If you’ve visited Rome, you may have noticed that the Jesuit headquarters, right off St. Peter’s Square, overlooks ”” “looks down on” ”” the Vatican. Jesuits are fond of reminding visitors, with a smile, of this topographical curiosity and its symbolic freight.
Much Vaticanology depends on this sort of it-can’t be-just-an-accident logic. What is Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope, really up to?
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Francis’ Jesuit background in shaping his approach to the papacy. He is a rare bird. He is a Jesuit who has had a significant career within the Society of Jesus, as a provincial superior of the order in Argentina. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis became prominent as well as in the episcopal arena. He is about as cosmopolitan a pope as the church has seen since John XXIII, who was a professional diplomat.