As I write this piece, I am wearing around my neck my St. Francis Xavier medal. I wear it almost always. At home, at work, at Mass, even while working out at the gym or playing hockey, it is always there near my heart, literally.
While I admire and venerate all the saints, Francis is my personal patron saint. After all, he brought Catholicism to Japan, where I have lived for the majority of my adult life, and where I reverted to the Faith after having fallen away during much of my early adulthood. For my wife, an adult convert to the Faith, Japan is also her homeland.
St. Francis Xavier was a dynamic and courageous bearer of the Catholic Faith to Japan and other faraway lands. He was one of those people who took Matthew 28:19–20 ever so seriously and dedicated his life to its divine command.
St. Francis Xavier was, in short, a spiritual giant. He was also a Jesuit.
Last November, I wrote a OnePeterFive piece on the Society of Jesus and how, despite the lack of adherence to Catholic teaching on the part of so many of the order’s current members, we should pray for them and for the Jesuits’ spiritual and catechetical renewal.
I wrote how — despite the errors and heresies commonly pushed by Jesuits these days — we owed it to the legacy of the great Jesuits of the past to encourage and pray for the Society’s return to authentic Catholicism.
Now I take it all back. The Society of Jesus needs to be done away with, and fast.
I’m sure there are more than a few “good Jesuits” — that is, men within the Society who actually believe in the entirety of the Catholic faith and make sincere efforts to advance it. Fr. Mitch Pacwa leaps to mind, and no doubt there are others. But even one drop of arsenic can cause an entire bowl of soup to become fatally toxic — and with the Jesuits, we’re dealing with not just one drop of figurative poison, but many.
The latest drop of spiritual arsenic is this: the Jesuit magazine America has published a feature opinion piece called “The Catholic Case for Communism” by its Toronto correspondent, David Dettloff.
That’s right: the Society of Jesus’s pre-eminent periodical has decided to run a propagandistic screed, whose author gushes and fawns all over the most oppressive and blood-shedding socioeconomic and political system in the history of the world.
That does it for me. Whatever soft spot I held for the Jesuits on account of their noble and faithfully Catholic past, inspired by the great faith and heroic activities of its past saints and martyrs, has just gone out the window.
When it comes to Catholic doctrinal, moral, and social teaching, these guys are, as a group, incorrigible. Giving a voice in the Society’s magazine to a guy who defends and excuses world history’s most totalitarian and violent system of government is just the latest evidence of that.
Dettloff is not a Jesuit himself, but that the Jesuits who publish America gave his powder-puff treatment of communism a platform makes them guilty by association.
The editor of America — Fr. Matt Malone, who unlike Dettloff actually is a Jesuit — is, not surprisingly, defending the publication of this pro-communism propaganda piece on just-encouraging-discussion grounds. Dettloff’s piece was published, Malone writes in a separate why-we-did-it piece run on the same day, out of what he calls a “willingness to hear views with which we may disagree but that we nonetheless think are worth hearing.”
Wrong. Some views and ideas are not worth hearing or discussing. Some ideologies are so pathological and morally warped that they do not deserve being listened to or paid any intellectual attention — and communism is one of them. “It should be as discreditable to say that you’re a Marxist as it is to say that you’re a Nazi,” says University of Toronto professor (and internet star) Jordan Peterson, adding, “We’ve got 100 million corpses stacked up to demonstrate that.”
Peterson’s figure actually understates things — the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation puts the death toll at over 100 million. When we consider the total number of lives ruined by the direct acts of communist regimes, we’re talking thousands of millions.
And how long did it take communists to rack up these historically unparalleled levels of death and oppression? Only about 100 years.
Dettloff doesn’t let his readers in on that inconvenient historical truth. Neither do the Jesuits who put out America. The closest Dettloff comes to acknowledging communism’s horribly violent history is to write (almost in passing, as if he’s just “checking the box” so as to avoid complete denial) that communism has made “mistakes.”
How this sort of twisted logic can be allowed expression on the pages of any so-called Catholic publication — or indeed, in any publication run by anyone with even a modest number of ethical molecules in his body — is beyond me.
I wonder if America Magazine, in the name of “hearing views with which we may disagree,” would allow publication of an essay that attempted to justify, in whatever way possible, some other sociological and ethical train wreck, such as racial segregation.
Would Fr. Malone ever accept a pro-segregation essay for publication, while distancing himself from its contents by playing the “we’re just encouraging discussion” card? Of course he wouldn’t. That’s because some ideas and opinions are simply too twisted and morally unacceptable to even consider. If racial segregation is one such idea — and it is! — then communism clearly qualifies as one as well. As horrible as racial segregation was, at least it didn’t result in the deaths of scores of millions. Communism did.
One could write a book detailing everything wrong with Dettloff’s propaganda piece, but his attempt to present Communism as compatible with Christianity is particularly loathsome.
Acts 4:35 and Acts 11:29, the two Scripture verses cited by Dettloff in order to justify communism from a Christian view, are clearly talking about voluntary charitable giving. Does Dettloff really think those verses justify the idea of a central dictatorial government forcibly commanding the redistribution of wealth and resources at the point of a gun?
The Jesuits have to go. Communism is an impersonal, exploitative, murderous ideology that has been flatly condemned by every pope since the 1840s, all the way up to, yes, even Pope Francis. Pope Pius IX denounced the ideology more than six decades before it was ever even implemented anywhere. Even back then, the Church saw how sinister it was. In 1949, Pope Pius XII declared support for communism in any way to be an excommunicable offense — and no pope since has ever lifted that sanction. As such, this ideology deserves no intellectual courtesy — and for America Magazine to give it such treatment is just the latest act of Jesuit moral and spiritual incorrigibility.
It’s long past time to stick a fork in these guys. They should be done.
I mentioned the great Jesuits of the past. I detailed in my November 1P5 piece that we owed it to their memory “to support not the Society’s destruction, but its spiritual and doctrinal rehabilitation.” Disbanding the Society of Jesus, I wrote back then, would be a “mistake.”
Again, I take that back. That was nine months ago, at a time when I never imagined that the Jesuits’ flagship publication would “grace” its pages with a pro-communist screed.
This gush-and-fawn piece of Dettloff’s isn’t just the work of some independent columnist or blogger writing on his own. It was written by one of the America Magazine’s regular correspondents; submitted to the Jesuit editors for review; and then not only approved for publication, but even placed under the category “Faith Features.”
And then consider the headline: “The Catholic Case for Communism.” The Jesuit powers that be at America Magazine actually entertain the idea that a “Catholic case” can be made in favor of something for which, technically, at least, Catholics can be excommunicated for supporting.
Take a minute or two to really let that sink in.
At this point, it would actually befit the legacy of the great Jesuits of the past to do away with this swarmy, heretical bunch. The current crop of Jesuits — a great many of them, anyway — have chosen to continually stomp on the very faith that Francis Xavier and all the other great Jesuits dedicated their lives to living and to spreading. Putting a stop to it would, at this point, be the best way to honor their memory.
I mentioned the “good Jesuits” like Fr. Pacwa. Like the great Jesuits of the past, they deserve better than to be associated with this gang of spiritual arsonists. Just as I can’t imagine how someone like James Martin is allowed to still be a functioning Catholic priest, I can’t imagine how a good priest like Fr. Pacwa ever got involved with this agitating, dissident outfit in the first place.
So let’s see them broken up. Surely, arrangements can be made for “good Jesuits” like Fr. Pacwa to be taken in by other religious communities and allowed to live out their vows with them. As for James Martin and Matt Malone and their ilk, they should be allowed to sully the legacy of St. Francis Xavier and the other Jesuit legends no longer.
The James Martins of the Jesuit order are certainly not irredeemable as men — none of us is. We should continue to pray every day for them and for their souls. But the institution, the Society of Jesus, has simply departed too far from the mission with which it was charged by the very Lord and God whom its name references. It’s time to uproot that weed and toss it where it belongs.
Nine months ago, I issued a “Make the Jesuits Great Again” rallying cry right here on 1P5. I wrote that disbanding the order, something that’s been advocated by many faithful Catholics for quite some time, would be “an exercise in surrender.” But some battles must be surrendered in the short term in order to win the long-term war of Catholic renewal.
I don’t expect the disbanding of the Jesuits to happen any time soon, if ever, and certainly not in my lifetime. If it did, though, I’d continue to wear my St. Francis Xavier medal and retain him as my personal patron saint — and while I’m not one to speak for such a holy saint, I imagine he’d be glad that this dead twig of an institution was finally pruned from the tree of the Catholic Faith.
Ken Foye is an American Catholic living abroad, teaching English writing, reading, presentation, discussion, and conversation classes at a four-year university in northern Japan. He is an Oblate of St. Benedict and is married to a Japanese convert to Catholicism. Among his academic research interests is the inclusion of faith and religion discussions in the English language classroom.