“We never imagined that a Jesuit could become pope. It was an impossible thing,” said Fr. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit who conducted a book-length interview with the pope and knows him well. “It sent me into a crisis, in a sense, when he was elected. We Jesuits are supposed to be at the service of the pope, not to be a pope.”
“He may act like a Franciscan, but he thinks like a Jesuit,” quipped Fr. Thomas Reese, a fellow Jesuit who is a columnist for National Catholic Reporter.
In fact, it would be easy to mistake this new pope for a Franciscan, given his emphasis on helping society’s outcasts and his decision to become the first pope to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the poor. Yet he’s the first pope from the Society of Jesus, the religious community whose worldly, wise intellectuals are as famous as its missionaries and martyrs.
What is a Jesuit? What kind of a Jesuit is Francis? What will a Jesuit pope mean for the church? Read more on ncronline.org