recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
I'm a former Catholic monk. AMA

Former Jesuit (for reference, Pope Francis was a Jesuit) who left the order and the Church/religion. Been secular about a year and half now.

Edit: I hoped I would only have to answer this once, but it keeps coming up. It is true that I was not actually a monk, since the Jesuits are not a cloistered order. If any Benedictines are out there reading this, I apologize if I offended you. But I did not imagine that a lot of people would be familiar with the term "vowed religious." And honestly, it's the word even most Jesuits probably end up resorting to when politely trying to explain to a stranger what a Jesuit is.

Edit 2: Have to get ready for work now, but happy to answer more questions later tonight

Edit 3: Regarding proof, I provided it confidentially to the mods, which is an option they allow for. The proof I provided them was a photo of the letter of dismissal that I signed. There's a lot of identifying information in it (not just of me, but of my former superior), and to be honest, it's not really that interesting. Just a formal document

Edit 4: Wow, didn’t realize there’d be this much interest. (Though some of y’all coming out of the woodwork.) I’ll try to get to every (genuine) question.

September 25th 2019
interview date

Could you describe your day to day? Did you have any stand out experiences?


Day to day varied depending on what stage of “formation” you were in, and what your ministry/assignment was. When I left, I had been granted permission to start graduate studies in philosophy. So I took classes and wrote papers like a regular student. But then also you were expected to go to daily mass (theoretically 7 days/week) and be at community dinner as often as possible. Mass was held in the community chapel every day except Sunday, so you just had to walk downstairs or across the hall to get there. And you were expected to pray for about an hour a day on your own.

A couple standout experiences, both from the novitiate (two-year boot camp before taking vows). I spent two Saturdays at a Church in McAllen, TX, which is a major arrival point for the people coming up from Central America seeking asylum. This parish had at the time at least been given special permission by ICE to help people. So like, ICE would literally drop these people off at the parish after they had processed them. Many arrived wearing ankle bracelets. Anyway, they gave them food, toiletries, and a place to rest. Since these people were seeking asylum, they all had a court date, and most had someone in the US they knew to stay with until then. So the volunteers would also inform people about their court dates and their rights and where to catch the bus.

Well, my first day there I remember meeting Anthony. He was 15 and from El Salvador. He’d come up with his mom. He told me they had hopped trains, and had frequently had to duck and hide. His back hurt. I still think of him often. Anthony, I hope you’re ok.

Another interesting (and far less serious in a humanitarian sense) time was when they sent us out with a one-way bus ticket and $35 cash and said, don’t come back for a month. That one was actually kinda fun...


I went to Catholic grade school & high school and was a practicing Catholic until about 10-15 years ago,

I am fully aware of how many Catholics drink but what your views on drug use? Would you get in trouble if you got caught smoking pot? What about if you got hurt & required opiate painkillers but continued taking them even if you didn't need them & got addicted. Is there punishment for addiction (outside of alcoholism)?


So one time a young Jesuit— it was a friend of mine, guys, honestly— may or may not have smoked up with a friend of a brother who had just taken vows that day at his celebration party. The guy felt so bad he went to his superior the next day and confessed it all. And his superior said: “Was that a wise decision?”


“Are you going to do it again?”


End of conversation.

There are addiction treatment centers for men and women who are in religious orders. The prevalence of alcoholism among priests and vowed religious is high. Drug use less so, but the scenario you describe is one I could see happening, sadly. I think they would be sent to the treatment center and likely treated compassionately.


I wanted to become a Jesuit when I was younger. My uncle told me "Don't become a Jesuit; you'll lose your faith." Years later, now a former Catholic and no longer hip to JC, I understand what he meant. I got to a point where I'd learned enough/went so far down the theology rabbithole that I couldn't logically assent to a belief in exclusive monotheism anymore.

Do you think this is common among Jesuits? Like did you meet a lot of other Jesuits who you knew, or at least suspected, had stopped believing but stuck around anyways because, aside from the celibacy, it's a pretty cushy life?


Man, I don't know if I should say this. This might be revealing too much. But when I was a novice, a Jesuit who was soon to be ordained told me (referring to the various stages of Jesuit formation leading to ordination), "In the novitiate, you lose your piety. In First Studies, you lose your mind. In Regency, you lose your respect for the Society. In Theology, you lose your faith. Then they ordain you."

Edit: fixed words


How was it readapting to secular life?


Fun and challenging at the same time. Everything seemed new, like I was doing it for the first time. Even little things, like buying sheets. And although I have lived in the world before, it was my first time really being a secular person, because I’d always been intensely religious before. So figuring that out was fun too.

Of course, it’s lonely. Definitely that. And then pretty quick you realize you need to look for a job and start paying rent and oh yeah, health insurance. So bittersweet, I’d say


I hope two questions are ok. First; what made you want to join and how old were you when you joined? Second; you mentioned in another comment that you were given $35 and told not to return for a month, what did you do?


I was old enough. I had been extremely religious my entire life in a very conservative way (brought up that way). I went back to grad school and gradually started to change my way of thinking. Then the Jesuits were appealing because they had a reputation, at least, of being something of an intellectual/progressive order.

During that time I wandered around, explores new places, hitchhiked a little and got rides with strangers, and met a lot of really generous people. It was a great experience


What was the internal party line when it came to allegations of impropriety?


I’m guessing you mean sexual impropriety? Well, you would be removed from ministry for starters. Then it would depend on whether there were legal allegations (I.e., was it a minor or did you just have an affair?). If it was with a consenting adult, then you would probably be out of public ministry for a while and so some serious retreat time and probably therapy. Eventually you might be returned to ministry.

These days, the Jesuits have cleaned up their act and do cooperate with law enforcement investigations.


I go to a Catholic school called Seton Hall in NJ We’ve got a couple of monks on campus (long grey robes) and I see them playing soccer in them, and ultimate frisbee. Are you constantly wearing the robes, and if so how long did it take for your body to adjust to wearing them all the time?


Jesuits used to wear black robes with a sash up until Vatican II (early 60s), but then they went back to wearing street clothes. At formal occasions you had to wear the Roman collar, otherwise whatever


To the people who see monks as this mysterious, almost mythical creature, what do you want to tell them?


Hmmm. I mean, they drink beer, they watch Netflix, they follow sports teams. At least Jesuits do. They definitely have personalities, some of them larger than life. They have anxieties and struggles. They still find women (or men, depending on their orientation) attractive. Sometimes they develop crushes.

But it is a weird life. In many ways, really austere (even the Jesuits, comparatively speaking). So does an odd life attract an odd (or at least intense) sort of person? Idk


Did everyone in your order/community seem to be genuine? Or was anyone obviously lying about their faith?


Most guys seemed pretty genuine. Some guys (though in the Jesuits, not all that many, but you’d find this a lot more in other sectors of Catholicism) were so rigid and austere in their faith that you were like, what are you hiding from? And there were a couple who, on rare moments or when we’d been drinking heavily, were open about their doubts. I admired them

Edit: a couple words


Thoughts on the religion itself aside, what are your views on the existence of a higher being after time spent with the Jesuits? Did it make you question the existence of one, or make you more certain than ever there's something out there?

Also, how is your family coping with your change? My mom had a very rough time when I renounced Catholicism and organized religion as a whole, I can only imagine it was a shock for your folks?


My parents did not mind my leaving the Jesuits. We still kind of dance around the “are you going to church question” every time we talk. They haven’t straight out asked me, but I think they suspect I’m not


What do you miss the most since you left the church?


Honestly, this might sound shallow, but financial and vocational security. Having great health insurance, not paying rent, free food and booze, and always guaranteed a job. When I decided to leave, the few non-religious friends I had at the time were like, “What are you doing? This is an amazing deal!”

It was, but it came with a price

Edit: a word


When you left and became secular did you lose any friends, or did any of your friends think of you differently??


At the time, honestly, most of my friends were fellow brothers. I had some friends at school, but only a handful even knew I was a Jesuit. Most people were surprisingly kind, even if they didn’t know much about it.

It was a lot harder with my former brothers, but I think for most of them it did not come out of nowhere. One of them had a pretty hard time with it and didn’t really speak to me for a while, but we do talk occasionally now. The nice part is that now I only have to talk to the ones that I liked!


I assume by leaving that you broke the vows you had taken — what’s the religious consequence of this? Do you have to get some special dispensation to participate in church activities like divorced people?


No religious consequences. Once you go through the discernment process with your superior and are sure you want to leave, you write a letter to the superior general of the Jesuits in Rome requesting dismissal, and he writes a letter back dismissing you from vows. It’s not like divorce because taking religious vows isn’t a sacrament

But I am no longer practicing


Out of all types of monks, which is your favourite? And if there any form of rivalry? Like do the Jesuits make fun of the Gregorians?


There is kind of a rivalry, these days mostly friendly. (In the past it wasn’t always so). I like the Jesuits for their commitment (at least in theory) to study and learning. I like the Franciscans because they actually live the vow of poverty


What will you take with you from that experience?


I grew a lot. I don’t regret leaving, but I’m grateful I did it. Made me a better person. Had experiences I never would have otherwise. Went to new places. Met some great people. (Some real assholes, too, but since I’m not in it anymore, now I only talk to the ones I liked)


What were the boring and ridiculous things that you won't miss?


“Faith Sharing.” These were these mandatory peer accountability groups where you had to meet with other guys to talk about your struggles and your relationship with God. God, was it awful.

Any kind of mandatory community meeting. And fuck am I glad I never have to attend another chastity workshop. (Yup, we had those)


Why'd you leave?


Wasn’t really one single reason, there were a bunch. Political, cultural, personal, intellectual. But a major breaking point was that at the time I was studying philosophy (with permission from the order), and I was studying Kant, Hegel, Marx, Neitzsche. Really hard to maintain it if you take any of those guys seriously.

Also learning about Church history (and I’m not talking about the crusades, like even the past couple hundred years)


Maybe a little personal but did you ever struggle with the vow of celibacy? I feel like that goes against the very fabric of being human and had to be a bitch to subdue


Yeah, for sure I did. And some guys who seemed to have a higher sex drive than me struggled with it a LOT. I felt/feel bad for them


Do you believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God or the inspired Word God? Also do you believe that the version that exists now to be “faithful” to the meaning of the original texts?


Not really any of the above. I think it’s really great literature (especially the Old Testament) and is highly worth reading. But it is a collection of myths, stories, songs and poems, letters, etc that were collected—and heavily edited— over centuries. Which to me, doesn’t diminish it at all but actually makes it better. In a way, I think now I can actually for the first time give the Bible the respect it’s due.


Is Pope Francis no longer a Jesuit?


Not technically, no. He stopped being one the moment he became a bishop. Anyone who is in a religious order is released from their vows if they are ordained a bishop. (Though I think he probably still is a Jesuit in his heart)

Edit: a word


Why are there monks? The Catholic church supports them, right? What does the church get from the monks, or accomplish through the monks? What do they do? Sorry if the question seems a little pointed; I don't mean any offense to your former life, I'm just trying to understand what it even is.


The Church just teaches that some people are called in a special way to dedicate themselves to a life of prayer and service. Not all monks and nuns do the same things. There are many different orders. Some are more “contemplative,” like Benedictines and Trappists, others are “active,” I.e., involved in ministry to people. But in each case they will live together in community and do a lot of praying


Have you been dating at all since you left the church?


Not a whole lot, not as much as I’d like. Still trying to feel comfortable in my own skin first as a secular person, and also trying to get things in order financially/vocationally, etc

And fuck, it’s intimidating. But it’s on the agenda


Went to Catholic HS. Our class valedictorian had gone to Catholic school his whole life and shared with me his view that "The Catholic Church is the biggest business in the world." What are your thoughts on this, especially considering the funding of religious orders like Jesuits and Capuchins?


Yeah the Church is definitely wealthy. In my city they are one of the largest property owners. And the Jesuits definitely have money. And the leadership of the order (at least in North America) thinks in very practical terms, and there’s a lot of HR/corporate lingo

Edit: a word


What proportion of clergy do you think are (presumably closeted) gay?


In the Jesuits, it is ok for guys to be “out” at least among fellow brothers. To be out publicly, you have to get permission from the order. In my time, two guys did get permission to publicly come out (in print), and it was a big deal

In my experience I would say the ratio of gay to straight guys in the Jesuits was probably higher than in the population at large, but not gonna hazard a percentage


Do you still believe in God?


Oddly, I do, though I have no real reason or arguments as to why. It seems to just kind of be in me. But I don’t practice anymore; I don’t go to mass or pray and would consider myself non-religious


Excorcisms - are they actually a thing? And if so, would you mind sharing your viewpoints and experiences with them?


They are a thing, they’re very rarely done though. Every diocese has one trained exorcist, and his identity is usually not supposed to be known. They only resort to exorcism in very rare extreme cases, when they’ve supposedly exhausted all other options.

Personally, I do not believe demons exist


Did you guys ever have a West Side Story-style snap-and-dance battle with the Franciscans?


Haha would have been fun. There was definitely a bit of a rivalry, but it was all in fun


Do you ever second guess your decision?

That was a big commitment.


Thanks for asking. No, I haven’t regretted leaving once. I also don’t regret having joined


Do you think that there’s a discrepancy between the belief system of Catholicism and the institution of the church? And if so, would you say that it’s important for people to recognize that difference?


One of the frustrating things about Catholicism is that that discrepancy is built right into the faith structure. That is, it’s openly admitted that the institution is full of sinful men who do terrible things, and yet at the same time that institution is still supposed to be the door to salvation. I forget who it was, but some theologian once said something like, “A thousand scandals but never a doubt.” Meaning, the Church can fuck up like crazy every day forever, but I still won’t doubt that it’s the thing that gets you saved.

That kind of reasoning feels like spiritual self-flagellation to me


Thoughts on all the pedophilia?


I mean, it’s sickening, obviously. Heartbreaking. Was one of the reasons I left. Every time I hear a new news story about it, I feel sad, but also feel a little relief to think, “Isn’t my responsibility anymore.”

I’m not sure I have an answer. Some people do argue that the percentage of pedophilic priests isn’t higher than that of the general population. I haven’t done the research and can’t speak to that. Of course, one factor is that (at least back in the day), priests had trusted access to a lot more children than the average person.

And sure, celibacy might be an issue. I did know many guys who I think dealt with their sexuality in mostly pretty healthy ways, but of course the priesthood/religious life can also be attractive to people who just want to hide from their own issues. These days, the religious orders are better about weeding those people out, though it’s not foolproof. And I have serious doubts about whether the regular diocesan seminaries do a good job catching the troubled ones

Edit: a word


Sounds like an extremely structured lifestyle. Are you finding yourself lost without it or happier with the freedom?


Happier with freedom


What do you do for a living now?


I’m a server and actively looking for jobs in publishing. You know anybody?


How and when did you discover Reddit?


I don’t remember how, actually. But it was probably almost two years ago. I joined right around the time I was making up my mind to leave


Did you leave and still believe in God or did you go full atheist?


Not full atheist, but not practicing either


How did your income work?

I know when you're a part of the order a lot of things are covered by the church. Did you still get a payroll? If not, when you left did they give you money to start your life again?


Yeah, everyone who worked never saw their paychecks. But oddly enough, they did not go to the worldwide Jesuit order or even the province; they went to the local community. This means that some Jesuit communities have much more resources than others. For example, if you live in a university community with a Jesuit who is president of the university, his salary is going to be pretty good, and your community is going to live pretty well.

In terms of personal expenses, you got basically a monthly allowance which was to go toward personal expenses (haircuts, toiletries, etc), and anything left over was up to you to spend as you pleased. For larger expenses (e.g., a new winter coat or a new suit or something), you could request extra


Was it uncomfortable for you when you informed the other monks that you were leaving? Or was everyone pretty relaxed about it


I only told the guys I was friends with in person, then let the word spread from there. Most of the guys I was friends with didn’t see it as coming out of nowhere. One asked some very pointed questions and then was ok with it. One had a hard time with it and didn’t really speak with me for a while, though I think/hope we’re good now


What do you think of Pope Francis as the current head of the church?


I think he’s a breathe of fresh air compared to the previous two for sure. But he probably won’t even be able to make all of the changes that even he wants to make, let alone the kinds of changes more progressive Catholics would like to see.

I’d say he’s good, but still old fashioned in some ways (he’s old, after all) and still at times doesn’t seem to take the abuse crisis seriously enough, which always staggers the mind.

But I try to stay out of church politics these days


/u/particularuniversal, what are your thoughts on Liberation Theology? Has there been a comeback in that theology among Latin American Jesuits?


I had a lot of respect/hope for liberation theology when I was a Jesuit. I still think a lot of those great figures like Rutilio Grande were truly heroic. I don’t know if there will be a resurgence or not. I remember one Latin American bishop or theologian who lamented, “We lost them to the Pentecostals.”

I do know there are still Jesuits in tricky situations. For example, last I knew, the Jesuits in Honduras were running an illegal radio station documenting human rights abuses of the government


You say your study of philosophy helped your decision to leave.

Do you still believe in God according to what you learned, did you modify your beliefs, or have you become an atheist?

If the latter of the options, is there anything you miss about being religious?


I would say I’m non religious, not really an atheist, but I also don’t tend to think that God makes much of a difference. I don’t think the existence of God can be proven or disproven by human reason


My question is- how are you doing?


Thank you for asking! Hanging in there


Did you ever think "this really can't be true" or "this is just wrong" ?


What is your opinion of demons? An exorcisms?

(I read too much fantasy but I'm genuinely curious what you think now).


To be honest, I don’t believe in the existence of demons. Even the Church only performs exorcisms in extremely rare cases. You have to go through a lot of paperwork and “rule out” other causes. It doesn’t happen often

Fun fact: the priests in the movie “The Exorcist” are Jesuits


I received a Jesuit education in high school (and Franciscan in college) and attribute a lot of my success to that fact. Do you think the Jesuit's place in education will always continue?


I suspect so. Last I knew one the things they were reckoning with was whether they were going to continue to put their focus/emphasis on the traditional prep schools or start to put more resources into the schools for low-income kids. I think they would like to do the latter but are worried because these have so far failed to “produce vocations,” as they say


Were you in the order long enough to learn that Jesuits aren't monks?


Haha, I figured I’d take some heat for that. I know, but I put it in the title because I figured the distinction between “monk” and “vowed religious” would be lost on most people


Why did you choose the Jesuits and not another order?


I was initially drawn to the Jesuits because of their reputation for being progressive/concerned with justice and for their reputation for study and learning. I was drawn to individual Jesuit figures I knew about, mainly 20th Century guys.

And after awhile it just... felt right


When are you going to start a podcast/write a book? Every answer you’ve written is great and could cover a chapter or podcast episode! You should seriously consider a podcast


Thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it. I wouldn't have the slightest clue how to start a podcast though


How do you feel about the use of Latin in the Church?

Obviously, it is still in use. And there is a movement from the more traditional areas of the Church to bring it back fully. As in return to the Latin Mass, and use in Church documents.

(you can see a lot of proponents of that here on reddit... /r/Catholicism

What's your position and to what extent did they expect you to learn it/use it?


Not in favor. I think the use of Latin is nostalgia for bygone days that most of the people who want it back never actually experienced. I think even a lot of these supposedly really devout Catholics who want to bring back Latin are pretty ignorant of even recent (20th century) Church history, and what the stakes of Vatican II actually were. There actually were/are things at stake, and ignorance of this history and just thinking Latin is cool or a nice experience is unfortunate

Edit: grammar


One a scale of franciscan to shaolin who do you think you could take in a monk fight?


I could kick a Dominican's ass


What vows had you taken? It's unclear from your post/comments if you were ever ordained as priest or as a transitional deacon. It sounds more like you left during your novitiate?


No, I had taken first vows which in the Jesuits are perpetual. But I did leave prior to ordination, yes


I had a pretty heavy reversion back to the faith, and I hear stories about people who were hardened atheists to avid Protestants (like Scott Hahn) who come to accept the faith as Truth. Since you were engrossed in it and left, you must either see something beyond what those people see or you’re not seeing something, I don’t know which it is.

So why leave, existentially speaking? What was your reason for devoting your life to this and then what changed?


I am familiar with Scott Hann and folks like him. Not sure how honestly you want me to speak. I don’t want to argue someone else out of their faith.


Is it common for Jesuit monks to leave?


It's not terribly uncommon. In the late 60s/early 70s, there was something almost approaching a mass exodus. Things have sort of plateaued since then, but guys still occasionally do leave. When I left, two other guys I knew were also in process of leaving


What do Franciscans say about Benedictines when nobody else is listening?


I don’t know, what?


Most Jesuits I have met are extremely intelligent and well-spoken? How come? Does the order have specific criteria to select people with high potential?


Yeah, they sort of do. And it's also pretty self-selecting


How hard is it to maintain a law of chastity? How do you keep from masturbating? (I'm struggling with it.)


You’re assuming Jesuits do keep from masturbating. I’m not sure I’d make that assumption.

Good luck, bud


Ever put the collar back on, just to try it on?


Haha, no way! I left those all in the “free closet” at my last community before I moved out


Serious question. Do you think religion is child abuse?

And I don’t mean physically. I mean the mental impacts. Brainwashing snd generally filling kids’ minds with horrific nonsense that’ll likely plague them for most of their lives


I think in many cases it can be, absolutely


I go to a Catholic college with a (Benedictine) monastery on campus and I've been surprised by the fact that at least 4 or 5 new guys have joined the order since I've been here; funnily enough, just enough new ones have joined to replace the old ones. So this is my question: do you think religious orders will continue to be as prevalent in an increasingly secular world, or are they just holding on until a bitter end once the numbers have dwindled down even further?


When I was in we heard a demographic study that said the high numbers of religious in the late 50s was kind of an artificial bubble, and that the mass exodus in the 60s and 70s has slowed. This study seemed to think the numbers would plateau


Hey, kudos to you for coming on here and doing this.

I used to do jobs for a Benedictine Monk. He was a top-notch guy, and cooked some amazing food. He was french and wrote a lot of cookbooks, so I did a lot of editing for him and in the winter I'd chop wood and help with chores so he didn't have to shuffle around the yard so much (he was pushing 80). I was in awe of the simple life he led, and it still deeply affects me.

What's weird is that I'm an atheist, but I'm not really hostile towards religion (I'm rather fond of it, actually). I like the community, the structure, the passion for something beyond daily life, but I don't think I could ever get behind the "God is real and he cares about things" thing because, you know, I don't believe any of it. Were there any brothers who you knew didn't believe, but were passionate enough about the life they led that it didn't matter?


Thanks. Yeah I new some Jesuits who were great cooks too. I think pretty much all of my Jesuit brothers believed. They could be very cynical. But in a way, oddly enough, it might almost be that the less cynical and more idealistic ones were actually more vulnerable to doubt. I don't know. I'd have to think about that


Are Jesuits really communist agitators?


A fair number of Jesuits did become politically radicalized in the 60s and 70s, yes, but very few became actual communists. Though I did talk to one Jesuit who was on a quest to learn about the final hours of his former Jesuit brother who departed the order to go be a chaplain for a Marxist guerrilla group in Honduras. He disappeared into the jungle with them and was never seen from again. This Jesuit told me that he had discovered that the priest met his end at the hands of the government or a government-related paramilitary group, with the explicit knowledge and possibly cooperation of the CIA.

But again, most Jesuits did not become communists. Btw, this particular Jesuit I talked to about this story was an American guy; he had burned his draft card in the 60s and spent time in federal prison. The other guys used to bring him his theology homework there.


Can you explain the concept of “noblesse oblige”? It was a concept taught to me during my time at a Jesuit school. Googling it gives results that aren’t what I was taught.


Wow, in what context were you taught that? It's an old term from the days of aristocracy/nobility, that being an aristocrat gave you an obligation to help the poor. It's basically a fancy and pretentious (and very old fashioned) way of saying privileged people have an obligation to help the less fortunate


The orders are so different aren’t they? The Jesuits were expelled from so many invaded territories by the Crown (that movie with DeNiro comes to mind). How do the different orders differ? What makes a Jesuit different from a Benedictine, Recoleto, etc... besides the different brews and libations they cooked up in their far away cloisters....


Each order is considered to have a different “charism,” I.e., a different gift or spiritual focus to contribute to its members and to the larger Church. Different ways of praying, etc. These are usually traced back to the experiences of the founder of the order (in the case of the Jesuits, St Ignatius of Loyola). He devised meditations he called “spiritual exercises,” which Jesuits to this day practice and also lead lay people to practice. He also wrote the constitutions of the order and wanted Jesuits to be an active, missionary order rather than contemplative or cloistered

Edit: fixed a word


How do you feel about "books" of the Bible left out of the version that is now considered "canon"?

Should those books be incorporated into the Bible?


This is one issue there genuinely is a lot of misinformation about (not accusing you personally of being misinformed). Every religious tradition has to make choices along the way, and I think the development of the canon happened pretty organically. There was fairly wide consensus among Christians in different parts of the Roman Empire. It wasn’t a top-down decision, because that kind of hierarchical structure hadn’t fully developed yet.

The few that were close calls, like Didache and Shepherd of Hermas, are pretty boring. I’m not sad they didn’t make it


Ex-Evangelical here. I'm currently in a program doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Since you're a former Jesuit, I'm guessing you've likely done that retreat. How do you feel about it? Is there a difference to how you felt in your initiation, and how you perceive it now?


Sorry for the very late reply. I think you should take them if they are helpful to you, and discontinue if they’re not.

Only since you asked, I’ll say that I guess at the end of the day I found myself ultimately disagreeing with the idea of indifference. I came to think that it’s actually rather inhumane to ask people to be indifferent about their lives. And the meditation on hell I found disturbing. Not to mention the late medieval/early modern imagery of “glory” and “kingship” and militarism. They seem to me to be thoroughly a product of their time.

Though part of “product of their time” seems to have also been a desire for a personal encounter with God not mediated by the Church hierarchy. That’s what Luther went for, and Ignatius did too in a different way (and without knowledge of Luther). It just seems to have been in the air at the time, so to speak. My own opinion is that if it helps you, go for it. Only you can decide that

You know what Jesuits say about “consolation”: greater faith, hope, and love.

Edit: a word


What is viewed as bigger sin. Murder, homosexuality or pedophilia?


Ah, shit, been a while since I studied this. They’re all mortal sins, of course. I honestly don’t remember, in technical terms, whether one mortal sin can be worse/bigger than another. I’m sure someone on here can help me out

Edit: grammar


Have you changed your stance on a woman's right to bodily self-determination, and right to be "pro choice"? What about sex before marriage? What about being openly gay, or trans?


I believe in freedom, period. I would like to believe that God does too, but of course I have nothing definitive


Sorry, if this has already been asked, but given your new perspective, what are your thoughts on the person of Jesus Christ, now?


Still think Jesus of Nazareth seems to have been an amazing human being. I tend to think 2000 years of Christianity has largely been 2000 years of people betraying and failing him. Pretty much from the get-go


Do you feel like all catholic “monks” are just living a lie? My uncle is a Franciscan and now I’m super curious if he has doubts of his own.


No, I don’t think that. I think most genuinely believe. And even if he has doubts, that doesn’t mean he’s living a lie. Doubts are honest


If you change your mind and want to rejoin will you be able to?


I would have to reapply, and then it would be up to them whether they accepted me back. But I would have to go through the novitiate again. Believe me, that is not something you want to experience twice


How has your opinion changed regarding the Jesuit reputation for promoting education and academic inquiry?


A little. There are still good Jesuit scholars out there. Part of it is that every guy who wants to go into academia has to of course get permission to do so, and that depends on how much the current leadership at the time values that route. The guy making the decision (called the provincial) will almost always not be an academic himself, so part of it will be a matter of his priorities.


Sorry for all the questions. I have a good friend that is a Benedict. He was a preacher but due to substance abuse issues became a monk, are jesuits monks similary to them they basically stay at the monastery work there job and dont leave?


No, Jesuits get out and about. They can go out eat or go to a movie if they want. And they move from community to community when they get new assignments

I’m sorry to hear about your friend. The rate of alcoholism among priests and religious is high


How familiar are you with Fr Greg Boyle and his work with Homeboy Industries? How is he viewed in the Jesuit priest community ?


He is widely respected. I heard him speak once, and no, I wasn’t crying by the end


Your were a brother and don't Jesuits take a lot of time (like 6 years) before becoming priests?


It typically takes about 12 years for a Jesuit to become a priest, and yes I left after vows but prior to ordination. Though I was not a Jesuit “brother,” because I’m the Jesuits that’s actually a technical term for guys who don’t feel called to ordination. I was on the ordination track, and technically I was a “scholastic”


Do the Jesuits hold any secrets close to the ones Ex-Jesuits claim they hold? Such as events that may have changed history?


The Russians are a false flag


What are your thoughts on the role of wives in traditional Catholic families? I'm talking about the wives that wear veils to mass, whose most important role in the family is to teach her children the Catholic way via homeschooling, and who is obligated to be obedient to the husband. Do you think Catholic church leaders are cognizant of which wives are being emotionally manipulated by their spouses via their commitment to their faith and is there any way to support these women from either within the Church or entirely outside without taking huge risks? I'm asking out of concern for a friend but worry that Catholic leaders would tell me that this is how it is and how it should be.


Ah, those sectors of Catholicism are pretty repulsive to me tbh. I doubt the priest at such a parish would be on the lookout for abuse or manipulation. And I would guess the wife in this case would not willingly leave or question such a situation if she believes her eternal soul to be at stake. It’s truly unfortunate. I’m sorry I don’t have good advice for you, but do support her the best you can. Maybe eventually she might get a glimpse of what a healthy relationship looks like


Will you be editing your post to include proof?


I provided confidential proof to the mods, which is one option for posting. They told me they would note that


I’m a young student who’s planning to become a member of Opus Dei. Did you witness any materialization of the “rivalry” between the SJ and Opus Dei?


Not personally, I didn’t. I would imagine both would be mutually suspicious of each other


Genuinely curious: ever do or see anything related to an exorcism before?


Serious question:Can't you be a Christian and Secular?


Depends what you mean. Back in the day, the very word “secular” meant as opposed to “religious,” i.e., vowed religious like monks and nuns. So diocesan Catholic priests who were not part of a religious order were called “secular priests” (even though, by today’s standards, they would have been very religious).

Obviously as everyone knows the meaning of terms changes over time. That’s why I used the word “monk” in the title. Most non-devout Catholics would not recognize what the word “religious” means in that (old but now outdated) context


What advice can you give to someone who is discerning a religious vocation?


Prepare to be disappointed. And I don’t mean that you will only be disappointed. You will probably have lots of great experiences and may find it ultimately very fulfilling. But just know that it won’t all be great all the time. Under the shiny exciting wrapping is a lot of very real humanity, and you will have moments of being disillusioned. Be prepared to be disappointed at times with your leadership. Be prepared to get into a heated argument with your brother at 7:00 in the morning when you only went downstairs to get a damn cup of coffee. Be prepared for it to get mundane at times.

Spend as much time as you can with the orders you are discerning. Go to discernment weekends, but also go hang out at regular times, when they’re not putting their best face on. Ask the guys (or gals, guess I shouldn’t to presume) honest questions. What was not what they expected? What’s most challenging? Etc. And remember discernment goes both ways. They are evaluating you, yes, but you should also be evaluating them.

Finally, if you do decide to join, remember you’ll have the novitiate to experience more and make up your mind. Take that time seriously


I for one want to say welcome to the free world! What would be your usual first response to a statement that questioned your dogma when you were a believer?


Thank you! And that’s a good question. I would probably have tried to suggest to the person questioning it that they had misunderstood the dogma, or that it was more complicated than what they were suggesting because of xyz


For starters, I’m so sorry for all of the negativity. My uncle is high up in the Carmelite order and I have nothing but the upmost respect for those who have had a calling.

I worked in the book business for over 10 years, so I may very well be able to help - PM me for that.

On another note, what is your take on the sacrament of confession? I stopped going at 16 when I left Catholic school. I’ve since racked up enough to talk about I’d need to book days in someone’s schedule and that doesn’t seem to be how confessional hours work. That being said, I’m not sure I believe confessing my humanly sins to an equally flawed human makes sense. Our relationships with our beliefs are ever changing and evolving.

Second, what the heck was anyone thinking running the Catholics Come Home campaign almost back to back with changing the words in the US based mass?! Way to make the folks who hadn’t been to church in a minute stand out!!

The second the former, “and also with you” rolls around, all bets are off. It’s, aww, snap! Look who has decided to grace us with a visit. Ha. The timing seemed suspect, poor at best.

But honestly, let me know how I might help with the publishing efforts.


Haha! This made me laugh. You’re so right about the mass changes. (Also the new “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” always seemed like an unintentional pun to me and was funny. Surprisingly, when I would mention this to other guys, no one else seemed to have thought so.)

Thanks very much for your generous offer, I’ll be in touch


Are you still there? I was raised Catholic but left the church. I've gone through cycles of being a complete non believer to some spiritual practices. Right now I'm very interested in Tibetan Buddhism. Anyway, I was always really interested in the Jesuit order because of Anthony d'Mello, but then later I heard church rejected his teachings (which is bonkers to me). Anyway, do you still feel like you have any use for spirituality?


I personally am not interested in looking for spirituality at the moment. And yeah, I would imagine the Vatican would probably not like de Mello, but a lot of Jesuits still do. I was given his books to read by spiritual directors




A little, yeah. And sometimes I feel bad for some of my former brothers. I know some of them are perfectly happy and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, but some struggle and go through things they shouldn’t have to


Is baptism narratively connected to the flood?


According to Paul’s creative interp


I am interested in contemplative meditative practices. Personally, i find the way buddhism communicates these ideas to be the most precise explanation of how to reduce the dualistic experience and live a life perfused by love and acceptance.

In the Buddhist context, it is said that one must master their concentration before one can make any lasting changes to their perceptions.

Is the same said in your tradition? is there any crossover in regards to the beginning stages of stabilizing consciousness.

I truly feel that we need to bring this discourse back into the world at large. If we cannot find ways to experience eudaimonia ( satisfaction derived without external causes ) then we will destroy everything we have achieved. However i appreciate that a Buddhist context will not be the most effective vehicle for a large % of the west.

I live in a ex monastery, now a Christian community house. Their practice is mainly devotional and is very positive, however it does very little to reduce self-centeredness, it does tame the self-centeredness, inverting pride to value humility. but there is still grasping to the sense that each individual holds the truth and is better off than those around them for it.

Do you have any comments on this also?


In Jesuit spirituality (called Ignatian spirituality after the order’s founder, St Ignatius of Loyola), the goal of spiritual practice— he called his meditations “spiritual exercises”— is a state of indifference, so that one can be completely open to the will of God. So one becomes indifferent to whether one lives a long or short life, is sick or healthy, etc. Indifference is how for example Jesuits are supposed to be open to whatever the vow of obedience requires of them.


I’m only going to say one thing here about genocide. You keep talking about the actions of Catholics like Columbus. I’m talking about the position of the Church. Spanish Catholics killed a lot of Aztecs and destroyed the civilization there. Spanish Franciscans tried to stop it.

Yes Catholic priests who were Hutus were complicit in the Rwanda genocide. Catholic priests who were Tutsis died in that genocide.

The Vatican’s budget woes have been in the press for as long as I can remember. Here is a recent article from the WSJ

Note the size of their budget, 300 million euro.

The idea of a vast horde of Vatican gold sounds a lot like the boogie man stories people like to tell about out groups in America. The Vatican Bank is known to have 20 million in gold in Federal Reserve vaults. Hardly a vast horde.

Hospitals make money? Well I for one am shocked!

The rest of what you have there is basically a Gish gallop. It’s a huge organization that is 2000 years old with over a billion members. Has it done evil? Of course.


Sure, it’s a 2000 years old organization and has done great good in many historical contexts as well as great evil. I in no ways meant to convey the idea that the Catholic Church had only done evil. To me, modernity is/was/remains an entirely new historical context, and it was the church’s track record in modernity that I was most disappointed with. But again, even this does not mean that individual Catholics have not done great good in the last couple hundred centuries. Many have, but I think it is despite, not because of, official church teaching


Have you witnessed anything questionable while being a Catholic Monk something that you can say under this shroud of anonymous of reddit ?


I lived for a while in a community where they did not practice the Lavabo at mass. (Shhhhhh!)


Thank you for doing this!!! Do you think overall the Church means well?


I think there are a lot of Catholics who do mean well. I think Pope Francis means well. But there are others, including bishops, who just make me think, "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch"


What monastery were you at?


I lived in several different communities. Jesuits don't take a vow of stability and tend to move around


I come from Rural New Zealand, what was it like when you left in terms of the places around you? I know you probably were allowed to go outside the church/place of worship but is their a difference between seeing it as a monk and as a non-religious person?


Jesuit communities are an urban order, their communities are in cities. But yeah, I do think I began to see my city differently when I left.


So what was the most satisfying thing you did when you freed yourself from your vows?


Stayed out as late as I wanted and didn't have to worry about coming home late




I responded to this in another comment. Of course it’s technically true that I was not a monk, but I don’t think a lot of people (even a lot of Catholics) are familiar with the term “vowed religious.” Even most of my Jesuit peers, when trying to describe what we were to someone who hadn’t heard of us, would eventually say “basically we’re monks” and, if even that didn’t work, “male nuns.”


I know that you’re no longer Catholic now, but if you could speak to the pope, what things would you recommend him to look into and possibly change?


You could probably guess. First and most pressing would be contraception. The Church is burdened with a centuries-old natural law tradition, which the argument against contraception mostly comes from. Vatican II was largely an attempt to get beyond the theological structural baggage of the Middle Ages and get back to the church fathers of the first millennium. The status of natural law has basically been a huge question mark ever since. So maybe I would ask him to reconsider its status— and, hint, propose that it no longer be a binding theological method—since a lot of bad teachings are dependent on it.

And I’m sure the pope, being the nice guy he is, would smile and nod and end the audience as quickly as possible


I was educated by Jesuits and always wondered how they maintained their faith as they themselves were teaching me things that directly contradicted it.

I always wondered, do they warn you before studying certain subjects? Something like "now, this may test your faith, so you might wanna just ignore that"? How do they handle this within the order that is known for their intellect and education?


I think each Jesuit has to come to terms with it on his own. During First Studies (the philosophy studies period after vows), some guys do find it challenging. But you're doing it with peers and have a spiritual director. I think of lot of the more educated Jesuits tend to live with a certain amount of cynicism as well (and not necessarily in a bad way; I don't mean it as an insult). For me, it lead out


Have you considered progressive Christianity?


I have. I think they are well-meaning people, but it’s not for me


I was never into my faith as you were (Catholic as well - was/am/I don’t know anymore); but this is something I’ve never been able to ask anyone else: What’s next?

What do you do after leaving the fold?


I’ll let you know when I figure it out


Just learned about the concept of “Casuistry” as a reasoning/thinking tool specifically used by Jesuits... was this taught outright, or incorporated into the order in any way? Any resources that you would recommend?

Revisionist History podcast


Of course, the Jesuits were accused of casuistry. I don’t think they themselves would have openly embraced the term as describing their moral reasoning.

And no, these terms related to debates and forms of moral reasoning of a bygone era that aren’t really employed anymore. In a way too bad. Would’ve been fun to have been accused of “Jesuitism.” (#makejesuitismgreatagain?)


I'm really late to this thread, but surprised I didn't see some variation of this question: what are some of the lessons you learned during your time that you wish you could impart on everyone, regardless of religion? When looking back at your time spent as a Jesuit, what are you most grateful for?


I’m most grateful for the people I met. The Jesuits speak of “formation,” and truly these guys did form me in ways that continue to last. I probably even learned things from the really disagreeable ones, even if just in negative ways. But the good ones: well, if you guys ever wind up reading this, I hope you won’t be too angry. You know who you are and you know I love you, friends


I was raised Catholic ( I now consider myself a Recovering Catholic) and attended schools taught by Jesuits and Sisters of Notre Dame.

We were always taught that it was a grievous sin to "assume to know the mind of God". However it seems to me that anyone who teaches the Word of God is committing this sin. I've come to the conclusion that all religions are run by humans who have their own agenda, and decide for themselves what God would want. I find it hard to trust any of these leaders.

What is your opinion on this?


I suspect God’s a lot bigger than any of us could think. I think that was one of Jesus’s points, honestly, but it’s been lost on most Christians


I've always wondered if in ither religions, they talked about Judaism. Is Judaism a topic tjat comes up ?


Not frequently. Some Jesuits work in interreligious dialogue, so I would imagine it does for them.


Did you ever work at a Jesuit University?


I worked as a tutor and then also taught for a semester at Arrupe College, which is a relatively new two-year college for low-income students in Chicago. It’s a Jesuit project connected with Loyola University Chicago that is designed to help students get college-ready in two years. They are mostly or fully funded and graduate with an Associate’s degree and ideally then transfer to a four-year school for their next two years. It was brand new when I was there, but I met some amazing students. I hope it’s doing well


Jesuits were originally warrior monks right? Do they still have any traditions or customs from those roots?


Yeah I wish we were that cool. They were called “God’s marines” and all that, but they were militant more in theological and political senses than in terms of actual combat, alas. Though they did get kicked out of France several times in the 18th century, and a bunch of other countries. They managed to really, really piss off the French. And carried out covert operations in Protestant countries, like England and Sweden




The belief in the resurrection is, like the incarnation and unlike just heaven, supposed to be an affirmation of the goodness of creation and bodily life. But I have no answers to any of your other questions


What do you think of Jesuit universities? I’m non religious but hear these schools don’t focus on their Catholicism too much.. any insight on them?


I think Jesuit universities are pretty good. There are or course all kinds of politics in American Catholicism, and this charge is a common one from conservative Catholics (and some conservative Jesuits). So it probably depends on your perspective. The nature of the Jesuit identity of schools is an ongoing discussion within the Society, but Jesuits do take it seriously


I’ve been around Jesuits for more than a decade and when they meet someone unfamiliar with it they just say “priest” unless they’re a brother, and there’s very very few Jesuit brothers under 60. What country do you live in that people more easily recognize monk than priest?


Fair question. Guys who aren’t ordained yet (I left after vows but prior to ordination) can’t say “priests.” And the brother vocation seems to be quite alive and well in the Jesuits today


How much preparation goes into joining? Would it actually be a viable idea to have in one's back pocket? Say, if your high risk career choice doesn't work out, become a monk partially to avoid homelessness.


Haha, no, it’s definitely not a fall-back. It’s a commitment one is expected to live with all of one’s self and conviction

And the preparation to joining is an intensive, basically year-long process in itself (prior to the two-year novitiate, that is)


I’m going to read every single question and answer. This is fascinating.

In your opinion with your unique view, do you believe Cool Pope to be genuine, or a PR move on the part of The Vatican to change the mindset people have in the Catholic faith?



No I think he’s genuine. He is disliked by a lot of bishops and people within the Vatican. Was definitely not a simple PR move, he’s made a lot of Catholics angry or uncomfortable


How are Protestant denominations viewed by Jesuits? Is there any attempt in the Church to study their theology?


From an orthodox Catholic perspective, they’re still “separated brethren.” But I think most Jesuits tend to be sympathetic. There are a lot of Protestants (from evangelicals to mainline) who take spiritual retreats with Jesuits, and Jesuits have no problem leading Protestants through St Ignatius’ spiritual exercises


What's your opinion of Benedict? What was your order's opinion of him? Any idea why he broke precedent and chose to retire?


My opinion of him is not the best. And I think Jesuits’ opinions of him vary from guy to guy. Some guys would highly respect, others would not. I do think he set a good precedent by retiring (perhaps the best thing he did), and I would hope it becomes common practice.


What is your opinion on Protestant Christianity and the way it is practiced?


Protestant Christianity is so incredibly varied, it’s hard to comment. For example conservative evangelicals are very different from the mainline Protestant folks. Protestants have done some great things, perhaps especially in the U.S. And Luther seems to have been both a little bit crazy and a badass. Respect

Edit: a word


What was your emotional feeling through this whole time? Like on the inside, was it an emotional rollercoaster? Can you tell us about that side of things? Did you feel sad, happy, conflicted, a sense of loss, of achievement, etc?


Sorry for the late reply. It was all of the above. I was and still remain grateful the to the Jesuits, but I have not regretted leaving once


Did your order prohibit anything? Like actions that people do on a daily basis?


Depends how often you do it, I guess :)

But seriously, other than physical/sexual intimacy, not really. We had silent retreats, so occasionally there were times when talking was prohibited. But these were usually once a year and not regular occurrences. So no, I don’t think so


Thoughts on Catholic Liberation Theology?


I responded to this is another post, but it was part of what drew me to the Jesuits. After studying more I now have some intellectual/historical differences, but I still admire those guys. I don’t want to speak for any Latin American Catholics, but for me, it’s hard not to look at certain contexts (like El Salvador in the late 70s/early 80s) and think that here, for once, the Church did the right thing.

I mean, any time you’ve got right-wing paramilitary graffiti saying, “Be a patriot, kill a priest,” part of me can’t help but think that Jesus might be proud


Ahhh the jesuits, the roman catholic military regiment....

Soldiers of god, or rather soldiers of scum...

I read a few of your comments, you admit to knowing the churches history, will you admit that all the child fucking and eating isn't exactly history?

The jesuits are a military order, monk was the wrong word to use, but you know that....

Can you please tell us about some of the rituals you've had to perform over the years?

Also, how many people have you killed?

You are/were a soldier after all right?


Yeah, there are a lot of conspiracy theories about the Jesuits out there. They were definitely a force to be reckoned with back in the day and may have rightly earned their reputation (though it was probably always exaggerated). But these days, nah.

And yes, I’m well aware that the Church is still messed up. I’m no longer practicing myself


What is a jesuit, and what made you decide to become one?


A Jesuit is a Catholic male who has taken vows to become a member of the Society of Jesus, a religious order founded by St Ignatius of Loyola in the 16rh century

I discussed in other comments some of my reasons for wanting to join


How has leaving impacted you emotionally?


Yeah, sure. Probably every day. It was a huge major life decision to join, and a huge major life decision to leave. I’ll always carry the Jesuits with me


Any words of advice for someone considering a vocation in religious life and or priesthood?


Hi, just made a long response to this question from another commenter


How do you explain, why so many bad things happen to small children or good people, if G-d is just?


I’m sorry, I have absolutely no explanation for it. I wish I did. I don’t think suffering can be explained theologically at all


Did you grow up in a religious family?




Did you ever brew booze?


Those are guys like the Trappists, sorry. We were too busy reading and drinking beer someone else had brewed


Do you think that priests should be allowed to marry? I feel that people can serve their church and still have a family.


Was I the only one who read “MMA” instead of “AMA”?


Easy mix-up when talking about the Jesuits


Did you ever do the silent retreat?


Yeah. Thirty days was tough, but I made it!


You smoke weed?


Is the pope Cath... wait, never mind


What do you miss most about having such an intense faith? Not so much about living with fellow Jesuits, but about the strong beliefs you held?

Any words of advice for someone who is dealing with a loss of the faith that was once everything to them?

Do you have any contact with those have had similar life experiences of leaving a religious community after being so entrenched in it? Like maybe a support group?


It’s grief. Serious grief. Like ending a serious relationship. You were in love. But now you can find yourself. You can discover your own interests and your own personality without anyone penalizing you for any discovery. Let yourself go through the grieving process, and then discover what you are passionate about in this life. There are still ways to live meaningfully, and now it is up to you to choose what is meaningful to you, which is awesome. Live with all the gusto you can. Love all the people you can


Do you recommend any books or authors? I've been reading a lot of Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Ed Feser, but I want to go through the other perspectives aswell.

Did you change or are you planning to change anything about your ethical behavior? Masturbation, drugs, fornication, that kind of thing.

You already know this, but God will always welcome you back with open arms. Bless you.


Funny, I’ve seen a lot of references to Ed Feser on this post; I’m actually not familiar. I do have a lot of respect for Thomas, but I also think modernity changed philosophy in ways the medieval guys couldn’t have anticipated. And in ways that, I would argue, there’s no going back from

I would suggest to start by reading Descartes’ Meditations if you haven’t. They are easily readable by an educated adult. Modern philosophy gets a lot more complicated from there, but any good introduction should do.

Btw: Descartes was educated by the Jesuits


Do you believe a belief in god is important or necessary? I have always found the question fruitless to ask and spend time on, like asking if there are marbles at the center of the sun. Does my life change in either way? It should not affect my need to be a good, productive member of society should it? So how is it relevant?


These days I pretty much agree with you here


I’m sorry if this question was already asked/answered, but did your spiritual guide or director help you in any way to make this decision to leave? I used to be a seminarian myself but it was my spiritual director who helped me so much in making the decision to leave after being in formation for quite a few years


My spiritual director was helpful and caring, but in my case the decision to leave was a conclusion I reached on my own


That’s cool man I went to UofD Jesuit in Detroit. Jesuit education is amazing and even though I hate my high school, due to how they handled my dad passing and mother being diagnosed with cancer, as well as some other stuff, I really am grateful I got a Jesuit education. AMDG! Are you still close with the order?


Hey man I’m sorry things were rough for you. And I can’t tell quite from what you’re saying, but I hope the Jesuits did well by you. I spent a little bit of time at UofD and met some Jesuits there, but I never worked there myself. Message me if you would like to talk


A little late to the party, but good on ya for getting out! It’s tough following your instincts sometimes especially a big decision like that. I hope it’s cool if it’s a two part question. Through your research do you still believe in a heaven and hell? And do you believe that Jesus was real?


These days I tend not to believe in hell. I don’t know why a good God would need that as a resource.

Definitely Jesus of Nazareth was a real, historical person. That’s not in doubt, even by serious historians. And he seems to have been pretty awesome


What is the difference between Jesuit and any other order? I mean, I really would like to understand what is it that constitutes the difference. Where I live is a school founded and managed by Jesuits but they never answered what made them unique


Lord Jesus, a Jesuit couldn’t tell you what made them unique? Are you kidding? Are you sure they’re Jesuits?

In all seriousness, it has to do with different spiritualities, I.e., different forms of prayer and meditation. These are usually traced back to the founder of the order. St Ignatius of Loyola founded the Jesuits, and he developed meditations he called “spiritual exercises” that Jesuits still practice and teach


As a catholic I just need to pet every cat I meet! I never saw this as an issue (though I would guess an alcoholic wouldn't find drinking to be an issue) but what made you rescind your love for cute fluff??

Joke aside, I'm happy for you!


I had no idea where this was going when I first started reading but haha, thanks and me too. Who doesn’t love cats?


How far along were you in your novitiate training. In particular have you already done the pilgrimage where essentially you live the life of a beggar. If you have, were there any cool and noteworthy events that happened?


I completed the novitiate and had taken vows. I talked about my pilgrimage experience in another comment


The discernment process is pretty intense. I imagine it's a bit like the spiritual exercises but more pointed as it relates to whether or not to give up your vows. Was there a formal process like this?


There was. There's an initial conversation, and then some time later a follow-up conversation. Then an 8-day retreat with your spiritual director. Only after this does one, if one is still convinced, write a letter to Rome requesting dismissal from vows. But to the order's credit, they do respect one's freedom and discernment in all of this


is life anything like in "the name of the rose" where you guys argue over details on holy text and meditate on devine matters and have religious experiences like in William James?


Damn, you know, I still haven't read that book.


Hey there. I'm just curious about the Neocatechumenal Way in the church. What is it about and how is it viewed by the Jesuits? How is it different than by not being a Neocate?


Gotta be honest, I am not familiar with these terms. Sorry


Are you socially conservative in terms of your beliefs about marriage, LGBTQ issues, women’s rights, etc. or have you also broken away from those beliefs of the church?


No, I’m not conservative on those issues. Many (perhaps a majority) of Jesuits are not, though they are not permitted to speak publicly if they dissent

Card image cap