The American Jesuits: A History

By Raymond A. Schroth | Go to book overview

10
At War

“I'll Meet Him in Hell”

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when George Dunne spontaneously told his provincial he wanted to enlist as a chaplain, the provincial told him he had already recruited three, and that's all he could afford. The impulse to be a chaplain was another lingering spirit from the Society's first century, of the zeal to be a missionary, to throw oneself into a situation that demanded the most generosity, and in which one might be killed.

The missionary zeal was a constant until after Vatican II, when the purpose of mission work shifted from conversion to inculturation. The French, Spanish, Italian, and other missionaries sent to the Indians risked their lives because they were convinced the native people would never see heaven unless they were baptized; so the goal was to change them—socially and culturally—even give them an economy that would enable them to lead good Christian lives. More recent theology calls for adapting to a culture, absorbing its wisdom, truly respecting, for instance, Eastern religions as a means toward salvation.

But the challenge to military service usually comes only once in a generation; and in the 20th century the notion that one has not lived if he has not shared in his generation's war has hung over Jesuits as over any young man of age during World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Daniel Lord, who could tell us he would have refused to don a uniform and kill another human being, also was embarrassed during World War I to appear in public in a cassock when other men his age were on the battlefields in France.

But, as we saw during the Civil War, for those who volunteered as chaplains, even stronger than patriotism was the conviction that young men must not die without a chance, even at the last minute, to be reconciled to God. True, 17th-century Jesuits accompanied the Spanish Army in imperialistic expeditions into the New World to

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The American Jesuits: A History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xi
  • Part I - In the Beginning 1
  • Prologue: The First Sight 3
  • 1: The World Scene 15
  • 2: The Maryland Tradition 21
  • 3: The Pioneers 28
  • Part II - Suppression and Return 47
  • 4: Death and Resurrection 49
  • 5: The New America 58
  • 6: A Nation and Faith Divided 77
  • 7: Schoolmasters and Preachers 86
  • 8: The Turning Point 102
  • Part III - Engaging the World 113
  • 9: The Social Question 115
  • 10: At War 131
  • 11: The Cold War 146
  • 12: The Golden Age 170
  • Part IV - The Modern Society Emerges 197
  • 13: Freedom from Fear 199
  • 14: The Arrupe Era 217
  • 15: Into the 21st Century 259
  • Notes and Sources 285
  • Select Bibliography 297
  • Index 307
  • About the Author 313
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