Monday, Apr. 23, 1973

The Jesuits' Search For a New Identity

COVER STORY

If ever any Congregation of Men could merit eternal Perdition on Earth and in Hell, it is the company of Loyola.

− John Adams, writing to Thomas Jefferson, in 1816

The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God, it cannot be withstood.

− Edmund Campion, S.J., in 1581, shortly before being hanged, drawn and quartered

SOME of their critics have consigned them, in holy outrage, to the lower regions of hell. Some of their defenders, with equally fervent conviction, see them as saints destined for the higher reaches of heaven. Whatever their presumed destination, they are arguably the most remarkable company of men to embark on a spiritual journey since Jesus chose the Twelve Apostles. With a certain pride, they have adopted the name their enemies once used against them in derision. They are the Jesuits.

Their founder, St. Ignatius Loyola, wanted them to be all things to all men, and even in today's pluralistic secular world it sometimes seems that they are. Apart from their shared religious identity and their common appendage−S.J., for the Society of Jesus−they are a bewilderingly diverse fraternity. They are seismologists, swamis, architects and engineers, theologians and winemakers, politicians, lawyers, social workers, astronomers, revolutionaries, economists−as well as missionaries, teachers and parish priests. The dictionary lists the adjective Jesuitical as a condemnation−"given to intrigue or equivocation"−but the title of Jesuit also carries the tradition of their aggressive brilliance.

Mystics. From the very beginning, they have been originals. When Ignatius first brought together his handful of friends 439 years ago, he gave the Christian world a revolutionary creation. They were a company of men who chose the discipline but rejected the shared observances of a religious order so that they could free themselves for work among their fellow men, a band of mystics who chose to find their enlightenment in a combative encounter with the world around them. Like religious orders before them−Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans−they pledged themselves to strict obedience but, like the Renaissance men they were, they also preserved a high regard for individual talent and initiative.

The synthesis of discipline and freedom proved to be formidable. It has kept them at the cutting edge of Roman Catholicism, and often on the frontiers of Western civilization. It is an exposed position, open alike to opportunity, risk and scorn. As a result of it, the Jesuits have become, both inside and outside the church, the objects of perennial controversy.

They are still in the vanguard, still vulnerable, still controversial. Today, the Society of Jesus is a microcosm of the tensions and turmoil that are sweeping the Roman Catholic Church as a whole. The old certainty that guided the Jesuits for so long has vanished; the new anxieties have arrived. Says Father David Tracy, a non-Jesuit theologian at the University of Chicago's Divinity School: "At one time, when you were seeking an answer, you'd find a Jesuit. Today, when you are looking for a question, you find a Jesuit."

Conservative Catholics, especially, are distressed that an order claiming a special fealty to the Pope should so often include some of the most vehement critics of the church; that what was once the church's first line of defense should now seem to be a fifth column. Many Catholic parents complain, for example, that their sons attending Jesuit schools are sheltered from neither the drug culture, early sex, political radicalism nor the general youthful antagonism to modern society. A young St. Louis Jesuit counters: "We no longer exist to give the conservative Catholic a pat on the back."

Within the society itself, there is a visible−and highly audible−gap between the enthusiasts of aggiornamento and the defenders of older, stricter ways. Older Jesuits remember when their priestly training took 15 years, much of it in acute isolation from the world: some lived through most of World War II without hearing a radio or seeing a newspaper. The−new Jesuit must still spend perhaps ten years in preparation, but he may live in fraternity-style surroundings in Berkeley, in Cambridge, Mass., or in Manhattan. Under the old rule of tactus, Jesuit seminarians were forbidden even to put an arm on the shoulder of a buddy; now they greet one another with warm abrazos.

Ordained, the young Jesuits now join a fluid, sometimes flamboyant ministry. John Crillo, a San Diego Jesuit, says a free-form English Mass in homemade vestments of peacock greens, blues and yellows; some older colleagues in the order still stick doggedly to the superseded Latin Mass. Other older Jesuits, like Marquette University Historian Paul Prucha, resent the "dilettantism" of the young: "They think they're taking theology by taking courses in theology of the theater or theology of ecology." Together with a growing cadre of radicalized older Jesuits, many younger ones sharply criticize the order's acquisition of property at the expense of the freedom of poverty−the inhibiting burdens, for instance, of vast educational plants.

Mating Dance. 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. The clenched dictum promulgated in Jesuit schools, Age quod agis (Do what you are doing) begins to seem like a narrow tunnel vision, tempting sidelong glances at the confusing larger world.

Departures. As with the church, the current Jesuit controversy has been simmering for years, but it came to a boil as the Second Vatican Council drew to a close. The society's superior general, John Baptist Janssens, died, and the order convened in 1965 one of its rare "general congregations," both to elect a successor and adjust its ways to the council's rapprochement with the modern world. Jesuit superiors and provincial representatives from around the world converged on Rome. The man they elected as the society's 28th general (to serve, like the Pope, for life) was a career missionary named Pedro Arrupe, the first Basque to head the order since Ignatius himself. Something of a mystic, also like Ignatius, Arrupe, now 65, presides over the troubled order today with disarming calm and good cheer.

He needs it. The Jesuits are already a smaller order than the one Arrupe took over in 1965. Though still the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, they have suffered the same kind of attrition that has affected other groups of priests and nuns. There were 36,000 Jesuit priests, brothers and scholastics in 1966, but by the end of 1972 there were fewer than 31,000. Some of the lost numbers are men abandoning the order−so many in recent years that the newspaper of the society's Oregon province has a feature headlined DEATHS−LEAVES−DEPARTURES. The emigrants are not merely from the ranks, either. U.S. Jesuits who have left have included such eminent names as Theologian Bernard Cooke, Maryland Provincial Edward Sponga and former Woodstock College Rector Felix Cardegna. In addition, the number of new recruits has plunged, especially in developed countries. The U.S.−the society's largest national community with 6,600 Jesuits−used to get some 350 novices each year; now it is down to fewer than 100.

"The Jesuits are in crisis because we are in a world of crisis," says Father John Blewett, who advises Arrupe on educational matters. Indian Jesuit Herbert de Souza observes that Jesuits react to the crisis in one of two ways: "Some of us become numbed while others overreact. There will be a split among thinking men, especially devoted thinking men, in a crisis situation. They will often clash head-on because of a common devotion." Arrupe presides over a sometimes chaotic variety of individuals, whose special Jesuit intensity, a quality of the breed, often gives them individualistic interpretations of the society's slogan, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (To the greater glory of God). Some examples:

≫ Father Robert Drinan, onetime dean of the law school at the Jesuits' Boston College, is now a Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts' Third District with a 100% A.D.A. rating. He has irritated conservative Catholics with his stand on the Viet Nam War (vehemently opposed), tax credits for parochial schools (opposed), and abortion laws (opposed because he feels abortion is a moral, not a legal issue). Philadelphia's John Cardinal Krol has stated publicly that Drinan should resign from Congress.

≫ Another Jesuit, the Rev. John McLaughlin, joined the White House staff in 1971 as a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon. A former associate editor of America magazine and a defeated antiwar Republican candidate for the Senate from Rhode Island in 1970, McLaughlin became a vocal supporter of Nixon's Viet Nam strategy. This has prompted Jesuit William Van Etten Casey of Massachusetts' College of the Holy Cross to call him "a Judas."

≫ Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. (TIME cover, Jan. 25, 1971), convicted of destroying draft records, led the FBI on a merry chase up and down the Eastern seaboard, finally to be carted off, smiling, by two stern-faced agents. He was paroled from prison last year after serving 18 months.

≫ Shortly after Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law last September, American Jesuit Vincent Cullen was clapped into jail. The reason: Cullen was a social action director on the island of Mindanao, where his labors on behalf of minorities and poor farmers in a land dispute provoked the wrath of local officials. Now Cullen has been released, but is under the custody of the Philippines provincial. While Cullen chafes, a fellow Jesuit, Father James Donelan, regularly offers Mass at Marcos' Malacanang Palace, and other Jesuits have given retreats for the President.

≫ Jesuits are at loggerheads in Latin America over a Christian-Marxist synthesis known as the "theology of liberation." A Chilean Jesuit, 50-year-old Gonzalo Arroyo, wants to put its principles into action through a cadre of Christian Marxists called the "Group of Eighty" (TIME, June 5). But longtime Political Activist Roger Vekemans, a Belgian Jesuit who has spent years backing Christian social democracy in Latin America (most particularly Chile's former President Frei), decries the theology of liberation as simplistic and totalitarian.

≫ Young Dutch Jesuits who were popular student pastors in Amsterdam created a stir when they married but insisted on continuing their ministry. The controversy has left the Jesuits in The Netherlands split fifty-fifty between sympathy for the student pastors and sympathy for a growing group of hardline conservatives.

≫ In San Diego, Calif., an inner-city Jesuit parish called Christ the King became the focus of disputes with the local bishop when the Jesuits assigned there twice offered the church as sanctuary to sailors who refused to board Viet Nam-bound vessels.

≫ Within the Pope's own bailiwick, a veteran moral philosopher disobeyed Arrupe. A faculty member of the Jesuits' prestigious Gregorian Pontifical University since 1961, Father José Maria Diez-Alegria set off the squabble last December by publishing his autobiography, I Believe in Hope, without Jesuit clearance. The book is sympathetically leftist, and somewhat candid about priests' sexual frustrations, but what piqued Arrupe was Diez-Alegria's refusal to submit to Jesuit censorship before publication. Arrupe has since suspended the Spaniard from the society for two years. One important reason for his action: the case revived talk among a group of conservative Jesuits in Spain about starting separate houses where they could follow a traditional, disciplined regime.

Rogue. Such conflicts of interest and direction are not exclusive to the Jesuits; they bother other religious orders as well. But the Jesuits, almost since their inception, have been the most dramatic of the church's orders. What is most fascinating about them is their perilous attempt to live energetically in the world without being of it. The risks involved in this attempt mark their long and flamboyant history−a history that reaches back to a junior officer in a minor battle in a small war in 1521.

He was known at the time as Inigo de Onaz y Loyola, the last of perhaps eleven children of a family of lower Basque nobility. He had left the gloomy castle of Loyola as a boy, packed off to one of his father's noble friends, who took him to court. He had grown into little more than an engaging rogue, spending his days in military games or reading such popular chivalrous romances as Amadis of Gaul, his nights pursuing less noble adventures with local girls.

In the year that Martin Luther stood before Habsburg Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms, Inigo was fighting for the Emperor's borderlands against the invading French at Pamplona. A cannonball shattered one of his legs. During a long, painful convalescence, he turned out of boredom to two popular inspirational works on the lives of the saints and the life of Christ, and his long process of conversion began. Months later, at the Benedictine abbey of Montserrat, he exchanged his gentleman's clothes for a rough pilgrim's habit and dedicated his sword and dagger to the shrine's famed Black Virgin.

In a little town called Manresa, he devoted nearly a year to an orgy of austerity, begging door to door, wearing a barbed girdle, fasting for days on end. For months he endured the terrible depressions of the mystic's dark night of the soul, even contemplating suicide at one point. But what followed was the mystic's singular reward, an immense breakthrough to enlightenment. In a wave of ecstatic illumination one day at the River Cardoner, Inigo became, in his own words, "another man."

He entered a Barcelona school to sit with boys less than half his age to study Latin, then threw himself into a dizzying year of courses at the University of Alcalá. Out of it came Inigo's conviction that learning must be organized to be useful. The idea eventually grew into the Jesuits' famed ratio studiorum (plan of studies), which measured out heavy but manageable doses of classics, humanities and sciences.

He became such a fervent evangelist that the Inquisition imprisoned and examined him more than once about his life, teaching and theology. Perturbed, he left for Paris, where he spent seven years at the university, became "Master Ignatius," and gathered around him the first of his permanent companions, among them a young Spanish nobleman named Francis Xavier.

Ignatius shared with them one of the most remarkable spiritual guides ever written−his Spiritual Exercises. A distillation of Ignatius' own religious experience during and following his conversion, the Exercises are measured out prosaically in four flexible "weeks" of meditation that begin with a week on Sin, Death, Judgment and Hell, and move on to Christ's Life, Passion and Resurrection. They are the basis of every Jesuit's spirituality, returned to for refreshment through his career.

In the Exercises, Ignatius laid out paths to spiritual perfection: rigorous examination of conscience, penance, and a resolute amnesia about guilt once God's forgiveness has been obtained. Though Ignatius designed the Exercises for individuals, they were later applied to the group retreats so vividly reconstructed in James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. A certain violence, even a spiritual terrorism, has often characterized Jesuit rhetoric. The young hero of Portrait, Stephen Dedalus, is reduced to horror by the sermon on hell ("A wave of fire swept through his body ... flames burst forth from his skull"), but after he has gone to confession, "the past was past."

In Paris in 1534 Ignatius and his friends made their first vows of poverty and chastity (Ignatius was ordained a priest three years later), but it was not until 1540 that Pope Paul III approved the small band as a new religious order. As part of the bargain, they placed themselves at the express call of the Pope. In Ignatius' metaphor, they were to be chivalrous soldiers of Jesus, mobile, versatile, ready to go anywhere and perform any task the Pope assigned. As a recognized order, they added to their earlier vows the traditional vow of obedience to their superiors and a fourth vow expressing their special fealty to the Pope. They gave command to a superior general elected for life. Their choice for the first general was Ignatius.

The Jesuits rode full gallop into their new assignments: convert the heathen, reconvert Protestant Europe. Francis Xavier hopscotched from India to Southeast Asia to Japan, a country that had never before heard the Christian message. More than any others, the Society of Jesus stemmed, and sometimes reversed, the tide of Protestantism in France, the Low Countries and Central Europe. When Ignatius died in 1556, his order was nearly 1,000 strong and had dispatched its apostles to four continents.

The Jesuits rose to eminence in the two centuries that followed Ignatius' death. Seeking to be the consciences of kings, they served as confessors to every French King from Henry III to Louis XV. In 16th and 17th century China, the great Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci and his successors labored for decades to impress the Emperor and the powerful mandarin scholars with their own impeccable scholarship, eventually becoming keepers of the imperial calendar. But this opportunity to win China for Christianity was lost when Rome denied the missionaries' pleas that Chinese converts be left undisturbed in their Confucian reverence for their ancestors.

Jesuit achievements were as often secular as spiritual. French Jesuit Jacques Marquette paddled down the Mississippi in the first European expedition to explore that river. Brother Jiri Kamel, a Moravian botanist at the Jesuits' College of Manila in the 17th century, gave Europe the camellia. A German mathematician and astronomer of the Society of Jesus, Christoph Klau, contributed to the Gregorian calendar and gave his Latinized name, Clavius, to a lunar crater that he discovered.

Jesuits used the arts to reach the consciences of their fashionable audiences, and in so doing, made significant contributions to opera, drama and ballet. They produced thousands of plays in the 17th century, and ballets as well, many of them to lure the balletomanes of the French aristocracy. One such ballet portrayed the triumph of free will over predestination.

But Jesuits were more than dance-masters; their martyrs died in Japan, in Elizabethan England, and in North America, where St. Isaac Jogues was tomahawked by the Iroquois−and where the British put prices on Jesuit heads.

Reductions. Despite their remarkable accomplishments, the Jesuits were suppressed in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV, and the order was disbanded for 41 years. The suppression grew out of a convergence of hatreds. The anticlerical freethinkers of the Enlightenment detested the Jesuits. So did Jansenist Catholics, who adhered to a puritanical view of man's depravity. Their most articulate spokesman was Blaise Pascal, who, in his eloquently satirical Provincial Letters, accused the Jesuits of abetting the decay of Christianity by their lax moral and ascetic teachings. Their papal loyalty, furthermore, infuriated believers in the new nationalism. A magnanimous missionary project in New Spain−the "Paraguay Reductions"−grew into self-sufficient Indian strongholds under Jesuit protection, angering European colonists who spread calumnies against the order. Finally, the Pope bowed to the mounting pressure of France, Portugal and Spain and decreed that the Jesuits should disband for the sake of church harmony.

Some Jesuits found a haven in the realm of Catherine the Great of Russia, who esteemed Jesuit teaching and resolved to keep the society's schools alive. Others functioned as secular clergymen, joined other orders or created ad hoc communities with new names. When the order was restored by Pope Pius VII in 1814, there was a cadre of 600 Jesuits to begin again. But so wary were the Jesuits of earning new criticism that their first post-restoration general, Jan Roothaan, set a pattern for defensively prudent administration that few successors have risen above.

The relative timidity of Jesuit leadership in the years since restoration has not meant the eclipse of Jesuit accomplishment. Contemporary Jesuit theologians, for instance, helped shape the Second Vatican Council. Probably the most eminent Catholic theologian alive is Germany's Jesuit Karl Rahner, whose works have been translated into more languages (47) than Goethe's. Canada's Bernard J.F. Lonergan has built a formidable reputation on two brilliant but difficult works, Insight (1957) and Method in Theology (1972). A newer name, at least to Northern Hemisphere Christians, is Montevideo's Juan Luis Segundo, whose theology is just beginning to appear in English. The restored society has also produced the other kinds of creative minds that distinguished its earlier eras, including Philosopher-Paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The question troubling Jesuits today is not so much what they have done or can do, but rather who they are or who they should be. Says Father Paul Reinert, now in his 25th year as president of the Jesuits' St. Louis University: "I have been a Jesuit since 1927. Never have I engaged in so much introspection as I have in the past five years." Pedro Arrupe has called another general congregation to meet in Rome in 1974 or 1975, at which Jesuit delegates will decide which directions they want to explore and which they need to turn away from.

Ignatius himself once said: "If the whole society should come to an end. it would take 15 minutes for me to regain my composure." Such a spirit of brusque and even self-abnegating 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 visited Daniel Lyons in New York City and Daniel Berrigan in Danbury prison. There are many more in the society who mirror the polarization. One of the most serious dichotomies that Arrupe must try to bridge is between those who patrol the corridors of power, still hoping to influence the conscience of the king, and those who have chosen to work for the only remedy they consider effective−the complete change of society. Many Third World Jesuits, despairing of a change of heart by developed nations, are growing more and more sympathetic to the idea of total change. One bewildered Chilean Jesuit sighs: "We don't seem to believe in the same Gospels." Peru's Father Luna Victoria, a prominent Latin American Jesuit intellectual, hopes for a more evolutionary kind of change that would fuse the thought of Teilhard de Chardin with that of Marx. "It could be done," he says, "if we substitute Christian love for Marxist class hatred."

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 earnestly spiritual, caught up in a renewed interest in prayer. "We are going back to the Spiritual Exercises in a huge rush," he says. "They go around quoting from this little black book. They are consciously and deliberately spending more time in personal prayer." One quip going around: "Any day now, somebody's going to invent the rosary."

Indeed, though the number of Jesuits may have dropped drastically, superiors round the world widely agree that the quality of the new recruits is generally better and the number of vocations seems to be stabilizing. Moreover, there remains a special fraternity about the Jesuits that smaller numbers cannot destroy. "In my work around the world," says Philip Land, a Jesuit priest on the Vatican's Commission for Justice and Peace, "I run into a network of our people everywhere, people in whom I have total confidence."

Many former Jesuits preserve that kind of family feeling and regard themselves as Jesuits years after they have left the order, even if they left long before ordination. Author George Riemer (The New Jesuits) studied as a Jesuit for only seven years in the 1940s, but he continued to think of himself as a Jesuit until his death from cancer two weeks ago. "When I'm confronted with my own death," he said a few days before he died, "I believe I'm still a Jesuit, because the core of the Jesuit is still the Spiritual Exercises."

Many Jesuits see an instauration of Ignatian spirit. Father Lyndon Farwell, a recently ordained California Jesuit, would in fact like to see the upcoming general congregation focus on that ideal by conducting its meeting as a spiritual retreat, with no agenda. It would be "a great witness to the faith of the Jesuits−coming together to see what God wants them to do next. I would like to see them define the spirit and priorities of the society, but it should be a religious, not a legislative, thing."

However they go about it, of course, the society will have−as is appropriate to Jesuits−some important this-worldly decisions to make. A number of Jesuits within the order and admirers without would like to see some way developed for interested men to become sort of Jesuit reserve officers−taking temporary vows, perhaps, for three or five years at a time. There is growing support for the order to find a way for dedicated married couples to affiliate with it, perhaps along the lines of the successful Jesuit Volunteer Corps run by the Oregon province, which has some 250 laymen in domestic and foreign assignments. Fraςois Cardinal Marty, the Archbishop of Paris, wants to see Jesuits engaged in resolving the "metaphysical crisis" in modern society. "Jesuits are needed in the intellectual world," he says. "Alienation is their specialty." Some Jesuits want to discuss issues that are harder to nail down−a return, for instance, to more heroic poverty within the order, a goal Arrupe heartily favors.

Many Jesuits, including Superior General Pedro Arrupe, would like to see the general congregation put some kind of cap on the Jesuit gusher, pushing the very visible turmoil back underground for a while. It may be a vain hope. The Jesuits are certainly settling back a bit these days, resting from the traumatic departures and heady changes in the order, but it is far from clear yet whether the Society of Jesus is at the far edge−or merely in the eye−of the storm.

Arrupe, observes Richard Hill of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, is not a man who takes more than reasonable risks. But he lets others move imaginatively in new directions, then defends and protects them. He does that, suggest some of his fellow Jesuits, because he looks to the victory of Resurrection where many others are able to see only the defeat of Golgotha. In Christian life, however, the two are inextricably joined−and in few places more than in the Society of Jesus. As long as he is the Jesuit general, Pedro Arrupe will likely have no real rest: he will be defending and protecting the troubled and sometimes troublesome sons of Ignatius long into tomorrow.