Has the head of the Jesuits jettisoned doctrine and the words of the Lord in Scripture?

There are a lot of problems in the Church today, and nearly all of them are coming from a certain sector.

Here is something disturbing from Catholic Culture, which I shall simply reproduce with my emphases and comments.

The superior general of the Society of Jesus [aka Jesuits] has said that all Church doctrine must be subject to discernment.  [aka “If you don’t like it, you can eventually do enough intellectual fan-dances until even 2+2=5.”]

In an interview with a Swiss journalist, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal [head of the Jesuits] said that the words of Jesus, too, must be weighed in their “historical context,” taking into account the culture in which Jesus lived and the human limitations of the men who wrote the Gospels. [In other words he may have said: “Whoever does X is a Y”, but he really didn’t mean that to be taken serious, say, thirty some years after he said it. Neither did John Paul II mean that Familiaris consortio should be be adhered to 30 year after he issued it.  This is the Kasperite position: philosophy and theology are replaced with politics.   The bottom line: There is no secure and unchanging doctrine.]

In an exchange about Church teaching on marriage and divorce, when questioned about Christ’s condemnation of adultery, Father Sosa said that “there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said.” [Ummm… what does he think the Church has been doing for all these centuries?!?  I would suggest that a lot of really smart people have reflected on precisely this point and they consistently came to the same conclusions.  Until now!  Suddenly these guys are smarter than our forebears.] He continued:

At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular. [Another way of saying, “We don’t have to pay any attention to the words of the Lord in Scripture.”]

Father Sosa explained that he did not meant to question the words of Jesus, [Even though that is exactly was he did.] but to suggest further examination of “the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it.” He said that his new process of discernment should be guided by the Holy Spirit.  [he has a new process.  Because the Holy Spirit was no where to be found in the previous 20 centuries.]

When the interviewer remarked that an individual’s discernment might lead him to a conclusion at odds with Catholic doctrine, the Jesuit superior replied: “That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it [replace the] Holy Spirit.

Good grief.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold.  The head of the Jesuits!

How the Left will coo over this, to the tinkling of ice in their high ball glasses: “Isn’t he nuanced?”

What this seems to me is: Doctrine – pfwwwwt – out the window.

Am I wrong?  Please show me how this reportage and my inferences are all wrong.

The moderation queue is ON.

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  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    There’s more: Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal puts it plainly: “Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much…” That, at least, will save the rest of us considerable time.

  2. fr.julian says:

    I think we call this modernism

  3. Gerhard says:

    I shall consult Humpty Dumpty. Here goes:
    “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
    The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. ‘They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

  4. acardnal says:

    When I saw this in the Twitterverse today I responded with my own Tweet: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” – Jesus “If you love me, obey my commandments.” – Jesus

    Finally, ” For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings.” – 2 Tim 4:3

    I got no response from the Jesuits or Fr. James Martin, SJ.

    [LOL! You are an optimist, aren’t you.]

  5. Gerhard says:

    If Our Lord’s words were specific to their immediate context in terms of the identity of the persons he addressed and their historical and cultural milieu, why would anyone have gone to the trouble of writing them down (writing was not easy in those days), and then being put to death for them?

  6. elijah408 says:

    This idea of contextualization is the type of academic formation I received from a certain “Catholic” institution for my formation to priesthood. It is very dangerous and undermines the foundation of all what we believe as Catholics. It is the sin of pride. “I know what Jesus really said because I am enlightened!” “I ate the “apple” and I know more than everyone here in the garden!”

  7. Prayerful says:

    If the Black Pope were to speak up for orthodoxy, I would be surprised, astounded. [You have a point!] Sadly, Jesuits in recent decades have mainly have engaged in the most egregious assaults on the Deposit of Faith and Catholic social teaching. Modernists ignore all pre-Conciliar Popes and Doctors of the Church unless the words are susceptible to doctoring (there was a recent example of this a very problematic and possibly self-plagiarised text), but even more sadly, it isn’t unexpected to see Jesuits and other Modernists attacks the very words of our Saviour.

  8. Praynfast says:

    It’s not modernism, it is liberation theology. At the basis of Latino theology is the heretical belief that all people, or at least all baptized people, are saved. Read pope francis’ General audience from today (2/22): “we know that we are saved by the Lord, and even now contemplate and experience within ourselves and all around us signs of the Resurrection, a new creation.”

    That heresy leads to all of his other heresies- because if we all go to heaven, then the only thing that matters (according to the heretics) is comfort (welfare, communism, socialism…lib theology) on earth. Thus, pope Francis most grievous error, which leads to all others, is his apparent belief in predestination.

    And thus, liberation theology leads to the same behavior as atheistic communism.

  9. Chrisc says:

    I rejoice in the Divine’s sense of irony. 50 years ago Jesuit liturgists complained of meaningless signs, such that obscure the experience from realities of the altar. And now the superior of the Jesuits simply (ab)uses the signification of his words to attack the plain signification of the church’s words (doctrine) and Jesus’ words. It’s almost as if signification wasn’t the actual problem with the Extraordinary form for the modern Jesuit, but rather what was signified.

  10. thomas tucker says:

    Bingo. He is saying that there is no absolute truth. It’s all fluid and relative. In that case, I cetainly don’t need to listen to the likes of him- his truth would be no better than mine.

  11. murtheol says:

    Seems to me we are exactly half-way down the slope. not less.

  12. Thomistica says:

    Heh, philosophers among you!

    Try mapping this one into second-order predicate calculus. Good luck! I’ll give you three hours to complete this exam. Out of a sense of generosity. Remember, no cell phones or electronic devices during the exam.

    “Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say… That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons… So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!”
    Cited from:

  13. Ivan says:

    That’s why they (theologians of liberacion) don’t have mentioned for a decades the FIRST commandment, but they keep trying to putting the second one at that place. Under the mask of false humanism (which is modern paganism, as our Lady of all Nation said), they are today astray so much that the whole world can see their blindness.
    “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15,13-14)

  14. Kerry says:

    “Calvin, I think you’re just making this up as you go along”.
    “Hobbes! She’s stumbled into the perimeter of wisdom. Run!!”

  15. Benedict Joseph says:

    It appeared fairly apparent when his resume was discussed upon his election as Superior General that he was a bona fide Marxist. If he isn’t he surely is loosely in that orbit. His “theological” position is thus rendered fairly clear. No?
    I could not have been less surprised by his comments. Nor am I surprised that they will receive no consequence. That is where we are these days.
    It is revolting.

  16. The Astronomer says:

    Hmmm, what would Pope St. Pius X call this line of thought???

    One logical extrapolation of this heretical thought process, i.e. did Jesus really say that?!?!, is the inevitable changing, or elimination of, the traditional words of Consecration to suit radical Modernist ecumenism. I’m sure Cardinals Kasper and Marx relish the thought.

  17. Kathleen10 says:

    How long have Protestants been saying, “God is still talking” or “Don’t put a period where God has put a comma”. It’s all the same thing, we don’t like what God said, and we’re going to change it.
    I can’t accuse these Jesuits of Protestantism, because I would not insult Protestants with that. I know there are many Protestants who love Christ and live lives that reflects that love.
    These men are nothing but apostates and destroyers.
    You are not wrong, Fr. Z.

  18. scrchristensen says:

    I think about 30 minutes ago marked a turning point in how I relate to the problems in the Church today.

    While taking a break from work I stumbled upon the original Fr. Sosa interview. This occurred after hearing a homily today about how Catholics should avoid interpreting the gospel of today’s feast as an attestation of the authority Christ specifically gave to Peter and instead focus on your faith and the almighty sensus fidelium (isn’t it interesting how the modernist suddenly loves latin when that concept comes into play).

    Anywho, back to Fr. Sosa for some more gems:

    “So then, there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized, they are expressed in a language, in a specific setting, they are addressed to someone in particular.”

    “Over the last century in the Church there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say”

    “No, the obligation [to follow commandments] is still there, but to follow the result of discernment.”


    I am by habit a very relaxed person and rarely do I get angry…but I am angry. As I said above, I think this all may have just changed my disposition to problems in the Church, the straw that broke the passive camel’s back. I will pray about it deeply.

    In other news, join the Nineveh 90 if you have not already!!!

  19. THREEHEARTS says:

    The Holy Ghost might put human limits on the faux, manque spin theologians of the Church today. He certainly did not do this to the Apostles. I see no limits on Peter whose shadow healed and on the recorded miracles of that time which were attested to as the works of the Apostles. Look at the present prince of the Church. I do ask first to what principality do they belong? The Prince of Peace or the prince of fools? What I feel so many miss is the statement of two Popes who said that Vatican 2 was pastoral and not dogmatic or doctrinal and then our awesome princes promptly more and more loudly that this pastoral nonsense of theirs has replaced Doctrine and Dogma. We cannot doubt that Jesus was Pastoral but I can find no time when he replaced His Father’s Teachings of the Old Testament with new newfangled opinionated ideas. He definitely upgraded the Passover rite with His Sacrifice. He fulfilled the use of the Jewish Idea with the washing away with water the dust that Jews saw symbolically as sin. What is in these foolish princes that separates them so far away fro Christ’s so obvious Words and actions that He constantly proved Him to be the Messiah. Giving the Power to be like Him to the Apostles. Tell me of any of the latest version (claimed) of the Apostles that have raised anyone from the dead lately.

  20. Andrew says:

    “Doctrine is a word that I don’t like” …

    For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound DOCTRINE (2 Tim. 4:3)


    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  21. Andrew D says:

    They have no vocations. They’re dying out as an order. And that’s just fine with me.

  22. Gail F says:

    I know lots of people who subject all of Scripture, including the words of Christ, to their own discernment — under the guidance of the Holy Spirt, of course. They’re called Protestants.

  23. collarboy says:

    My goodness, I am back in the Episcopal church!

  24. Lurker 59 says:

    This doesn’t define the term jesuitical, rather it makes it a bad term…..

    But seriously, what is remotely the purpose of such thought? Where does it lead, really? Or is it just the circular rationalization of a faith long ago lost or never obtained? There is no meaning there, just never ending accompaniment in an ouroboros spiral.

  25. MarkJ says:

    Another sign that the great apostasy is in full swing, on the eve of the Fatima 100th…

  26. Kent Wendler says:

    Take a verse like Matt 22:32. If Jesus were only human this verse would be no more than a pious admonition. On the other hand, when it is uttered by a human Who is also the Second Person of the Trinity, speaking from Eternity and knowing totally the meaning that can be derived from what is being said, by everyone throughout history, regardless of the language being read; then it has vast eschatological import.

    Fr. Sosa does not seem to grasp this.

  27. Long-Skirts says:


    The beginning of Wisdom
    Is Fear of the Lord,
    So Wisdom with age?
    I’ve seen no accord.

    So you’ve lived many decades
    Seen the world more than twice.
    But what have you learned?
    That sinners are nice?

    That sinners eat
    And sinners drink
    And sinners read
    And sinners think!

    And sinners have
    Sincere desires
    Like remodeling rooms
    With art that inspires

    And compels one to lift
    His goblet of wine
    To toast all we want
    And make want what is mine!

    So all in the Jesuit
    Shall acknowledge their versions
    Of propriety

    Then when you die,
    They’ll bring goblets, blessed lockets
    But they’ll realize too late…
    Sosa’s shroud has no pockets!

  28. Excuse me, I have to throw up! Vomiting is a natural reflex that often occurs as a form of protection in the event you consume something that is contaminated or poisonous.

    and then there is this today

  29. Tricia says:

    I often wonder what convinced men who have such disdain for the teachings of the Church to become priests to begin with.

    Lord, have mercy.

  30. Charles E Flynn says:

    Beware of Jesuits who appear to believe they are smarter than Jesus.

  31. pseudomodo says:

    I have discerned that this is perhaps is not coming from the “head” but perhaps from the other end.

  32. St. Boethius asks:

    “[W]ho is so happy that there is not a single thing he wouldn’t prefer to change?” (Consolation, bk. 2, IV)

    Some men are–simply–given the authority to express their worries.

    The Byzantine theologian Nicholas Cabasilas says “it is knowing that causes love and gives birth to it.” “He goes on to say that occasionally this knowledge is so strong that it has much the same effect as a love potion.” “Love that has been believed and has become visible in Jesus Christ is man’s hope as the way” (Benedict XVI, Dogma and Preaching). I pray that Father Abascal comes know the demanding and bold love of the Jesus of the gospels.

  33. MariaKap says:

    Sounds like he has such an open mind his brains fell out.

  34. John the Mad says:

    This is unadulterated bullcr*p. I have been of the view for some time that the Society of Jesus should once again be suppressed. Regrettably, with a Jesuit fox in charge of the ecclesiastical henhouse, suppression is not on the radar. Instead, the pope thinks his corrupt order to educate diocesan priests in how to exercise discernment. The papal suggestion is enough to make grown Catholic men weep. Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More pray for us.

  35. LarryW2LJ says:

    “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ”

    Some folks are in for a surprise one day, when they meet the Lord.

  36. Serviam says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, He (the Holy Spirit) has left the building.

    Lord, save us from ourselves.

  37. Jann says:

    But it seems that Fr. Abascal wants us to accept his claim that “all Church doctrine must be subject to discernment” as absolute truth? Sorry, I have to discern his statement in its context.

  38. Athelstan says:

    Read the parts of the interview with Giuseppe Rusconi as given by Sandro Magister. It’s actually even worse than Catholic Culture represents.

  39. Poor Yorek says:

    Play it again, Sam …

    .having further considered that the said Company of Jesus can no longer produce those abundant fruits…in the present case, we are determining upon the fate of a society classed among the mendicant orders, both by its institute and by its privileges; after a mature deliberation, we do, out of our certain knowledge, and the fullness of our apostolical power, suppress and abolish the said company: we deprive it of all activity whatever… And to this end a member of the regular clergy, recommendable for his prudence and sound morals, shall be chosen to preside over and govern the said houses; so that the name of the Company shall be, and is, for ever extinguished and suppressed. …”

  40. msouth85 says:

    I am reminded of the great quote of Fr. Thomas Petri OP,
    “Anathema sit!”

  41. mbutton says:

    Pope Clement XIV pray for us

  42. donato2 says:

    I am with Jann’s comment above. We need to weigh the words of Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal in their historical context, and, through discernment, reinterpret them. The historical context is that the order of which he is the Superior General has for decades been associated with apostasy and modernism that the Church has condemned. We can discern therefore that Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal may well be authoritative when it comes to expressions of apostasy but has no credibility when it comes to teaching the Catholic faith. We can thus reinterpret his words and give them their true meaning: “When it comes to the Catholic faith, I don’t believe any of that stuff and I haven’t in a long time, if I ever did.”

  43. iamlucky13 says:

    This doesn’t even fit the contentious parts of Amoris Laetitia. Pope Francis was quite plain in his quoting of Matthew 19 and a couple other relevant Bible passages.

    The contentious parts were mostly related to Pope Francis poking around looking for ways to rationalize limited culpability, but he made no general pronouncements in that regards because there were none that could be made.

    Pope Francis never questioned (A) whether Divorce and remarriage is actually objectively wrong or (B) whether the Bible applies to all, or only to a limited set of super-humans who possessed the limited ability to avoid adultery. To that point, if we read Matthew 19 contextually as Fr. Sosa tells us to, we see Jesus preface his instruction on the indissolubility of marriage “from the beginning of time,” a statement I don’t know how to read any other way than applying to all people.

    If we also follow the suggestion to discern who Jesus was talking to and the culture in which he lived, we must recognize the centrality of Mosaic law to their culture. According to what I can find as well as a simple exegesis of Deuteronomy 24 where Moses wrote down the regulation on divorce, Moses was acting prohibitively, not permissively.

    That is to say, Moses was not creating a new allowance for divorce in a culture where it wasn’t allowed, but he was placing new restrictions on divorces that were already taking place among these former residents of Egypt. Moses was leading Israel closer to what God intended from the beginning of time, but these same people, who were dense enough that just a couple books they gave up on the God who miraculously freed them from Egypt in favor a lifeless cow statue, had not yet had God’s design for lifelong fidelity revealed to them, and not entirely figured it out on their own. If Pope Francis wanted an example of diminished culpability, Jesus seems to be both showing us such an example, and eliminating it as an excuse at the same time.

  44. Robert of Rome says:

    Just imagine if you dare their reinterpretations of Luke 17:2: “It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.”

  45. MrTipsNZ says:

    “That is so, because doctrine does not replace discernment, nor does it [replace the] Holy Spirit”

    Sounds like a doctrinal statement there Fr Abascal. And a logical fail to boot.

  46. Can we put Fr. Superior’s words in their historical context and relativize them away too, _al niente_? They’re a product of their time, not something to guide the Church for longer than 35 minutes, say.

  47. scotus says:

    My local Presbyterian minister wrote on his blog that, “In truth, all truth about faith is temporary.” Sounds like he and the head of the Jesuits would get on well.

  48. Mike says:

    The wreckage of faith and doctrine that is being produced by Jesuits will take centuries to repair. Conscientious historians of future eras will accord them their proper share of blame.

    That said, it didn’t start with the Jesuits, it isn’t confined to the Jesuits, and it didn’t start in 2013. Apostate German bishops such as Kasper and Marx, elevated by previous pontiffs, have a role, as did the prelates of western and central Europe and their periti at the Second Vatican Council.

    Until the spirit of Vatican II is renounced and a syllabus of the Council’s errors is produced and Modernism and its most insidious fruit, the faith-destroying Novus Ordo, are banished from Catholic doctrine and practice, matters are only going to get worse faster.

  49. Spade says:

    They always want to talk about sexual related sins like this, which is kinda creepy and weird. But have people like the Jesuits considered that there’s no reason why this can’t be applied elsewhere?

    You can craft a pretty solid argument, using Abascal’s ideas, that nuclear warfare and torture are morally find and upstanding. I mean, nobody was around to record Jesus’ exact words about peacemakers being blessed, and he doesn’t say exactly how, and two nukes made peace with Japan and obviously everybody involved conscience was telling them it was a good idea in 1945. So obviously the spirit is telling us that making peace with the fist of blessed nuclear weapons is a-okay as long as your conscience says so.

    Tada. Now the church can drop this silly near pacifism it’s been going towards. The spirit wills it.

  50. Spade says:

    Morally “fine”, rather. I’m on cup of coffee number one.

  51. Filipino Catholic says:

    Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, and the rest of the Original Jesuits would probably not recognize their own order in this day and age. What happened to the fierce loyalty to the Pope and the unyielding fidelity to the Magisterium that fueled polemical conspiracy theories about them and their influence back in the days of La Leyenda Negra?

  52. Grumpy Beggar says:

    It usually begins with someone trying to introduce their permutation (emphasis on mutation) by framing the debate to suit their tastes with catch phrases thus tilting the playing field in their favor before debate even begins. They try to dictate the rules.

    The earlier way people used to try and confirm conduct which ran contrary to Church teaching was by asking, “Well, what would Jesus say ?” The rebuttal in this case was clear : Fail. “Rather, what did Jesus say?”

    This proven method of straining out the BS would now appear to be under threat of being short-circuited by:

    “there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said.”

    That would imply that the Truth is in the eye of the beholder . . . wouldn’t it ?

    Same old same old = moral relativism .

    I can’t help but wonder what might’ve happened if the opening line by the serpent to our first parents when they took and ate the forbidden fruit had been, “There would have to be a lot of reflection on what God really said to you.” Since there wasn’t any tangible record of history that they could appeal to at that juncture, perhaps Adam and/or Eve might’ve been able to answer, “But we heard His voice.”

    Ecclesiates 1:9-10 , DRV

    What is it that hath been? the same thing that shall be. What is it that hath been done? the same that shall be done. Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us.

  53. JARay says:

    I do so agree with Poor Yorek. It really is time that the Company of Jesus (ie Jesuits) should be “for ever extinguished and suppressed. ”
    It really is time that the solemn Correction of Pope Francis is activated.
    I have no love of Oliver Cromwell (English history) but his protestation to the Parliament of his day went something like this “You have sat here too long gentlemen. In the name of God GO.
    Would that those faithful Cardinals said similar words to our present Pope and his coterie.

  54. robtbrown says:

    Friends have told me there are some very good young SJs.

    This pope, however, is from a different generation. Ditto the new Superior General. They are out of touch, still lost in the German Existentialism of their formation, not able to “reinterpret or move beyond” it.

    NB: German Existentialism and Liberation Theology are sons of the same father–GWF Hegel.

  55. mepoindexter says:

    Considering modernism is a heresy condemned by the highest authority of the church, would it be appropriate and necessary to call the head of the Jesuit Order a heretic?

    I think ywe would be hard pressed to suggest that what he believes in is anything less than the modernist heresy.

    So we need to call him what he is. A heretic.

    Its unfortunate that the head of the Jesuits is a heretic. But this has been going on for decades with them so perhaps now is a better time than any for a long awaited Jesuit reform movement.

  56. Pingback: Head of the Jesuits: “Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much” | Fr. Z's Blog

  57. Would that we could hear that again, Poor Yorek.

  58. doncamillo says:

    Oh, I see the new “faith”: free associations (à la Freud) inspired by the post-modernist reading of a non-normative text. Imagine the unbound spaces you can explore adopting such hermeneutics!

  59. Ann Malley says:


    Ah, yes the bomb of peace. Wasn’t that the object of veneration in the second Planet of the Apes movie with Charlton Heston? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_the_Planet_of_the_Apes

  60. lana says:

    I hope everyone who posted took a minute to pray for this Priest.

    “If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, soon there will be nothing left to grumble about.”


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