American Catholics in Transition

American Catholics in Transition

by William V. D'Antonio, Michele Dillon, Mary L. Gautier
     
 

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The American Catholic Church has received much negative press in recent years, from priest abuse scandals to the investigation of nuns. But the heart of the church runs much deeper than these challenges, and the Catholic faith in America continues to evolve. American Catholics in Transition paints a vibrant picture of the diverse church today, outlining changes in the… See more details below

Overview

The American Catholic Church has received much negative press in recent years, from priest abuse scandals to the investigation of nuns. But the heart of the church runs much deeper than these challenges, and the Catholic faith in America continues to evolve. American Catholics in Transition paints a vibrant picture of the diverse church today, outlining changes in the past as well as looking toward continuity and change in the future. The book looks at provocative topics facing Catholics today, including views on church authority, women’s’ role in the church, how Catholicism interacts with politics, how millennials and Hispanics are shaping the church, and more.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
D'Antonio (sociology, Catholic Univ. of America), Michele Dillon (sociology, Univ. of New Hampshire), and Mary Gautier (Ctr. for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown Univ.) report on 25 years of surveys (1987–2011) of American Catholics that the authors undertook at six-year intervals. D'Antonio and colleagues have reported cumulatively on these surveys previously (e.g., American Catholics Today in 2007). They begin here with a description of the surveys over the years. Since the first one, Catholics have remained at about 25 percent of the country's population, but this is because of the influx of Hispanic immigrants. At the same time, 16 million to 20 million people born Catholic no longer identify as such. Faith in the fundamentals has remained strong, but the view of the church's moral authority has changed, and women are less committed to the church. VERDICT A well-written study that makes no judgments but does interpret the data to give a telling portrait of the state of the Catholic Church in America, this volume will appeal to those who like to be given the facts and come to their own conclusions. Peter McDonough's The Catholic Labyrinth, reviewed below, offers a more detailed (and opinionated) study of both conservative and liberal U.S. Catholic organizations seeking change in the church.—Augustine J. Curley, Newark Abbey, NJ
US Catholic
The Catholic Church in the United States has had its fair share of setbacks which are covered extensively by the press. Through these challenges, American Catholics have continued to evolve the roots of the Catholic faith and have focused on creating a brighter future for the church. American Catholics in Transition invites readers to discuss challenging topics—such as the role of women and politics and the church—to understand the diverse church better.
Voice of Reason
This report on a fifth national survey of American Catholic opinion shows both continuity and change. Internal church matters and public policy issues are considered. A decided preference for individual conscience over church authority and a continued decline in weekly church attendance are notable.
Catholic Books Review
American Catholics in Transition, the fifth in a series of books on the American Catholic laity, is the continuation of a tradition of excellent scholarly work on a pertinent and timely topic. The book is a concise, nontechnical but rigorous portrait of the American Catholic laity . . . the book provides a historical arc, and sets the generations within a cultural and historical context.
CHOICE
D'Antonio, Dillon, and Gautier have written a report on the fifth survey (administered in 2010) in a series of opinion polls of the American Catholic laity that started in 1987. Responses were analyzed by generation, gender, and ethnicity, with attention to the increasing impact of Hispanic Catholics. Many trends established in the earlier studies have stayed on the same trajectory, with a few changes. Core beliefs remain strong, the magisterium carries relatively little weight with the laity, and certain areas (the importance of the sacraments, Mary the Mother of God, and helping the poor) continue to differentiate Catholics from others. On the other hand, a decreasing commitment on the part of American women to the church is evident. Hispanics often are more traditional in their responses, but the authors do not discuss whether this will change with economic and cultural assimilation. The study is clear and readable. The authors clearly have a bias toward what one might call the 'progressive' direction in American Catholicism. At times one can see that a different grouping of the data would present a different picture. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.
America: The National Catholic Review
Catholic leaders and rank-and-file members alike could learn much from this book about the internal life of the church. Readers who are not Catholic but wish to know more about the makeup and trajectory of the largest religious denomination in the country will also find the discussion accessible. . . . The authors are careful to emphasize which beliefs have remained largely consistent throughout this time of major generational and demographic change. Although most Catholics in the United States do not see a commitment to priestly celibacy or opposition to same-sex marriage and birth control as very important aspects of their religious faith, there is widespread agreement on certain core tenets of theological belief: the Resurrection, the special status of Mary as the mother of God and the obligation to aid the poor. In an era of growing divisiveness over policy issues and church governance, this finding will no doubt be reassuring to American Catholics of all generations and ethnic backgrounds.
Conscience
American Catholics in Transition presents findings from the most recent Catholics performed by sociologist William V. D'Antonio and collaborators. ... The results of this latest survey, couples with those from previous surveys, provide a rich database that allows the reader to follow the faith experience of US Catholics. ... D'Antonio's work provides a great service to Catholics in the US, for he not only reminds the reader of the strong doctrinal support for lay leadership, but more importantly documents the committed faith, and the social and political capital, to be found within the laity. ... American Catholics in Transition is a strong body of work that reflects both the expertise and the love D'Antonio and his collaborators have for the church. With both affection and skill, they have captured the promise and challenges of the contemporary Catholic church. The book also clearly reflects that we are a community in transition, whose future will be significantly different than our past.
Theological Studies
The fifth monograph-length installment of survey-based research on American Catholics reaching back a quarter of a century, this book offers readers much by way of nuanced, clearly explained data. . . . Three strengths—and accompanying 'growing edges'—are particularly on display here. First, narratively speaking, while based on survey data and thus reflective of a single moment in time, the authors adeptly situate their findings within a broader framework. . . . Analytically speaking, the authors overcome the tendency to treat 'American Catholicism' in monolithic terms by effectively employing various 'in-group' comparisons. . . . Finally, methodologically speaking, the authors attain a 'best of both worlds' scenario by maximizing the benefits of their survey method while minimizing its potential liabilities.
U.S. Catholic
The Catholic Church in the United States has had its fair share of setbacks which are covered extensively by the press. Through these challenges, American Catholics have continued to evolve the roots of the Catholic faith and have focused on creating a brighter future for the church. American Catholics in Transition invites readers to discuss challenging topics—such as the role of women and politics and the church—to understand the diverse church better.
Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review
American Catholics in Transition is an important and timely monograph for scholars of religion and social change; a useful tool for ministers in understanding the complexities of their congregations; and a model for the presentation and analysis of survey research. D’Antonio, Dillon, and Gautier not only review the trends of change and continuity among American Catholics, they also make sense of them and boldly point out critical issues related to the infrastructure and mission of the U.S. Catholic Church in the years to come.
American Catholic Studies
This book is a much-anticipated piece in the growing sociological literature on Catholicism in the United States. It is a book that is accessible for undergraduates in courses in sociology and religious studies, while also providing avenues for further research for students in graduate courses in the social sciences, religion and theology. This book is essential for college libraries so that scholars can avail themselves of the findings captured.
Catholic Library World
American Catholics in Transition is a valuable resource for those working within the Catholic Church as well informed citizens asking: what is the state of the Catholic Church in the United States today? The book is most appropriate for college, university, and public libraries.
Contemporary Sociology
American Catholics in Transition addresses what it means to identify as a Catholic in the United States in the contemporary period in a very engaging and thorough manner. The book is well written and filled with great detail based on findings and interpretations from survey data collected in 2011. . . . Publication of American Catholics in Transition could not have been more timely. If the authors continue their research in this area and present their findings in light of the Pope's challenge to the Church, one would expect an intriguing set of new data and interesting findings pertaining to perceptions, identity, commitment, and behavior of American Catholics. A very good database is developing that enables scholars to examine questions about religious life in America. The research and studies by D'Antonio, Dillon, and Gautier have made a significant contribution to the field, this book being the latest. American Catholics in Transition is as much about trends and the changing face of America as it is about Catholics. Sociologists, scholars in American Studies, gender studies, and ethnic studies will find this book loaded with rich detail and the analysis and interpretation to be compelling.
Timothy Matovina
Professor D'Antonio and various collaborators have conducted the only regular series of national surveys that collectively illuminate changes and continuities among American Catholics over the past quarter century. I was especially pleased to see that this fifth volume in the series appropriately presents the most extensive treatment of Hispanic Catholics to date.
Jerome P. Baggett
The topography of American Catholicism is variegated, ever-winding and rife with often unexpected vistas of both persistence and change. For those wanting to explore it, American Catholics in Transition—marked by impressive detail, analytical nuance and plain good sense—is without doubt the indispensable guide.
From the Publisher
Vatican II, in method and message, called us to pay attention to the particular—the local church, the worshiping community, the griefs and joys of our time. American Catholics in Transition helps pastoral leaders to more fully understand those to whom they minister in their concrete particularity. The differences of commitment and belief based on gender, generation and ethnicity which the authors describe call for diverse pastoral responses. Ministry with young adults and Hispanics, two groups with whom creative initiatives are especially needed, would be enriched by the understanding provided here. Fox, Zeni
Lisa Cahill
Assumptions and assertions about 'Catholics' or 'the Church' or 'the Catholic vote' need to be—but often are not—backed by the facts. Facts are what American Catholics in Transition supplies in abundance, with sometimes surprising results. The authors' clearly stated and provocative interpretations of data yield an invaluable window onto U.S. Catholicism, past, present, and to come. This is an engrossing as well as important book for scholars, people working in or on Catholic institutions and culture, and for anyone who wants to follow the role of Roman Catholicism in U.S. society and politics.
Hosffman Ospino
Catholics in the United States welcomed the twenty-first century amidst major cultural and demographic transitions that are profoundly redefining the American Catholic Experience. For three decades the surveys of American Catholics have offered the Church in this country a tremendous service in helping her to understand these important transitions. The New Evangelization demands that we understand the context in which we live and share our faith. American Catholics in Transition is an excellent resource for scholars of U.S. Catholicism and pastoral leaders to do precisely that.
Chester Gillis
In American Catholics in Transition survey and analysis confirms that Catholics remain consistently committed to core doctrinal teachings but increasingly distance themselves from moral teachings and institutional structures. The two most disturbing trends are women’s decreasing identification with the Church and the millennial generation’s independence from Catholicism in particular and organized religion in general.
Hosffman 'spino
Catholics in the United States welcomed the twenty-first century amidst major cultural and demographic transitions that are profoundly redefining the American Catholic Experience. For three decades the surveys of American Catholics have offered the Church in this country a tremendous service in helping her to understand these important transitions. The New Evangelization demands that we understand the context in which we live and share our faith. American Catholics in Transition is an excellent resource for scholars of U.S. Catholicism and pastoral leaders to do precisely that.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442219939
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
05/09/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

Chester Gillis
In American Catholics survey and analysis confirms that Catholics remain consistently committed to core doctrinal teachings but increasingly distance themselves from moral teachings and institutional structures. The two most disturbing trends are women’s decreasing identification with the Church and the millennial generation’s independence from Catholicism in particular and organized religion in general.
Zeni Fox
Vatican II, in method and message, called us to pay attention to the particular – the local church, the worshipping community, the griefs and joys of our time. American Catholics helps pastoral leaders to more fully understand those to whom they minister in their concrete particularity. The differences of commitment and belief based on gender, generation and ethnicity which the authors describe call for diverse pastoral responses. Ministry with young adults and Hispanics, two groups with whom creative initiatives are especially needed, would be enriched by the understanding provided here.
Timothy Matovina
D'Antonio and various collaborators have conducted the only regular series of national surveys that collectively illuminate changes and continuities among American Catholics over the past quarter century. I was especially pleased to see that this fifth volume in the series appropriately presents the most extensive treatment of Hispanic Catholics to date.
Hosffman Ospino
Catholics in the United States welcomed the twenty-first century amidst major cultural and demographic transitions that are profoundly redefining the American Catholic Experience. For three decades the surveys of American Catholics have offered the Church in this country a tremendous service in helping her to understand these important transitions. The New Evangelization demands that we understand the context in which we live and share our faith. American Catholics: Persisting and Change is an excellent resource for scholars of U.S. Catholicism and pastoral leaders to do precisely that.
Lisa Cahill
Assumptions and assertions about "Catholics" or "the Church" or "the Catholic vote" need to be — but often are not — backed by the facts. Facts are what American Catholics supplies in abundance, with sometimes surprising results. The authors' clearly stated and provocative interpretations of data yield an invaluable window onto U.S. Catholicism, past, present, and to come. This is an engrossing as well as important book for scholars, people working in or on Catholic institutions and culture, and for anyone who wants to follow the role of Roman Catholicism in U.S. society and politics.
Jerome P. Baggett
The topography of American Catholicism is variegated, ever-winding and rife with often unexpected vistas of both persistence and change. For those wanting to explore it, American Catholics – marked by impressive detail, analytical nuance and plain good sense – is without doubt the indispensable guide.

Read More

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