The Identity of the Society of Jesus

taken from
General Congregation 34

Complementary Norms of the Constitutions

of the Society of Jesus

2. The character and charism of the Society of Jesus spring from the Spiritual Exercises made by our Father Saint ignatius and his companions.  Inspired by that experience, they fashioned an apostolic community rooted in love, and therein they vowed poverty and chastity.  Graced moreover with the priesthood, they offered themselves up to God as a total sacrifice, and enlisted in his cause beneath the standard of the cross, to serve the Lord alone and his bride the Church under the Roman Pontiff, the Vicr of Christ on earth.  They were ready now to be sent out into the whole world for the "defence and propagation of the faith and the promotion of Christian life and principles."

It is therefore the distinctive feature of our Society to be a fellowship that is at once religious, apostolic, priestly and committed to the Roman pontiff by a very special bond of love and service.

3. The primordial and basic constituents of the identity and mission of the Society of `jesus are affirmed in the Formula of the Institute and spelt out in the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. 
4. According to these documents, as clarified by subsequent General Congregations, the mission of the Society of Jesus is to be at the service of the universal mission of Christ himself, in the Church and the modern worked, to strive for that total freedom in Christ Jesus that beings in this life and comes to full flowering in life eternal.  Hence the mission of the Society of Jesus today is defined as the service of faith which is indivisibly linked to the promotion of justice.

The service of the faith and the promotion of justice make up one single mission of the Society of Jesus.  Hence, in our planning and our activity, and in our very life, we may not separate one from the other, nor regard them as one apostolate among many.  They should rather be the one principle that animates the organic unity of all our ministry.

Our mission also takes in, as indispensable dimensions of evangelization, the inculturation of the message of the Gospel and dialogue with followers of other religions.  So, in our understanding of mission, the faith that strives for justice is also a faith that establishes contact with other traditions and evangelises cultures.