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Mike Hayes Answers:
Question: I was just wondering why does there seem to be a definite split between different religious orders (Franciscan, Jesuit, Benedictine, ect)? I know that each was founded by different people of faith with different emphasizes. I guess my question is why does there seem to be some negativeness between certain orders? Is there a negative history between certain orders or is it like college rivalries, where you, for example, don’t like Purdue just because you root for Indiana University?
You are correct in stating that there are wide differences between religious orders and sometimes these differences even cause splits WITHIN religious communities. Just look at all the different orders of Franciscans that exist. These differences have come because of differences in the vision and direction in the charisms that religious orders promote mostly. For example, the Paulist founder, Isaac Hecker, Servant of God, was a Redemptorist priest. However, he felt that the Redemptorists were being short sighted in merely working with German immigrants. He saw the possibility of working with all of America because he thought American freedom and Catholicism were good partners. So he left and started his own community based on that charism.
Some religious orders indeed have friendly rivalries and some are not so friendly. Like any family, there are different personalities at play within these communities and this continues to show our own human weakness at play, even amongst obvious people of prayer.
Suffice it to say, that religious orders often have different ideas about how to evangelize. While the Jesuits might think that they should be men of the world and engage in secular culture and understand it and try to work with that culture, there may be other religious communities that take a different approach of hostility towards all things secular and live lives of prayer within the walls of a more cloistered community.
Lastly, the church has a huge intellectual tradition that is often overlooked. Some orders engage the teachings of the church by criticizing that tradition academically and indeed sometimes give short shrift to a more pious or faith perspective that often goes beyond mere intellect. Others might engage a more spiritual or mystical way of hearing the rhythms of God and even others might take things very literally without much thought or intellectual criticism, trusting that those in the hierarchy have our best interests at heart. These different approaches alone are enough to cause friction at the very least.
The bottom line: We’re a big church and we have all kinds of people in it. What God hopes most is that we all stand together despite those differences and stay as one family under the guidance of Jesus.