Habemus Papam! "We Have a Pope!"Francis Is The First Jesuit

Tino Calabia (Peru 1963-65) was kind enough to email me this item for today’s blog, knowing perhaps that I was a student of the Jesuits years ago at St. Louis University.  Tony writes about our new Pope being a Jesuit and how Jesuit schools are famous for their volunteer work.

Many of you may know the Jesuits started the international Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 1956, five years before the first PCVs arrived in Ghana (and Colombia). Like PCVs everywhere, these Jesuit Volunteers manifest the Jesuit spirit of serving others, especially the poor.

It was my experience in the Peace Corps, and being associated with the agency from a distance, is that Jews and Catholics make up the majority of PCVs in terms of percentages.  When the Peace Corps recently released its list of the top 25 schools fielding PCVs in Fiscal Year 2012, Jesuit schools were prominently listed. The first of three categories was limited to schools with more than 15,000 undergrads and no Jesuit schools appeared there.  But, among Category Two schools, Boston College was 6th; Georgetown, 8th; and Loyola-Chicago,18th. Gonzaga ranked 1st in Category Three, and Seattle, 5th.

Of the new Pope, who is a Jesuit priest, we know he took the humble Saint Francis’ name, is described himself as a “humble Jesuit cardinal” who eschewed ostentation and pomp, lives in a small apartment and not the typical mansion of past cardinal in Buenos Aires, and rides public transportation. Taking care of the poor is his chief concern.130313100313_pope_francis

The hope is that Pope Francis, though not ideal on a few issues, will imbue the Vatican and all his churches everywhere with the same spirit of service to others that the Jesuit Volunteers and Peace Corps Volunteers do everyday of the year.


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  • While I am no Catholic, this new pope, coming from this side of the ocean and being a Jesuit, catches my eye.

    Because my Spanish Barb horse (or Cayuse) is named Eusebio. From the Book “Horses and Heroes” by Frazier Hunt and Robert Hunt:

    “North America’s first really famous endurance rider who was an Italian-born Jesuit padre named Father Kino. He was also called Brother Eusebio, and in the narrow valleys and great desert stretches of the Sonora-Arizona border country they still speak of him and his miracle rides. . . .

    “For all his devoutness and humble service to his Lord, the little missionary was a superb manager, builder, leader, and horseman. In the twenty-four years he lived in this faraway land, he baptized four thousand Indians, built and stocked a dozen beautiful missions and self-supporting farms and ranches, explored and mapped Lower California, and left astounding records of travel and horsemanship. It is this last, of course, that wins him a place in this book.”

    There has been a movement within the church to beatify Eusebio Kino. My horse and I stand firmly behind this Jesuit priest, Eusebio Kino. I will have to talk with Himself, my pony, to hear what he thinks of the new pope. I just did. He asked me, “When do we eat?”

    Tom Hebert

  • Let’s hope that Tino is right and that Francis I rekindles the passion in the Catholic Church for social justice, for caring for the poor, for solving problems of development. Francis I is a theological conservative and so the Church can not expect any movement on is such as priestly celibacy, women in priesthood, unheeded rules on contraception and divorce, but Catholics can hope that he will re-direct the Church to its mission caring for the least of these.

    B Hillenbrand Ethiopia 1963-1965

  • The Brazilians claim that God speaks Portuguese. It’s reassuring to know that his Victor on earth speaks Spanish, just like me.

  • It makes me sad that I cannot join in this celebration. I remember well those who can; the Jesuit educated young man who introduced me to Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the second one who wanted so much to be a Jesuit or failing that a Peace Corps Volunteer, but ill health prevented him from realizing those dreams. I remember the people in my site in Colombia who mourned the loss of “Los Dos Juans,” Pope John the 23rd and John Kennedy, and who said that “now we are alone.” I understand that they are dancing in the streets in Colombia and so perhaps my old friends no longer feel alone. But I do.
    Conscience dictates that I cannot celebrate until or unless Francis appears on his balcony and reads the names of every pedophile priest that he has excommunicated for desecrating the sacraments by using them as weapons to terrify their child victims and then the names of the bishops excommunicated for enabling these criminal.

  • The new Pope Francis will follow in the footsteps of John Paul II who sought economic justice for the poor. To see where he will go read John Paul’s encyclicals.

  • JOEY, Even if we prayed hard, Pope Francis is unlikelty to name those priests from his balcony. But what’s worth praying for is that he calls all priests to prove their dedication to social justice.

    PATRICIA: After 8 years in Jesuit schools, I became convinced of two things: 1) I’d never, never, never become a priest; and 2) if I ever did become a priest, I’d be a Jesuit.

  • Tino,
    The reason the pope will not read the names of the priests excommunicated for the crime of abusing children, is that no priests were excommunicated. That was my point. Most of the pedophiles
    were counseled and then transferred. Their crimes were kept secret to avoid scandal. That is the crux of the coverup. Communicating from the secret conclave to elect the pope is an excommunicable offense. Abusing children by a priest is not.

    In many cases, the children who were abused were poor and/or vulnerable. That gives the lie to any claim to social justice. In Ireland, there was large scale sexual abuse of children in catholic orphanages. When the Irish government sought to investigate and prosecute, the Vatican withdrew its ambassador in protest.

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