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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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Ministry and the Meaning of Priesthood

Ministry and the Meaning of Priesthood

(p.185) Chapter Eight Ministry and the Meaning of Priesthood
Passionate Uncertainty

Peter McDonough

Eugene C. Bianchi

University of California Press

Much of the energy of the Society of Jesus has been devoted to coping with demographic and institutional decline. The numerous mission statements, issued by the Society's general congregations, redirect Jesuits toward a commitment to social justice, collaboration with the laity, and a dialogue with contemporary culture. These declarations represent an effort to supply a unifying link between renewal of the interior life and ministerial effectiveness across the various areas in which Jesuits are active, against a backdrop of falling numbers. This chapter moves from the psychological toward the strategic dimensions of ministry. It looks at the main programmatic shifts—collaboration with the laity and the priority to social justice—that the Society has adopted in order to give direction to its collective ventures. The relationship between these agendas is not altogether harmonious, and the ligatures they are supposed to provide between the therapeutic and institutional goals of the Jesuit enterprise sometimes pull apart.

Keywords:   mission statements, ministerial effectiveness, social justice, institutional goals, Jesuit enterprise

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