Since Pope Francis’s election, we’ve heard a lot about the Jesuit aversion to assuming positions of honor and power in the church. Every Jesuit makes this promise when he makes final vows: “I also promise that I will never strive for or ambition any prelacy or dignity outside the Society; and I will to the best of my ability never consent to my election unless I am forced to do so by obedience to him who can order me under penalty of sin.”
Nevertheless, Jesuit prelates aren’t that uncommon. By Jesuit historian Peter Schineller’s count, there are currently five Jesuit cardinals, 18 archbishops, and 51 bishops. There may be more on the way. The pope recently appointed Michael Barber, SJ, to be bishop of Oakland, California. See Fr. Schineller’s recent article in America for the details.