But what struck me most was this paragraph:
In my experience as superior in the Society, to be honest, I have not always behaved in that way—that is, I did not always do the necessary consultation. And this was not a good thing. My style of government as a Jesuit at the beginning had many faults. That was a difficult time for the Society: an entire generation of Jesuits had disappeared. Because of this I found myself provincial when I was still very young. I was only 36 years old. That was crazy. I had to deal with difficult situations, and I made my decisions abruptly and by myself. Yes, but I must add one thing: when I entrust something to someone, I totally trust that person. He or she must make a really big mistake before I rebuke that person. But despite this, eventually people get tired of authoritarianism.
It’s pretty common for Church dignitaries to talk about the
crisis of vocations, but I don’t remember ever hearing one talk
about the missing generation. Pope Francis was born in 1936, so
he would have been 36 in 1972. This was exactly the period when I
was going home to Fall River and hearing that all the dynamic
young nuns and priests I’d known in high school (I graduated from
high school in 1968) had left.
Andrew Greeley and others have documented what a problem it is
to find good bishops if you restrict yourself to the minority of
priests who agree with the official position of the church on
contraception. But I hadn’t before thought about the problem of
finding people to promote when everyone you would normally be
thinking about promoting was leaving the priesthood.