The proper understanding and prudent practice of religious poverty has probably never been easy in any age. Therefore, the Church in general and the Society in particular, has seen a sea change in the articulations on poverty. The three major shifts have been ‘asceticism’ of the monastic period, ‘austerity’ of mendicants and ‘Tantum Quantum’ (=in so far as it helps), from the post-Conciliar times. Even in the Society of Jesus, from the time of St. Ignatius, Generals and General Congregations – specially Fathers Wlodimir Halka Ledóchowski (1915-1942), Jean-Baptiste Janssens, SJ (1946-1964), Pedro Arrupe (1965–83) and Peter Hans Kolvenbach (1983-2008), had grappled to bridge the gap between the Ignatian ideal and the real Jesuit practice of poverty. These Generals also faced World War II, Vatican II and the paradigm shift after GC 32 and the modern times marked by the ‘digital revolution and market driven economy with unbridled capitalism’. Reading the signs of the times, each of them have responded adequately and appropriately. Openness to the change of times and the faithful adherence to the vow of poverty, is what gives credibility to the Jesuits.Login to read more
The author is the Director of the Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and Research, Pune and the Conference Secretary for Service of Faith.