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New Generations of Catholic SistersThe Challenge of Diversity$
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Mary Johnson, Patricia Wittberg, and Mary L. Gautier

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199316847

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199316847.001.0001

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Priest and Prophet

Priest and Prophet

Tensions in the Theories and Practices of Religious Life

(p.41) Chapter 3 Priest and Prophet
New Generations of Catholic Sisters

Mary Johnson

Patricia Wittberg

Mary L. Gautier

Oxford University Press

After a brief summary of the recent Vatican-initiated investigations of Catholic sisterhoods in the United States, the chapter draws on the theories and writings of sociologist Max Weber about the inherent tension in every religious system between priestly and prophetic roles. The remainder of the chapter summarizes key Vatican and papal documents on vowed religious life, highlighting how the criteria spelled out in these documents differ from documents written by the members and leadership of religious institutes. The conceptual vagueness of many of the terms used by each side has implications for the ability of religious institutes to articulate and promulgate their distinctive identities.

Keywords:   Catholicism, Catholic sisters, Vatican, Max Weber, priestly role, prophetic role, religious identity

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