Religion: Extending the Vow

Members of the Society of Jesus are a breed apart, not only as the biggest and most influential men's order in the Roman Catholic Church but also as the group with the famed "fourth vow." All Catholic religious orders require members to take the three age-old oaths of poverty, chastity and obedience, but the Jesuits have a fourth vow all their own: special obedience to the Pope. This vow of fealty has become the focus of the recent struggle by more liberal Jesuits against conservatives in the Vatican and in the Society. Last week the delegates to an unusual General Congregation*...

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