From Innocence to Experience

Peter McDonough and Eugene C. Bianchi

in Passionate Uncertainty

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520230552
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930773 | DOI:
From Innocence to Experience

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The sexual magisterium of the church is the doctrinal permafrost of Catholicism. This chapter explores the extent and the nature of the transformation in thinking on sexual issues among men associated with the Society of Jesus. In addition to the focus on changes in attitudes toward sexual issues, a central motif is the persistent connection between beliefs about the sexual teaching of the church and attitudes toward ecclesiastical authority. A huge gap has developed between the sexual and moral principles laid down in the official teaching of the church, which has changed scarcely at all since Vatican II, and the pastoral practice of its middle managers, including Jesuits. The starting point for change in attitudes toward sexual-moral controversies is usually innocence rather than outright conservatism—a condition even more pronounced in political and social questions than in sexual matters.

Keywords: Catholicism; sexual issues; conservatism; Jesuits; innocence

Chapter.  9594 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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