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American ParishesRemaking Local Catholicism$
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Gary J. Adler Jr., Tricia C. Bruce, and Brian Starks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823284351

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823284351.001.0001

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The Shifting Landscape of US Catholic Parishes, 1998–2012

The Shifting Landscape of US Catholic Parishes, 1998–2012

(p.69) 3 The Shifting Landscape of US Catholic Parishes, 1998–2012
American Parishes

Gary J. Adler Jr.

Fordham University Press

Employing data from the National Congregations Study, this chapter charts parish trends in key areas of organizational life across a dynamic fifteen-year period of recent history. Parishes’ organizational composition is becoming older and more Hispanic, both among priests and among people in the pews. Meanwhile, local parish cultures are becoming more theologically conservative, but also less charismatic in worship style. Catholic parishes are also seeing large increases in political activity, suggesting a “new politicization” of local Catholic life. Finally, parishes have heightened their participation boundaries against women and gays and lesbians. While briefly suggesting possibilities for why these changes are taking place, this chapter provides an accurate descriptive view of contemporary U.S. parishes and suggests how best to study trends in the years ahead.

Keywords:   demographics, organizational life, parish trends, politicization, theological conservatism

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