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Passionate UncertaintyInside the American Jesuits$
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Peter McDonough and Eugene Bianchi

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230552

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230552.001.0001

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Becoming a Jesuit

Becoming a Jesuit

(p.43) Chapter Two Becoming a Jesuit
Passionate Uncertainty

Peter McDonough

Eugene C. Bianchi

University of California Press

The factors that drew men to the priesthood in the 1930s and 1940s, when vocations to religious life were numerous, differed from the tradeoffs that brought subsequent cohorts on board. In the days before Vatican II, men joined the Jesuits for a variety of mundane as well as idealistic reasons. More recently, the motives behind religious commitment have become rather specialized. This change shows up in the reduced number and distinctive makeup of recruits, and in the altered texture of religious life. The alteration in the environment of incentives—roughly, from the subcultural to the countercultural—helps explain why Jesuits spend so much time going over the meaning and purpose of religious life. The various motives outlined—the calculating, the driven, and the countercultural—are in tension, but can reinforce one another.

Keywords:   priesthood, Jesuits, religious commitment, countercultural, idealistic reasons

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