Fr. Tom, 12-4-16

Dear Loyola Parishioners and Visitors,
This week, Central and Southern Province Jesuits received a transcript of the Q & A session the delegates at General Congregation 36 had with Pope Francis after his address to
them. The transcript is also available on the Internet. The Q & A was reportedly spontaneous, with no pre-selection of questions to be submitted to the Holy Father prior to the meeting. The common thread running through most, if not all, of his responses was discernment.

On prophetic audacity: “Courage is not just about making noise, but about knowing how to do it well, when and how to do it. First of all, one must discern whether one should make a noise or not…. I believe this is your work in this Congregation: to discern “where” the
magis, the prophetic audacity, the parresia, must be directed.”

On morality and discernment of moral situations: “Discernment is the key element: the capacity of discernment…. We run the risk of getting used to ‘white or black,’ to that which is legal…. One thing is clear: today, in a certain number of seminaries, a rigidity that is far from a discernment of situations has been introduced. And, that is dangerous, because it can lead us to a conception of morality that has a casuistic sense…The whole moral sphere restricted to “you can”, “you cannot”, “up to here yes but not there”….It [is] a morality very foreign to discernment….In the field of morality we must advance without falling into situationalism ; but, rather, it is necessary to bring forward again the great wealth contained in the dimension of discernment.”

On criticism of the Jesuits: “Criticism of the Society have a predominantly restorationist flavor. In other words, they are criticisms that dream of a restoration of a Society that perhaps
was once attractive, but that was its time, but that is no longer desirable in our day, because God’s time for the Society today is no longer that…. But the Society on this point has to be
faithful to what the Spirit tells it…. We should discern where they come from. I think we have to listen to all the critiques and discern them, and not close the door to any criticism, because we risk getting used to closing doors. And that is not good. After discernment one can say: this criticism has no foundation and I can set it aside. But we must submit to discernment all of the criticisms that we hear, I would say daily, but always with good will, with openness of heart before the Lord. This is just a tease. I encourage all to read “To Have Courage and Prophetic Audacity: A Dialogue with Pope Francis…” available on-line.

Fr. Tom