News
Father General Calls for Collaboration between Jesuits and Lay People

May 1, 2019 — "Two years ago when I was in visiting a Jesuit province somewhere, there were ID cards for the participants. Some said, “[helpers]”; others said “Jesuit”. I joked and asked: “Are not Jesuits also “[helpers]”?”

Father General Arturo Sosa

This story was shared last month in Croatia by Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. As this half joke shows, his speech was about the collaboration between Jesuits (and the clergy in general) with the laity.

"I want to emphasize that the mission given by the Lord is not a mission that belongs exclusively to the Society of Jesus. The Lord calls all of us to the same mission, even though we have different ways of fulfilling it. That is why the Society of Jesus today stresses cooperation with others as a necessary dimension of how we conceive and practice the apostolate."

This was not the first time that Father General had spoken out about collaboration between members of the clergy and lay people. Last spring, during his visit to Canada on the occasion of the creation of the new Jesuit province of Canada, this topic was at the heart of his speech. "The Society is an apostolic body born of collaboration: it functions well only by collaborating with others, inside and outside the Church," he said, adding later, "In this apostolic body, lay men and women are companions in the mission and form with us the one and only body of friends in the Lord."

Fr. Sosa's speech is in line with Pope Francis' words about the sin of clericalism. This attitude where ordained men feel superior to the laity has fostered, among other things, the crisis of abuses in the clergy.

"The opposite of this vision is what Pope Francis has called over and over again the sin of 'clericalism,' the attitude that believes that only an elite group of ordained men are the real Church, that they have all the answers, all the power and authority, with no need to listen, to learn, to be accountable. It is clericalism that has created the crisis of abuse in the Church, and the only way to heal the Church is to overcome clericalism," he added.

"I would also point out that it is not only priests and clerics who can have clericalist mindsets. Sometimes, lay people can be more clericalist than priests. For example, those who distrust lay leadership in ministries, and only want Jesuits to be heads, might be guilty of clericalism in some way."

Together with the Pope, Father General therefore, understands the skepticism of many lay people towards the Church, and calls for a better, more egalitarian collaboration in order to advance on the path of reconciliation.

Returning to the anecdote at the beginning, it is true that separating Jesuits and lay helpers makes little sense, especially if we look at these words by Pope Francis: "The laity are simply the vast majority of God's people. At their service, there is a minority: ordained ministers."





Recent News

July 9, 2019 — An Ignatian delegation is taking part in the United Nations's forum, which runs July 9-18 in New York City.

While at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, I embraced many of the freedoms college offers, but I failed to develop my spiritual life in any way beyond an occasional prayer to God for a date to go well or for an A on an exam. After graduating, I moved to Chicago to work for a financial firm. I was achieving my goals, yet I felt deeply unfulfilled by life.

July 1, 2019 — The Jesuits in Honduras are denouncing the Honduran government’s repression of protests over the past two months.

June 29, 2019 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. John J. Kilgallen, SJ, who died on June 29, 2019. He was 85 years old. May he rest in peace.

June 5, 2019 —The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 22 new priests in Canada, the U.S. and Haiti, including four from the Midwest Jesuits Province.

June 4, 2019 — All 85 graduates will be continuing on with higher education—and all are the first generation in their family to do so.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2019

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2018

Jesuits Summer 2018



Jesuit Spiritual Center
The Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford spreads over 37 park-like acres overlooking the Little Miami River, 30 minutes east of Cincinnati.