By John G. Deedy
THE AMERICAN CATHOLIC church is a notable institu tion. Its humans worship in numbers that dwarf figures from somewhere else. It has probably the most vivid of Cath olic institution structures, maybe the main brilliant. it really is almost always an obedient church, a few may say docile controversies of modern years though. it's a church characterised through nice loyalty to the pope and by way of unstinting monetary generosity to Rome. nonetheless, the Ameri can church is a church in transition. there was ero sion in components of church lifestyles. but extra is probably going. The vii viii PREFACE American Catholic church, in sum, is a ready-made sub ject for research and learn. whilst this ebook venture on American Catholicism was once first broached, no specific time urgency appeared to be concerned. lately, nuns and clergymen had ex ited the non secular existence via the hundreds of thousands, and their ranks weren't being refilled. Many seminaries and convents have been closed for loss of desire, then bought off to satisfy the monetary imperatives of the respective non secular com munities. The management of Catholic hospitals in different towns were became over to put forums, and some Catholic schools had close their gates. a couple of Catholic guides had disappeared from view, and in lots of Catholic parishes, focuses shifted, usually to ac tivities of apostolic inconsequence, as emphases tired clear of diocesan colleges, very lots of which had closed for good.
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For many american citizens, nuns and sisters are the face of the Catholic Church. way more noticeable than clergymen, Catholic ladies non secular train at faculties, came across hospitals, supply nutrients to the bad, and minister to these in want. Their paintings has formed the yankee Catholic Church all through its historical past. but regardless of their excessive profile, a concise historical past of yank Catholic sisters and nuns has but to be released. In known as to Serve, Margaret M. McGuinness presents the reader with an summary of the background of Catholic ladies non secular in American lifestyles, from the colonial interval to the present.
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Extra info for American Catholicism: And Now Where?
The factors contributing to this change are conceivably as many as the individuals involved, and not all of them are religious factors by any means. American Catholics do not exist, after all, in some kind of social vacuum. They are not impervious to the forces of the wider society, and if self-expression enjoys a preeminence in that society over dictated behavioral modes, then something of this phenomenon is going to carry over to Catholics and their religious habits as believers and worshipers.
Obviously, despite all the canons and codifications, the Catholic church is a place where, as in almost any other, friendships and loyalties can shred red tape and achieve unusual goals. Spellman, too, was a bishop maker, spinning off auxiliaries and priest favorites to ecclesiastical seats as near as Philadelphia (John F. O'Hara) and as distant as Los Angeles (James F. Mcintyre). Whereas Hoban's influence was circumscribed by Cicognani's, Spellman's was virtually unlimited. He could wheel and deal pretty much as he willed, even on the Curia's own turf.
The drop from 74 percent to 51 percent in twenty-six years' time is precipitous, the more so because the decline was not gradual but began suddenly and dramatically only about fifteen years ago. And though 51 percent may be a large figure, it is not exactly one to glory in or to be complacent about, for it is an average figure. In some places, the drop in church attendance has been so sharp as to be nearly calamitous. A recent survey in the diocese of CRISIS, NOT QUITE 25 Brooklyn, for example, estimated that only about 28 percent of those who call themselves Catholics attend mass regularly2°-a figure that is not markedly inconsistent with a finding of my own.
American Catholicism: And Now Where? by John G. Deedy