Book

Passionate Uncertainty

Peter McDonough and Eugene Bianchi

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230552
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930773 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230552.001.0001
Passionate Uncertainty

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Founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540, the Society of Jesus remains the largest and most controversial religious order of men in Catholicism. Since the 1960s, however, Jesuits in the United States have lost more than half of their members, and have experienced a massive upheaval in what they believe and how they work and live. This book draws on interviews and statements gathered from more than four hundred Jesuits and former Jesuits to provide an intimate look at turmoil among Catholicism's legendary best-and-brightest. Priests and former priests speak candidly about their reasons for joining (and leaving) the Jesuits, about their sexual development and orientation, and about their spiritual crises and their engagement with other religious traditions. They discuss issues ranging from celibacy to the ordination of women, homosexuality, the rationale of the priesthood, the challenges of community life, and the divinity of Jesus. The book traces the transformation of the Society of Jesus from a fairly unified organization into a smaller, looser community with disparate goals and an elusive corporate identity. From its role as a traditional subculture during the days of immigrant Catholicism, the order has changed into an amalgam of countercultures shaped around social mission, sexual identity, and an eclectic spirituality. The story of the Jesuits reflects the crisis of clerical authority and the deep ambivalence surrounding American Catholicism's encounter with modernity.

Keywords: Society of Jesus; Catholicism; Jesuits; sexual development; sexual orientation; spiritual crises; celibacy; ordination of women; homosexuality; priesthood

Book.  390 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Staying and Leaving in Passionate Uncertainty

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Becoming a Jesuit in Passionate Uncertainty

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Ignatian Spiritualities in Passionate Uncertainty

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Life in Community in Passionate Uncertainty

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Revitalizing the Schools in Passionate Uncertainty

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