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jdhomrighausen in catholicleft

For some months now I have felt a pull to join the Society of Jesus. On Saturday I had an extended discussion with a priest about the priesthood. He mentioned that if I, say, join the Jesuits, I may not get to do what I want. I'll say "university professor," and they'll say "missionary to Guatemala."

Could I stand that?

At first I thought NO WAY. Staying in the university cocoon is just too delightful. But that is not what Christianity is about - one must be out DOING things, and one must learn to break out of one's own cultural bubble. Some time ago I realized that activity could be just as much a form of education as sitting in a classroom. Think: where did you learn about kindness? Virtue?

If I decide to enter that sort of life, I must set aside the idea that I am fully in charge of what I get to do. And this life looks awfully appealing, even in the midst of an institution that disgusts with its current conservative leadership. Who can help the Church change?

I discussed this with an ex-Jesuit who joined 1963, the year Vatican II started. He left in 1980 because he saw Vatican II was not going to be implemented. Pope Benedict XVI hasn't helpedd. Ex-Jesuit says he can see the appeal of the life of the mind for me, but cautions that change will be very slow, and likely will not happen until we get the right guy as Pope.

Despite all this I still feel a calling.

What are your thoughts? Advice? Warnings?


If I was a man and I felt the call to the priesthood or monastic life I'm pretty sure I'd want to be a Jesuit. Possibly a Carmelite, but probably a Jesuit. SO, thumbs up on that score. This is an extraordinary path to consider, and it will take a great deal of discernment. I don't really have any advice to offer, but I do feel that the Church can only benefit from having liberal minded but devout leaders of flocks! I will pray for you :)
Thank you! If things were the way they should be, you'd be able to be ordained.

Jesuits have done a lot of the liberal stuff - they've been behind liberation theology and the Vatican II document on religious liberty - I understand we even almost got one as Pope in 2005. :)
As an academic by profession, I love the Jesuit approach. They have had some great minds, that's for sure.

It saddened me that there was not a braver choice after the death of John Paul II (who was a giant, and I loved him, even if I didn't agree with him always - but who always agrees with their leaders?).
Doctor of Medieval Studies? Are there jobs for that?

Or, are there jobs for that outside of Catholic institutions, particularly one in Toronto?
Not as many as I would like! However, I am about to move to Paris as a postdoctoral researcher :)
Thank you! I'm glad I have an ex-Jesuit to talk to it about as well - he went Episcopalian, still a priest, but cautions me quite a bit.

The Episcopal Church is great - was baptized in it - but I don't see the level of thought in it that RCC has.

I was first inspired by a Jesuit friend, a 91-year-old philosophy professor, sharp and intelligent and liberal!
10-12 as I understand it. They're picky. That's good; we need well-educated priests who have a lot of time to be sure they really want that ordination.