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‘Ideas Are Debated; Reality Is Discerned’: Pope Francis and Ignatian Discernment

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 5:307 p.m.

Butler Commons, Duane Library
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, NY 10458
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When asked in 2013 which aspect of Ignatian spirituality is most important to him as he does his work as pope, Pope Francis answered without hesitation: discernment. Discernment has been a focus of Pope Francis’ appropriation of Ignatian spirituality going all the way back to his first years of formation during the early ’60s and has shaped his leadership in the church, as provincial of Argentina’s Jesuits, archbishop of Buenos Aires, leader of the Latin American Church, and finally as pope. In this lecture, we explore how Pope Francis interprets the process of discernment and Ignatius’s famous Rules for Discernment of Spirits. Since it is possible and fruitful to look not only at how Pope Francis interprets the Spiritual Exercises but at how they “interpret” him, we will also examine how his understanding of discernment provides a key to understanding how he approaches the urgent task of addressing the church’s most pressing challenges in his Petrine ministry.

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