American ParishesRemaking Local Catholicism

American ParishesRemaking Local Catholicism

Gary J. Adler Jr., Tricia C. Bruce, and Brian Starks

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780823284351

Publisher: Fordham University Press


Parishes are the missing middle in studies of American Catholicism. Between individual Catholics and a global institution, the thousands of local parishes are where Catholicism gets remade. American Parishes showcases what social forces shape parishes, what parishes do, how they do it, and what this says about the future of Catholicism in the United States. Expounding an embedded field approach, this book displays the forces currently reshaping American parishes. It draws from sociology of religion, culture, organizations, and race to illuminate basic parish processes—like leadership and education—and ongoing parish struggles—like conflict and multiculturalism. American Parishes brings together contemporary data, methods, and questions to establish a sociological reengagement with Catholic parishes and a Catholic reengagement with sociological analysis. This book highlights how community, geography, and authority intersect within parishes. It illuminates and analyzes how growing racial diversity, an aging religious population, and neighborhood change influence the inner workings of parishes. Five parts explore thematic topics: (1) seeing parishes with a sociological lens; (2) parish trends; (3) race, class, and diversity in parish life; (4) young Catholics in (and out) of parishes; and (5) the practice and future of a sociology of Catholic parishes. Contributors explore the history of sociological studies on parishes; consider parish research vis-à-vis the larger field of congregational studies; empirically examine parishes using multiple methods; highlight parish diversity and particularity; explore cultural and identity production within parishes; consider the tenuous relationship of younger Catholics to parishes; and provide direction for future sociological research on parishes.