“Normally it is the creative minorities that determine the future, and in this sense the Catholic Church must understand itself as a creative minority that has a heritage of values that are not of the past, but are a truly alive and relevant reality.” (Benedict XVI, Sep. 26, 2009)
Creative Minorities to Create a Catholic Soul for Society
Catholicism is not an esoteric, individualist, private religiosity to be lived on the peripheries of society. By divine mandate it is both deeply interior and personal as well as social and cosmopolitan.
The Ignatian mission is to create among the Catholic laity creators of creative minorities in each and every field of human activity: intellectuals, mass media professionals, journalists, scientists, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians, social activists.
Their mission is to unleash the awesome dynamism which, due to the Faith’s divine origin, is inherent to Catholicism, for the pro-active pro-convert outreach to all men and women and the creation of the institutions that, by strengthening the family and society at large, assist each and every man and woman in showing honor to God and in attaining the eternal salvation of his soul.
These will be Catholics who are vigorously confident of the intrinsic power of Catholicism’s principles to transform not only individual hearts and minds but society as a whole. They will not be dependent on political parties or ideologies of left or right for their vision of man and society. No. Before all else they will be Catholic; men who are convinced that the Mystical Body of Christ is the basis for the noblest of societies; and that from the principles of the Catholic Faith spring all that is necessary to create the noblest and greatest of civilizations.
Men and women who will dedicate their lives to the “long march through the institutions” (Rudi Dutschke) where culture is formed in order to create a Christ-inspired culture, the basis for a Christian civilization, the only true bulwark that will defend man’s eternal dignity.
In other words, our mission is to strive to imbue each and every Catholic with whom we work with such an ardent love for Christ and His Truth that it will overflow in enthusiastic missionary dedication to non-Catholics and to the creation of a society that will foster Christ-centeredness.
To ignite is the essence of the Ignatian action-mentality; it is to imbue and encourage each Catholic with such an intense conviction about the truth of the Catholic Faith that they spontaneously feel the urgency of communicating it to individuals and to society.
In the Society of Ignatians ad majorem Dei gloriam finds its first expression in the paramount mission to create creative minorities. It is a natural expression of St. Ignatius’s leit-motif since it seeks to embody his great aspiration to always choose the most effective means possible for evangelization by embodying it in the creation of these dynamic project-centered groups of highly-motivated Catholic laity.
This determination to ignite creative minorities will be integral to the Ignatian mindset, a way of working, no matter where or what one is doing. It is a resolution to seek to enlighten, encourage and channel the minds and hearts of all Catholics to be men and women of enterprise and initiative in bringing the truth and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ to others.
At times this will result in individuals determining to band together with other members of an Ignatian parish to do pro-convert outreach to their non-Catholic neighbors; other times it may result in complex international projects to promote the Catholic Faith through mass media and mediatic campaigns.
The creation of Christian culture is above all the noble mission to educate, to enable man to perceive that in a Christ-centred society the innate grandeur of the human soul achieves its fulfillment in a sublime manner through convinced assent in freedom to the divinely revealed truths of the Catholic Faith.
But first things first. The mission to form creative Catholics begins and ends in the transformation of the soul unto Christlikeness from which springs, flows, overflows cascading torrents of light and love throughout society: a culture of reverence for life from the moment of conception until natural death, a concern for the poor, the sick, the suffering and the dying not only in one’s own nation but globally; a formal education grounded on the noblest truths and values inherent to humanity; a new political and legal culture.
Only this transformation of the individual soul, of his intelligence, will, and sentiments, will empower the creation of a Christian culture in society.
Only a Christian culture in society will create a culture of life, vibrant and strong because it is intellectually grounded in the Christian truths of the creation and the redemption, in the recognition of Truth and in the assent to the Natural Law.
Such a herculean mission, in the face of all the forces of the Dictatorship of Relativism with its control of both formal (academic) and informal (mass media) education, requires men and women of tempered strength. It requires formators of such people to be focused and devoted to their mission with lifelong intensity.
It requires priests who are truly priests; laity who are truly lay faithful; each fulfilling their mission on the battlefield of history for the eternal wellbeing of humanity.
This focus of the Society of Ignatians on the creation of enterprising priests and laity is therefore its most distinguishing hallmark. Ignatians are not seeking as their precise and defined mission to encourage laity to sanctify themselves through their work. This naturally is presumed and valued but it is not the Ignatian goal which, following St. Ignatius Loyola, seeks to promote personal Christlikeness through apostolic action.
Certainly, other groups in the Church encourage initiative in laity. But with us it’s a mentality, its our reason for existing, we do it all the time and everywhere, with everyone. It characterizes the way Ignatians equip themselves during their long and intense years of formation: from the moment they cross the threshold they equip themselves to be initiative-driven individuals.
These creative minorities will be anarchic to a large extent. The Society of Ignatians will not seek to control and micromanage these groups but to ignite them! Everywhere and with everyone they work; in big and small projects; in big North American, European, African and Asiatic cities and amid the Himalayas. Ignatians will offer their services to dioceses seeking to establish what is constructive for the local Church without seeking to control it beyond what is necessary to ensure its quality.
And – perhaps in the light of history it may be necessary to emphasize this ‒ the ultimate purpose of these creative minorities is for the sake of all: all Catholics, and all men and women to whom we ardently desire to propose the Truth of the Catholic Faith, the greatest good any person can ever possess.
The ideal of the creative Catholic minorities is the eternal salvation of souls but they know that in pursuing this noblest of missions they are also pursuing the construction of a new Catholic civilization that can arise out of the rubble of our present Dark Ages.
In conclusion: Ignatians ignite creative minorities who will be entrepreneurs of evangelization
- who will propose the truth of the Catholic Faith to non-Catholics and invite them to enter the Church
- who will strengthen the Faith of existing Catholics
- who will seek to create a Catholic culture