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Thanks for embracing the dream of a more evangelical Church

16/03/2013: General House

Saint Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus to serve the mission of the Church with the availability and freedom which are distinctive of religious life. Consequently, he wanted the Jesuits not to seek or accept episcopal charges, unless it was ordered by the Pope. So it may seem contradictory that precisely a spiritual son of Ignatius was called to exercise the global leadership of the Catholic Church.

It may also seem a contradiction that the new Pope would choose the name of Francis, the man who aspired to transform the Church of his time from the grassroots, and certainly not from a hierarchical position.

So what can we make of the fact that a Jesuit has been elected as Pope and that he chose the name of Francis?

First, I find an implicit recognition of the validity of religious life nowadays and of its potential for renewal. At a time when some people anticipate, even publicly, the funeral of the traditional forms of religious life, Benedict XVI invited us, a few days before resigning, to ignore these prophets of doom, and then the elector cardinals chose a Jesuit as his successor, who took the name of the founder of another religious order.

Secondly, some people could interpret that the Church hierarchy is trying to tame religious life by assimilating it, but vis-à-vis this interpretation the simple name of Francis is a clear message about the model of Church and of religious life the new Pope has in mind, and of the kind of freedom he wants for himself. Francis, a non-ordained religious who was called to rebuild the Church by living the gospel “without gloss”. Poverty, simplicity, and the prophecy of universal brotherhood. Mission without borders and interreligious dialogue. Passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and passion for humankind.

So welcome, then, brother Francis. Thanks for embracing the dream of a more evangelical Church, enthusing so many of us who bear the same dream in our hearts. Count on your brothers and sisters in religious life, with our specific vocation amidst the People of God, when you try to meet the formidable challenges of the XXI century. Your commitment encourages us to become ever more consistent with the call to be mystics and prophets for our time.

Brother Emili Turú

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