Friday, August 26, 2016


Pope Francis strikes again with his pastoral theology and Jesuit Ignatian spirituality. The thing is that I agree with him. Life is messy even for Catholic priests and laity. Let's just admit it and move on with our discernment!

This is what His Holiness said about the shades of gray in people's lives, clergy or laity:

In a meeting with roughly 30 members of his own Jesuit religious order in Poland in late July, Pope Francis said that young priests must be taught the fine art of discernment, because "not everything is black over white, or white over black. No! The shades of gray prevail in life."
“Now I want to add something. I ask you to work with seminarians. Above all, give them what we’ve received from [St. Ignatius’] exercises: the wisdom of discernment,” he said.

Priests above all, but lay people too, need to be taught discernment, the pope said, because “in life, not everything is black over white or white over black. No! The shades of gray prevail in life. We must teach them to discern in this gray area.”

...(Pope) Francis said... a Jesuit must be a man “with the nose for the supernatural, that is, he must be a man gifted with a sense of the divine and of the diabolical relative to the events of human life and history.”

“The Jesuit must therefore be capable of discerning both in the field of God and in the field of the devil,” Francis said.

My comments: Certainly some things are black and white. It is always wrong to murder, be that through abortion or some other act of violence. However, the gray comes in when one is discussing self-defense or has an accident and kills someone, like a pedestrian. Civil law will prosecute you for homicide even an auto accident if negligence or distraction is the cause of the death. Premeditated murder, though, is different. Not too much gray in that.

Some people cohabit with a friend and there might be sex involved but it keeps them from spiraling into a completely dissolute life of promiscuity or worse.

In weakness, God saved us through His Son Jesus who was made to be weak but truly strong in accepting persecution, trial, passion and death. This is not the way of the world and the powerful but it is the way of God.

But most of all, we have to discern the influence of Satan in our lives and on the world. The devil, the flesh and the world are all a part of Jesuit discernment. It is Catholic discernment and thank God Pope Francis points this out to us. 


Rood Screen said...

Where are all these "black and white" priests that he is so concerned about? I wonder if his failure to speak out publicly against the brutal dictators in Argentina back in the Seventies leads him to promote this morally-neutral pastoral theology.

TJM said...

Dialogue, he ain't no St.John Paul II who knew how to handle the Commies

Anonymous said...

St. Ignatius of Loyola's modes of discernment, part of which includes discernment of spirits, is absolutely brilliant!

Although we might debate the brilliance, or lack of brilliance, of individual Jesuits or today's Jesuit order I can't see how anyone could argue rationally against the sound guidance of St. Ignatius' work. What a gift to the world!

The black and white-ness of many moral absolutes is a given, and was considered so by St. Ignatius himself,..and thus they aid in the discernment process.

While shacking up with someone often does indeed prevent folks from going downhill even further..the problem is their poor decision making process to start with.
The person that feels a need to do that is coming to the table a wounded soul that actually needs his/her original dignity restored and perhaps known to the self for the first time.
We don't need to promote a confusing environment by putting out there that a lesser wrong might be saving people from greater wrongs..that gets received as condoning it.
Rather, stating the black and whites helps people gives them clear guidelines to follow.


Anonymous said...

The man is living in a dream world. Does anyone really believe that the Jesuits give a dam what anyone says in confession. Do they even bother to hear confessions? Most of them don't even say Mass anymore. The Jesuits are responsible for the majority of the destruction of the Faith in the modern Church. They are beyond reform. Disband them.

Rood Screen said...


The value of Ignatian spirituality is well established, but the last people who should be teaching it is the Jesuits. And the irony is of their own making.

Shades of Gray said...

Fr......Pope Francis didn't say anything about "50 Shades" of gray.... you did. How was the movie...the book...?

johnnyc said... we are no longer tax collectors. Promoted to tax accountant. Looking for ways to say sin is not actually a sin. A new kind of catholic.....loophole catholic.

John Nolan said...

Shades of grey? Does it take a pope to state the obvious?

Rood Screen said...

Things used to be grey, but now they're gray. Even the word itself is a grey/gray area.

John Nolan said...

Grey/gray; used to be optional but British English has plumped for the former, American English for the latter, although Wilfred Owen always wrote 'gray' and most anthologies respect this.

The difference between American and British spelling largely results from 19th century lexicographers on both sides of the Atlantic wanting to de different. So we're stuck with labour, colour, honour etc. whereas labor, color, honor are closer to the Latin (in fact they are the Latin!) And maneuver is a sensible Anglicization of the French manoeuvre, yet we still use the French spelling (but not the pronunciation).

Anonymous said...

To me it is just the continuation of this Pope's theme that there is no right or wrong and the 10 Commandments no longer exist. I have it on good authority that Jesuits in Australia taking part in a quiz on the commandments couldn't list them.