„4. And we determine, decree, and ordain that neither the prepositus without the consent and permission of the society, nor any of the members without the consent and permission of the prepositus may be capable of consenting to or accepting any election or provision from anyone in the dignity of bishop or archbishop or in any dignity whatsoever, through the authority of any prince or of any decree or of any persons having authority to confer such; or to receive an advancement or office in the society itself, if he is seen to be actuated by open or secret ambition for himself.”
BULL OF OCT. 18, 1549.
SS Paulus III, bishop, servant of the servants of God.
Jesuits promise not to aspire to higher offices
I’m frequently amused that friends and family members who know zilch about the Jesuits (apart from the fact that our universities have good basketball teams) always seem to remember that “fully-formed” Jesuits take a special vow of obedience to the pope regarding mission. Our “Fourth Vow” means we are prepared to go anywhere in the world the pope sends us. We’re servants of the mission; the Pope is the one with the most universal view of the needs of the Church. However, in addition to that fairly famous vow, we also promise not to “ambition” for any higher office, whether inside the Jesuit order or in the Church at large. While offices of leadership and responsibility can and do come looking for us, we’re just not supposed to go looking for them.