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Passionate UncertaintyInside the American Jesuits$
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Peter McDonough and Eugene Bianchi

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230552

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230552.001.0001

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Organizational Dilemmas, Symbolic Conflicts, Structural Problems

Organizational Dilemmas, Symbolic Conflicts, Structural Problems

(p.237) Chapter Ten Organizational Dilemmas, Symbolic Conflicts, Structural Problems
Passionate Uncertainty

Peter McDonough

Eugene C. Bianchi

University of California Press

In religious orders such as the Society of Jesus, practical problems frequently have political undercurrents. When Jesuits and former Jesuits ponder the challenges facing the Society, they rank issues in rough ascending order of seriousness. The first set consists mostly of inside controversies involving strategic decisions about the social justice agenda as compared to other corporate goals. A second cluster of controversies comes loaded with altogether heavier symbolic freight. A third set of challenges bears down almost fatalistically on both the Society and the Vatican from the outside. The clearest illustration of this interconnectedness is the bundle of issues involving the role of women in Catholicism. The convergence of all these conflicts and difficulties—the infighting over apostolic direction, the tension between the order and the hierarchical moralism of Rome, and the onslaught of structural and cultural changes that undermine traditional understandings of the priesthood—puts the Society of Jesus in an extremely tight spot.

Keywords:   social justice, Catholicism, symbolic freight, priesthood, cultural changes

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