The Jesuits' Search For a New Identity

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vehement critics of the church; that what was once the church's first line of defense should now seem to be a fifth column. Many Catholic parents complain, for example, that their sons attending Jesuit schools are sheltered from neither the drug culture, early sex, political radicalism nor the general youthful antagonism to modern society. A young St. Louis Jesuit counters: "We no longer exist to give the conservative Catholic a pat on the back."

Within the society itself, there is a visible−and highly audible−gap between the enthusiasts of aggiornamento and the defenders of older, stricter ways. Older Jesuits remember when their priestly training took 15 years, much of it in acute isolation from the world: some lived through most of World War II without hearing a radio or seeing a newspaper. The−new Jesuit must still spend perhaps ten years in preparation, but he may live in fraternity-style surroundings in Berkeley, in Cambridge, Mass., or in Manhattan. Under the old rule of tactus, Jesuit seminarians were forbidden even to put an arm on the shoulder of a buddy; now they greet one another with warm abrazos.

Ordained, the young Jesuits now join a fluid, sometimes flamboyant ministry. John Crillo, a San Diego Jesuit, says a free-form English Mass in homemade vestments of peacock greens, blues and yellows; some older colleagues in the order still stick doggedly to the superseded Latin Mass. Other older Jesuits, like Marquette University Historian Paul Prucha, resent the "dilettantism" of the young: "They think they're taking theology by taking courses in theology of the theater or theology of ecology." Together with a growing cadre of radicalized older Jesuits, many younger ones sharply criticize the order's acquisition of property at the expense of the freedom of poverty−the inhibiting burdens, for instance, of vast educational plants.

Mating Dance. Now that the church and the order are trying to understand and learn from the world, many Jesuits are disoriented, looking in vain for the old landmarks: the triumphalist faith, the proud discipline. The tight old Jesuit houses offer little solace. Deserted by the young and the adventurous in favor of small communal residences or private apartments, many of the houses have become sadly depopulated. Too many Jesuits no longer seem to be able to recognize one another. Says Jesuit Kenneth Baker, editor of Homiletic and Pastoral Review: "Ten years ago when you met a fellow Jesuit, you knew that he was a brother and that his experiences and thoughts would be like yours. Now when you meet a Jesuit for the first time, it's like the mating dance of the crabs−trying to find out if the other crab is male or female." There are Jesuits young and old all across the spectrum of opinion. Observed Catholic Journalist John Cogley in an accurate bit of doggerel in the Jesuit weekly America: "There are Jesuits left and Jesuits right/ A pro and con for most any fight/ So wherever you stand, you stand not alone:/ Every little movement has a Jebbie of its own." It is an odd position, almost a public embarrassment, for an order of such traditional rigidity−"the long black line"−to play out its differences before the world. Older Jesuits feel lost in a dangerous indiscipline; the younger members sense themselves on a ragged edge of

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