Worldly wisdom from a long-ago Jesuit, #2

What to tell people and when to tell them. Keep cards close to the vest:

iii Keep Matters for a Time in Suspense.

Admiration at their novelty heightens the value of your achievements, It is both useless and insipid to play with the cards on the table. If you do not declare yourself immediately, you arouse expectation, especially when the importance of your position makes you the object of general attention.

Mix a little mystery with everything, and the very mystery arouses veneration. And when you explain, be not too explicit, just as you do not expose your inmost thoughts in ordinary intercourse. Cautious silence is the holy of holies of worldly wisdom.

A resolution declared is never highly thought of; it only leaves room for criticism. And if it happens to fail, you are doubly unfortunate. Besides you imitate the Divine way when you cause men to wonder and watch

He published several best-sellers without permission, this one in 1647, and paid for that sin.

Source: The Art of Worldly Wisdom: The Art of Worldly Wisdom: 1-49

How I swerved away from conservatism as a young Jesuit . . .

From Company Man: My Jesuit Life, 1950-1968:

Studying scholastic philosophy in the mid-50s,

we were a potentially influential group, which is why one group sought our membership in a mailing. This was the newly established Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI) – free-marketers who wanted to convert us Jesuits to the cause.

At least two popes had got there first, however, Leo XIII and Pius XI, in their encyclicals which rejected “rugged individualism.” As a papist of the first water, I couldn’t buy what ISI (still existing, newly named with same initials) was selling. I responded to their pitch, quoting the popes, and they took me off their list. This was too bad. I could have used some free-market thinking in the years ahead. Indeed, I am more inclined to think these days that the popes were victims of bad advice, as by German Jesuits working for Pius XI who were unduly influenced by German political theory.

In any case, thus died a free-market tinge to my socio-political mentality. A few years later, I fumed at William F. Buckley’s dismissal of John XXIII’s “Mater et Magistra” – “Mater si, magistra no” – in which Catholic “social doctrine” (actually social “advice” or exhortation) was reiterated and expanded. How dare he? He had no heart. Worse, he had no obedience to go with his Catholicism.

His dissent represented something of an advance in the independence of lay people, but I was part of no such advance. As a loyalist and in my way a company man, I rejected conservatism anew and bought the liberal (better “neo-liberal), near-statist option, though involving salubrious hostility to Marxism, of course, as corrective. In any case, to endorse a position was to act on it. A religious-motivated conversion to social liberalism was a call to action, if I may use a phrase that became a Catholic (neo-)liberal rallying cry, then a conference, then a Chicago-based national organization of many decades standing, even to this day.

Thank God for abortion?

​Loyola U.-Chicago lays an egg:

One day before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Loyola University Chicago will host a journalist who once thanked God for abortion on television.​

​Woe is us. Thing is, top- or middle-level Romantic Catholic leaders ​just want abortion to go away, not so much in real life as in public discourse. It’s an embarrassment, interferes with the business they want to conduct. They just aren’t interested.

Pope Francis exposed . . .

. . . as a shrewd and focused opponent of a very bad curia:

The first non-European Pope was elected to do one thing: reform the Roman Curia, the pitifully disorganised, corrupt and lazy central machinery of the church. He is determined to pull it off — but he’s 77 and has part of a lung missing. When he looks at his watch during long Masses in St Peter’s, it’s not just because elaborate services bore him. He knows he may not have much time. ‘Two or three years and then off to the house of the Father,’ he said this week. Was he serious? You can never tell.

That’s from an all-out detailed, informative, original rundown on Pope Francis by the prolific Damian Thompson in the (UK) Spectator, where he is associate editor.

Some especially good stuff:

Jorge Bergoglio has little in common with Joseph Ratzinger apart from an intense, orthodox Catholic faith and a love of classical music. Like many Jesuits, Francis isn’t interested in liturgy. This is actually good news for traditionalists, because it means he won’t clamp down on the Latin Mass (with one baffling exception: the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a new order whose use of the Old Missal has been brutally restricted). [Italics added]


The Pope has declared a spiritual culture war on the bureaucrats who forced the resignation of his predecessor, the most intellectually gifted pontiff for 200 years. Cardinal Ratzinger was once known as ‘the Rottweiler’. How ludicrous that nickname seems in the light of his eight years as Pope, during which he allowed curial officials — including his incompetent secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone — to plunge the church deeper into financial and sexual scandal while they fought their own factional battles. Benedict was too old and too kind to knock heads together.

And more more more where that’s from . . .

West Virginia bishop accused

Bishop Bransfield of West Virginia, reputed adversary of peremptorily ousted Jesuit president of Wheeling Jesuit University, is on a clerical-abuse hotseat:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Authorities have re-opened a 2007 fondling complaint against a priest who taught at a suburban Philadelphia high school and is now the Roman Catholic bishop of West Virginia.The complaint stems from Bishop Michael Bransfield’s days at Lansdale Catholic High School in the 1970s. The Philadelphia Archdiocese said it did not find the complaint credible at the time, and passed it on to Montgomery County authorities. But the archdiocese said last week that the complaint has been reopened.

The ousted Jesuit, Rev. Julio Giulietti, was fired after two years on the job after he and the bishop had disagreement about the fate of property that Giulietti wanted for expansion of WJU and the bishop wanted for Wheeling (Catholic) Hospital.  Giulietti has since headed Jesuit operations in Viet Nam, with health care a focus.

Wheeling Jesuit’s investigated vice president leaving

J. Davitt McAteer leaving Wheeling Jesuit U.  As the ChiSox TV announcer would say, “He gone.” 

McAteer is under federal investigation for how he handled millions in NASA grants.  In 2009 he was on the inside at WJU to the extent that he was appointed, we know not by whom, acting president when the Jesuit president was fired peremptorily and mysteriously by fellow Jesuits after two years in office. 

He will be on the outside as of June 30, when his contract will be not renewed, no reason given by the current president.  In the affidavit submitted by the investigating federal agent, McAteer is said to have admitted diversion of federal funds to cover unrelated WJU expenses and been told no problem by the WJU directors.

Very sticky business.

President Beyer and “James Fleming” (thus the news story, not saying he is Rev., S.J., who as University Vice President and Chief of Staff is the highest-ranking Jesuit at WJU) take over the relevant federal programs.

(Story broken and posted at Fox by AP 8 hrs before this by Wheeling Intelligencer, based on email sent to alumni, which email is to be only announcement, said WJU spokeswoman.)