Why are there Jesuit-related jokes?
Maybe it is because Jesuits have always been rather different from the other Orders and so have often been misunderstood. The standard Jesuit joke plays one the stereotype that Jesuits are overly practical, overly worldly or not as concerned with spiritual matters as they should be. A core tenet of the spirituality of St Ignatius is that God can be found in all things. From the standpoint of the Jesuits, “all things” most definitely includes humour.
As Fr James Martins, SJ says humor is a “tool for humility.” These jokes reminds us, Jesuits, that we need to be careful of being too proud of our accomplishments or too focused on practical matters.
But these are gifts – good humor and laughter – from God. “A good laugh is a sign of love. It may be said to give us a glimpse of, or a first lesson in, the love that God bears for everyone one of us.” (Karl Rahner, SJ)