Author Q&A: William O’Malley SJ (The Fifth Week)

William O’Malley is a professor of theology at Matteo Ricci College, Seattle University. His books include Why be Catholic?, Meeting the Living God and Building Your Own Conscience. For my review of his Jesuit classic The Fifth Week, click here.

What do your writing days look like?

Depends if I’m teaching and how many classes. Two—nothing except Saturdays. One, maybe morning or afternoon. Summer, daily, except Sundays—and I stop at dinner every day. Otherwise you lose perspective. The point is, I can’t not write.

If you were writing The Fifth Week now, who would be your Jesuits of the Present?

Famous? Jim Martin, Bob Drinan , Arrupe, Greg Boyle of Homeboys, Jack Halligan, Bill Cain the film director.

Do people still ask whether you’ve never gotten laid?*

Psst! I’m 83! And wrinkled as an albino California raisin.

Which book would you recommend to readers who want to know more about the Jesuits?

John O’Malley (no relation): The First Jesuits.

Sum up the Jesuit identity in five words or less.

Gospel, Exercises, humanity, adaptability, forgiveness.

What is your favourite text by St. Ignatius?

There’s only one that counts.

* Cf. The Fifth Week, p. 183

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