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St. Ignatius Loyola again and Opus Dei

Opus Dei : A Dialogue Between Friend and Foe


As there is no doubt in my mind that to understand Opus one must study St. Ignatius Loyola, I've quoted here all what seems potentially relevant in Jesuits Constitutions and rules about Opus. It must be noted that it cannot be said that those are simply preconciliar, as most decaying sectors of the Church would be tempted to think. For instance, the conciliar decree on the adaptation of religious life states about obedience, that the superior "represent God"; about chastity, that "mortification and custody of the senses" must be practiced. To eliminate those things is disobedience to the Council, as it was to eliminate latin and gregorian (they should have first place, the Council was asking)...

St Ignatius Loyola, Constitutions of the Society of Jesus (Ganss Ed.) 1970 (First English translation)

N.B. The first French translation by Jesuits was published in 1966 with the introduction: "As Ignatius' Spiritual Exercices are in everybody's hand, The Constitutions were thought for a long time to be top secret. <The two translations made in 1762 and 1843 were made by outsiders, in one instance by enemies>... Never up to now the French Jesuits had published their Rule..."
Up to the 60s there was only the latin version as official text, no translations by Jesuits in English or French...


<obedience of the intellect>
47 <about his opinions, the candidate should be asked> whether he is willing...to defer to what will be determined in the Society as to what ought to be held about such matters
111 a candidate should be asked whether he will leave his own opinion and judgment in the hands of the Society or its superior

<about non supernatural love for natural family>
62 that the manner of speaking may be a help to that of thinking, there is a holy counsel that they should adopt the habit of saying, not that they have parents or brothers, but that they had them, showing thus that they do not have what they gave up in order to have Christ in place of all things

<"informed consent">
85 It will not be necessary for the novices to see all the Constitutions, but only a set of excerpts
199 <for those who do not understand latin, an explanation of the Constitutions is enough>
160 They should be of an age suitable... That is more than 14 y.o. for admission to probation

<about different Jesuit vocations, i.e. coadjutor, profess...>
132 he will be asked whether he finds himself entirely indifferent, content....to serve...in whatever office...its superior will assign him

<physical ugliness>
151 in regard to their exterior these candidates ought to have a good appearance...
158 they should have a good appearance by which those with whom they deal are more usually edified
185 <impediments to admission> in regard to the exterior, a lack of bodily integrity... or notable ugliness...
186 persons who have notable disfigurements or defects such as humpbacks and other deformities...are not suitable...for these defects are obstacles to the priesthood and do not help toward the edification

<"prestige" of candidates>
161 the extrinsic gifts of nobility, wealth, reputation and the like, are not necessary...but to the extent that they aid toward edification, they render more fit to be admitted
733 <about qualities of the general> extrinsic endowments...which help more toward edification...reputation, high esteem...prestige with those within and without
734 nobility, wealth which was possessed in the world, reputation...these are worthy of some consideration

<about some who quit>
236 If these subjects are such that it seems a service to God our Lord not to let them go in this way, especially if it is clear that they left through some strong temptation or when misled by others, diligent measures can be taken to bring them back

<about novices: all letters, in and out, must be seen by another>
246 and he will see them <letters in> and give them or not to him to whom they are adressed, according to what he thinks expedient for that person's greater good unto divine glory

<novices talks should be monitored>
247 within the house they should not converse with one another according to their own choice but with those whom the superior designates

<busy day>
253 <novices must always do something, spiritual or not; idleness must be avoided>

261 they should confess and receive communion at least every eight days... There should be one confessor for all.

<some kind of "holy coercion">
270 In corrections, the following order is to be noticed... Those who fall into a fault should be admonished, thye first time, with love and sweetness; the second time, with love and also in such a way that they feel humiliating shame; the third time, with love but in such a way that they have FEAR...

<uniformity of thought>
273 As far as possible, we should all think alike and speak alike...and differing doctrines ought not to be permitted, either orally...or in books <all books published must be approved by the superior>...
In regard to things which are to be done, diversity...should be avoided as far as possible
671 <about union> another great help can be found in uniformity, both interior uniformity of doctrine, judgments and wills...and exterior uniformity in respect to clothing
672 all will ordinarily follow one doctrine...selected in the Society as being the better...prevent any diversity...accomodate himself in what is possible to the doctrine which is more common in the Society

<Ignatian obedience>
284 all should devote themselves to complete obedience, by recognizing the superior, whoever he is, as being in the place of Christ... They should obey entirely and promptly, not only by exterior execution...without excuses and MURMURINGS...they should try to maintain...true abnegation of their own WILLS AND JUDGMENT...in all things in which no sin is seen
547 All should keep their resolution firm to observe obedience and to distinguish themselves in it, not only in the matters of obligation but also in the others, even though nothing else is perceived except the indication of the superior's will without an expressed command... applying all our energies with very special care to the virtue of obedience shown first to the sovereign pontiff and then to the superiors of the Society...
We should be ready to receive its command just as if it were coming from Christ...we should be ready to leave unfinished any letter or anything else...persuading ourselves that everything is just and renouncing with blind obedience any contrary opinion and judgment of our own in all things which the superior commands and in which some species of sin cannot be judged to be present... Everyone...ought to allow himself to be carried and directed by Divine Providence through the agency of the superior as if he were a lifeless body which allows itself to be carried to any place and to be treated in any manner desired, or as if he were an old man' staff which serves in any place and in any manner whatsoever in which the holder wishes to use it.
550 the command of obedience is fulfilled...in regard to the willing when... one... wills the same thing as the one who commands; in regard to the understanding when he forms the same judgment...

<not ask anyone save the superior>
552 all should have recourse to the superior for the things which they happen to desire...;without his permission <nobody should request> any favor from the sovereign pontiff or from another person outside the Society, either for himself or for someone else. He should be convinced that if he does not get that which he desires from the hands of the superior...it is not useful to him...and that if it is useful...he will get it with the consent of the superior, as from the one who holds the place of Christ...

651 it is not expedient that the Society...should become mingled with some other congregation

<spiritual elite - not necessarily social though>
658 the professed...For a group of members of that quality...is not to be regarded as a crowd, but as an elite race

<apostolate towards influential people and influential nations and large groups>
622 The more universal the good is, the more it is divine. Therefore preference ought to be given to those persons and places which...become a cause which can spread the good accomplished to many others who are under their influence or take guidance from them . For that reason, the spiritual aid which is given to important and public persons ought to be regarded as more important, since it is a more universal good...such as princes, lords, magistrates, or ministers of justice...prelates...persons distinguished for learning and authority. For that same reason, too, preference ought to be shown to the aid which is given to the great nations such as the Indies, or to important cities, or to universities, which are generally attended by numerous persons.
Similarly, the Society ought to labor more intensely in those places where the enemy of Christ our lord...has spread bad opinion about the Society or stirred up ill will against it

<the general has someone always with him for fraternal correction>
770 the Society should have with the superior general some person...who admonish the general about anything...

Regulae Societatis Jesu, vol. 2. , 1827 (my rough translation)

<confession, discretion, circulation of information>
2 At the very beginning of religious life in the congregation, it is necessary to make a general confession to a priest designated by the superior
20 On a given day of each week, confession must be done to a given priest, and to no one else without permission of the superior
26 Nobody can tell to people outside what is done or to be done in the house; nobody can show them the Constitutions or other documents of that kind, or any other written material about the Rules or Privileges of the Society, without permission by the superior. Nobody can give or send outside the spiritual instructions or meditations, nor the Spiritual Exercices, without permission. Nobody can seek counsels from an outsider without permission by the superior.
146 For those novices who are unable to read latin, a resumé of the constitutions will be given
204 Superiors must report to the Provincial about persons and things, not only those inside the Society, but also about all what is done by us with others, successes and failures, and the Provincial must know everything as if he was there.
P.S. About the Regulae Societatis Jesu:
-The same text was officially reedited in 1910 (Meesters ed.)
-And in 1932 (Curia Generalis S.J.) with some changes:
#2 The words "to a priest designated by the superior" disappeared;
#20 became "each one must at the prescribed time confess to one of those appointed, among whom he must choose his own fixed confessor"
#146  (Regulae Magistri Novitiorum, II, 12) "Those documents...will be shown and given to him in such a way that he can consider them with care (per otium magis)"
# 204 was still in force but published elsewhere