when less is more
By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 29, 2007
"Number of Jesuits Declines, Identity Increases" says the headline of a piece in the Fairfield University newspaper. How do they work that trick? By inverting the meaning of "identity."
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Writer Peter Zysk found that between 2002 and 2005, the percentage of Jesuit faculty members at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. fell from 2.4 percent to 1.7 percent. "This leaves lay faculty with the job of figuring out how to provide a Jesuit education with fewer Jesuits," he wrote in a 2006 article for the Gonzaga Bulletin.
Jesuits themselves are aware of the problem and are rethinking the ministry in terms of partnership with the laity. There is an "opportunity to breed a generation of lay faculty who understand tradition of Jesuits," said Paul Lakeland, director of the center for Catholic studies and himself a former Jesuit.
Got that? A guy who leaves a body of perpetually vowed men helps coach those who remain "to breed" -- curious expression -- a generation of unvowed faculty so as to heighten the identity of the company he deserted. Can't help thinking there's a problem here somewhere.
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