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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.
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.
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