The Rev. John C. Haughey, S.J., was mistakenly identified as the Rev. Timothy Healy, S.J., in a photograph on page 3 of Sunday's Style section.
THEY ARE all over, once you begin to look. As they would have to be, considering their numbers. Jesuits in Washington total 214: 189 priests, 16 scholastics (seminarians) and nine brothers. The number of priests is only a little smaller than the full population of non-Jesuit priests throughout the Archdiocese of Washington. The Jesuits of Washington are a part of a national grouping of 5,700 which represents about a fifth of all Jesuits worldwide.
Despite their large numbers in Washington, the popular image of the area's Jesuits has been shaped, however unintentionally, by only a few members.
First, the two presidents: Americans for Democratic Action president the Rev. Robert Drinan, who served in Congress for 10 years but left because the pope didn't want priests in politics, and Georgetown University president the Rev. Timothy Healy, who cites prayers of peace when speaking out for the nuclear freeze but who is scorned by the order's most best known peacemaker, the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, for his coziness with Henry Kissinger, the shah of Iran and the university's cold-warring Center for Strategic and International Studies.
On a level just below, the image of the Jesuit as a well-connected and skillful mover was bolstered by two priests prominent around town in the 1970s but who are no longer here. The Rev. James English was the socially well connected pastor of Holy Trinity parish who spoke publicly of his private counseling of the divorcing Sen. Edward Kennedy and who officiated at a frolicsome wedding at genteel Cat Cay in the Bahamas as one of his last spiritual services before leaving for Boston. Only slightly less dashing was the Rev. John Fitterer, the president from 1971 to 1977 of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. He belonged to the Cosmos Club, where he was a missionary for women's rights by supporting the still-unsuccessful drive to admit female members, and he golfed at one the best country clubs in Bethesda. Fitterer left the order and now lives on the West Coast.
These were men wise to the angles of secular power, which was nothing new to the order. But while this group generated attention, other Jesuits of Washington, have pursued their work, ideals and spirituality in a quieter manner Put together, these pursuits reveal a remarkable and resilient diversity.
The Rev. Philip Land, a writer and economic analyst at the Center of Concern, shows up to help Archbishop James Hickey bless the opening of Rachel's House, a center-city day shelter for homeless women. The Rev. William Callahan, a co-founder of Quixote Center, is currently working extensively on social justice issues in Latin America and writing a book on "noisy contemplation----for those who can't be Trappists, which is nearly all of us." Some Jesuits live simply in residences in upper-class neighborhoods in Northwest Washington. Across town others live in poor neighborhoods in Northeast Washington. One says he is heartened by the emergence of liberation theology in Latin America. Another, lamenting that religion has become "politicized," argues that although liberation theology is advanced "in the name of Catholicism, the form is Marxist."
The diversity is easily enough celebrated, but underneath it is another kind of strength that has kept the varied local communities of Jesuits remarkably free of factions. It is the tradition by which Jesuits keep themselves united with both the Gospel's demands for peace and justice and with the efforts of the order's past saints, martyrs, scholars, missionaries and educators to fulfill the Ignatian goal of doing "all for the greater glory of God."
A beneficial settledness pervades the Jesuits that isn't found in other orders. Most Jesuit's formation lasts 13 years, for one thing, and the order is be deep with expertise in such fields as education and theology for another.
In Washington, the largest concentration of Jesuits (88) is at Georgetown University. It is the oldest, best known (with or without basketball) and most expensive of the nation's 28 Jesuit colleges and universities. Of the 800,000 alumni of these schools, three are in the U.S. Senate (Paul Laxalt, Patrick Leahy, Edward Zorinsky) and 41 are members of the House. The latter include, from left to right, Reps. Toby Moffett and John Burton to Henry Hyde and Robert Dornan. And in the middle Tip O'Neill and Dan Rostenkowski. Jesuit graduates are on the staffs of 30 senators and 94 representatives, as well as 22 Senate and 29 House committees and subcommittees.
If Jesuit products have the political waterfront well covered, Jesuits themselves appear to be fanned out in most parts of the city:
* On Deep Thought Row--sharing the block with the Brookings Institution and across the street from the Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies--a suite of offices at 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW includes the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Jesuit Secondary Association, the Jesuit Missions Inc., and the Jesuit Conference.
* The Woodstock Theological Center, on the campus of Georgetown University, includes the offices of 10 Jesuit research fellows and associates who are specialists in ecumenism, bioethics, third world theology, systematic theology, patristics and ecclesiology.
* The Woodstock Jesuit Community is a three-story attached house at 1419 35th St. that is the residence for 10 Jesuits. Among the indoor tourist attractions is a worksheet on the kitchen bulletin board in which house chores--from taking out the trash to shopping to weeding the garden--are listed.
Other Jesuit residences include Neale House near Dupont Circle (16), Carroll House on Otis Street NE (13), a house at 320 K St. NE (six) and one on Jennifer Sttrret NW. In addition, 32 Jesuits work and live at Gonzaga High School and St. Aloysius parish at 19 I St. NW, 25 at Georgetown Preparatory School in Rockville and seven at Holy Trinity parish in Georgetown.
If the proverbial troop of blind men were to touch the elephant of Jesuit history, the impressions would be of an astonishingly wide range.
To start, there is the order's Basque founder, Inigo Lopez de Loyola, born into a Spanish military family the year before Columbus sailed to America. Before his conversion at 26, following a near-fatal battle injury as a captain of Castille, he was little more than a hot blood out for the fame of soldiering. In Mary Purcell's biography, "The First Jesuit" (Loyola University Press), the saint's early life is described by Father Polanco, his secretary: "Although attached to his faith, his life was not in keeping with his beliefs . . . He did not avoid sin, being particularly without restraint in gaming, affairs with women, duelling and armed frays."
Convalescing from his war wounds--a cannonball broke his right leg and gashed the left--he underwent The Great Change that marks the lives of many male Mediterranean saints from Benedict to Francis. Like Benedict, he set out to live in a cave for a life of bread, water and prayer, and like Francis, he gave to a beggar his satin and velvet clothes. Unlike either, though, his faith had an intellectual side to it. In his mid-thirties, he began writing "The Spiritual Exercises," a book that is a classic of Western literature. Ignatius described the purposes of the "Exercises": "A method in which the soul may prepare and dispose itself to free itself of its disordered affections and, this achieved, set itself to seek and find the will of God concerning the ordering of life, for that soul's salvation."
For 11 years, he studied theology and philosophy, first in Paris, then in Italy. It was not until Ignatius reached his late forties that his ideas and personality attracted followers. They called themselves "the Company of Jesus." One was Francis Xavier, who would become one of Christanity's most acclaimed missionaries. Ignatius was 51 when Pope Paul III approved the Society of Jesus. Mary Purcell writes that the "order was such a novel departure from accepted 16th-century ideas of the religious life that the more traditionally minded, and even some very holy people, were greatly scandalized when the pope approved of an order that had not office prayers in choir and showed other deviations from the rules and practices of the older orders."
Aside from the Exercises and the Jesuit Constitutions, Ignatius at his death in 1556--a time when the rebellions of Luther, Henry VIII and Calvin were beginning to be felt--left still a third legacy: the Gregorian University. In 430 years, it has educated saints, popes (including two of the modern giants, Leo XIII and Paul VI) and hundreds of young American rising-stars from Notre Dame's Theodore Hesburgh to Washington's James Hickey, both not Jesuits. When Cardinal Newman looked in on the Gregorian in 1848, he wrote that "the Jesuits are the real men of Rome."
No order has been more influential in the development of the modern church. Nor more persecuted. British kings ordered Jesuits killed in Ireland in the late 16th century. Similarly Jesuits were martyred by Protestants in England. The New Catholic Encyclopedia reports that more than 1,000 Jesuits have been killed since their founding. They were attacked by Voltaire, Rousseau and Madame Pompadour, declared illegal in France and banned from Switzerland. The most recent Jesuits to be killed were Rutilio Grande in El Salvador in 1977, Joao Bosco Burnier in Brazil in 1976 and three British Jesuits in Rhodesia in 1976. That each of these was accused of being aligned with Marxism is a twist. The encyclopedia notes that "Whenever Communists have gained control of governments in the 20th century, Jesuits have been among the first to suffer."
If Jesuits have trouble today, as reflected by the hard glances of their Polish pope, they are traceable to the early 1960s and the Second Vatican Council. Many were the bishops experts who provided theological and liturgical arguments for reform.
In late February and early March, meetings in Rome between Pope John Paul II and more than 100 Jesuit leaders began with a tension that suggests a blowup could occur. But whatever the melodrama of last month, a public display of papal power never came. John Paul, not taking off on his comment of two years ago on the order's "regrettable shortcomings," urged the Jesuits to continue to be "valiant and devoted sons. Popes have trust in them in the past, and the Pope wishes to place his trust in them in the future."
Jesuit diversity can be deceptive, creating the impression that the order is all motion and no repose. Few Washington Jesuits better confound this than the Rev. Horace McKenna of St. Aloysius. Now 83 and slowing slightly, he has been a Jesuit under seven popes. With this proven ability to outlast the vicars of Christ, Fr. McKenna preferred to talk the other afternoon in his room less about Vatican-Jesuit politics than about the politics of hunger. Much of his 65 years of religious service----in parishes in Southern Maryland and core-city Washington----has been devoted in some way to going beyond the delivery of spiritual food by helping families get food for the next meal.
"I just think we have to have to some hunger marches, that's all," he began. "We need something to make this man President Reagan realize that he's spending our food money on armaments." The priest said he was delighted that some of the homeless poor had set up tents in Lafayette Square across from the White House and called it Reaganville: "Reaganville is going to be everywhere."
Four years ago, McKenna was persuaded by his brothers to put on tape his "autobiographical recordings." Though this informal history, McKenna's stories vividly capture his enthusiasm for the Jesuit life and his passionate love of God. The chapters begin with the traditional salutation that is now all but vanished from religious texts: "Jesuits, my Savior, my Lord, and my God, I would like to thank You for the chance that You've given me in living Your life, carrying out Your labors and Your suffering, and trying to witness the Resurrection."
But if that is too sugary for some tastes, McKenna would be pleased to have the salt of his often lonely ministry to the poor taken in its place. He tells of being a young theological student in the early 1920s in Maryland when an assignment came to teach Sunday school: "I had 15 children and they were all black, because the white children were free to go to parochial school, which the blacks couldn't enter for about another 15 years. So then I realized what it meant to be deprived, when other people were not. It was a stiff lesson: The experience of not being cared for came to mind, too, because I thought many times a black person can't get the sacraments when he wants them . . . So that really fixed my mind on going back and paying attention to the black people."
The paying hasn't stopped. On a recent Sunday morning at St. Aloysius, he came into the lower church where a spiritedly sung mass was being celebrated by a young black Jesuit--the Rev. George Quickley--for a congregation of 150 people that included not only local black families but also several Jesuit priests from the neighborhood. Only 20 years ago, the service would have been stiflingly different: A priest praying in Latin, his back to the worshippers, everything rote, everything joyless. The priests would not be in the pews but would have either said mass alone earlier or would be back in of the rectory away from the people.
Rising to the good feelings that he helped generate through his powerful baritone singing voice, Fr. Quickley recorded what may have been a first in the annals of Catholic fund-raising. He announced that the next collection would be for a mission in India; a Notre Dame sister from the mission was sitting in the sanctuary. But rather than going back to the altar to let the ushers gather the money, the priest reached into his back pocket and pulled out a dollar bill. He raised it high and said that he wanted to be the first to kick in.
In a corner office at Woodstock Theological Center, the Rev. John Haughey was describing parts of his recent schedule: a talk at the National War College at Ft. McNair on the issue of personal conscience in the face of military commands on the use of nuclear weapons, the conducting of a spiritual retreat for the Potter's House church (a community within Washington's nondenominational Church of the Savior), the leading of a day of prayer for the Jesuit community of Georgetown, a meeting with Archbishop Hickey and diocesan officials on the question of nuclear disarmament, a discussion with Woodstock colleagues on the relationship of small-group economics to faith (can faith dictate to the economic system) and counseling some visiting Trappist priests.
Haughey, who is a contributing editor of America magazine, a issue-oriented weekly published by a group of U.S. and Canadian Jesuits, represents the recent movement among American Jesuit intellectuals away from only scholarship into a commitment of service that was precisely explained in the last general meeting of the order in Rome in 1975. "What is it to be a companion of Jesus today? It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the crucial struggles of our time: The struggle for faith and that struggle for justice which it includes.
"The Society of Jesus, gathered together in its 32nd General Congregation, considering the end for which it was founded, namely, the greater glory of God and the service of men, acknowledging with repentence its own failures in keeping faith and upholding justice, and asking itself before Christ crucified what it has done for him, what it is doing for him, and what it is going to do for him, chooses participation in this struggle as the focus that identifies in our time what Jesuits are and do."
Haughey, though not as recognized a theological scholar as others at Woodstock are--such as Avery Dulles and Walter Burghardt--is a steady producer of understandable writing on the relationship between Christianity and the social order. In an essay titled "Jesus as the Justice of God," Haughey wrote "that new things do not become part of the behavior of Christians unless they are seen in the behavior of Jesus after whom devoted Christians pattern themselves. In this case, aspiration for the ideal will be commensurate with their perception of Jesus' call and ministry as one of justice."
After Drinan and Healy,the most visible member of the Society in Washington is the Rev. Richard McSorely. The 68-year-old priest was recently credited by Seattle's Archbishiop Hunthausen for moving him into tax resistence as a protest against American militarism. As with many of his colleagues, McSorely is multi-talented: teacher, theologian, counselor, espouser of gospel peacemaking and writer. It is in the last role that in the past year he has livened the pages of The Catholic Standard, the diocesan weekly.
The McSorely column ranges from urging young men to resist the draft registration to holy, but contained, rage about the naming of a nuclear killer submarine after the Texas city Corpus Christi (body of Christ). Letters-to-the-editor have been running about even for and against McSorely. But he recently troubled some different waters among his brother Jesuits. In December, he wrote in the National Jesuit News that that Catholic colleges had no place allowing ROTC units on their campuses. From St. Louis, the Rev. Robert Henle replied: "The primary purpose of the armed forces of the United States is peace and security, not war . . . " It follows, argued Henle, that "the humane and ethical training of military personnel is especially appropriate for a Catholic university" because such training isn't available elsewhere.
McSorely, who has been at the university 20 of his 50 years as a Jesuit, was a confidant to students who opposed the war during the Vietnam years and is now counseling students on the ways of Christian opposition to the arms race.
Many Georgetown graduates remember what is now regarded as a famous exchange in 1969 at hearings before the House Committee on Internal Security. The investigation involved the Students for a Democratic Society. SDS had given a party and McSorely attended. The dialogue was between then-Rep. William Scherle, a Republican from Iowa, and the Jesuit:
Scherle: Father McSorely, what time was this party?
McSorely: In the evening.
Scherle: Isn't it strange that a member of the clergy would be going to a love-in and party of that nature?
McSorely: I think that love is the teaching of Christ.
Scherle: Well, Father, I think your interpretation of a love-in is a little different than mine.
McSorely: Well, that may be. That may be the reason why I go.
To a man, Jesuits make the effort to bite their tongues when tempted to cut down another Jesuit. An unwritten rule prevails: Never speak ill of another Jesuit, at least not in public. But this fraternal courtesy of silence is a virtue practiced better by some than by others.
An occasion of din is the Rev. James V. Schall, an associate professor in the government department of Georgetown University. When his name arises, many of his fellow Jesuits express anger, dismay or disgust. Schall, who came to Washington in 1977 from California, believes that liberation theology is Marxist. He has written that "the corporation is probably the form by which we are most likely to be able to meet the needs and desires of the poor . . . " A thinker he praises for promoting "a theological basis for wealth production" is George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty, a guidebook of Reaganomics. Schall lectures the Catholic peace bishops for being "unlettered in the basic tools of actual political experience." He tells them that unilateral disarmament is "quite immoral." Schall says Pope John Paul "outweighs all the bishops and intellectuals in brilliance and in sanity." But the Holy Father does have a fault: He is a bit of an environmentalist, being "at times overly influenced by the ecological bias that values the earth too much."
Schall was one of a number of Jesuits approached for this article, but the only one who declined to be interviewed.
Washington's Jesuits get around, though none as much as Simon Smith, the director of Jesuit Missions. Last year he traveled 50,000 miles to overseas outposts to visit a fair number of the 900 American Jesuits serving on six continents.
Smith, an articulate and well-read progressive who understands Kierkegaard's idea that "faith is a turbulent thing," finds that on returning from Third World countries he becomes something of a missionary himself--to "our highly intellectualized, academicized Jesuit environments."
He wrote recently that "we U. S. Jesuits, especially those of us in higher education, are having a hard time coming to terms with . . . our new Jesuit vision of the relationship of faith and justice." He means specifically that Amrican-based Jesuits are being challenged "to move out of our normal ambience, to displace ourselves, to insert ourselves into new experiences, especially among the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed of our contemporary world."
Smith takes no pride in the fact that the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a rightish think tank, is part of Georgetown University. In his office at 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, Smith spoke freely. "Tim Healy is caught in a crossfire constantly: the CSIS on one hand and enormous criticism (for it) on the other. He has to do something to balance that off, and I believe he's trying to. Healy's doing the best job he can, as he perceives his role. I don't perceive his role the same as he does. I think as a Jesuit running a Jesuit institution the Jesuit priorities should be more visible . . .
"I have Jesuits from Third World conuntries--this is a fact--coming to me and saying, 'Simon, explain to me how is it possible that a Jesuit institution can be doing this. How is it possible that you would accept a Kissinger,' asked an Indian Jesuit. A Latin American Jesuit from Brazil saying, 'what has happened to the Society of Jesus in the United States that this Center for Strategic and International Studies is under our auspices?' I have no answer for that. Oh, I talk about separate incorporation, I talk about academic freedom--as Tim himself does--but that's no real answer to them."
Like their founder, who seldom stayed in one place for long and who counseled his brothers that "our lives are not our own--they belong to Christ and His Church"--Jesuits are trained to be mobile. But during the 1970s, a priest who seemed to be an exception was the Rev. Angelo D'Agostino, one of the order's nine psychiatrists. He taught at George Washington University medical school, had a private practice, grew a Freudian beard and rode around town in a sports car with SJ-MD on the license plates. In the early 1970's, he was a booster of now ex-Jesuit John McLaughlin's unsuccessful Republican bid for the Senate in Rhode Island. McLaughlin turned up later as an aide to Richard Nixon. In all, D'Agostino--a short, bouncy and jovial man--was much-liked, in and out of the order. If anyone had permanence, it was "Dag."
A few weeks ago, a circular "communique' from the field" came to his Washington colleagues. It was from the town of Aru in northeast Zaire, three miles from the Uganda border. D'Agostino is working among the refugees. His mission was to do the advance work for the many Jesuits who have recently volunteered to serve in Africa among the refugees. D'Agostino, when he left his psychiatric practice in the late 1970s, first went to help in the refugee camps in Thailand.
From Aru, Zaire, he wrote: "After an overnight with some very hospitable 'White Fathers,' I hitched an eight-hour bone-bruising ride in a Land Rover over deeply rutted, unpaved roads to the major refugee area even further north. Here I was 'locked in' for some time because the only reasonable way out was by a small U.N. airplane, but it didn't come for 10 days. After visiting the four major refugee sites over a one-week period (again three- or four-hour grueling, jolting rides--no paved roads), I visited the hospital . . . In all my time in Thailand, I did not see one case as bad as the several cases of extreme malnutrition I saw in the pediatric ward. Two- and 3-year-old children, with limbs no thicker than your thumb, looking no larger than 4 or 5 months old yet with the faces of old, old men--Please pray for the fate of these 100,000 starving people. If there is anything I have learned so far regarding the refugees, it is that they are grossly impoverished. Surely, they have no food, no shelter, no clothes, no medicine--but their greatest loss is of hope. They have no idea or hope for what tomorrow will bring, where they are going, or how they will survive, how they will provide for their children, or parents or old people. Put yourself in this situation and you have some slight notion of their plight."
D'Agostino ended his letter with a plea for prayers for the refugees and "any other moral or material support you can provide." He wished everyone a joyous Easter/Passover.