Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

March 15, 2004

In This Issue

Jesuit Statistics for 2003

The statistics of the Society of Jesus for 2003, compiled by the General Secretariat in Rome, found that on January 1, 2004, the Jesuits worldwide numbered 20,170, a decrease of 238 from January 1, 2003.

There are 14,148 priests, 3,052 scholastics, 1,983 brothers, and 987 novices (an increase of 58 over the previous year). The average age of all the Jesuits is 53.97 years; the average age of priests is 60.62, scholastics 25.77, and brothers 63.18.

South Asia is the assistancy with the most Jesuits (3,986), followed by the United States (3,298). The smallest in number are the Central Europe (942) and East Europe (1,176) Assistancies.

There are nine Jesuit cardinals (three with the right to attend and vote in an eventual conclave) and 78 bishops. [Source: ]


Environmental Doomsday? Jesuit Magazine Says it's Overstated

In an article on environmental disasters in the February 21 issue of La Civiltŗ Cattolica, Fr GianPaolo Salvini SJ wrote, "Real environmental problems cannot be ignored, but it's not right to exaggerate them in order to better defend the environment. Nor does it seem that these are the worst problems in this world."

The article cites a number of doomsday predictions that have so far failed to materialize and said the media was often to blame for fueling the "catastrophic visions" that seem to mark the modern age.

"One has to ask why, in giving information and assessments, is bad news almost always preferred to good news?" Fr Salvini asked. One answer is that it plays into the expectations of "a frightened society" in the West, where many people are afraid of losing what they have, he said.

The trouble is, Fr Salvini wrote, dire predictions tend to be forgotten when they don't come true.

For example, in 1975 Newsweek ran an article predicting that a new ice age was just around the corner. Today, Fr Salvini said, when global warming is the worry, no one seems to point out the potential positive effects--for example, higher temperatures may mean longer growing seasons.

His article was based largely on data from the book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Danish author and former Greenpeace member Bjorn Lomborg. The book has challenged the conventional wisdom on a number of environmental issues.

Fr Salvini did not endorse all of Lomborg's scientific arguments but said the book underlined a need for balance and perspective when talking about environmental risks. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Jesuit Film Critic Reviews The Passion

Fr Richard Blake SJ, film reviewer for America magazine, said "The Passion of the Christ" made Jesus "a pure victim of forces determined to destroy him for reasons that remain murky."

The movie comes "dangerously close to a pornography of violence," exhibiting a "morbid fascination with pain," and it "desensitizes the audience" because "after 20 minutes or so the pain loses its meaning," Fr Blake wrote in the March 15 issue. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

For more information: Boston College's Center for Christian-Jewish Learning has established a web site that contains a study guide explaining Gospel accounts of the Passion and how Christian religions came to reject charges of deicide against the Jews. .

Creighton University joined with the University of Nebraska-Omaha in presenting a series of forums on the historical and filmed Passion accounts. The transcripts of the remarks delivered at those forums, as well as a study guide to the movie, can be accessed online at:


Jesuit Says More Research Needed into Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Church

The John Jay College report on the sexual abuse crisis in the Church is an excellent first step in the research on this problem, says Fr Thomas Reese SJ, editor of America magazine. But, he points out, it raises as many questions as it answers:

The John Jay report can only be the beginning of research on the problem of sexual abuse in the Church, according to Fr Reese, who thinks that the more it is studied, the more likely it will be that the Church changes from being part of the problem to being part of the solution to the epidemic of sexual abuse in our country. [Source: Thomas J Reese SJ]


Georgetown Adds Service Option to Its Study Abroad Programs

Georgetown University is offering a new international community-based learning initiative that combines social justice work with its study-abroad programs.

Beginning this spring, seven Georgetown undergraduates will participate in community-based learning projects while studying in Dakar, Senegal. Next summer and fall, the pilot program will expand to include host universities in the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Great Britain, Ecuador, and Chile.

The students' community work will be a fundamental part of the university's newly designed "social justice practicum" course, which includes social science-based theory and research. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


St Johnís Jesuit High to Open a 7th and 8th Grade Academy Next Fall

St Johnís Jesuit High in Toledo, Ohio, will open an academy for seventh and eighth grade young men in Fall 2004, reported Fr Don Vettese SJ, the schoolís president.

ďThe academy is envisioned to be academically challenging, socially responsive, and developmentally appropriate. Academy enrollment will be smaller than the high school. This restricted size enables these young adolescents to know their teachers and fellow classmates well. It will ensure personal attention and individual support throughout their academy years and create a sense of stability and cohesion that is crucial in the lives of young adolescents,Ē said Fr Vettese.

For more information, go to: [Source: St. Johnís Jesuit High School] Up

Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

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Other correspondence, especially comments, suggestions, complaints, or queries, should be sent to <[email protected]>. Please include your name and your email address in all correspondence. The editors of this Newsletter are Richard VandeVelde SJ and Ms Rebecca Troha. They recommend the following useful WWW links as items of Jesuit interest.



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