“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who are the Jesuits? The society is the largest male order in the world, with members at work in more than a 100 countries around the world - Jesuits have had to wait almost five centuries to see one of their number elevated to the highest post in the Catholic Church.

Who exactly are the Jesuits?

Pope Francis is the first pontiff recruited from the Society of Jesus – a group known best for its members' practicality

The Guardian, Thursday 14 March 2013 14.38 EDT
An old joke tells of a Franciscan, a Dominican and a Jesuit who are arrested during the Russian revolution for spreading the Christian, capitalist gospel, and thrown into a dark prison cell. In a bid to restore the light, each man reflects on the traditions of his own order.
The Franciscan decides to wear sackcloth and ashes and pray for light. Nothing happens. The Dominican prepares and delivers an hour-long lecture on the virtue of light. Nothing happens. Then the Jesuit gets up and mends the fuse. The light comes on.
As the payoff suggests, the Society of Jesus has always been known for practicality and unflappability in the service of its motto: Ad Maiorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God). Equally well known is the Jesuits' reputation as educators – giving rise to the adage: "Give me a child of seven, and I will show you the man."
The society was founded by the Basque nobleman, soldier and future saint, Ignatius of Loyola, who turned to religion after a French cannonball mangled his leg in Pamplona in 1521. Despite attracting the interest of the inquisition, the Company of Jesus, as it was known at first, secured papal approval in 1540.
The term Jesuit – originally used pejoratively to describe someone who was too ready to use or appropriate the name of Jesus – was never employed by Loyola himself and was adopted only later. Nor were the Jesuits the initial agents of the Spanish Inquisition, which was run by the Dominicans when it was established in 1480.
Central to the order's philosophy are the spiritual exercises set down by Loyola, which offer a means for the individual to learn more about themselves and God through prayer and guidance from a director.
Such fortitude and focus was needed by the Jesuits, whose early missionary work took them through Protestant Europe and as far afield as the New World, Japan, Tibet and Goa. Although the 20,000-strong society is mainly comprised of priests, there are also 2,000 Jesuit brothers, and almost 4,000 scholastics – or men studying for the priesthood.
They are organised into 91 geographical "provinces", which are each overseen by a provincial superior, who answers to the head of the society, the superior general.
But despite their numbers and global presence – the society is the largest male order in the world, with members at work in more than a 100 countries around the world - Jesuits have had to wait almost five centuries to see one of their number elevated to the highest post in the Catholic church.
Although they take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience Jesuits have historically been viewed with suspicion in Rome and elsewhere, and seen as a group that is a little too practical, a little too independent, and a little too powerful for its own good.
In Elizabethan England, Jesuits were reviled as the embodiment of the Catholic threat-from-within, ruthlessly persecuted and even dragged into the gunpowder plot.
In the new world, their defence of the indigenous peoples they had converted to Catholicism put them at odds with the Spanish and Portuguese governments, who saw their behaviour as a hindrance to their economic interests in the area.
By the mid to late 18th century, the order had become so feared and despised that it was suppressed in many parts of the world, only to be re-established by Pope Pius VII in 1814.
In the late 20th century some Latin American Jesuits echoed their predecessors by angering Rome through their embrace of liberation theology, in which Christ's teachings are interpreted in relation to the politics and economics of poverty. Among those who rejected the movement, which was later fiercely condemned by the Vatican under John Paul II, was an Argentinian Jesuit priest named Jorge Mario Bergoglio.


Pope Francis begins tenure with warning

First Latin American pontiff warns that troubled Church could "end up a compassionate NGO" unless it undergoes renewal.

Last Modified: 15 Mar 2013 00:47 AlJazeera

Pope Francis has warned in his first Mass that the troubled Catholic Church risked becoming little more than a charity with no spiritual foundations if it failed to undergo renewal.
Addressing the cardinals who elected him as Latin America's first pope, the 76-year-old Argentinian said on Thursday the Church could "end up a compassionate NGO", using an Italian word that can also mean "pitiful".
"I would like all of us after these days of grace to have the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord," Francis said, amid the splendour of the Sistine Chapel.
He warned the cardinals against "the worldliness of the Devil".
"Walking, building and confessing are not so easy. Sometimes there are tremors," the pope said, in a homily that will be scrutinised for clues to the style of his leadership.
The new head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, who was formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, had begun his reign by meeting people in Rome and laying a bouquet of flowers in homage to the Virgin Mary in a basilica.
The pope also prayed at the altar of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which he belongs.
He returned to the priests' quarters where he stayed before the conclave and settled his own bill.
Riches shunned
The election of the son of a railway worker, who was considered an outsider, was met with widespread surprise and expressions of hope for change in a Church riven by scandal and internal conflict.
It was also seen as recognition of the Church's power in Latin America, which now accounts for 40 percent of the world's Catholics, in contrast to its decline in Europe.
"The choice of Bergoglio shows that the Church is determined not to remain in mourning for the crisis in Europe but has opened its doors to the revitalising energy of Catholicism's biggest continent," Vatican expert Luigi Accatoli told the AFP news agency.
Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman, reporting from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, said that Francis revealed what he would have done if elected as pope, in an interview with an Argentinian journalist, shortly before he left to the Vatican. 
"One of the things he said he would have done is to eradicate the corruption from the 'guilded palaces' of the Vatican. He also said that the Vatican Bank needs to be cleaned up and made transparent immediately, and that 'everyone knew' who the corrupt cardinals were in the Vatican," said Newman. 
"So he clearly plans to do some serious housecleaning, now that he is in charge," she added.
Projecting an image as a simple man of the people, the pope chose to name himself after St Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century saint who shunned the riches of his family to devote himself to God and the poor.
The Vatican revealed that, for the ride back to the conclave lodgings after Wednesday's election, Francis shunned the papal limousine with the "Vatican City State One" number plates, opting instead to board a minibus with the cardinals.
It was in keeping with his image as a man who as archbishop of Buenos Aires chose to live in a modest apartment rather than the official residence and took buses to work.


  1. Yeah, but they got two terms of Gov. Moonbeam.

    Francis and Brown, the Yin and the Wanker.

    1. Jerry slept on the floor.
      ...and that fat singer.

      Too much even for my Sis's Italian boyfriend whose brother was a longshoreman at LA Harbor.

      This Public Ed Drone would brag about how much his bro would be paid for moving a Hawser three feet in a days work.


      Hawser is a nautical term for a thick cable or rope used in mooring or towing a ship. A hawser passes through a hawsehole, also known as a cat hole, located on ...

  2. QuirkThu Mar 14, 11:58:00 PM EDT

    Paul v Rubio at CPAC

    The warm reception for Paul’s anti-interventionist foreign policy ideas is a stark contrast to the CPACs of years past, when neoconservatives ruled the day, like when Dick Cheney had a keynote spot just two years ago. Supporters of Ron Paul heckled the former vice president from the audience, but now one of their own is on the stage and getting only love from the crowd.

    Paul also drew contrasts with Sen. Marco Rubio, who spoke immediately before Paul. Both men are rumored to be considering a White House bid in 2016. In their speeches, both leaned heavily on the gimmicks that made them famous in recent weeks, but Rubio’s incessant jokes about drinking water during his State of the Union response felt petty and cheesy compared to the substance of Paul’s filibuster.

    And unlike Rubio, who spoke about the fundamental goodness of the GOP, Paul offered a plea for a revamp. “The Republican Party has to change,” Paul said. It especially needs to appeal to young people by expanding its conception of limited government beyond taxes and regulation to things like drug policy, technology, and civil liberties, he explained, because the “Facebook generation” is the “core of the ‘leave me alone’ coalition.”


    Calling the Man w/Two Brains:

    Scoop out Rubio's and Insert Pauls. need to bother w/Rubio Brain in Paul's skull.

    RIP Man w/no brain.

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