Although the Society of Jesus was no stranger to local suppressions and banishments that had studded its history from the beginning, the Jesuit crises that broke out between the 1750s and 1768—the expulsion from Portugal and the Bourbon States (France, Spain, King of Naples, and Duchy of Parma)—culminated in a dramatic event of far more enduring global impact: the suppression of the order by Pope Clement XIV with a specific brief (Dominus ac Redemptor, 1773). During the age of suppression (1773–1814), many Jesuits managed to maintain a memory of their former identity while carving out successful new careers or continued, relatively untroubled, with their existing intellectual and religious endeavors. Some of these gave a crucial contribution to Europe’s intellectual and cultural life between the 1770s and 1820s. The worldwide restoration of the Society took place on August 7, 1814, when Pius VII signed the bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.
Throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, there was a noticeable decline in the influence of two major players in twentieth-century American life: Roman Catholicism and the mass-market newsweekly. Beginning with the clergy sexual abuse crisis in 2001, the Roman Catholic Church suffered a blow to its credibility as never before experienced. For a third of the nation's history (from the founding of the first newsweekly in the 1920s through the alleged end of the era of the newsweekly in 2010), the covers of the most influential magazines—Time, Life, and Newsweek—acted not only as windows into the soul of the nation but also as the stained glass of the newsstand. The place of religion in these peculiar products of American media is noteworthy in general. Despite the newsweeklies' eagerness to exploit the church's fall from grace, they have been slow to recognize that the mass-market media has suffered potentially fatal wounds from the same slings and arrows endured by the church.
Until recently anti-Jesuitism was considered to be exclusively related to controversies having to do with the existence of the Society of Jesus and was therefore studied as the key to understanding disputes between the antagonists and apologists of that religious order. In recent years, however, it has become a historiographical argument to all intents and purposes. Several studies have highlighted its semantic versatility and the consequent need to study it from different perspectives: historical diachronic, literary, rhetorical, iconographic. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze anti-Jesuitism in a global perspective studying its transnational dimension, looking not only at Europe but also at colonial contexts—Latin America and Asian.
This chapter examines the character of Catholic theology in the Asian context. It argues that Asian theologies rely on the fundamental principles of universal Christian theology even though, in their reflections on these principles in the light of their lived experience, they arrive at conclusions that are unique but not contradictory to universal theology. The chapter proceeds by examining six fundamental principles shared by Asian theologies: God is actively present in all his creation; pluralistic diversity necessarily demands a dialogical existence; the lived reality of harmony is an essential Asian theological concept; theology occurs in and through lived contexts; the kingdom preached by Jesus is wider than the visible Church; and theology needs to bring total, integral human liberation.
Luís Miguel Carolino
Jesuit scholars took part in all the major scientific controversies in the field of astronomy and cosmology, and taught generations of philosophers in Europe. Jesuit missionaries disseminated novelties of Western astronomy as far as China and Japan. Historians have tended to perceive Jesuit astronomers as a homogeneous group, unified by a common religious program. This chapter challenges that view and argues that Jesuit scholarship evolved from defending a traditional Aristotelian-Ptolemaic worldview to advocacy of a Tychonic cosmology, and eventually supporting, in some cases, a Newtonian view of the universe. Jesuit astronomers and philosophers also disagreed among themselves on fundamental questions. In a word, there was no “Jesuit astronomy”. However, this learned community was particularly affected by official efforts to maintain doctrinal uniformity, as the debate on Copernicanism demonstrates. Although those institutional constraints did not fossilize Jesuit astronomical learning, they contributed to diverting it away from the scientific mainstream.
This chapter treats Catholic biblical interpretation since Pius XII’s encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu (1943). At the heart of the chapter is Vatican II’s teaching in its constitution Dei verbum. This text promoted an account of revelation as a multifaceted reality, and outlined a rounded account of biblical interpretation that endorsed some styles of modern historical critical analysis while insisting that Scripture should be interpreted in the light of a knowledge of what God intended to convey through Scripture. The chapter then considers how two key documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission develop this teaching, and ways in which post-conciliar debates have continued to explore persistent challenges and tensions. Significant space is given to Pope Benedict XVI’s reflections on these debates. A final section suggests an agenda for the future development of Catholic exegesis.
This chapter considers the thirteenth-century Franciscan and theologian St Bonaventure. After outlining his life, the chapter explores Bonaventure’s theology through an exploration of his Breviloquium. Placing all in the context of Bonaventure’s Trinitarianism, the heart of the chapter explores Bonaventure’s conception of salvation history and the role of Christ at the centre of that history. A detailed account of Bonaventure’s account of the graceful and sacramental elevation of humanity follows. Particular attention is paid to the interrelated roles of Christ and the Spirit in this process. The final section of the chapter comments briefly on Bonaventure’s influence, referring especially to those figures who have found his work an important resource in the modern context.
In the early modern age, for the first time in history, moral theology became a ground of bitter strife within the Roman Catholic Church. After the Council of Trent, it evolved as a specialized discipline with its own methodology, which became increasingly identified with casuistry. The theoretical underpinning of this development was probabilism, the system according to which, when there are two opposite opinions as to the morality of a course of action, one is allowed to follow the less probable one. From about 1650, first of all in Belgium and France, both probabilism and casuistry came under attack as favoring laxity. Rigorism, which was linked to but by no means synonymous with doctrinal Jansenism, progressively spread to the entire Church. The papacy, whose pronouncements on moral matters became increasingly important, shared in this reaction but was careful to preserve theological pluralism.
This essay provides an account of the historical and thematic features of Catholic sacramental theology during the Baroque age. Its intent is primarily bibliographic, and hopes to introduce readers to the wide range of sources by which theologians of this time period constructed their grand syntheses, including the renewed traditions of scholasticism, polemical theology, mystical and devotional literature, liturgical studies, and the newly emergent Tridentine curia. Some of these developments will be outlined in three sections: (1) a brief bibliographic survey of the sources for early modern Roman Catholic sacramental theology; (2) an outline of some of its main scholastic controversies; and (3) a corresponding outline of the various attempts of the Holy Office to answer questions that arose in sacramental theology between the years 1500 and 1800.