Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mating Dance Of Crabs: Time Magazine 1973

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


Anonymous said...

An example of the dance:

Posted by Raymond A. Schroth
September 27, 2008

One school of thought says that because of the separation of church and state and because the priest has a religious role requiring him to rise above politics, he should not run for office or identify himself with any candidate or party. Some add that if a priest takes a political stand he alienates those who disagree with him.

On the other hand, Jesus and his followers often alienated the political and religious establishments of their day. And in Europe there's a history of popes and bishops calling on Catholics to vote against communists and those who contradict church teaching on abortion, marriage and other issues.

Here a handful of bishops declare that candidates who don't agree that abortion must be outlawed are thus in mortal sin, destined for hell, and must be denied the eucharist.

Meanwhile mid-20th century movements like the worker priests and labor priests, and, later, liberation theology have helped priests and religious orders like mine to understand the degree to which both the prophets and the gospels demand that Christians identify with the poor. As a result, more than ever, to be a Catholic today requires not just opposition to abortion, but an end to the death penalty, commitment to economic fairness, and adherence to the conditions for a just war -- conditions violated by our invasion of Iraq.

There is no way I can separate my political, literary, or social judgments from my priesthood. The values that made me become a priest permeate everything I do. Those principles are that our love for one another must reach beyond the boundaries of family, nation, or creed and that national policy should above all protect the weak. For me this includes laws that would lessen the number of abortions, mostly through social and economic reform rather than by sending women who have aborted to jail.

Therefore I will vote for Barack Obama for president and encourage anyone who reads this to do the same and to pass the word. I was born when Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office and gave us hope to overcome fear. A Hudson River aristocrat paralyzed from the waist down, he identified with the helpless. He used his God-given gifts of voice, eloquence, and character to inspire a nation through the depression and World War II. Obama has the basic FDR ideals and political skills, the ability to bring people together and lift then up with his words. Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama passed up big law firms to organize Chicago's neighborhood poor and teach Constitutional Law before entering politics.

He is a genuinely religious man whose social policies, more than his opponent's resemble Catholic social teaching. Above all, he opposed the Iraq war. Had his views prevailed, 4000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis would still be alive.

Finally, under his steady leadership, America has a chance to confront its racial problems, including the black family breakdown and the plight of young black males who lack both education and hope. No other candidate has even mentioned this problem.

I do not say this from a pulpit. I imply no mroal obligation that you accept my ideas. I simply argue that Obama, more than his opponent, represents a chance for justice and peace.

Joseph Fromm said...

I simply argue that Obama, more than his opponent, represents a chance for justice and peace.

Except for the 4,000 babies that won't make it out of their mothers womb every day. The living infants that he voted four times to be murdered. So much for peace and justice.