Jesuit leaders say they will implement at least some of the directives given to the Roman Catholic order by Pope John Paul II but left unclear their position on specific criticisms leveled by the pope.
The Jesuit provincial superiors made the pledge this week in a communique summing up their nine-day meeting, held in a villa near Rome, that ended Wednesday.
The communique did not go into the leaders' response to the pope's insistence that the 27,000 members of the 442-year-old Society of Jesus stick to their priestly role and not try to operate around the world as social workers, union organizers or political activists.
"On their return to their countries," the communique said, "the provincials will inform their brother Jesuits about the content of the meeting and will put into effect the directives given by the Holy Father . . . ."
The communique by the 110 conference delegates also confirmed there would be a general congregation this year to elect a leader to replace the Rev. Pedro Arrupe, incapacitated by a stroke last year.
Following Arrupe's stroke, the pope bypassed the Jesuit constitution and appointed the Rev. Paolo Dezza, 80, as temporary head.
That appointment was deeply resented in some quarters, particularly among progressive Jesuits in North America, France and West Germany.
The communique also endorsed the pope's reference to the Jesuits' accomplishing their mission "with renewed vigor according to the expectations of the church and the world."
But it gave no clear idea of how the delegates responded to the pope's injunction that the Jesuits, for centuries used as the pope's religious "shock troops," must stick to "priestly services."
"The priest's service is not that of a physician, a social assistant or union leader," the pope told them.
Church sources said that despite the expressions of obedience there was still a mood of defiance by some provincial superiors as they returned home to tell rank-and-file members of the pope's wishes.
In recent years, the Jesuits have worried successive popes by increasing their political activities, notably in Latin America where some have supported various insurgent factions.