July 26th, 2014
05:56 PM ET

Why the Jesuits (including Pope Francis) are on the frontlines of faith

Opinion by Matt Emerson, special to CNN

(CNN) - Is Andrew Garfield, star of films such as “The Social Network” and “The Amazing Spiderman,” considering the priesthood?

Last month, paparazzi snapped a picture of Garfield walking as he carried “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” the Rev. James Martin’s insightful overview of Jesuit life and spirituality.

According to reports, he’s consulting the book as he prepares to play a Jesuit in a film adaptation of “Silence,” a novel about Catholic missionaries in Japan.

Garfield’s reading material – and the movie he’s studying for – captures the continuing cultural impact of the 474-year-old Catholic religious order officially known as the Society of Jesus.

Sometimes called "God's Marines" (not all appreciate the nickname) for their willingness to go to the frontlines of faith, Jesuits form the largest order of Catholic priests in the church, with approximately 18,000 members worldwide. And, at a time when most religious orders are shrinking and pining for new candidates, the Jesuits say inquiries about joining their ranks are surging.

What explains the Jesuits’ enduring appeal?

Much of it has to do with their academic legacy. In the United States alone, there are 60 Jesuit high schools and 28 Jesuit colleges and universities. They are part of a network of secondary and post-secondary institutions that stretch from Los Angeles to Lagos to Tokyo. A good number of those schools are named after the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Born in Spain in 1491, Ignatius – then Iñigo Lòpez de Loyola – was groomed for a conventional path in service of the Spanish crown.

Known as something of a ruffian and a ladies’ man, Inigo entered the military and, in 1521, encountered the French at the Battle of Pamplona, a fight that left his right leg badly wounded by a cannonball.

With time to pray and reflect, Inigo underwent his remarkable conversion from swashbuckling soldier to spiritual pilgrim. A new man and now disciple, Inigo adopted a new name: Ignatius, which some say marked his newfound respect for St. Ignatius of Antioch.

In addition to Ignatius’ captivating conversion, his work “The Spiritual Exercises,” continues to inspire contemporary Catholic movements in education and prayer, and serves as the foundation for all Jesuit ministries. The exercises are essentially a retreat manual, a series of guided meditations that enable people to experience the love of God and strengthen their relationship with Christ.

With the aide of the Spiritual Exercises, which members of the Society of Jesus are required to periodically revisit, a steady stream of Jesuits from nearly every country and background have shaped the culture, politics, and events of their day.

There’s Matteo Ricci, the 16th century missionary to China, a polymathic priest and a groundbreaking figure in connecting Asian and European cultures.

There’s Gerard Manley Hopkins, the nineteenth century English poet, whose verse is regarded as some of the best of the Victorian era and regularly included in poetry anthologies.

And there’s Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit born in 1880 who, as a paleontologist, was instrumental in discovering and examining “Peking man,” and who, as a theologian, remains notable for his efforts to synthesize science and Christianity.

Their lives demonstrate the ways that a distinctly religious worldview can speak to the world’s needs, an emphasis on practicality that is thoroughly Jesuit in origin. "Contemplation in action," runs one well-known Jesuit motto.

“Jesuits, as their tradition insists, can be found in almost every country, in almost every workplace imaginable,” Jonathan Wright writes in his book, “God’s Soldiers: A History of the Jesuits.”

That includes war zones, retreat houses, business schools and chemistry labs. There are Jesuit doctors, lawyers, engineers and psychologists, as well as artists and television producers.

In this variety and geographic reach, the words of one early Jesuit, Jerónimo Nadal, ring true: “The whole world . . . is our house.”

Today, the Jesuits are as well-known as at any time in their history. This popularity starts at the very top of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit for more than 50 years.

In an extensive interview published last September in America magazine, Francis spoke at length about his Jesuit identity and background.

He decided to join the society as a young man in Argentina, the Pope said, because he admired its "missionary spirit, community and discipline," even though he was himself not very disciplined.

A key to understanding Pope Francis

He later came to appreciate Jesuits' open-mindedness and willingness to see God in all things, great and small, Francis said.

"The Jesuit always thinks, again and again, looking at the horizon toward which he must go, with Christ at the center. This is his real strength. And that pushes the Society to be searching, creative and generous."

Catholic leaders who know the Pope well say his Jesuit training is the "key to understanding" Francis. "Pope Francis is the quintessential Ignatian Jesuit,” said Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, one of the Pope's closest confidants.

For instance, O'Malley said, consider the Pope's decision to wash the feet of a group of prisoners on Holy Thursday in 2013, just after his election as pontiff, instead of following Vatican tradition and celebrating a Mass at St. John Lateran's Archbasilica.

"With a simple gesture, the Holy Father was challenging core assumptions about power, authority and leadership," O'Malley said, adding that his actions "jostled" Catholics out of complacency.

Francis may be the the most well-known Jesuit, but others engage the culture in influential ways as well.

Martin, author of “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything,” appears regularly on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” to discuss topics like heaven and hell, social justice and the latest news from the Vatican. And Jesuits can often be relied upon to converse about more far-out topics – like really far out.

For example, Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno, who recently won the Carl Sagan Medal for communicating science to the public, has co-written a forthcoming book titled “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” a question that only a Jesuit could love. (Pope Francis, for the record, says yes.)

Given its history and global presence, you might think the Society of Jesus would closely guard its legacy. But this is one area where the Catholic order breaks with typical expectations.

A hallmark of Ignatian spirituality is the emphasis on remaining indifferent. That doesn't mean apathy or disinterest, but rather a radical availability to the will of God. As Jesuits say, this “Ignatian indifference” is about freedom from attachments that displace God as the center of one’s life.

How to really measure the 'Francis effect'

That freedom has imbued the Society of Jesus with a spirit of re-creation for five centuries, and I wouldn't be surprised if it continues to inspire Jesuits for the next 500 years.

One day my children might enjoy a new technology created by a Jesuit who works at Google or a Jesuit whose path to the priesthood was perhaps inspired by a movie starring a certain Hollywood celebrity.

Father Andrew Garfield? Seems impossible, right?

Not exactly. Read the biography of Ignatius, and you’ll know why.

Matt Emerson blogs for the Jesuit magazine America and teaches theology at Xavier College Preparatory, a Jesuit high school in Palm Desert, California. The views expressed in this column belong to Emerson. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Culture & Science • Opinion • Pope Francis

soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. monica7c



    August 1, 2014 at 7:27 am |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    A 1500-year-old bible has been discovered in Turkey. Discovered in 2000, the book that contains purportedly the Gospel of Barnabas has been transferred by the Turkish government to the Ethnography Museum of Ankara with a police escort. Barnabas was a disciple of Christ, and in the work, claims that Jesus was not crucified, instead it says he ascended to heaven alive and Judas Iscariot was crucified in his place. Furthermore, the 1500-year-old bible states that Jesus Christ was not the son of God, but simply a prophet who passed on the word of God.

    July 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
  3. thesamyaza

    you know the more i read this new man fellow the more i start to see the truth,...

    July 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
    • thesamyaza

      Christians are total nutters

      July 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm |
      • ausphor

        new-man is in this crazy christian bubble and he can not comprehend anything beyond his delusion. Reminds me of someone tripping out on LSD.

        July 30, 2014 at 6:07 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      That him, Austin, Theo, Vic, topher are all part of the Paste Eating Crew of the blog?

      July 30, 2014 at 6:29 am |
  4. Reality

    What the Jesuits know but never reveal:


    Joe Smith had his Moroni and Satan/Perdition/Lucifer. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God and of course Satan and his demons.

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around) and of course the jinn.

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/ugly/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    July 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm |
  5. zhilla1980wasp

    ok totally off topic......well sort of.

    i really wish i had god's winning steak...i mean seriously.
    let's take the two americans that have contracted ebola in africa. so as per their faith, their churches are asking people to pray for them.
    here is how god always wins in the mind of his followers.

    1) they die: it was part of god's plan he wanted to end their suffering/ he was calling them home.

    2) they survive: it was part of god's plan/ it's a miracle. he still has plans for them here on earth.

    so here is my question: when does your god lose in the mind of a follower?
    why would god even allow these two people to contract the ebola illness if he has plans for them here?
    if he wanted to "call them home"; then why not just take them peacefully in their sleep?

    July 29, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • workingcopy12

      "so here is my question: when does your god lose in the mind of a follower?" Easy enough...God loses when his creation, to whom he has given free will, chooses not to accept Christ into his or her heart.

      July 29, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • igaftr

        No...god loses when you don't die in glorious battle, so cannot enter Valhalla.

        July 29, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • igaftr

        no, no...god loses when the people disoby him by not sacrificing a virgin into the mouth of the volcano...that's why their crops fail

        July 29, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          LMFAO! so glad i don't live near volcanos.

          July 30, 2014 at 7:16 am |
      • zhilla1980wasp

        "to whom he has given free will"
        " god's will"
        "god is all knowing, all powerful, all present."

        ok so god gave us "free will" yet seeing as god is all-everything, he can easily over rid our "free will" if it suites his plan.

        that is why it's either total chaos "free will" and no set destiny or "god's will/plan/destiny" for humans and we are only along for the ride.

        you can't have order (a plan or destiny) and have chaos (free will). a plan has a set path and a set goal, free will literally means you can make your own destiny.

        July 29, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • new-man

          "ok so god gave us "free will" yet seeing as god is all-everything, he can easily over rid our "free will" if it suites his plan"

          you do not have a good understanding of 'free will'.
          God will not let you... you must allow, you must let. If God over-rides your free-will then it's no longer free-will is it?
          God does NOT control everything that happens in the earth. That's just not how it goes.
          Why do you think Jesus had to become a man- flesh and blood in order to bring us back into God's presence.
          Can God do anything in the earth without a covenant with a human being?

          there's a lot you don't know friend. The heavens are LORD's but the earth He gave to man. Meditate on this and figure out what it really means.
          Get to know God, and you will know His longsuffering ways, His loving heart, and His goodness and mercy to you ALWAYS.

          July 29, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
        • G to the T

          "God will not let you... you must allow, you must let. If God over-rides your free-will then it's no longer free-will is it?"

          Are you saying that God never violates the free will of humans? Because I'm pretty sure there are several examples of just that happening in the Bible.

          July 29, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
        • tallulah131

          And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
          Exodus 9:12

          So much for Pharoah's free will.

          July 30, 2014 at 12:09 am |
        • ausphor

          JC read the god damn bible. God interferes with all sorts of characters "free will". Making asinine comments does not make your case stronger, it just means you are willing to lie for your delusion.

          July 30, 2014 at 5:56 am |
      • LaBella

        wc12, the OP said that the two men had faith, which to me implies they already accepted Christ.

        July 29, 2014 at 11:37 am |
        • workingcopy12

          I don't dispute that...I was simply answering the generic question of when does God lose. Accept it as fact, or accept it as opinion, or accept it as fantasy...makes no difference to me how others want to answer this question (or mock the answer).

          July 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
        • LaBella

          Oooh. Salty.

          July 29, 2014 at 5:20 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          @work: that was the meat of the question i asked.

          if one dies and one survives christians have an answer either way to cover for their god. thus your god never loses.

          1) both christians die, "god had a plan" -insert excuse.
          2) both christians live, "god had a plan" -insert excuse.

          so neither have lost their faith and are praying for god to help them, hat excuse will the families of these two christians use to comfort themselves that their god is correct?

          July 30, 2014 at 10:12 am |
      • realbuckyball

        That's not what Jebus taught you.
        "For many are called BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN".
        "NO ONE shall come to me, unless the Father draw him".

        Is your god SO dumb, she wouldn't know if some said "I believe", when they really didn't" ?

        July 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm |
        • workingcopy12

          Classic atheist cherry picking. You forgot that God, in fact, calls (draws) everyone–for God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten son. So the argument still holds that its free will. As for the "few are chosen" argument–read in context the parable that that statement is made–the ones that are chosen by God are the ones who chose God in advance.

          July 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
        • Madtown

          God, in fact, calls (draws) everyone
          How do you define "everyone"? How many humans has God created today that will go their entire lives never hearing the first word about christianity? Many.

          July 29, 2014 at 9:52 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          "Classic atheist cherry picking"

          Rather typical Christian persecution! If you can't handle the truth, move back to your cave or join Austin and his Paste Eating Crew (the mentality you show here shows that you would be a perfect fit)! Atheists no more cherry pick then Christian do.

          July 30, 2014 at 6:37 am |
      • In Santa We Trust

        "God loses when his creation, to whom he has given free will, chooses not to accept Christ into his or her heart."

        So as the majority of the people on earth are not christians your god's a loser? Time to find a better answer I'd say.

        July 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm |
      • kudlak

        But, God's losing in that way wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, right? Secular people, and other non-Christians, have demonstrated that they can live as moral, or even more moral lives that Christians. The world then wouldn't be losing a whole lot if Christianity died out as a religion, would it?

        July 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
        • new-man

          you're trusting in your own goodness which is self righteousness). you think your good relative to the next person/Christian. that's not the measure. how good are you compared to Jesus?
          That's why you place your trust in Jesus that His goodness ALONE is enough for you and every single person born on this earth.

          July 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • Madtown

          His goodness ALONE is enough for you and every single person born on this earth
          I'm sure that's going to be great news for the many people that God has created who've never heard anything about Jesus. They may tell you, that the grace of the religious figure they believe in, is good enough for YOU! How would you react? Probably the same way they would.

          July 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • sealchan

      A common misunderstanding, IMO, of atheists and many Christians (who confuse the atheists on this point) that God is some sort of prayer-order service. God is a person to whom you can offer praise, acknowledge your fortune (good or bad) and otherwise converse with in order to engage one's inner experience of the world more fully, especially when it seems that the world itself or fate is the cause of one's condition of concern. The Serenity Prayer kind of sums this up.

      July 29, 2014 at 8:00 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        Another member for Austin's Paste Eating Crew.

        July 30, 2014 at 6:40 am |
  6. new-man

    "Jesus gave us an infallible rule for success. He said, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Mat. 4:19). The words 'follow me' simply mean "be like me."
    1. Read the Word of God
    2. Consume the Word until it consumes you
    3. Believe the Word
    4. Act on the Word.

    fr: AHibbert 'The Secret of His Power'

    July 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
    • ugetthefacts

      I see, make an idiot of yourself. Brainwash yourself. Become consumed with nonsense.

      July 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
    • Alias

      And if you read harry Potter until it consumes you, you'll think you could cast spells if only the right wand chose you.

      July 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      If he wanted to say "be like me" he would have said "be like me". Since when did you decide YOU get to speak for him ? Jesus was never the content of his own preaching. That happened later as the cult was formed. when asked by the young man what he had to do to gain eternal life, Jesus said "keep the commandments" ... not "Just wait, 'Ima gonna die for you", or "be like me".

      July 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm |
    • In Santa We Trust

      Didn't he say "Walk like this"?

      July 28, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bob

      new-man, following the "word of God" as stated in your Christian book of nasty AKA the bible should land you in jail. Look at these awful demands that book of horrors has your nasty sky fairy requiring of you. From both foul testaments:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      1 Timothy 2:11
      "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."

      Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      July 28, 2014 at 6:24 pm |
    • Madtown

      1. Read the Word of God
      I'd love to, it's just that God hasn't written any word we're aware of.

      July 28, 2014 at 9:09 pm |
      • new-man

        Jesus is the very Word of God, manifested in the flesh. He quoted scripture time and again to the devil. He could have made up His own words – after all His words have power to do what it speaks it to do, yet, He quoted what was already in scripture saying "It is written".
        You choosing to reject the written word because in your limited view, it's just the word of man doesn't make the Word void; it makes you incapable of receiving all that God has in store for you.

        "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You."
        You may have heard of God from a friend or colleague. Perhaps you continue to hear of Him in church services on Sundays. Like Job, you say to God, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear.” But God also wants you to be able to say to Him, “But now my eye sees You.”

        When Job told the Lord, “My eye sees You,” he was not saying that he saw God physically. He was referring to the moment when he had a personal revelation of God.

        Why was it so important for Job to have a personal revelation of God? You see, God wanted Job to know that without a personal revelation of Him, the devil could easily steal from him. But from the moment that Job had a personal revelation of God, things got a lot better for him, with God restoring to him double of everything that he had lost. (Job 42:10–16)

        July 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
        • igaftr

          "Jesus is the very Word of God, manifested in the flesh. He quoted scripture time and again to the devil. He could have made up His own words – after all His words have power to do what it speaks it to do, yet, He quoted what was already in scripture saying "It is written"

          First, Jesus was a man...there is no evidence he was anything more than that or that any "god" exists.
          Second, you have no idea what Jesus said or did, all you have is people saying he did this and that so whenever you "quote" Jesus, you must say Jesus ALLEGEDLY said, otherwise, it is a lie.

          The point was that you have no evidence at all of any gods, or any supernatural occurance at all. None.
          So to claim it is the "word of god" is dishonest, since you really have no idea.
          Belief is not knowledge.

          July 29, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • otoh2


          You think that the story of Job really happened?

          (too bad for the first Mrs. Job and her kids, eh?)

          July 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
        • kudlak

          All we have is the word of some human authors that there ever was a "God", that he had a "Word", and that this Word was actually Jesus. It may be an ancient opinion, but that's still all it is, an opinion.

          July 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • new-man

          we have Jesus. we know He exists, and therefore we have the Word of God.

          July 29, 2014 at 5:51 pm |
        • Madtown

          it makes you incapable of receiving all that God has in store for you.
          Quite the contrary, I actually use the mind God gave me as intended. I think critically, ask questions, and don't accept things that don't contain a large element of logic within them. That's why I completely discount all religions. You should try it sometime, use the mind God gave you as intended. Question the rhetoric you've been told by others, think for yourself, I think this is what God has in store for you.

          July 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Shall we fix this for you?

      Simply put and in much less words: Believe blindly or else god will punish you severely.

      July 29, 2014 at 7:43 am |
      • new-man

        are you and the other unbelievers under severe punishment?

        God doesn't punish people for not believing in Him. You fail to receive ALL He's given so generously, mercifully, and abundantly to you because of His great love for you because you are incapable of receiving/ or rather you are too full of pride to receive from Him.

        July 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
        • igaftr

          "God doesn't punish people for not believing in Him"

          More baseless belief. There are believers on this blog that say the exact opposite, that the only sin is not believing, so which is it?
          Likely neither is correct.

          July 29, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • zhilla1980wasp


          yup god generously created he11.
          he mercifly created an angel that he knew would betray him and his human creation.
          he abundantly flooded the earth when his creation didn't do as told.

          so i would say your god (hint it has no gender because it's a fracking spirit.) whom in the bible even admits to being jealous, has the ablilty and is willing to erase all humans.

          not very loving is it?

          July 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Of course it does!! Pathetic how you are arrogant enough to preach about this god you believe in but yet you don't comprehend a damn thing about it! Skip the crap, the punishment for non-belief as clearly stated within your bible is that you will not be granted a place in heaven.

          July 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          But God would have still created the conditions for people to end up in this trouble, yes?

          That's like somebody flooding a neighbourhood, on purpose, causing everyone to struggle to survive from drowning, and then only saving those who first compliment him.

          Not my idea of a "saviour".

          July 29, 2014 at 5:58 pm |
        • mistersensible

          Not here fault Newman, thy know not what they say. The word knew before there was flesh.

          They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

          He knew you before the beginning of time....

          July 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • kudlak

      If he meant "catch-and-release" fishers of men, then I have to object to being played with for the amusement of preachers.

      If he meant the other kind of fishing, where the intent is to eat what you catch, then I have to object to that too.

      All-in-all, I really don't understand why Christians seem to like being thought of as fish in this analogy. Same goes for their being the "sheep" to Jesus the shepherd. What's the attraction of being like an animal that's fleeced throughout it's life until it ends up in the stewpot?

      July 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
      • new-man

        And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.


        And blessed (happy, fortunate, and [a]to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.

        July 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm |
        • kudlak

          I don't find too much about Jesus to dislike; I just don't believe the claim that he was some supernatural deity, or that not believing that claim somehow makes me inferior to others. That's all.

          July 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
  7. Defting

    One can be happy this has nothing to do with Roman Catholicism....

    July 28, 2014 at 11:39 am |
    • Doris

      I am not Catholic, but I can easily see where many might wonder if the RCC ever would have gone anywhere without the Jesuits.

      July 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
  8. Peaceadvocate2014

    Jesuits formation was to spread the word. I do not see a difference from a regular priest nor a believer.

    July 28, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • Doris

      But what is a "regular" priest to you?

      The author seems to be making some kind of differentiation with 'Sometimes called "God's Marines" [..] for their willingness to go to the frontlines of faith'. [and then attempts to give examples]

      July 28, 2014 at 11:12 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Regular priests, other than Jesuits, or believers could go to frontlines, what would stop them? A label? I have a hard time understanding Jesuits.

        July 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm |
        • Doris

          What stops a regular person from becoming a Marine?

          July 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014



          Keep in mind, task of a marine is different from the task of a Jesuit. The authors comparison i think was based on the amplified role they have due to the training they received.

          I think we are getting too structured or inst:tutionalized that a regular person could not be in the frontline to spread the word of God. Some say you have to memorize the bible (exaggeration) but i think not. You have to the knowledge and understand morality accepted by our fellow humans.

          July 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          *i think you have to have the....

          July 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
        • Peaceadvocate2014

          And it is up to us to determine what morality is.

          July 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm |
      • otoh2

        The different orders or communities of priests (Dominican, Franciscan, Benedictines, etc.) abide by slightly different vows and rules and have slightly different aims or target audiences.

        There are also non-orgs or Indie priests who do not belong to any specific order.

        Yeah, any of them could be on the "front lines", but it seems as if certain orders are known for certain specialized things.

        July 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
  9. ugetthefacts

    and let's not forget the pope who continues the abuse cover ups. Defrock a few 400 out of many thousands to make it look like they are doing something.

    And defrocked is NOT fired. Deals are cut and they are given different jobs with full retirement.

    Shocking is that most still have access to kids.

    July 28, 2014 at 7:36 am |
  10. ugetthefacts

    it was jesuit pedos who ra-ped kids in central to western ny,

    Not a single difference in this group

    July 28, 2014 at 7:33 am |
  11. codenine75a

    A Jesuit is an offensive label to some people that call themselves "Watchers" I saw their text but I would not touch it because it was sacred to them. It was actually by the trash can. Jesuits seem like a term to use as a sacrificial element for Christianity. It is offensive to call someone a marine like Jesus when they are not baptized as a Christian. It is very offensive. A Watcher has their own "side show clown" faith and it is used to observe moral controversy. I believe they are supposed to be in the Archdioceses approved of structures and solving their problems as an arbitrator but now I notice that people just run around and call people the dreaded n word. That n word is a smiting vice on a person's soul and I try not to use it so I believe in certain areas of the world they are trying to catanize the devil. When people catanize the devil in public with no proper incarceration then what do you think will happen? Maybe they are catanizing the devil for his gold. Maybe they think the devil is so rich in hidden bullion that the devil finds out that it is a business for sodomy. Someone accuses a person of sloth and they that into a business of sodomy for their own profit by using a binding devil's contract. Now if the devil is being blamed for using witchcraft but the devil is being accused of his own sin of gluttony because his is hiding his wealth from the masses what do you think? Do you think that the devil is purposely hiding his potential and his wealth because sodomites are about? "Gimmie that money." "Make that money." "It is all about the money you dumb N – – – – -"
    I am a dictionary guy not a religious guy. So I learned my language from reading literature. I have no spiritual ties to the clergy either because I am just a human being that is concerned about the world because people do not want to respect others at all right now as it seems. It happens to any land when new people move in. They just settle in to the earth that they think is so custom for them. (that is what I think.)

    July 28, 2014 at 7:15 am |
  12. No Wake Zone

    A foster father in Kansas is arrested after a child in his care dies in a hot car.
    The 10-month-old girl was in the car with the windows up more than two hours.
    Where is your god now?

    July 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
    • LaBella

      Hey, CS. Akira here.
      That guy was blessed with sh!t for brains. This happens every damn summer.

      July 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm |
      • No Wake Zone

        Hey Akira, what's up?

        It is beyond my comprehension that people do these things. Unbelievable.

        July 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm |
        • LaBella

          Same-o, same-o. You?

          And this guy was a foster parent? Don't they have standards? Such as, the applicant should have some common sense?

          July 27, 2014 at 7:34 pm |
        • Doris

          Disgusting. You know someone is out of control when you have a 10-month old out of your sight/earshot for any length of time when they are currently under your care, car situation or not.

          July 27, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
        • No Wake Zone

          Anybody can be a dummy but it takes a true idiot to kill a kid in a hot car. I hear the "free will" footsteps getting closer...

          July 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Were there not foster parents in the news for this same thing recently? It seems there is a new case almost every day now. There's zero excuse for this amount of ineptness.

          July 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm |
    • southerncelt

      Perhaps He's testing your capacity for Forgiveness? Evil things happening in this world do not come from God. They come from the Free Will He gave us and those that ignore His Will.

      July 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm |
      • No Wake Zone


        July 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm |
      • orgjw

        Read 2 Corinthians 4:4. Evil things are a result of the Ruler of this world – Satan the devil, not from our Creator.

        July 27, 2014 at 10:52 pm |
        • thesamyaza

          if ist good its god if its evil its Satan (the guy who works for god)

          dud you ideology is ludicrous

          some one needs to go all Inna Shevchenko up in here.

          July 28, 2014 at 12:17 am |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Did you expect the book that tells the stories about your supposed god to tell you that its minion Satan was good and that it was bad???
          Some people are simply clueless when it comes to why certain things are written in to the book!

          July 28, 2014 at 4:58 am |
      • evolveddna

        southerncelt..then why try to change anything with prayer?If "god" gave you free will what point is there in prayer all you are going to do is p him off.

        July 27, 2014 at 11:14 pm |
        • mistersensible

          Free will doesn't mean you can't seek advice and then choose. My children have free will, they ask for my advice however then react accordingly.

          July 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
        • evolveddna

          mister..but its not asking for advice.. most prayers are to save folks, to win ball games, to win a lottery, to cure diseases that god felt compelled to add in the first place.. Your free will was invented to support your gods inaction and hence his probable non existance.

          July 31, 2014 at 12:36 am |
        • mistersensible

          God is all knowing, I am humble enough to know I can tap into his wisdom, understanding and love and get results because he loves me. We are his children. Free choice begets evil in the world, including diseases. You don't invent free will just like you don't invent love. He gave it to us. And to say you know what the majority of prayers are is to act like the very God you don't believe in.

          July 31, 2014 at 7:24 am |
        • zhilla1980wasp

          mister: you know i have children as well....and they think they have free will; until they ask me something that isn't part of my plans.

          my son wants a toy, i tell him no and he "prays" very loudly right there in the store.
          now seeing giving him that toy wasn't my intention; what do you think happens next?
          yup you got it, i lift his but up off that floor he is so actively "praying on" and carry his rear to the car.

          you see how your prayer and free will amount to the plan and power of a parent?

          your "god" is your father, correct? he is called "the father"
          so if your "father" plans for you to die a slow painful death from cancer; what do you think will happen?

          do you think the doctors will be able to cure you if your "father" wants you dead?
          do you think if your "prayers" don't follow along the lines of your "father's" plan that he will truly change his plans for you?

          if you think your "god" wouldn't inflict you with suffering, read the story of "job". he allowed the devil to do all sorts of things to that man, and even when he was dying god did nothing to ease his pain and suffering.

          so no prayer and free will do not exist with an all powerful being.

          July 31, 2014 at 7:43 am |
        • mistersensible

          Zhilla you tell your seventeen year old not to drink, and definitely don't drive, his friend chides him to do so, and he decides to go against your will, he crashes and is killed you had nothing to do with that. He had free will and was enticed by another to go against his Father/Mothers teaching. Hello Satan. BTW to live is fine, as a believer to die is gain. Free will is rampant. Mary chooses to eat like a glutton and weighs 300 pounds and developes diabetes and dies. Free will

          July 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • evolveddna

          mister..How are you aware that god is all knowing..? how are you even aware that the voice you hear in you head after you pray is that of god and not "satan" messing with your head?. Maybe it is just you believing in yourself to give you confidence to move ahead? I cannot subscribe to your version of a supreme being who is as callas as it is. Free will is just as I stated before the excuse you give to your god not to come through on prayer..or to come to the rescue of those in real need. God appears to be lacking in finding a way to smite one of his nemesiss' creations. Ebola.

          July 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
      • G to the T

        Are you implying god allowed two innocent children to die to teach me a lesson about forgiveness? Well he failed then – I'd be hard pressed to forgive him for doing that.

        July 28, 2014 at 12:04 am |
      • TruthPrevails1

        So your god is so evil that he'd test you by allowing you to leave a child to bake to death and instead of protecting said child would simply let it bake to death to prove a point?
        You somehow twist this to mean something good? What type of a sick person are you??

        July 28, 2014 at 5:17 am |
      • igaftr

        So you are saying the 10 month old, chose of it's own free will, to die in a hot car ( sun provided by god)?

        That does not make any sense, but you go on rationalizing it.

        July 28, 2014 at 8:02 am |
      • seedenbetter

        And it's flipped ridiculous calloused statements from arrogant deluded Christians like this that make me completely disgusted with the Christian cult.

        July 28, 2014 at 9:27 am |
      • taylorsj

        Southerncelt: I'm a Christian, like you, and I think your argument here needs some serious refining. It's silly to believe that God is "testing" us for anything like forgiveness or compassion by killing babies in cars. A tragedy like a child dying in a hot car can certainly lead us to become more compassionate - so yes, I think bad things can certainly be turned around and overcome, "put to good use" - but to say that God is causing these things to happen in order to build us up spiritually.... I just find no basis for that.

        I do think that people who have never undergone suffering or adversity typically aren't very well adjusted or interesting individuals, but I agree with some of the atheists here that it's deluded to imagine God is deliberately causing bad things to happen. Especially to children. That's the kind of color-by-number Sunday school God I'd like to see us recognize as a myth.

        July 28, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • taylorsj

      Want free will? Then deal with the laws of physics and human stupidity. Don't pin it on God unless you want to be Pinocchio on puppet strings.

      July 28, 2014 at 9:13 am |
      • No Wake Zone

        There clearly are no gods to blame anything on.

        July 28, 2014 at 9:24 am |
  13. salvelinus123

    This article is very misleading.
    The Jesuits should be suppressed again, they are left wing social justice clowns, of the world, carrying only of earthly concerns.

    July 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
    • LaBella

      Suppressed? Mighty Christian of you.

      July 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      You know all the Jesuits ? Or did you just poll them ?

      Oh. Neither.

      I see.

      July 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      There are some Jesuits, especially in the United States who meet your description, but as Pope Francis is proving, others are radically dedicated to the Gospel message.

      July 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
    • harveyy2014

      "they are left wing social justice clowns"? Someday, you should read the New Testament. You'll find it eye-opening. People like you prefer social injustice because that suits those in power who you obediently obey without any critical thinking. That's what Jesus was about, right? Social injustice.

      July 27, 2014 at 7:02 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Actually the NT was hardly a unique text with respect to altruism, at the time it was written. There was a move in the Jewish diaspora to "hone down" (simplify) all the rules in the OT to just one or two. It was a well known theme at the time. "Do unto others ... etc" was one of the common ones floating around. It did not originate with the "Way" sub-sect of the Jews (who later came to be called "Christians").

        July 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm |
    • liberalbusowner

      /Yeah, the Jesuits are sort of like Jesus in that regard. You know, caring for the poor, supporting a social safety net, being\against constant war, having empathy for those less fortunate than yourselves, It amazes me sometimes that certain people like to call themselves Christians but have beliefs that were in direct conflict to Jesus's teachings.

      July 27, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        They's why they tend to quote the Pauline Epistles and the Old Testament, and only quote the parts in red that point to Christ's divinity–NEVER do they post His commandments about how one is to live and deal with other human beings in the real world. Those teachings they outrage every time they get out of their beds. They are not Christians–they're the 21-century equivalent of the scribes and Pharisees (all very right-wing characters, by the way) the Christ regularly reamed out. Their real messiah is Saul of Tarsus, which explains why they quote him more than they do that evil communist Occupier from Nazareth...

        July 28, 2014 at 6:50 am |
    • thesamyaza

      wait what look they may all be buzz kills but their closer to JC teaching of social welfare then the rest of the Christians

      July 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm |
    • southerncelt

      I've also seen a bumper sticker that said "if you can read this, thank a Jesuit". You can (and should) believe in Social Justice without being liberal.

      July 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm |
      • fortheloveofellipsis

        Oh poor baby–make sure Mommy checks for Lib'rulz(tm) under your bed when you go to sleep tonight...

        July 28, 2014 at 6:52 am |
  14. pourmonamijc

    Most of these guys are really outstanding. They are great teachers and see faith and reason like two sisters. And they also include high level physicist (Fr. Spitzer). They are also well versed in philosophy so you better come prepared when you want to engage them on atheism with intellectually empty arguments.

    July 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm |
    • bostontola

      Is it ever a good time to engage with intellectually empty arguments? Have you read the arguments for young earth creationism? Now there are intellectually empty arguments.

      July 27, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
      • albertsonchris

        What are you talking about? I seriously doubt ANY Jesuit would believe in a "young Earth". The Catholic Church has held that there is no conflict with science for 50 years now at least.

        July 27, 2014 at 7:03 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree, I was referring to the comment that atheists shouldn't bring poor arguments. I find it is dogmatism that spawns intellectually empty arguments.

          July 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
        • brianz72

          The conflict between religion and science will always persist, because there's no scientific evidence or logical argument in favor of any god(s).

          July 28, 2014 at 2:40 am |
    • evolveddna

      pourmonamijc.. so well versed in Philosophy..is that because facts with regards to god are so hard to come by?

      July 27, 2014 at 11:20 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Unless they have actual evidence that their god exists, then it doesn't matter what rhetoric they bring to the table. Words can be used to rationalize anything. This is why irrefutable evidence is required.

      July 28, 2014 at 12:35 am |
  15. realbuckyball

    Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), a zealot for papal authority and founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, wrote:
    "We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white, is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides."

    Heh heh.

    July 27, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
    • bostontola

      " if the hierarchy of the church so decides."

      That sums up the problem of all dogmatic religion, the church decides are human, yet followers regard the proclamation as divine.

      July 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        In the early Church the authority model was "bottom up", not top down. The leaders were elected, not appointed by a foreign dude sitting on a gold throne. I do have to give it to this pope. He at least commissioned a survey of their membership. Some day it may be seen as a watershed moment in their return to their original authority model.

        July 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm |
        • bostontola

          Good point.

          July 27, 2014 at 7:20 pm |
  16. jennyroca

    God bless......

    July 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm |
  17. newimmi

    Thanks to CNN Belief Blog for a most informative article on the Jesuits.

    July 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm |
  18. ifhorseshadgods

    Why? Because pop culture is as pop culture does.

    July 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
  19. jennyroca

    God bless the Pope and all of us.

    July 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
  20. ausphor

    Jesuits have no place in the American religious diaspora. The amount of bling they can produce the size of the mansions they inhabit are the standard of the religious elite in America and around the world.

    July 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm |
    • albertsonchris

      Can you point to an example? Yes collectively they have a good deal of money. One told me once that it is easy to make that much money. Buy some real-estate then wait 200 years and you will be rich.

      July 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.