Jorge Bergoglio is the first Jesuit to become pope and may end up the last Jesuit to be pope, in light of the havoc that he is wreaking upon the Church. But who knows? After all, he is stacking the college of cardinals with liberal appointees in the hope that they will elect a modernist clone in the next conclave.
In any case, it was exceedingly reckless that the cardinals chose a Jesuit to lead the Church at the very moment that that religious order was at its most corrupt and theologically flaky. This fact alone will give Gibbonian historians in the future fodder for works on the decline and fall of the modern Catholic Church.
Bergoglio had entered the Jesuit order around the time of the revolutionary ferment of the “spirit” of Vatican II precisely because he wanted to push liberal revolution in the Church. A left-wing political activist who had been mentored by a Paraguayan Communist, Bergoglio naturally gravitated to the Jesuits as they abandoned orthodoxy for “social justice” (which just meant the promotion of socialism) and trendy psychobabble. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the signature phrases of this pontificate — “Who am I to judge?” and “Inequality is the root of all evil” — come from a Latin American Jesuit immersed in the liberalism of the 1960s.
Pope Francis has described himself as “undisciplined,” implying that that made him an odd fit for an order founded by the militaristic St. Ignatius of Loyola. But in the 1960s it was that lack of discipline that made him a perfect fit. The Jesuits were busy turning their back on St. Ignatius and all of his “reactionary hang-ups.” Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises had been replaced by the works of Sigmund Freud. Vatican II-era Jesuits were infamous for inviting destructive psychologists like Carl Rogers to hold seminars for them on “non-directive therapy”(repentant Carl Rogers assistant William Coulson once said to me that the purpose of those sessions was to make the priests “feel good about being bad”).
Pedro Arrupe, the disastrously permissive leader of the Jesuits as it plunged into socialism and modern morality in the 1960s and 1970s, saw Bergoglio as a rising liberal star within the order and elevated him to the top Jesuit position in Argentina at the mere age of 36. Arrupe used Bergoglio as one of his liberal enforcers against restless conservative Jesuits. At a worldwide gathering of Jesuits in the early 1970s, at which Arrupe blessed the liberal trajectory of the order, he asked Bergoglio to run off some Spanish Jesuits who had petitioned the Vatican for relief from Arrupe’s modernist dictates. Bergoglio complied.
If the future casts its shadow backwards, as Malcolm Muggeridge used to say, one catches a glimpse of it in these biographical details. Bergoglio was in on the ground floor of the revolution in the Church and bided his time until he reached the papacy. Safely ensconced within it, he then began throwing plums to his fellow liberal Jesuit revolutionaries.
“I was never a right-winger,” he said in an interview with Jesuit editors — the same interview in which he declared the Church too “obsessed” with abortion and gay marriage.
The Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, one of Pope Francis’s closest advisers, led that interview. Spadaro is openly heterodox, saying perhaps most famously that under the caring-and-sharing pontificate of Francis two plus two no longer equals four. In other words, the new orthodoxy is heterodoxy.
Not a month passes without some dismal announcement about this or that heretical Jesuit receiving a promotion under Pope Francis. I have already written about the Venezuelan communist and relativist he installed as the head of the Jesuit order.
In April, Pope Francis turned the Jesuit James Martin — who has just published a book trashing the Church’s teaching on homosexual behavior — into a “consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.” Martin brings some weighty credentials to the position; he once served as chaplain to the “Colbert Report.”
Last week Pope Francis sacked the head of the Church’s doctrinal office — Cardinal Gerhard Muller, who had annoyed Francis by not supporting Communion for adulterers — and replaced Muller with a Spanish Jesuit, the pliable Archbishop Luis Ladaria.
An excited New York Times turned to the aforementioned James Martin for insight into the meaning of it all. “This gives the pope the chance to finally place his own man in a very important spot,” said Martin. “For many admirers of Benedict, Cardinal Müller was the last link to Benedict’s way of doing things.”
Translation: the modernist Jesuit captivity of the papacy continues apace.
George Neumayr is author of The Political Pope.