Its publication was delayed as the manuscript was confiscated by the German police occupying Enghien during the war. Ultramontane in Rome, Gallican in Versailles, they authorize in China highly superstitious practices […]. Because of the affection and veneration they inspire, good Jesuits stop most Catholics from seeing what the others are up to. They serve to shroud their dubious maneuvers and thus work equally for the good of the Society […]. The Society wants to rule the rulers of the day, whoever they may be, ready to prostitute itself to their whims if needs be.
There we have our brothers of yesteryear, religious who were no Saints, and here the cohort of martyrs, on whose countenance I wish to close for being those whom Saint Ignatius recognizes the most authentic Jesuits. The centuries-long conflict ended on this ultimate bout. Thereafter, Jesuits would only exceptionally be suspected of enmity towards the French nation or the democratic republican institutions.
Time had come for the Society of Jesus to spread its wings with some of its members devoting themselves to scientific and academic research. The pro-Jesuit editorial effort was extensive but its quality uneven. Brimming with data, the project still evinced an apologetic intent even though by then nothing suggested that an on-going Jesuit presence in France needed any justification. Works on the history of education lay bare the diverging concepts of two Jesuits. Padberg b.
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Riding the wave of the Colonial Exposition, Alexandre Brou published a history of Jesuit missionaries in the edifying narrative tradition, 68 and lay author Paul Lesourd — set forth an overview of the history of missions. The military defeat of June , the occupation of the country, and the instauration of the Vichy regime rocked French society to its foundations and, within it, a Society of Jesus in full process of normalization.
Along with an almost unanimous ecclesiastical hierarchy, the provincials adopted a stance inspired by the principle of guarantee of unity allied to loyalty towards the government in place. The majority of Jesuits followed suit in order to better partake in a re-Christianization drive. However, while carrying out their pastoral duties, a minority opted for clandestine activities of spiritual, intellectual, and political resistance, most notably in the Lyon region. A third group was held captive.
Et la frontière devint un marché prospère et militarisé…
The resulting awkwardness manifest at the liberation was never articulated and the leadership roles were passed on under the guise of a generational handover. The visitor had the power of control, decisions, and appointment of superiors and rectors in whichever province he was visiting. Such an atmosphere was not conducive to recording the internal history of the recent past. More recent events were reported in roundabout ways bypassing ecclesiastical censorship. After Auguste Valensin — had died, his brother Albert edited his spiritual diary, 77 and Henri de Lubac — his correspondence with philosopher Maurice Blondel — ; the book—whose author was at the time prohibited from publishing theology—got reviewed.
A public figure 80 with an acknowledged scientific track record, he was marginalized by the Society while his writings circulated in secret. He had, before his death, entrusted his works to a lay friend to publish. The council era offered a generation of Jesuits specialized in the humanities the opportunity to advance a historiographical overhaul.
De Certeau stayed put but his insertion in academia in the late 60s early 70s placed him in a unique position. He further disputed their version of a history founded in the full harmony with modernity; he discerned enduring forms of intransigence in its midst. As tongues and pens loosened within the Society, publications of highly variable quality came out during the s. Research by Alain Guillermou —98 , a professor of Romanian at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, was enhanced by his preferential access to documentation preserved in Jesuit libraries.
An era of research, perplexity, and, let us face it, confrontation has started which is not over by a long shot. He further defended the right to think, research and teach freely in the Society. Notably, he steadfastly refused to make compulsory in philosophy houses the adoption of the twenty-four Thomist theses, even as some Jesuit or other, then very influential in Rome, pushed for this step to be taken.
At the end of the 70s and in the early 80s, the Society was in turmoil manifesting behaviors to which Superior General Pedro Arrupe — 99 did not take kindly:. An anti-institutional attitude seems to be spreading these days in our societies, which affects the Church as well as the Society. They do not feel a shared identity with the others; they speak of the Society as of something that is external to them, nay: foreign. They declare themselves sometimes Jesuits sometimes detached from the Body at their own convenience […].
How irresponsible! In this, I see one aspect of secularization, a danger recent pontiffs had warned us against. In France the number of entering novices has significantly dropped since the end of the s while the number departing peaked during the 70s: Jesuits in , close on in down to in The Society has regrouped its four provinces into one, which formed close links with the French-speaking Jesuit province of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg in It has entrusted lay staff with the management of most of its schools and colleges.
Do we still have Jesuit historians?
His colleague Paul Duclos —93 has drafted a history of the Society in France in the nineteenth and twentieth century though this nomenclature work has remained in manuscript form pages long. Nevertheless, he has used it for the introduction to the first volume of the Dictionnaire du monde religieux de la France contemporaine, the publication of which he directed and which is, to a large extent, devoted to the Jesuits.
The following period denotes on the one hand a social orientation aimed at reaching out to unchurched French strata and, on the other, exegetical and theological research, underscored by the Roman warnings and sanctions. In the order decided to equip itself with a reference tool: produced under the direction of Jesuits Charles E. The initiative—tentative at the end of the s—of publishing some Jesuit biographies expanded remarkably at the turn of the millennium in the shape of autobiographies or book-length interviews.
A specialist of Marxism and social issues, Jean-Yves Calvez — evinced some reservations as to certain orientations taken by his order. I did not take kindly to the change or to its grievous consequences, the results of a secularization the effects of which Father de Lubac decried. I had grown convinced that the Jesuits, strengthened by their formation and experience, had the backbone to resist dismantlement. I was wrong and we followed, nay, anticipated the behavior of diocesan clergy and other orders: declericalization, declergification.
Though the spirit was mostly rescued, the letter has all but disappeared. The high circulation monthly Lire leaped at the opportunity to quote pages the truncations of which court anachronism. High circulation weeklies joined in the celebrations, while the audio-visual media crafted documentaries around the figure of Teilhard for some, and Jesuit Resistance figures for the rest. Cubitt in the UK, and a paper by Philippe Boutry b. It has lost none of its relevance, even if. Academic research throughout these years attests to both a dynamic environment and an extensive freedom.
Access to archival material was readily available even for the most recent periods as well as for sensitive dossiers. Antoine Maire.
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