Prominent Jesuit: The Society of Jesus is in ‘Profound Decline’

Father Julio Fernández Techera, a Jesuit priest and rector of the Catholic University of Uruguay, has written a widely circulated, critical essay about the Society of Jesus warning that the order, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1534, is in “deep decline.”

The essay by the 57-year-old priest is titled “Ad Usum Nostrorum III” (“For Our Use III”) addressed to his Jesuit brothers. The document, which originally circulated within the Society of Jesus, was recently published by the Spanish journalist Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña on his blog on Infovaticana.

This is the third document in a series that Fernández began in 2022 when he wrote his initial essay (“Ad Usum Nostrorum”), noting that for a long time he has felt dissatisfied with the situation in the Society of Jesus while making it clear that he is not going through a vocational crisis nor is he thinking about leaving.

He published the second essay a year later, in April 2023. In that text he expressed his appreciation for the many responses he received, also from young Jesuits, and even from some who didn’t agree with him but thanked him for the opportunity to debate and propose a revision of the order.

The third essay by Fernández is dated April 22. The new text has the subtitle “Some Considerations about the ‘De Statu Societatis 2023’ (‘On the State of the Society 2023’),” in reference to the general report produced by the superior general of the Society of Jesus, in this case the Venezuelan priest Arturo Sosa, in collaboration with the procurators (who assess the state of the order), who met in May of last year in Loyola, Spain.

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