Discernment is one of the words Pope Francis repeats most, especially when speaking to priests and seminarians – a concept that may seem obscure without an understanding its importance to the Pope's Jesuit formation.
“When a Jesuit says 'discernment,' they’re employing a term that has a very rich spiritual tradition within the Society of Jesus, so you can presume a lot in that,” said Fr. Brian Reedy, SJ, a US Navy Reserve chaplain who is pursuing a doctorate in philosophical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Fr. Reedy explained that discernment is something St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, emphasized profoundly in his Spiritual Exercises, which form the “backbone” of Jesuit spirituality.
In terms of Catholic moral theology, Fr. Reedy said it exists between the camp of what is “permitted” and what is “transformative,” and that beyond the permitted sign lies what is “forbidden.”
One key rule of discernment that is often forgotten is the guiding principle of “thinking with the Church,” Fr. Reedy said. This means that “whatever you discern, you’re not only thinking about the moral law and how that functions, but also specifically thinking with the Church.”
This article continues at [Catholic Register] To understand Pope Francis, you have to understand the Jesuits