The election of a Jesuit as the Roman Catholic pope calls attention to the presence of the Society of Jesus — the Jesuits — in the Toledo area and in Ohio.
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, vice president for Jesuit identity at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy, which has about 950 male students, said that St. John’s is the only Jesuit institution in Toledo. He said that in Ohio there are three other Jesuit high schools — in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Cuyahoga Falls — and two colleges, John Carroll University in University Heights and Xavier University in Cincinnati.
Father Doyle said three Jesuit priests work at St. John’s: the Rev. Joaquin O. Martinez, who is the school’s president, the Rev. Thomas H. Radloff, and Father Doyle. No Jesuits are parish rectors in the diocese, he said. Asked if, as a Jesuit, he ever feels lonely here, Father Doyle said “There are days I’m not used to it because I’ve always lived in areas with [Jesuit] colleges.”
Religious orders, including the Jesuits, “are invited into the dioceses and maintained by bishops,” Father Doyle said. Ordained ministry in the diocesan parishes is assigned by bishops, who normally choose vocational priests as rectors. Toledo Jesuits are in the Chicago-Detroit Province.
Now the ultimate earthly supervisor for his religion will be a member of a religious order following Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s appointment as pope Thursday. “One of the things I would certainly hope is for [Pope Francis’s visibility] to bring more people to view the Society of Jesus as a vocation, and increase candidates for the society,” Father Doyle said.
As for Francis’s vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, “Once a Jesuit becomes a bishop, he is no longer bound by the vow of obedience within the society,” Father Doyle said. But Pope Francis not only must be obedient to himself as pope, “he also has to obey the tradition and the scripture.”
Those ties to tradition and scripture mean that “no pope could come in and change” what the Church considers divine teachings — so in areas of reproductive practices, for example, do not look for changes in the new papal administration. Instead, Father Doyle said, expect the Church to “maintain certain values and standards and norms that are not changeable.”