American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church

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9780742552159: American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church

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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About 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.

Review:

If you want to know who Catholics are, how they feel, and what they think, this is the book to read. (E. J. Dionne)

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. (Terrence W. Tilley, Professor and Chair, Department of Theology, Fordham University)

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. (Chester Gillis, Georgetown University; author of Roman Catholicism in America)

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! (Sr. Sharon A. Euart, RSM, JCD, Canon Law Consultant)

Will be of interest to those involved in Church leadership and those interested in what Catholics think about various topics. (Curled Up With A Good Book, (Www.Curledup.Com))

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 Conscience)

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. (Charles Zech, Center for Church Management and Business Ethics, Villanova University)

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. (John A. Coleman S.J., Casassa Professor of Social Values, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles)

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. (Dr. Michael J. McCallion, Rev. William Cunningham Chair in Catholic Social Analysis, Sacred Heart Major Seminary)

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.

The book's portrait of U.S. Catholics is based on impressive research and is presented with eminent fairness. (Commonweal)

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. (National Catholic Reporter)

We recommend American Catholics Today to anyone who wants to know what Catholics are really thinking! (America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture)

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. (American Catholic Studies, 2008)

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. (. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, March 2008)

The study is extremely valuable. (. Catholic Library World, March 2008)

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 Rite, November/December 2007)

What makes this book so enlightening is...the inclusion of personal stories that put some flesh on the bones of the bare data. (America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture, February 2009)

This timely and thought-provoking book carefully interprets 18 years of gathered evidence and prognostications about the next generation of Catholicism in America....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. (Library Journal)

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