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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ignatius and the priesthood

A post at America magazine's blog deems Garry Wills a "heretic" for the views expressed in his book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition. This reminded me of a past post at dotCommonweal .... Pope to clergy: “After God, the priest is everything!” .... about an attitude at the other end of the spectrum from what Wills believes. There's a related post too at US Catholic - Bruni on Wills on Mahony on priesthood: What's the way forward?

I commented on the post at dotCommonweal, writing ...

I’ve been reading John O’Malley’s book, The First Jesuits, and he writes this about the early Society and holy orders ….

“[...] much of the ministry in the Society was in fact done by persons who were not ordained. More fundamentally, was the warrant for all the ministries derived in their opinion not from ordination but from acceptance of the call to be a member of the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits discussed that call frequently and at length, but rarely, if at all, did they speak of a “call to priesthood” …. When Nadal in his exhortations reviewed with his fellow Jesuits the outline of Ignatius’s life, he therefore had practically nothing to say about his ordination, reflecting Ignatius’s Autobiography in this relative silence. On one occasion Nadal began an exhortation with a telling apology for his narrative about what happened in Venice in 1537: “I must mention, by the way, that yesterday I forgot to tell you that Father Ignatius was ordained a priest.” …… Some young Jesuits thought ordination brought with it the danger of honor and special privilege and, hence, said they did not want to be ordained unless their superiors expressly ordered them ….”


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