Synopses & Reviews
How, a mere generation after Vatican Council II initiated the biggest reform since the Reformation, can the Catholic Church be in such deep trouble? The question resonates through this new book by Andrew Greeley, the most recognized, respected, and influential commentator on American Catholic life. A timely and much-needed review of forty years of Church history, The Catholic Revolution
offers a genuinely new interpretation of the complex and radical shift in American Catholic attitudes since the second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
Drawing on a wealth of data collected over the last thirty years, Greeley points to a rift between the higher and lower orders in the Church that began in the wake of Vatican Council IIand#151;when bishops, euphoric in their (temporary) freedom from the obstructions of the Roman Curia, introduced modest changes that nonetheless proved too much for still-rigid structures of Catholicism: the "new wine" burst the "old wineskins." As the Church leadership tried to reimpose the old order, clergy and the laity, newly persuaded that "unchangeable" Catholicism could in fact change, began to make their own reforms, sweeping away the old "rules" that no longer made sense. The revolution that Greeley describes brought about changes that continue to reverberateand#151;in a chasm between leadership and laity, and in a whole generation of Catholics who have become Catholic on their own terms.
Coming at a time of crisis and doubt for the Catholic Church, this richly detailed, deeply thoughtful analysis brings light and clarity to the years of turmoil that have shaken the foundations, if not the faith, of American Catholics.
"Few scholars in our period have clarified the profound changes that have occurred in American Catholicism as well as Andrew Greeley has. This is a stunning and genuinely new interpretation of those radical shifts in Catholic thought post Vatican II."and#151;David Tracy, University of Chicago
"Greeley tackles the big question of how the Roman Catholic Church could be in such deep trouble just a generation removed from its biggest reform. In this timely review of the last forty years, he reveals his mastery of both church politics and popular religious feelings. Once again he shows us why millions of American Catholics trust him to be their voice."and#151;Mike Hout, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
About the Author
Andrew Greeley is a research associate at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and teaches sociology at the University of Arizona. He is the author of many scholarly books, including The Catholic Imagination (California, 2000), Religion as Poetry (1995), and Catholic Myth: The Behavior and Beliefs of American Catholics (1994), as well as more than thirty novels.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Part I. Old Wineskins
1. A Catholic Revolution
2. The "Confident" Church
3. The Wineskins Burst
4. What Happened?
5. "Effervescence" Spreads from the Council to the World
6. How Do They Stay?
7. New Rules, New Prophets, and Beige Catholicism
8. Only in America?
9. Why They Stay
Part II. The Search for New Wineskins
11. Recovering the Catholic Heritage
12. Religious Education and Beauty
13. Authority as Charm
14. Liturgists and the Laity