The forty-one years between the Society of Jesus’s papal suppression in 1773 and its eventual restoration in 1814 remain controversial, with new research and interpretations continually appearing. Shore’s narrative approaches these years, and the period preceding the suppression, from a new perspective that covers individuals not usually discussed in works dealing with this topic. As well as examining the contributions of former Jesuits to fields as diverse as ethnology—a term and concept pioneered by an ex-Jesuit—and library science, where Jesuits and ex-Jesuits laid the groundwork for the great advances of the nineteenth century, the essay also explores the period the exiled Society spent in the Russian Empire. It concludes with a discussion of the Society’s restoration in the broader context of world history.
From Eusebio Kino to Daniel Berrigan, and from colonial New England to contemporary Seattle, Jesuits have built and disrupted institutions in ways that have fundamentally shaped the Catholic Church and American society. As Catherine O’Donnell demonstrates, Jesuits in French, Spanish, and British colonies were both evangelists and agents of empire. John Carroll envisioned an American church integrated with Protestant neighbors during the early years of the republic; nineteenth-century Jesuits, many of them immigrants, rejected Carroll’s ethos and created a distinct Catholic infrastructure of schools, colleges, and allegiances. The twentieth century involved Jesuits first in American war efforts and papal critiques of modernity, and then (in accord with the leadership of John Courtney Murray and Pedro Arrupe) in a rethinking of their relationship to modernity, to other faiths, and to earthly injustice. O’Donnell’s narrative concludes with a brief discussion of Jesuits’ declining numbers, as well as their response to their slaveholding past and involvement in clerical sexual abuse.
The Second Vatican Council was not only a meeting of bishops from around the world, it was also an assembly of theologians. Prominent among those gathered were the Dominican theologian Yves Congar and the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner. Both offered a positive theology of grace outside of Christianity, an embrace of true inculturation within the church, and both saw the council as a beginning in opening up the church to theological variety appropriate to become a global presence in a new era. During the council, Congar and Rahner worked together, developed a friendship, and found that they had harmonious theological perspectives that allowed them to become valuable allies in shaping the final outcome of the council.