March 18-24, 2013
Editorial: The Jesuit Knight
Translated by Lydia Ma
The much-anticipated white smoke finally emerged from the Sistine Chapel, signaling the selection of a new pope. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis, is the Catholic Church’s first Jesuit and Latin American pope. A Jesuit magazine published in Taiwan describes Jesuits as people who will go to great lengths and endure many hardships for the sake of promoting justice and peace and sharing the Gospel. Jesuits live and work among people and they do not feel at home in elegant cathedrals or palaces. Hence, when Pope Francis insisted on catching a ride back to his hotel along with all the other cardinals soon after his election instead of travelling in a limousine, he was simply doing what a Jesuit would do.
Ignacio de Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, is known for saying that he has no other desire than seeing God receive greater glory and praise. Ironically, his devotion to the Catholic Church was also characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope. In the half century that Jesuits have been in Taiwan, what this order stands for has been evident because it has been in the front-lines of social justice, founding educational institutions, and communication ministries, and helping those who are suffering. For this reason, Taiwanese society owes a debt of gratitude to Jesuits and Taiwanese Protestants have a lot of respect for Jesuits.
How will the relationship between the Vatican and Taiwan change now that Pope Francis is in charge? According to some Chinese scholars, Beijing and Rome will continue to clash over two issues, namely, recognition of Taiwan and the right to appoint Cardinals. Based on Pope Francis’ background, we can expect that he will not put up with Beijing’s tactics. We hope that when this happens, Taiwanese churches will see through Beijing’s façade and realize that religion is merely its political tool. We also hope that this realization will help Taiwanese churches to truly understand the essence of the Gospel and stop berating the PCT for its social activism while at the same time hosting conferences with a very political Three-Self Church.