Thursday, May 15, 2003

In defense of the Society of Jesus

In spite of some heavy recruitment efforts out of High School and into college, I am not a Jesuit, and am not likely ever to be one. But they are the order that formed me in some important ways, and I need to speak up in their defense. The Jesuits are not a subversive monolith. Some of them, in fact, are the furthest thing from subversive. Many of them sound funny to politically and theologically conservative members of St. Blog's because they use a vocabulary that is attuned to their audience, who are generally not politically and theologically conservative members of St. Blog's. In many cases, the real subversiveness of Jesuits lies in subtly and quietly challenging the assumptions of the theologically wimpy and loosey-goosey.

OF COURSE a significant number of them arefairly subversive, liberal types. But I have yet to encounter more than a half dozen members of ANY order without encountering at least one or two subversive liberal types. And when you wind up with as large a number of intelligent smart-asses, as the Society's rigorous formation process weens out many of the rest, you are going to wind up with a large number of mavericks.

But please, stop slandering the entire society. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are protected by the clericalist mentality at the top of the Society's hierarchy. Why--it almost sounds like a microcosm of the Church! And some of the same people who put a snide, parenthetical "of course!" next to the word "Jesuits" in the scandalous news story they have just blogged, get outraged at the portrayal of the whole Church as a bunch of child-molesters.


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