“Ths was the special gift of God to St. Ignatius,” according to Pius XI, “to lead men back to the practice of the virtue of obedience.” The order which he founded [the Jesuits] was to be so dedicated to this virtue that a special vow of obedience to the pope was to be added to the three substantial ones of evangelical perfection. All through life, in formal directives and in letters of spiritual counsel, it was obedience that Ignatius emphasized. […]

Superiors are not to be criticized in public, whether in formal discourse or conversation with ordinary people, because this will give rise to scandal and complaints, without correcting the evil criticized. Common experience proves this fact, of which the Protestant Revolt is a tragic example. Thousands of simple people who had no special grievance against the pope and the bishops were whipped to a frenzy of hatred for the Church’s authority by the fulmination of the Reformers. No matter how valid the complaint may be, there is no wisdom in exposing the evil before an emotional public which, at least in the Church’s juridical structure, cannot apply an effective cure. If anything, the correction may be delayed or prevented altogether after men’s feelings are aroused and demands are made for radical changes dictated by passion instead of prudence and considerate reason.

Father John A. Hardon, All My Liberty: Theology of the Spiritual Exercises (1998)


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