Something funny in Brown’s background

Oct. 20, 2012

By John Seiler

In an interview with Esquire magazine, Gov. Jerry Brown said:

“I think I’m the only governor that has actually taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These were perpetual vows–even though the pope released me from their obligation when I left the Jesuit order. But there is an experience there. Austerity is something of real value.”

I’ve known a number of Jesuits over the years, some good and some bad. One of the best was Fr. John Houle, S.J., who died about a decade ago. He was a missionary. After the communists took over China in 1949, they tortured him for several years until he was deported. Then he came to California for the rest of his life.

Anyway, Jesuits are rigorously educated. In better days, they learned the classical curriculum — that’s why Jerry keeps using Latin to impress us. Like most things in modern society, in recent years the curriculum has been dumbed down a lot. But Jesuits aren’t ordained until age 30.

Until then, take only temporary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They’re not “perpetual.” That’s why it’s called a time of “discernment.” The pope doesn’t need to release a seminarian from his temporary vows.

It’s like if you sign a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After your years, you’re not “released.” Your contract just expires.

Now, Brown was born in 1938. So he wouldn’t have become ordained until 1968. According to his official biography:

“In 1960, he left the Society of Jesus and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his B.A. degree in Classics the next year and then entered Yale Law School, where he graduated in 1964.

“Following law school, Brown worked as a law clerk at the California Supreme Court, traveled and studied in Mexico and Latin America and then took up residence in Los Angeles, working for the prestigious law firm, Tuttle & Taylor. In 1969, Brown was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, placing first in a field of 124. In 1970, he was elected California Secretary of State.”

So he left the Jesuits when he was just 22. There’s no way he could have taken “perpetual vows.”

As I said, there’s something fishy there.


Tags assigned to this article:
John SeilerEsquire magazineJerry BrownJesuits

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