The quintessential Ignatian Jesuit

Panelists at The Francis Factor explore how the pope is setting the world on fire

By Rita Buettner  |  Photos by Brigid Darragh

The panelists answer questions submitted live from the audience and presented by Fr. Thomas Rosica (right).

Not counting his cardboard cutout double, Pope Francis wasn’t physically present in a packed Reitz Arena Tuesday night. But he was certainly there in spirit.

Two priests pose with the cardboard cutout of Pope Francis sponsored by Loyola magazine.

“I believe Pope Francis is the quintessential Ignatian Jesuit, and that that is the key to understanding him,” Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap., told the audience.

Cardinal O’Malley, Rev. Thomas Rosica, Helen Alvaré, Rev. Matthew Malone, S.J., and Kerry Robinson served on the panel during the two-hour program.

The pope’s Jesuit approach to leadership and to how he shares his faith with the world was a common thread throughout the evening, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore and appropriately held on Loyola’s campus.

In greeting the crowd, Archbishop William Lori, archbishop of Baltimore, acknowledged the link, calling Loyola “the first institute of higher education in the United States named after the most popular Jesuit ever–well, at least he used to be the most popular Jesuit ever.”

Catholic Review photographer Tom McCarthy and reporter Maria Wiering pose for a photo with the pope's likeness.

Cardinal O’Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan and archbishop of Boston, poked gentle fun at the Jesuits while also conveying his deep respect for the order.

“As a Capuchin, of course I’m very intimidated being invited to a Jesuit university,” he said. “There are 36 craters on the Moon named after Jesuits, and we Capuchins only have a cup of coffee named after us.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola also wanted to be a saint like St. Francis, Cardinal O’Malley reminded his audience, similar to Pope Francis, who is “thoroughly a Jesuit, thoroughly Ignatian, right down to his interest in being like St. Francis.”

“Pope Francis is helping the whole world discover the joy of the Gospel,” Cardinal O’Malley said, “and all of this ad majorem dei gloriam.”

A member of the audience takes a selfie with the pope before the event.

Read more coverage of The Francis Factor at The Catholic Review.

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