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In the U.S., Jesuits seem to tolerate a wide diversity of sociopolitical projects. In the California province, for instance, a young priest from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley last summer donned a sports coat and turtleneck, picked up a briefcase, and traveled into San Francisco, where he counsels executives and other personnel in a corporate office. Across the bay, in East Oakland, two other Jesuits are immersed in work among the city's many minorities: the old, the poor, the black, the brown. They may be out on the streets by 7 a.m., checking to see that a wrecker has shown up to knock down an unsafe building, or be battling until 3 in the morning at a neighborhood meeting.
At the School of Medicine of the University of California's San Francisco campus, Father Al Jonsen is analyzing health policy issues and the moral desirability of such technical advances as the mechanical heart. From a base in Los Angeles, Fa ther Nick Weber, 33, and two companions carom round the country in a battered station wagon giving performances of the Royal Liechtenstein One-Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus, an amiable blend of circus acts and low-key morality plays. Weber and company live a frugal, catch-as-catch-can existence, begging meals and a place to sleep wherever they stop. A Rochester, N.Y., Jesuit high school teacher, Father William S. O'Malley, is in a different kind of show business: a role in The Exorcist.
The sexual revolution has had a disconcerting effect on the society, probably because Jesuits were so ill-prepared for it. "I was a scholar-athlete," says Robert Blair Kaiser, a journalist and author who studied for ten years as a Jesuit in the '50s. "We were taught to be well-rounded in everything except how to relate to women." As a result of the protective environment, says Presidential Aide John McLaughlin, the newly freed Jesuit often seemed to be struck by "delayed puberty." In the encounter, some debarked. Many of those who remain seem to have resolved the issue. A remarkable number agree with Arrupe that the Jesuits should preserve celibacy as a rule even if−and many of them recommend it−voluntary celibacy is instituted for diocesan priests.
Despite the considerable criticisms of some older Jesuits, Father Richard Hill, the president of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, contends that many young Jesuits are in fact