During 1974, the Universidad del Salvador lives the process that will end when the Society of Jesus entrusted the management of the University to the laymen of the Civil Association. When the University, through the Council of Laymen states the strong need of keeping their identity, the Reverend Provincial issues the Document "History and Change", where the points on which the new Universidad del Salvador should be based are delineated.
These parameters will help the University to be faithful to itself and to "keep the Jesuit spirit: struggle against atheism, progress by going back to the sources and universality through the differences". These three standpoints will guide the spirituality and the mission of the Universidad del Salvador. It will be a University founded on faith, that is to say, "critic and innovative" and institution that, led by a transcendent and religious sense of life, will point out the crisis of modern atheism - from its immanent perspective - its impossibility of judging the adventure of the contemporary man globally.
A University which its prospective action will be faithful to the sources established by the organising institution of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A University that will adopt the "security that the incarnated truth will only be shown in the diverse play of the created.
History and Change •
" I know very well that more than once I torment you when it seems that I put a new heavy burden on your shoulders already overloaded; here they are...take the already started works not as the obligation to preserve them all, on the contrary, analyse them with different eyes (differently), as if it is tried to establish the province for its foundation, what you have and what you do not have yet. Give up what is less necessary and start what is actually more important ...."
Father Janssens S.J. (J.S.)
Old and New Universidad del Salvador
Its continuity in the Jesuit Spirit
Three outstanding features.
A. Struggle against atheism
Modern atheism is a topic bearing lots of meanings, one of them is specially interesting for the construction of a different University: it has to do with the consequences of the absence of a transcendent (religious) sense of life, in the understanding of the historical and social phenomena.
The modern world is a kind of triumphant display of the most varied historical experiences. Both capitalism and Marxism have developed its sense completely in great states and colossal empires.
The practical realisation of the present basic ideologies makes necessary, in contrast, to determine their limits as a previous step to overcome them.
It was ingenuously believed that their own immanent dynamics will fix their limits while the great ideologies were only more or less abstract proposals not carried out. Having being turned into reality, becoming a road travelled along during decades, the situation is different. The immanent has not keep its promises. In brief: a transcendent criterion and a religious attitude are necessary to judge history effectively.
Only the transcendent allow to recover the idea of definite jump to liberation, and through this deeply religious notion, to return to the qualitative and to the different. Without the transcendent, it is no man who pushes history but the inert forces of the technical progress. If it is absent, it is impossible to understand the end of an epoch and the possibility of a different civilisation fades away in a "progressive" infinity of technocratic sign.
The crisis of the modern atheism lies in its inability to judge the great adventures of the contemporary man. Its immanence (immanentism) doesn't allow it to total them and go beyond the merely quantitative aspects. It does not exceed the limits of the modern world because it does not find them, confining itself to place the future in the indefinite extension of the historical experiences that considers essentially unchangeable
In view of the atheistic isolation/confinement, the need of a transcendent sense of life reappears with all its strength, coming close to the greatest religious renaissance that man has ever known.
Nowadays there is not a really critic thought without a transcendent dimension, it is the only one that can innovate historical experiences critically that carried by their immanence have finished in the purely quantitative.
In a word, the struggle against atheism is not different from the transcendent criticism to the contemporary world.
In this task, the greatest contribution obtained from the transcendent thought comes from his atheistic antagonist.
As the future is built from now on, the transcendent attitude that guides its construction includes/incorporates the elements of the atheism that involve a valid critic to the alienating expression and to the religious deceiving civilisations, by means of the discernment/common sense/reasoning.
The religious renaissance that the world expects will go back to the essential of itself through the unavoidable critic sieve of modern atheism; thud, it eill achieve its greater triumph faced with the most terrible opponent when it incorporates the best and the most valid it owns to its heart.
The new Universidad del Salvador, that will act/behave in this perspective, will be a University based on the Faith, that is to say, critic and innovative.
Our people are faithful and believers. This is their strength. That people's Faith has been - and is- despised by the enlightened (pertaining the Enlightenment) pride, that in its blindness, has qualified it first as credulity and then as alienation.
Our people's faith is more profound than its critics. Thus it shows that its Christianity is not a superficial theoretical formalism but a concrete and daily practice of love and solidarity. For them Jesus is not only God but That who left love among people.
And this, as it is known inn the heart of their hearts/souls by the coldest sceptics, is the only source for the deep changes, the unique support for a revolution for justice and peace.
B. Progress through the return to the sources
The future is reached studying in or going into depth the road/way. It is a process of returning to the origins, or rather, affirming the differences.
It is not meant an external criticism to the carried out experience, but the assumption of a journey of which we participate as our own.
Thus, on the contrary, it does not consist in/of the servile imitation of other people's models leaving ours aside, but in the critical continuity of national folk movements, essential protagonists of modern Argentina.
Moreover, the cultural resurgence of Latin America demands a return to the master lines of its Native (Indigenous)-Spanish tradition, as foundations (basis, principles) of the revolutionary change towards a future in which it is acknowledged.
Exactly the same criterion should be applied to the construction of the new Universidad del Salvador. Thus, the spirit that should rule it is the same one with which the Society of Jesus has reconsidered his global apostolic mission.
C. Universalism through differences
From the beginnings of its history, the Society of Jesus understands and respects the historical , cultural and psychological differences that give untransferable features to the people/countries/nations in the world.
Encouraged by the Gospels' spirit of its founder, it affirms the universalistic content of its action from the beginning. Christ's truth is unique, but its human and historical expressions are untransferable and numerous. The incarnated truth is only shown in the diverse play of the created.
It is not strange that the Society opposes to the new born liberal-bourgeois claim of homogenising the historical and human reality of the world, by means of the joint action of the state centralism and the illuminist rationalism, to the detriment of the multifaceted richness of the created.
Among the most important missionary experiences of the Church, the ones carried out by the Society of Jesus are found. In China as in the Río de la Plata, the Society does not want to be the religious justification for the European expansion, when giving the organisational and social elements to the missionised people that helped them to develop their cultural individuality freely, integrating them to the universal through a Faith felt as theirs.
The Society is mainly universalist and that is why it is against the homogenising internationalism that, by "reason" or by force denies the people the right to be themselves.
When at this moment, after several centuries' experience, it emphasises the social apostolate, going to the encounter with the change agents - the people - it reintroduces its original sense, criticising its historical deviations with unusual bravery.
Going beyond the long historical withdrawal started in the middle of the 18th Century, during which it had to accept the adversary's rules of the game, the profit society and individualism, at least tacitly and partially, the Society unfurls the initial flags of community, faith and discipline once again, at the service of the people.
Conceiving the social apostolate as the religious immersion in the people's life, the Society practically affirms that only from that point the construction of a more human society is possible; it is possible "to do Justice".
And it is there in the countries - structured people par excellence, and within the Society of Jesus, where the Church acknowledges and reaffirms its sense of discipline and its concept of organisation.
Coherently, the General Congregation XXI orientated the apostolate of the Education towards the..."solutions of regional type due to the great variety of circumstances in some countries with respect to others and to the fact that our teaching constitutes only a very small part of the Educational complex of each Nation".
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Buenos Aires, August 27th, 1974.