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Toward a NEW Anti-Conservative Movement (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) March 12, 2013: Anthony de Mello, S.J. (1931-1987) was a spiritual director and author and lecturer from India who lectured and gave retreats during the summer in the United States. Robert L. Moore is a Jungian theorist and psychotherapist and faculty member at the Chicago Theological Seminary. So far as I know, nobody else has pointed out the connections between Tony de Mello's thought and Robert Moore's thought that I propose to point out in the present essay.

 

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 India whose Jesuit training included studying in the United States, Spain, and Rome. He lived through the heady times in the Jesuit order following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) in the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican II mandated religious orders to re-examine their original charisms (roughly the spiritual gifts bestowed on the founder of each religious order).

 

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.

 

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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