The First Jesuit Pope: The Contribution of His Jesuit Charism to His Political Views
As the first Jesuit Pope, Francis occupies a singular place in history. The Jesuit order is the only order that takes an oath of obedience directly to the Vicar of Christ, so as the first Jesuit Pope, he technically reports to himself—making him the Jesuit with the most power in the over 500-year history of the order. This chapter will discuss “the Jesuit angle” of the new pope, which implies (1) the “so what” question, of what difference it makes to Francis’s papacy, (2) the larger “identity” question (or how Jesuits understand the meaning of Catholicism, and what implications that holds for the church under a Jesuit pope), and (3) the “timing” question, which implies both the past (why did it take so long for a Jesuit to become pope?) and the present (the larger implications of his Jesuit identity, as well as the distinctiveness of his Jesuit vision for political positions).