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 change.
From the April 1973, (yes, 1973) Time Magazine in an article entitled, The Jesuit Search For a New Identity