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Shapiro, E.R. (2019). Wesley Carr, Religious Institutions, and Institutional Integrity. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 19(1):103-111.

(2019). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 19(1):103-111

Speaking Out

Wesley Carr, Religious Institutions, and Institutional Integrity

Edward R. Shapiro, M.D.

Wesley Carr devoted his life to the Church of England, using group relations theory to frame some of his thinking. He saw the primary task of religious institutions as containing irrationality and dependency on behalf of society. This article offers a summary of Wesley's central ideas, with an extended illustration of his management (as Dean of Westminster) of Princess Diana's funeral. The private and public mourning of millions around the world during and after this funeral is an example of the way religious institutions can respond to the needs of society by helping to manage the boundary transitions of life and death. The rituals of religion during such transitions can help individuals move beyond narrow subgroup identifications to discover their membership in a larger human community. For Wesley Carr, integrity meant to commit all of oneself to an institution's primary task, negotiated with and on behalf of others, that connects to a transcendent set of ideals and beliefs.

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