News / Asia

New Pope Raises Profile of Jesuits in Asia

Newly elected Pope Francis (C), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.Newly elected Pope Francis (C), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
x
Newly elected Pope Francis (C), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
Newly elected Pope Francis (C), Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, walks in the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
Simone Orendain
As Pope Francis begins his papacy as the Roman Catholic Church's first Jesuit leader, he is raising the profile of a religious order that has long been involved in missionary work in Asia.

The Society of Jesus - or the Jesuits as they are commonly known - is a Catholic order whose members are known for their austerity, ambitious missionary work and focus on education.

The nearly 500-year-old order is a few hundred years newer than the other prominent Catholic orders such as the Benedictines, Augustinians and Dominicans, which all have had popes chosen from their ranks.

The Rev. William Currie said one reason for the lack of a Jesuit pontiff until now may be “a certain amount of suspicion” surrounding the order. Currie is a Jesuit himself, and the former president of Sophia University, a Jesuit school in Tokyo.

Pope Francis

-Full name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
-Born December 17, 1936 (age 76) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
-Made cardinal by Pope John Paul II in February 2001
-First pope from Latin America
-First Jesuit pope
“Jesuits are picked out for criticism more than most other religious orders, going back to England or the Reformation when ‘Jesuitical’ was a bad word. It meant someone who was devious and sly and cunning and that sort of thing. Those sort of things probably don't come to minds of cardinals when they're electing a pope, but it's a stereotype that dies hard,” said Currie.

The stereotype is far removed from Ricardo Jalbuena’s experience of Jesuits. The 56-year-old attended the Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit school, from elementary days through college. He admitted his bias for Pope Francis’s religious order.

“The beauty about the Jesuit community is that it is a very dynamic and diverse culture of great theological minds, who are always are there to study, explore, challenge ideas…” he said.

Some members of the Society of Jesus have been known for being outspoken on political and religious issues, and for living materially humble lives.

The Rev. Mario Francisco, president of the Loyola School of Theology at the Ateneo in Manila, called the new pope’s life “unusual” because it has been widely reported that Pope Francis, when he was Cardinal Jorje Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, gave up the cardinal’s mansion for an apartment and took public transportation.

“And I think the fact that he takes the name for Francis of Assisi is another indication of that sort of preference and love for the poor and a simple lifestyle. That is, I think, very, very good,” said Francisco.

Jalbuena said he believes Pope Francis chose his name after Francis Xavier, one of the Jesuits’ founders who spent years evangelizing in India, Indonesia and Japan in the 16th century.

The new pope has not yet said personally that either of those two major figures in the Roman Catholic Church was the inspiration for his name.

  • Pope Francis with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, holding a picture of a plaque commemorating the 1984 peace and friendship treaty between Argentina and Chile, March 18, 2013.
  • Pope Francis and Uruguay's priest Gonzalo Aemilius greet people at the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets the crowds after conducting a mass in Saint Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis appears at the window of his future private apartment to bless the faithful, gathered below in St. Peter's Square, during the Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis conducts a mass in Santa Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis leaves the Paul VI hall with security at the Vatican, March 16, 2013.
  • Pope Francis checks out of the church-run residence where he had been staying in Rome before becoming pontiff, March, 14, 2013. (Osservatore Romano)
  • Key chains featuring images of the newly-elected Pope Francis are displayed in a tourist shop near the Vatican in Rome, March 15, 2013.
  • In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis walks in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis makes a private visit to the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, in a photo released by Osservatore Romano in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • A nun takes a photograph of the first batch of souvenirs adorned with freshly-printed pictures of the newly-elected Pope Francis in a shop at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Francisco from: Argentina
March 14, 2013 9:04 PM
the truth about this guy's complicity in Argentina's atrocities start to emerge...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid