I just read a wonderful article, Presente!, by Fr. James Martin in America Magazine about the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, associated with the annual School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) where the names of Jesuits martyred over the past few decades were read, and after each name was read, everyone said the Spanish “Presenti”, meaning Present, We are here.

This reminded me of the scene in the wonderful movie, The Good Shepherd, where during the annual get together by the members of the secret society Skull and Bones, before the opening prayer, they would all rise and acclaim “All Here”.

The Good Shepherd is about the beginnings of the American intelligence service, OSS and the CIA, and the central role played by members of Skull and Bones.

Secret societies are deeply interwoven in human history and in many ways; they are a good thing, generating passion and commitment to a grand cause.

With the Jesuits deep involvement in the SOAW, trying to shut down the US Military school training Latin American soldiers, and the Skull and Bones deep involvement in clandestine work in Latin America, trying to keep Communism at bay, we see some of America’s finest in conflict, but it is a healthy conflict, for the SOAW keeps pressure on tendencies to autocratic action and the CIA helps guarantee Americans the freedom to protest.