George Weigel, a highly respected Catholic scholar and papal biographer, recently published a column on the Jesuits titled “Questions for Father General” (the head of the Jesuit order). He made the point that many Jesuits, especially those affiliated with Jesuit colleges, do not follow and further Jesuit teachings, and asked what the Father General would do about it.
In response, the president of the University of San Francisco (USF, a Jesuit university), Rev. Stephen A. Privett, published “Attack on Jesuits Out of Place,” calling Weigel’s airing of all-too-justified concerns a “mean-spirited assault.”
As for USF, one commentator on this controversy, Gary Sokolow, notes stringently that it “is about as ‘Catholic’ as the Univ. of Notre Dame.”
Count me among those who think that Weigel should be commended for giving voice to concerns that have long been shared by Catholics around the world. It’s about time for contemporary Jesuits to declare whether they are still faithful to basic Catholic beliefs, and whether they will teach those beliefs in Jesuit schools. As Sokolow concludes, one suspects that “St. Ignatius Loyola (the founder of the Jesuit order) would be asking some of the same questions today.” Hat tip: Deal Hudson.