groups to identify geek-culture power plays to pick up on it, and put their finger on the tactic. Heck, it might even be a “girl” thing, I don’t know.

    I’m reading your description and the little voice in the back of my head is saying that if I bring snacks, don’t leave them, and don’t bring more than you expect to have eaten by your actual group during gameplay, and for heaven’s sake don’t loan anybody ANYTHING because this is likely to go poorly.

    Those guys are usually really, really good at being well liked by folks actually in the group, especially if they are NOT politically minded. Those guys are almost never threats, so they’re resources.

  2. Philip

    He was a man with many flaws. But also with many redeeming qualities. I appreciated his effort to revitalize devotion to the Sacred Heart among the Jesuits.

    The objective value of the Sacred Heart devotion is taught clearly in many documents of the Church and the Society. It would be very difficult to maintain, and even more difficult to justify scientifically, the opinion that the fundamentals of this devotion are outdated or lack a theological basis, if one presents in its essentials the message which it offers and the response which it demands.

    Christ, the God-man, by very virtue of being the incarnate Son of God, possesses all genuinely human values in their fullness. He is God, and at the same time the most human of men. He embodies in his person love in its fullest measure because it expresses the Father’s gift to us of His Son incarnate, and because it is in itself the perfect synthesis of his love for the Father and of his love for all men.

    It is this mystery of divinely human love, symbolized in the Heart of Christ, that the traditional Sacred Heart devotion has endeavored to express, and which it has sought to emphasize, in a world ever more eager for love, ever more in need of comprehension and justice. Between the Word of God and the pierced Heart of Jesus Christ on the cross lies the whole humanity of the Son of God, and the eclipse of sound theological understanding of that humanity has been one of the reasons which has led to the depreciation of the heart as symbol. To bypass the total humanity of Christ means to leave a theological vacuum between the symbol and the object symbolized, a vacuum which anthropomorphism and pietism are always ready to fill. To neglect the humanity of Christ means, above all, to lose the communitarian and consequently the ecclesial dimension of Christocentric spirituality.

    The Church is born of the Incarnation. Rather, it is a continuing Incarnation; it is the mystical body of God made man. Hence there is nothing less individualistic than a genuine love of Christ: the very concept of reparation proceeds from an authentic communitarian demand, that of the Mystical Body.

    Overcoming the psychological obstacles which the external forms of this devotion may present, the Jesuit should revitalize it with the solid and virile Christocentric spirituality of the Exercises which, integrally Christocentric and culminating in total commitment, prepare us to “feel” the love of the Heart of Christ giving unity to the whole Gospel. The life of the Jesuit is perfectly integrated in his response to the call of the Eternal King and in the “Take, O Lord, and receive” of the Contemplation for obtaining love, which is the crown of the Exercises. To live that response and that offering will be for each one of us and for the whole Society the true realization of the spirit of Ignatian consecration to the Heart of Christ.

    From this intense living of the Spirit of the Exercises issues, with a certain inescapable apostolic urgency, the pledge to live and offer one’s own prayer and work in union with the Heart of Christ and so attain to a life profoundly centered in Christ and the Church. The Apostleship of Prayer has long animated, and still continues to animate, the priestly perspective of many Christian lives, drawing them onwards to the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ and the consecration of the world to God. This instrument of the Apostleship of Prayer, which has so greatly helped the People of God in the past can, with appropriate renovation and adaptation, render new and greater service today, when the need is so keenly felt to establish apostolic groups of prayer and earnest spiritual commitment.

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