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How the Jesuits “banished the heart” of the Catholic Faith…UPDATED! August 1, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, disaster, episcopate, error, Eucharist, General Catholic, Liturgy, religious, Saints, secularism, Tradition, Virtue.

UPDATE: As commenter Steve B pointed out at length, I was careless in my language in the original post and have since updated it.  I always thank readers for pointing things like this out. Don’t let me mess up!

…and in so doing, may have made their present deplorable state inevitable.  I read a book some time back by Dr. Geoffrey Hull, an Australian linguist and Catholic of the traditional sort.  The book was called The Banished Heart, and along with much, much, waaaay too much glorifying of Eastern Orthodox practice of the Faith (and numerous shots taken at Catholic relations with the Orthodox), was the main point of the book,  Favre which is that the Church, under the influence of the post-protestant revolt Jesuits, lost touch with the ultimate importance of the “Source and Summit” of our Faith, the Liturgy, and became too focused on reasoned theological arguments, instead of focusing on the “heart” of the Faith, the Liturgy. It is true that even today, and even though very few Orthodox go to Mass on any given Sunday, the Liturgy remains the true focal point of the Orthodox religion.  But in the Catholic Church, there has been a tendency to focus more – perhaps too much – on theological arguments, and to see the Liturgy as something of an adjunct to that theological focus, instead of the other way around.  That part of Hull’s book was important and valuable, and I think he may be right.

Fr. Ray Blake discussed this, without reference to Dr. Hull’s book, on his blog yesterday, on the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola.  Fr. Blake noted that the Jesuits have never placed a strong emphasis on the Liturgy – or, at least, did not make it the very center of their lives as most other religious orders do – and thus, they may have, over time, lost the “heart” of the Catholic Faith (I add emphasis and comments):

The most radical change that Jesuits introduced was that they were not committed to the common or public recitation of the Divine Office, even in Jesuit fr_hardon1-1-213x300houses the Office was said privately, though devotions of one kind or another might be done publicly, the Church’s liturgy became an entirely private affair, except possibly with the exception of Sunday Vespers but even this became a source of “devotions” a basis for Rosary, sermon, litanies and Benediction. [It must be noted that the “Liturgy” consists of more than the Mass, but also the Divine Office.  The Mass/Office always formed the very basis of life in Benedictine, Carmelite, Dominican, and other orders, but in the Jesuits, it was seen as more of an adjunct to their focus on more active, natural virtues. It must be noted that the Church overall, especially in the last century and under the influence of Americanism, has also stressed the natural virtues even to the detriment of the passive, supernatural virtues]

Before the Jesuits churches consisted of nave, chancel and sanctuary but because there was not public chanting of the Office, there was no need of a chancel with its choir stalls in their churches and they quickly disappeared from new parish churches and chapels too after the Counter-Reformation. Under Ignatius’ inspiration ‘liturgy’ for the faithful became just the Mass. The Office was said by clergy under obligation, for early Jesuits it was a burden whereas other forms of prayer were a joy. [Thus, public office like Vespers, Lauds, and Compline became very rare. St. Ignatius obtained an exemption from the Holy See removing the normal obligation on all religious to pray the Office every day.]

Fr. Baker - good Jesuit

Fr. Baker – good Jesuit

…..Most importantly the Jesuit disdain for liturgy and preference for devotion brought about a serious change in western theology. In the West and in the East from the very beginning the source, the root, the matrix of theology was the sacred liturgy. The Jesuits became the first to abandon Liturgy as the basis of their theology, which accounts for the wilder excesses of counter-reformation theology and devotionalism, as well as the eccentric theology, based on secular learning, philosophies and sociology that prepared for and followed the Vatican Council. [I believe this is quite accurate, and basically Dr. Hull’s thesis in a nutshell. Detached from central focus on the Liturgy as the basis for theology, Jesuit focus on reason gradually made Catholic theology more cerebral and emotionless. The “heart” of the Faith, that glorious Gift of the Blessed Sacrament and all the torrents of Grace associated with the Liturgy, was, in a sense, shunted to one side and focus made more on intellectual argument with other bases. At first, the difference in focus had no great effect, but over time, the Jesuit focus on cold intellectual reason, decoupled from this great Source, the Eucharist, wandered further and further from the prior practice of the Faith, and led the groundwork for the embrace of outright heresy in the form of modernism, which always had its strongest

Laicized Fr. Thelen - leftist

Laicized Fr. Thelen – leftist

adherents in the Jesuit order.  Eventually, virtually the entire order went over the modernism during the early-mid 20th century]

St Ignatius and his Company of Jesus did extraordinary things for evangelisation following their foundation but their disdain for Liturgy has introduced a fault line into Western Christianity that has deeply wounded our intellectual life and it looks as if it is to continue. [Exactly.  We have to find our heart, and make the Mass the center of our theology again, or at least to a much greater degree than it is now.  Now, the situation is, we actually impose theological ideas on the Mass (which is exactly what occurred after VII, instead of having the Mass, received from the Church Fathers, guide our theological ideas.  It’s the whole shift in Lex Credendi, Lex Orandi – people now way, the we pray as we believe, the it really is, and was understood by the Fathers to be, we believe as we pray! When the Mass was changed, it was inevitable that massive shifts in belief would occur, as well.] Pope Benedict saw the liturgy and a return to the liturgical mystogogical theology of the Fathers as healing, both for the West in particular, but also for the division between East and West, as did VII in Sacrosanctum Concillium and its general call to return to Patristic study. I am not sure whether Papa Bergoglio and most contemporary Jesuits and those who have taken up Jesuit inspired theology understand this, they think as Jesuits, not as people imbued and formed by the riches of the Liturgy. [Again, instead of treating the Liturgy as this great Gift received from the earliest Church and the very focal point of our Faith, from which all our belief should flow, the Mass is treated in many modern minds as something rather separate, an act the Church performs, and certainly it has theological components, but not as the primary source of our belief.]   A great many Trads seem to be concerned that Francis is showing himself as antagonistic towards Benedict, I do not know if that is so but what I am convinced of is that Benedict was antagonistic towards Francis and the whole Jesuit school of theology, as is anyone who cares for the Liturgy.

————–End Quote—————-

Wow, great post by Fr. Blake. I know some of this is a bit esoteric, but I think it very significant.  I think this is yet another reason why the Jesuits – who have done so much good it is incalculable – should be supressed.  Or, let me put it another way.  We know the Lord works in mysterious ways – perhaps the supression of the Jesuits in 1773 was not an act of political knavery and episcopal malfeasance, but an act of Providence, Who knew this order that had done such immense good and played such a vital role, had outlived its usefulness and was now growing into a harmful influence on the Church?

I don’t suppose I’ll get the answer to that until the afterlife!

Jesuit "Mass"

Jesuit “Mass”


1. TG - August 1, 2013

i guess that picture you show is real? St. Ignatius, pray for them. I said a special prayer yesterday to St. Ignatius for Pope Francis and the Society of Jesus.

2. Barry - August 1, 2013

Great book, I read it after you mentioned it on your radio show. It was a textbook but well worth it. Where did the horrible pic “Jesuit Mass” come from?

3. Steve B - August 2, 2013


Excellent post, with one caveat….

I don’t think you quite meant what you wrote, when you stated that faithful Catholics should have “… a profound emotional source, the Eucharist….”

Although the Holy Eucharist can have a profoundly emotional impact upon us when we receive Our Lord, His impact is substantially more than an emotional one, as you well know.

Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his classic book “The Heart”, explains exceptionally well the difference between non-spiritual emotionalism and spiritual affectivity, which is what I think you really meant when you stated that our Catholic faith should be “emotional.”

It is the subtlety between “affectivity” and “emotionalism” which differentiates those of us who are profoundly spiritually “attached” to the Traditional Latin Mass; we are not primarily so because of mere sentimentality, asthetics, or purely personal preference provided by the beauty and reverence of our ancient rite of worship, as we are often accused.

We are “attached” to the Usus Antiquior because the TLM has spiritually affected us at the core/heart of who we really are – i.e. our “inner sanctum” or “inner life” – and because it profoundly kindles for us a closeness to Our Lord which is enabled and enriched throughout Holy Mass, and not merely when we receive Him during Holy Communion. This is why irreverence during Holy Mass (a.k.a. the Novus Ordo in far too many Catholic parishes) drives us traditionalists crazy, especially wrt why irreverence and secularism have been allowed to grow and fester like a cancer in our beloved Church.

I do agree strongly with the main premise behind Dr. Geoffrey Hull’s book “The Banished Heart” – but only in the sense that I distinguish above. The Church today is full of emotionalism which emphasizes far too much of an egotism which is the antithesis of our faith; emotionalism actually inhibits an authentic spiritual affectivity for Our Lord, and prevents us from more fully dying to ourselves as we are really called to do.

I really wonder if very many of the participants and promoters of the WYD events even have a clue….

Sure, there can be an emotional aspect to the spiritual consolations which we can receive during Holy Mass, and in receiving Our Lord during Holy Communion. But, as you and many of your regular blog readers well know, He is ultimately calling us to give ourselves totally over to Him, even if/when those consolations wane over time and circumstances – i.e. we’re called to grow into spiritual adults, not stunted forever as spiritual babes who desire and need an emotional experience during Holy Mass and in our prayer lives (see Heb. 5:12-14).

It is this dimension of our Catholic faith – i.e. the distinguishing between spiritual emotionalism and spiritual affectivity – which has been so badly and utterly missed by the leaders of the Church over the past 50 years, even by our current Holy Father as it seems to me. There’s a BIG difference between spiritual joy, and spiritual emotionalism. Without a balanced emphasis upon the profound truths of our faith AND authentic spiritual affectivity as well, ultimately the Church is harmed.

I’m totally convinced, as Dr. Hull conjectures in his book, that the over-emphasis of the intellectual and the de-emphasis of the affective – initiated and promoted at some point before Vatican II – created a definite spiritual vacuum in the Church. That spiritual vacuum, unfortunately, was filled by an entirely wrong and misguided kind of spirituality after the Council – a largely emotional one, instead of a truly affective one – and in a way which swung the spiritual pendulum entirely the opposite way, which threw and continues to keep the Church FAR out of balance.

Contrary to the assertions of yourself, Tantamergo, Dr. Hull, and Fr. Blake, I’m not so sure the Jesuits were ultimately at fault for the “banished heart” problem in the Church before Vatican II, since the Jesuits were also champions of the Sacred Heart devotion in strong opposition to the Jansenists who assailed it; in my mind, it was the latter who were the ultimate conspirators of excessive intellectualism which existed before Vatican II. I understand that the Jansenist influence is what overwhelmed the Irish, who then promulgated it to America and the world, which unknowingly prepared the Church for the post-Conciliar revolution which subsequently overwhelmed her, and from which she has yet to recover. We may be fortunate, if our grandchildren live to see the recovery of the proper spiritual health and balance in the Church, which she so desperately needs….

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B

Sal - August 2, 2013

If we had a “like” button, I’d like this like a million. Masterful explanation, Steve. Well done!

tantamergo - August 2, 2013

Yeah, I don’t mean to say that the Eucharist is only emotional, only that’s a component missing in much of Jesuit theology. In fact, I think “emotion” became a bad choice stand in for affective, which I could not remember. I did not have the book to hand when I wrote the post. Jesuits just don’t “get” liturgy. They don’t see the importance of it. Of course, there ae some that do – like the photos in the post, Fr. Baker, Fr. Hardon, and others. But by and large, and especially among modern Jesuits, the Mass/Liturgy is just not the heart of their charism and the Source they fundamentally point at.

That’s all.

4. Scott Woltze - August 3, 2013

Great stuff. It reminds me of a fascinating talk Dom Cassian Folsom gave a while back. He argued that our modern understanding of liturgy has a flawed anthropology in so far as it privileges an Enlightenment conception of the intellect over other non-rational ways of understanding. Peter Kreeft often makes the same point when he talks about the “third eye”–the sight of the soul, so to speak.

tantamergo - August 5, 2013

I’m glad you like it! God bless!

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