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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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Low-Profile Politics

Low-Profile Politics

(p.262) Chapter Eleven Low-Profile Politics
Passionate Uncertainty

Peter McDonough

Eugene C. Bianchi

University of California Press

Jesuits are at a critical juncture in the evolution of Catholicism. A hollowing-out of traditional beliefs and customs is apparent. Prohibitions against discussing possible alternatives and solutions—the ordination of women, the authorization of a married clergy, and the like—compound the problem of organizational debility. The patterns—the low profile, the conservative, and the ambivalent—are coping mechanisms, enabling Jesuits to get on with their lives with a sense of fulfillment, even if they are hobbled by doubt or resentment. A complex of structural changes has shattered the social and cultural terrain of Catholicism and has undermined the feasibility of a restorationist revival. The gist of such interpretations is the dual nature of the crisis facing the Society: a steady decline in membership and the damage wreaked by a reactionary Vatican.

Keywords:   low profile, conservative, structural changes, Catholicism, organizational debility

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