The new leader of the Jesuits met Saturday with Pope Benedict XVI and told him the religious order would study the pontiff’s invitation to confirm their “total adhesion to Catholic teaching,” said the Associated Press.

What? They have to study this? If not, what church do they belong to?

The Jesuits, says the AP, have had a tense relationship with the Vatican on issues of doctrine and obedience. You think?

According to the Jesuit’s web site, The Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, a Spanish missionary and theologian with extensive Asian experience who was elected as superior general Jan. 19, had a warm and friendly conversation with the pontiff.

I wonder how Pope Benedict would characterize the meeting?

Shortly before Nicolas’ predecessor, Dutch priest Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, handed in his resignation for reasons of age, he received a letter from Benedict in which the pope said it could be “extremely useful” if the Jesuits reaffirm total adhesion to Catholic doctrine.

Yes. The Pope would like to know if Jesuits are still Catholic. Seems reasonable, right?

The pope wrote Kolvenbach that he was particularly concerned about those neuralgic points which today are strongly attacked by secular culture, according to the text released by the Jesuits.

Neuralgic? I looked it up. It seems to mean painful.

The pope cited aspects of the theology of liberation, and various points of sexual morality, especially … the indissolubility of marriage and the pastoral care of homosexual persons, the letter said.

The Jesuits said Benedict was pleased to hear from Nicolas that Jesuits had formed a committee to study his letter to Kolvenbach. Yeah right! I’m sure he was pleased.

The Vatican announced that Benedict and Nicolas had met in a private audience but gave no details of their talks.

I can’t wait for the answer to the Jesuit’s “study.” How will they study it anyway? Go through the Catechism line by line with a “redact” black marker? Yes to this. No to that. Isn’t that the way new religions are formed?