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Men Astutely Trained

The social revolution of the '60s, the exodus from ethnic neighborhoods and parishes, and the Jesuits' own success in preparing their students for mainstream middle class diluted their stern influence on this newly secularized Catholic world. McDonough shows how these phenomena have changed not only American society, but the Jesuits themselves.
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In shaping his extensive research, writes McDonough, who teaches political science at Arizona State University, his focus has been ``the ambiguous meeting between a `nation with the soul of a church' and a religious organization with a commitment to the mundane.'' From the turn of the century to the 1960s, American members of the Society of Jesus retained a firm sense of mission, as seen in the Jesuit-run schools and universities that flourished throughout the U.S. and in their nationwide prominence, not just as priests and educators but as scholars, journalists, labor leaders and social innovators. In the wake of the religious revolution launched by the Second Vatican Council, however, the Society not only lost members but experienced internecine conflicts regarding its direction. McDonough's weighty narrative, bolstered with personal accounts of priests, is a significant, often eye-opening contribution to our understanding of the American Jesuits' recent history. ( Dec. )

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