The Jesuits are gathered in Rome to evaluate their mission in today's world, and to elect a new superior-general.
The Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (Cardinal Franc Rode) had some pointed remarks for them:
"Within your charism and your tradition you can find valuable points of reference to enlighten the choices which the Society must make today,"
He spoke particularly about the role of the Jesuits in restoring the "sensus Ecclesiae."
"Consecration to service to Christ cannot be separated from consecration to service to the Church," he said. "It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the 'sentire cum ecclesia' of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families. The Church is waiting for a light from you to restore the 'sensus Ecclesiae.'"
The 73-year-old cardinal also noted a "growing distancing from the hierarchy."
"The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service 'under the Roman Pontiff' does not allow for this separation," he said. "Religious obedience can be understood only as obedience in love. The fundamental nucleus of Ignatian spirituality consists in uniting the love for God with love for the hierarchical Church."
The cardinal said he wished to draw attention to one of the "new and urgent" necessities faced by the Church today.
"I will mention one," he said, "which in my judgment is urgent today and is at the same time complex and I propose it for your consideration. It is the need to present to the faithful and to the world the authentic truth revealed in Scripture and Tradition.
"The doctrinal diversity of those who at all levels, by vocation and mission are called to announce the kingdom of truth and love, disorients the faithful and leads to a relativism without limits. There is one truth, even though it can always be more deeply known."
Cardinal Rode said the living teaching office of the Church "is the voucher for revealed truth."
He added: "The exegetes and theological scholars are involved in working together 'under the watchful care of the sacred teaching office of the Church, to an exploration and exposition of the divine writings.'
"Through your long and solid formation, your centers of research, your teaching in the philosophical-theological-biblical fields, you are in a privileged position to carry out this difficult mission. Carry it out with study and in-depth examination, carry it out with humility, carry it out with faith in the Church. Carry it out with love for the Church.
"May those who, according to your legislation, have to oversee the doctrine of your magazines and publications do so in the light of and according to the 'rules for "sentire cum ecclesia,"' with love and respect."
The cardinal also mentioned the "feeling of ever growing separation between faith and culture, a separation which constitutes a great impediment for evangelization," saying this is another phenomenon that worries him.