I point out these connections in the hope that understanding them may contribute positively to the emergence of a NEW anti-conservative movement in American culture to combat the old conservative anti-sixties movement that has been around for more than half a century now, as I will explain momentarily.
The present essay is structured into four parts with the following subheadings: (1) Who Is Anthony de Mello, S.J.? (2) Who Is Robert Moore? (3) Connecting Anthony de Mello's Thought with Robert Moore's Thought; and (4) Anthony de Mello's View of How Change Occurs (When It Does Occur).
(1) Who Is Anthony de Mello, S.J.?
Anthony de Mello, SJ, was a Jesuit in
When the Jesuits engaged in re-examining the historical events surrounding the founding of the Jesuit order by St. Ignatius Loyola and his early companions, they learned much more about how St. Ignatius Loyola had conducted retreats when he directed people making retreats following the so-called "spiritual exercises" that he eventually compiled in the book titled the SPIRITUAL EXERCISES. Talk about truth in advertising -- the title of this book tells us accurately what the book consists of -- instructions for so-called "spiritual exercises." But what are spiritual exercises? Spiritual exercises are ways to meditate and contemplate, say, a certain biblical passage. The book contains instructions about how to proceed to meditate, including the instruction to apply one's senses to meditating about a certain biblical passage by imagining the scene visually, imagining the smells, imagining the sounds, and so on. To spell out the obvious, this kind of meditation involves the use of imagery and of one's imagination. By contrast, certain other kinds of meditation such as Buddhist meditation involve emptying the mind of imagery and quieting the imagination.
Tony de Mello was part of the heady experience of Jesuits at the time in renewing how they went about giving and taking retreats following the SPIRITUAL EXERCISES of St. Ignatius Loyola. As part of their standard course of training, Jesuits-in-training twice make 30-day retreats in silence (except for daily conferences with the retreat director) following the SPIRITUAL EXERCISES. Tony de Mello was involved in directing Jesuits who were making 30-day retreats.
As a result of his training in pastoral counseling, in which he had received his Master's degree from Loyola University Chicago in 1964, Tony in time came to the conclusion that many Jesuits were not receiving the full benefits of their retreats because they were not fully functioning emotionally. As a result, he and his team of trained colleagues at the Jesuit retreat center in
In addition to the word-of-mouth publicity that Tony received among Jesuits, he also became widely known for his book SADHANA: A WAY TO GOD: CHRISTIAN EXERCISES IN EASTERN FORM (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1978).
Disclosure: When I myself was in the Jesuits (1979-1987), I attended the preached retreat that Tony gave in
Digression: For a discussion of the times when Tony de Mello came into prominence in American culture, see Philip Jenkins' perceptive book DECADE OF NIGHTMARES: THE END OF THE SIXTIES AND THE MAKING OF THE EIGHTIES AMERICA (2006). Jenkins aptly characterizes the conservative crowd as the anti-sixties group, because to this day they have used the sixties as a rallying cry of what they stand opposed to. The anti-sixties group represents the conservative zeitgeist that swept across much of American culture in reaction to the sixties. Remember that the Second Vatican Council, mentioned above, occurred in the sixties (1962-1965). As a result, American Catholics in the anti-sixties group tended to resist and criticize at least certain changes that had come about as the result of Vatican II. For a broader discussion of the sixties, see Mark Kurlansky's book 1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD (2004). In
In any event, Tony de Mello died suddenly in the Jesuit residence at
The 25th anniversary of Tony de Mello's sudden death was commemorated by the publication in
Years after Tony had died, as Bill deMello ably explains in his book, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) issued an official
Anand Nayak, a theologian and a former Jesuit from
(2) Who is Robert Moore?