The Jesuits' Search For a New Identity

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utilitarianism now goes against the Jesuits' institutional traditions. They still operate one of the most prestigious privately run school networks in the world, with 420 high schools and universities on six continents, including 52 high schools and 28 colleges in the U.S. Most of them are urban schools that helped form an immigrant Catholic population into an accomplished class of educated Catholic professionals.

Today, however, there is some sentiment that the society should pass on some of its educational responsibilities' to others and find more urgent work. In an article urging his fellow Jesuits to stay "on the ragged edge of nowhere," Theologian Joseph Conwell of Washington State's Gonzaga University suggests that educated Catholic laymen could take over much of the Jesuits' role as educators. Arrupe has shown a willingness to let a few "good things" die, notably two of the nation's five Jesuit theological schools−one of them the famed Woodstock College (TIME, Jan. 22). Still, it is a difficult idea for some of the world's best educators to accept.

Values. For the most part, Jesuit educators and the ten U.S. provincial superiors think that the educational effort is still worth it. They acknowledge that there have been changes. The ratio studiorum no longer prevails: students can create their own educational plan−or chaos−from a smorgasbord of electives. The old, tough discipline is gone. The Jesuits themselves, clad in everything from jeans to wide-lapel sports jackets, often look like older versions of the students. A generation ago, young men and women could seldom share the same campus; now they sleep in the same dorms, and not always separately. Even so, the defenders of the new Jesuit-college style in the U.S. insist that the schools still offer an atmosphere different from that of secular campuses. Explains Richard Matre, a layman and dean of Loyola University of Chicago: "Our school says to the student that there are good things and bad things in the world, that there are real values."

Jesuit politics have also been changing. An order that seemed predominantly conservative two decades ago now nurtures almost every shade of political style and ideology. In the 1950s many Catholics were reading Total Empire, written by Edmund Walsh, a Georgetown political scientist, priest and, according to Author Richard Rovere, the man who gave Senator Joseph McCarthy the idea for his anti-Communist campaign. In his book, Walsh set down moral justifications for a preventive first-strike nuclear attack.

There are still a few Jesuits who perpetuate the Walsh syndrome: Father Daniel Lyons, columnist and founder of the right-wing Catholic newspaper Twin Circle, still hammers away at the containment theme. But he now has an articulate group of opponents within the order. Father Aldon Stevenson, who recently returned to his post at the University of San Francisco after a trip into Mao's China, cited the Communist Chinese as exemplary "anonymous Christians" that Western Christians could well emulate. "People are valued above things," says Stevenson, "and neighbors love and help each other. There is hope in abundance, and that is the beginning of charity."

Father Arrupe got a heady taste of both political sides on a visit to the U.S., when on the same day he

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