Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Jesuit Zollner on the role of his Order in the Vatican

"Do not strive for offices"

According to Pope Francis, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, occupies another position in the Vatican with a Jesuit. This is not a rarity even to religious brothers.

Domradio.de: You are a member of the Jesuit Order. This is also the Order, which belongs to Pope Francis. On the weekend it became known that the new prefect of the Congregation of the Faith is also Jesuit. What role does your Order play at the Vatican? A pretty big, right?

Father Hans Zollner SJ (theologian, psychologist, Jesuit and member of the Pontifical Child Protection Commission in the Vatican): Yes, at the moment we are nominally playing a fairly large role. We have been around the past decades, almost centuries, always represented as consultants in the Vatican. But this has been more and more in the background. The fact that there are now two people at the leading edge of the Catholic Church is very extraordinary. I can also say that many of us are not happy.

Domradio.de: What is behind it, that it is not you?

Zollner: Ignatius of Loyola (the most important co - founder and creator of the Society of Jesus, later described as Jesuit Order) had already been asked to establish good people in leadership positions within the ecclesiastical hierarchy Nuncio or bishop. He always rejected it, because our Order does not seek such offices. But if the Pope wants it, then we must accept it as well.

Domradio.de: Now the term of office of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller as prefect of the Congregation of the Congregation expired, and Pope Franziskus has not extended it any further. In the past, Cardinal Müller criticized the Pope publicly and complained that Francis had dismissed three of his staff. Apparently, the Pope does not value disloyal behavior or how do you see it?

Zollner: In the past four years the Pope has expressed a great deal of criticism. There are plenty of examples that he has left in their positions people who are not in every respect on his line. But obviously, certain boundaries are reached at some point, and then, after deliberation and consultation, it draws its consequences.

Domradio.de: Would you say that he put Cardinal Müller out the door?

Zollner: I do not think he put him in front of the door. After five years there was an opportunity to make a change and he did that. The term of office had already expired. He could have done so earlier, but he did it with the end of the term. Cardinal Müller himself has said in several interviews that the Pope obviously intends to apply this five-year period, which applies to all offices in the Vatican, more frequently.

Domradio.de: Cardinal Müller was not pleased that three of his employees were dismissed in advance. These had also plagued the pope. Is there not the fear that you will be thrown out very quickly if you disagree?

Zollner: These three employees were similar. They had not only reached the five years of their term of office, but they were already clearly beyond. They were, for example, replaced by an employee who worked for the first time in the Congregation for the Faith in this section, which is also responsible for disciplinary proceedings. These are things that, when one looks more closely, are more complex than is otherwise reported.

The interview was conducted by Tobias Fricke.

( Dr )

The Jesuit Order

The Jesuit Order is the largest male religious order of the Catholic Church. Founder of the "Society of Jesus", according to the Latin name "Societas Jesu" (SJ) is the Spanish Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556).

Jesuits are not monks; They do not lead a monastic life and do not wear ornaments. In addition to poverty, celibacy, and obedience, they pledge themselves in a fourth vow for special obedience to the Pope. They also make a supplementary promise not to strive for ecclesiastical offices.

Areas of work have traditionally been schools, universities, priestly training, and media work for some time. According to the Order, some 6,000 people in the German-speaking world visit Jesuit institutions, including Gymnasia in Bonn, Sankt Blasien, Berlin, Hamburg, Linz and Vienna. In addition there are philosophical and theological faculties in Frankfurt, Innsbruck and Munich.

Jesuits, not least because of their excellent training and strict spiritual exercises (retreats), as an intellectual elite and avant-garde of Catholicism. Its Roman university, the "Gregoriana", is the most prestigious among the Pontifical Universities.

At the head of the Society of Jesus, which is represented in 125 countries, stands a religious order. From the Roman Jesuit Curia, he currently leads around 16,400 members worldwide, and around 400 in Germany. In October, the Venezuelan Arturo Sosa Abascal (68) was elected 31st Generaloberst of the Order. (KNA / 21.3.2017)

Note:  The above article is a Google Translate rendition of an article in German.

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