Review of Jesuit Hammerlock Doctrine on the Roman Curia | National Catholic Register


COMMENT: The prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, was admirable, but he had to do quite a bit of shrugging in response to the actions of his brothers in the Society of Jesus.

Five years ago, on July 1, Pope Francis fired the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, raising his deputy at the same time.

With the first Jesuit pope appointing a fellow Jesuit, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, as prefect, the Society of Jesus had a hammer blow on the doctrinal authority of the Roman Curia.

Father Ladaria taught me at the Gregorian University in the late 1990s. His course on the Trinity was one of the best we had; he was clearly a first-class teacher and clergyman. It came as no great surprise when Benedict XVI appointed him secretary of the CDF in 2008.

I therefore welcomed his elevation to the rank of prefect, even though I worried about a Jesuit as the head of doctrine in the Church. Not that his orthodoxy is in question, but rather that all senior Jesuits have spent, of necessity, a lifetime learning to live with unorthodoxy as the price of maintaining peace in the community.

The months leading up to Cardinal Ladaria’s appointment brought the issue to the forefront. Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa made two high-profile comments denying the truths of the faith. The first denied the historicity of the Gospels, as solemnly affirmed by the Council of Trent and Vatican II. The second denied the personal reality of the devil, a truth that Pope Francis repeatedly insists on.

And in January 2017, itinerant papal spokesman, interpreter, confidant and amanuenses, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, notoriously tweeted that “Theology is not #Mathematics. 2 + 2 in #theology can make 5.” Vatican I Dei Filius and Saint John Paul II Fides and Ratio took a different view.

The pope then ignored both offenses against Catholic truth. Would his new prefect do the same?

That was the question five years ago. Cardinal Ladaria’s term is now over – the apparent reason for Cardinal Müller’s papal defenestration – and he is 78 years old. So how did it happen, a Jesuit prefect in the service of a Jesuit pope?

Cardinal Ladaria was, unsurprisingly to those who followed his long career, an admirable prefect. Still, he had to do quite a bit of shrugging off his Jesuit brethren.

Just consider this last year, celebrated as an Ignatian year by the Jesuits, to mark the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’ conversion (May 1521) and the 400th of his canonization (March 1622). Three examples come to mind.

Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg is president of the European Episcopal Conference and has been appointed general rapporteur of the synod on synodality. He is partly responsible for directing the synodal process, and he will have a leading role at the synod on synodality itself, presented by some as the most important ecclesial initiative since Vatican II.

In February he said that Church teaching on homosexuality was “not correct” and needed to be “changed” since it was based on outdated “science”.

The Catechism’s teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts is based on Christian anthropology, it’s not bad science, but leave that aside. What should the prefect of the CDF do when one of the oldest cardinals in the world says that the teaching of the Church is false? If he’s a fellow Jesuit, just shrug your shoulders. After all, the Jesuit pope offered no comment or correction and Cardinal Hollerich sees him frequently.

Also in February, Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, made the long journey to Canada’s west coast to preach at the funeral of longtime Bishop Remi De Roo of Victoria.

Bishop De Roo, since his appointment in 1962, opposed Catholic teaching and personally presided over a wide variety of liturgical abuses. He left his diocese in dire straits, pastorally and financially, after wasting millions on an unauthorized race track venture he had covered up. Cardinal Czerny diplomatically evoked the mess left by Bishop De Roo for the faithful to clean up, but he came with full praise.

“Above all, he was a Council Father who devoted the next 55 years to continually rediscovering what it means to live as a Christian of the Council and as a Church of the Council…and now indeed as a Church Synod, Czerny preached.

De Roo was perhaps the least “synodal” bishop in the world. He “walked” with no one, even less with his brother bishops in Canada. He walked alone and with determination. He was absolutely not a “Christian of the Council”, unless one thinks that the Council was in contradiction with Catholic doctrine. It was impossible to recognize in the decades of Bishop De Roo (1962-1999) in Victoria the teaching of Vatican II in Lumen gentium (dogmatic constitution on the Church) or Dei Verbum (on divine revelation).

What is the prefect of the CDF to do when one of the senior cardinals in the curia profusely praises one of the key bishops responsible for the immediate post-conciliar divisions in the Church? If he’s a fellow Jesuit, just shrug your shoulders. After all, the Jesuit pope sends Cardinal Czerny as one of his most trusted envoys.

In April, the new Jesuit Bishop of Hong Kong, former Jesuit Provincial Stephen Chow, used the occasion of his first Chrism Mass to express hope for the ordination of women.

Bishop Chow”turned to English, just to address our ordained brothers, and I hope that one day maybe an ordained sister[s] too.”

What is the prefect of the CDF to do when a bishop in one of the most important cities in the world suggests that the infallible teaching of the Church, repeatedly defended by Pope Francis himself, is not not correct ? If he’s a fellow Jesuit, just shrug your shoulders. After all, the Jesuit pope spent more than a year selecting Bishop Chow for the delicate post and presumably doctrinal issues were considered.

Cardinal Ladaria has dealt with difficult issues during his five-year term, including the increasingly erratic Church in Germany. After this service, he can hope to retire. And it may be easier for his successor to correct wayward Jesuits if he is not one himself.


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