Peter Canisius, SJ

Peter CanisiusPeter Canisius is one of the saints I admire. I especially appreciate his approach to people of his time who had gone over to Luther. Rome wanted a bit more rigor, but the Dutch Jesuit had a thing with honey over vinegar:

With words like these, we don’t cure patients, we make them incurable.

The words are harsh over at the news aggregator Pewsitter. They sure do not like the Holy Father. But too many believers are disinterested in curing ills.

One hallmark of Ignatian spirituality, at least as I read it, is that disciples of Ignatius are encouraged to focus on real needs. Pope Francis is misunderstood because he clearly thinks that diehard Catholics are not in need of hospitalization. Whether they are lost or found, or come in from the front porch is wholly up to them.

People like Peter Canisius were more concerned with those who had gone over to Lutheranism. He recognized the quality of prudence, and the great need for it.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Peter Canisius, SJ

  1. Katherine says:

    “Pope Francis is misunderstood because he clearly thinks that diehard Catholics are not in need of hospitalization. Whether they are lost or found, or come in from the front porch is wholly up to them.”

    Could you explain a bit more, Todd? It sounds as if you mean he really doesn’t care about what you call ‘diehard’ Catholics. Or that those who are what Terry Mattingly calls ‘sweat the details’ Catholics have no spiritual needs he recognizes, no claim on the attention of their shepherds (starting with him). I hope that’s not so.

    St Augustine’s image of the church as hospital includes everyone. I don’t remember how far he works out the metaphor, but it seems to me one would almost have to rely on the idea of wounded healers, who tend to the more gravely wounded without ignoring the fact that they, too, are hurting. And the ‘head nurses’ (under the leadership of Christ the Physician) need to help and care for the less expert/experienced nurses and orderlies too, if they are to do their job … If the church is a field hospital, as Pope Francis has said, then those diehards on the porch are needed to come in and get to work, if only to spell the others, and they need their wounds tended to, so they can. (OK, I’ve been watching PBS’s “Crimson Field” …)

    Agree with you about St Peter Canisius.

    • Todd says:

      Admittedly, my limited exposure to embittered Catholics these days is from Pewsitter. I think they’ve missed the boat in so many ways. If they brought their wounds to service in the hospital, that would be one thing. But there’s the expectation that leaders service the flock–them–the way they want to be serviced–something distinct from being served in the way needed. These Catholics seem not to want to serve.

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