Religion: John Paul Takes On the Jesuits

The Pope picks his own team to head the powerful order

The Jesuits swear an oath of obedience to the papacy but, throughout their 441-year history, their independent ways and elitist style have ruffled many Popes. John Paul II, no stranger to controversy, last week took a bold step to bridle the Society of Jesus. In a move interpreted as a warning to all religious orders, he suspended the normal workings of the Jesuit Constitutions, removed the acting leader of the organization and replaced him with two Italian Jesuits who enjoy the Vatican's confidence: Paolo Dezza, 79, and Joseph Pittau, 53.

John Paul...

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