Staying and Leaving

Peter McDonough and Eugene C. Bianchi

in Passionate Uncertainty

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230552
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930773 | DOI:
Staying and Leaving

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The decision to stay with or leave the Society of Jesus may be too personal to open up about. Men associated with the Society are trained in self-assessment. The insights that Jesuits and former Jesuits provide reveal abundant regularities in the aggregate, even if, in isolation, any single individual is liable to plead ignorance about what leads men to stick with or leave the Society. This chapter examines the reluctance of Jesuits and former Jesuits to speculate the reasons why others stay or leave—partly a reflection of commonsensical modesty, partly a guy's thing, and partly an admission of bewilderment and even awe before intimate journeys. It throws light on a major shift in the atmosphere of religious life from a culture of blame and shame toward one of cordial if nervous tolerance. Mystery lingers because the impulse to share once-secret feelings runs up against a dread of violating privacy.

Keywords: Jesuits; religious life; self-assessment

Chapter.  10761 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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