American Catholics Today

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Overview

The Catholic Church has had a tumultuous recent history, in the wake of the election of a new pope and sex abuse scandals, and the views of Catholic lay people have not stood untouched. What are the effects of these events upon Catholics' beliefs? How do beliefs of older and younger generations of Catholics differ? Using key Gallup surveys from 1987 to 2005, this book reveals a rift between Catholics born before and after Vatican II and suggests that the future will find more Catholics making decisions about their own faith and fewer who are fervently committed to church life. This discussion is vital to anyone concerned with American Catholicism and its future.

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Editorial Reviews

E J. Dionne
If you want to know who Catholics are, how they feel, and what they think, this is the book to read.
Terrence W. Tilley
The most definitive study of American Catholics' beliefs and practices to date! This revealing book is 'must reading' for pastors and teachers who want to understand the lay audience to which they wish to communicate the faith. New, more nuanced, analysis and use of multiple sources for their data make this the best social portrait yet of the Catholic laity and their commitments to their faith and their church.
Chester Gillis
The teachings of the Church are clearly stated and widely known. However, what Catholics actually believe and practice often differs from official teachings and is more difficult to know. This book tells us what contemporary Catholics are thinking about their Church. And it tells us in detail, by generation, how committed and active they are in their belonging. Younger Catholics relate to the Church differently from older Catholics and the future does not look like the past. Anyone who has responsibility in the Church-from the bishops to the parishioners-will benefit from reading this book whether or not one likes the data and conclusions. To form Catholics in their faith, it is important to be informed by Catholics themselves. While the Church does not formulate its doctrine according to sociological data, it would be wise to pay attention to such data when it constructs its policies.
Sr. Sharon A. Euart
American Catholics Today offers a clear snapshot of what it means to be Catholic at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Built on twenty years of church research, American Catholics Today is a must-read for Church leaders who wish to respond creatively to the pastoral challenges facing the Church in the U.S. today. An invaluable, informative and insightful resource for exploring questions of Catholic identity, commitment, church authority, leadership and lay participation in the Church!
(Www.Curledup.Com) Curled Up With A Good Book
Will be of interest to those involved in Church leadership and those interested in what Catholics think about various topics.
Conscience - Aisha S. Taylor
The book presents the important findings of the survey in clearly labeled tables for quick reference and the data are described in a readable style that will quickly draw in those interested in American Catholicism.
Charles Zech
Once again, four of the premier observers of contemporary Catholic life in the United States have combined their considerable expertise to provide a thoughtful view of lay Catholic attitudes. Through the data that they have collected, but more importantly through their insightful analysis of that data, they have provided an invaluable snapshot of the U.S. Catholic Church in the early years of the third millennium. As with their previous books, this book is must reading for anyone who cares about the Church, especially those in leadership positions.
John A. Coleman S.J.
I know — bar none — of no better overview anywhere else than American Catholics Today for presenting carefully garnered data and astute interpretations about what American Catholics think about church authority; core belief items; moral issues, such as serving the poor or abortion; politics; how gender, generation or political beliefs effect Catholic religious practice. This volume will be a valued and indispensable constant companion for all thoughtful students of American religion, sociology of religion or pastoral workers in the Catholic Church in America.
Dr. Michael J. McCallion
This book is unique among social science books on Catholicism in that it offers analysis of survey data documenting trends over the past eighteen years as well as interweaving a number of other sociological studies that clarify and corroborate their findings. This is a most important book for all church leaders to read and discuss whatever their liberal or conservative persuasions might be.
From the Publisher
American Catholics Today is a rich resource for nurturing the pastoral imagination, inviting response to "good news" such as the stability of Catholic identity, and the "bad news" of diminishing commitment to the Church. Ordained and lay leaders will find many challenges in such trends as the increasing dependence on individual conscience, diminished trust in bishops, low involvement of young adults in church life and the growing desire for greater lay participation in decision-making. Fox, Zeni
American Catholic Studies - 2008
Amidst this turmoil, American Catholics Today, the latest in a series of surveys of American Catholics conducted since 1980s by William D'Antonio, James Davidson, Dean Hoge, and Mary Gautier, offers both reassurance and a call to action. As in their previous books, D'Antonio et al. provide an easy-to-read descriptive account based on a broad swath of data examining Catholics' beliefs and doctrinal attitudes, and their commitment to the church and to a Catholic identity.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion - March 2008
The study is extremely valuable.
Rite, November/December 2007 - November/December 2007
Cogent and challenging conclusions are offered. Readers will be challenged to explore how the book's findings relate in each ministry setting and to determine how to act to strengthen Catholic identity and commitment.
February 2009 America
What makes this book so enlightening is...the inclusion of personal stories that put some flesh on the bones of the bare data.
E. J. Dionne
If you want to know who Catholics are, how they feel, and what they think, this is the book to read.
America
We recommend American Catholics Today to anyone who wants to know what Catholics are really thinking!
2008 American Catholic Studies
Amidst this turmoil, American Catholics Today, the latest in a series of surveys of American Catholics conducted since 1980s by William D'Antonio, James Davidson, Dean Hoge, and Mary Gautier, offers both reassurance and a call to action. As in their previous books, D'Antonio et al. provide an easy-to-read descriptive account based on a broad swath of data examining Catholics' beliefs and doctrinal attitudes, and their commitment to the church and to a Catholic identity.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2008 - .
The study is extremely valuable.
Conscience
The book presents the important findings of the survey in clearly labeled tables for quick reference and the data are described in a readable style that will quickly draw in those interested in American Catholicism.
— Aisha S. Taylor
Commonweal
The book's portrait of U.S. Catholics is based on impressive research and is presented with eminent fairness.
National Catholic Reporter
We think the studies are important to understanding the church in the United States. Some of the findings, however, could be disturbing to church leaders and others who would rather ignore the evidence and continuing imagining a church that doesn't exist.
America
We recommend American Catholics Today to anyone who wants to know what Catholics are really thinking!
American Catholic Studies
Amidst this turmoil, American Catholics Today, the latest in a series of surveys of American Catholics conducted since 1980s by William D'Antonio, James Davidson, Dean Hoge, and Mary Gautier, offers both reassurance and a call to action. As in their previous books, D'Antonio et al. provide an easy-to-read descriptive account based on a broad swath of data examining Catholics' beliefs and doctrinal attitudes, and their commitment to the church and to a Catholic identity.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
American Catholics Today is an important book, both for the number of findings about U.S. Catholics from preceeding studies, which it confirms, and for the new findings, which it reveals for the first time. . . . In summary, therefore, I believe that the authors have done the church an invaluable service by writing this book.
— March 2008
Catholic Library World
The study is extremely valuable.
— March 2008
Rite
Cogent and challenging conclusions are offered. Readers will be challenged to explore how the book's findings relate in each ministry setting and to determine how to act to strengthen Catholic identity and commitment.
— November/December 2007
Library Journal

Frightening for some and liberating for others, the Catholic Church is at a crossroads to a vibrant future. This timely and thought-provoking book carefully interprets 18 years of gathered evidence and prognostications about the next generation of Catholicism in America. Gallup polls were conducted in 1987, 1993, 1999, and 2005 focusing on trends in Catholic thinking-specifically, how Catholics participate in their faith and what attitudes characterize their practice. D'Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, and Mary L. Gautier are outstanding academics fully qualified to take the raw survey data and posit plausible conclusions. Here, they offer convincing evidence that American Catholicism is changing in the minds and hearts of every Catholic congregation. Blind adherence to statements and directives from church hierarchy is being supplanted by intelligent and socially committed folks taking responsibility for their own faith development. This wonderful book is essential reading for all those involved in church leadership and for the ordinary person in the pew. Enlightening, challenging, and threatening, it is recommended for all libraries.
—John-Leonard Berg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742552142
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 3/26/2007
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

William V. D'Antonio is Fellow of the Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University of America. James D. Davidson is professor of sociology at Purdue University. Dean R. Hoge is Fellow of the Life Cycle Institute, Catholic University of America. Mary Gautier is senior research associate and research associate professor at CARA, Georgetown University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Catholic Laity, Catholic Faith, and the Catholic Church Chapter 2 Catholic Identity: Analysis and Trends Chapter 3 American Catholics' Commitment to the Institutional Church Chapter 4 The Sacraments: Trends and Variations Chapter 5 Problems Facing the Catholic Church Chapter 6 American Catholics and Church Authority Chapter 7 Church Leadership and Lay Involvement Chapter 8 Religion and Politics among American Catholics Chapter 9 Conclusions: Summary and Implications Part 10 Appendix A -Catholic Education Part 11 Appendix B - Hispanic Catholics Part 12 Appendix C - The 2005 Gallup Survey

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