Jesuitical. Nasty word. Right down there with shifty and CNN. We could say casuistic, but that’s hard to say. But sophistic and deceptive are easy.
How many other groups have morphed into their own negative adjectives? Lawyers have lawerly. Reportorial? Progressive?
Surely there are more, but perhaps none are as deserved as that given the Society of Jesus. Given their recent activities, we might guess “Jesus” in that title is the guy out front of Janovic Plaza with a paintbrush in his hand, and not the Man-God Savior of us all.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus, one Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, fulfills the adjective. He said recently, and not for the first time, Satan “exists as the personification of evil in different structures, but not in persons, because is not a person, is a way of acting evil. He is not a person like a human person. It is a way of evil to be present in human life.”
He also said “Good and evil are in a permanent war in the human conscience and we have ways to point them out. We recognize God as good, fully good. Symbols are part of reality, and the devil exists as a symbolic reality, not as a personal reality.”
We needn’t bring out the h-word. Every time somebody does the ankle biters pop up through the keyboards and start spouting about procedure, interpretations, and cannon law. Well, and they may be right about their concerns. I am no judge.
What we can say, and say with certainty, is that Sosa is in error. What he said is false. He is wrong. He is not speaking the truth. He is disagreeing with Church dogma. What he said does not match Church teachings; indeed, is antithetical to it. His words do not match Reality.
He goes against the Catechism. His false opinion is scandalous. If people were to believe him based on his authority, which they will, he will be responsible for leading people to sin. He is anyway sinning for speaking falsely.
If all that fails to add up to the h-word, fine. Let Church authorities worry it.
Which they won’t. Departures from dogma are not high on the list of a hierarchy worried about cash flow and whether ex-Cardinal McCarrick was ever pals with Jeffrey Epstein. Jesuits like Fr James Martin are too blinded by rainbows to care that a leader is giving up on one of the central tenets of the faith. Let’s talk about “migrants” and global cooling instead.
So don’t wait for anybody to pounce on Sosa. Though we can look forward to a flack issuing some what-he-really-meant-by-saying-white-is-black statement. The kind that issue forth from every PR firm, bureaucracy, and thunk tank.
Or Sosa might get out of it himself. Maybe by claiming to be the Pope’s pal (both are SJ). But primarily by invoking the adjective. Here is Sosa on Scripture. If you’re a fan of subtle uses of bad argument, this will please you.
Sacred Scripture is a privileged source of relationship with the Lord: let us listen to Him, it is the Word of God. All the progresses that have taken place in biblical exegesis help us to keep in mind that it was pronounced in particular social and cultural contexts, which in the Bible there are various literary genres, and above all that the Scriptures should be taken as a whole, cannot be broken up into passages and citations in their own right. The Bible must be understood as a whole that is understood through the person of Jesus Christ: he is the key to interpretation.
It starts right. Scripture is God’s word. Listen to it!
But don’t quote from it. As in “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by a symbolic reality. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The symbolic reality came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'”
The flood of apologies has already begun. It’s Friday, summer is winding down, and this subject is not a terribly interesting to a culture which worships itself, so I will give you only one instance, common of its type, and you can test yourself whether the reply is jesuitical.
“Sosa was speaking to a general audience, using informal language. Not speaking as a theologian. What I think he was trying to get across is that our popular image of ‘The Devil’ is something of a reductive symbol, and that evil is far more vast and complicated than that.”