Society of Jesus

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Some contemporary Jesuits

Mitch Pacwa, SJ

Robert Spitzer, SJ

Joseph W. Koterski and John J. Conley have a collection of essays on the thought of John Paul II.

James V. Schall is very orthodox: "What is Roman Catholic Political Philosophy?"

Course of Studies

It takes roughly twelve years, at a minimum, to complete the process of becoming a Jesuit. Formation begins with the first inquiries about joining the Society and ends with taking final vows after tertianship.

varies Applicant The process of "formation"--being trained to be a Jesuit--begins with the dialogue between the Society and a candidate. No one can enter the Society unless they have some understanding of what it means to be a Jesuit.
8 days Postulant I'm not sure whether this is still officially a part of our formation. No distinction was made when I entered the novitiate. But it is important to know about this stage because it was the 'first probation.' This is what gives tertianship its special meaning as "third probation."
2 years Novice "Second period of probation." The novitiate ends with taking simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to our religious superiors, along with a promise to enter the Society of Jesus if we are allowed to do so at the end of our formation. These simple vows make a man something like an indentured servant. He cannot free himself, but the Society can let him go without a solemn canonical process.
2 years Philosopher
3 years Regent
4 years Seminarian
varies Priest
- professional studies, if needed
- some period of full-time work as a priest
1 year Tertian "Third period of probation." Completion of tertianship leads to final vows that are either simple or solemn.

"Fully Formed Father"

Coadjutor father: simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The priest will remain in the Society for the rest of his life, but he does not have the same canonical status as those who take solemn vows. It is easier to dismiss a man with simple vows than it is to dismiss those who have taken solemn vows.
Professed father: solemn vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and availability to be given a mission by the Pope. The professed are the inner core of the Society. They alone have all rights and privileges of membership. Everyone else is in a lower level of the Jesuit hierarchy.

St. Edmund Campion

And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.

Suppression (1773-1814)

I typed this out from the New Yorker in 1974-1975.

History of the society.jpg



------. The Origin of the Jesuits. (Recommended by Magdeline from Williamsville, but we didn't get it on the air last week.)
------. Selected Writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Avery Dulles Archive (internet site).
  • For the Jesuit saints who lived up to the ideals of St. Ignatius, see books about Peter Canisius and Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, both of whom are doctors of the Church.