Studies of young American Catholics over the last three decades suggest a growing crisis in the Catholic Church: compared to their elders, young Catholics are looking to the Church less as they form their identities, and fewer of them can even explain what it means to be Catholic and why that matters.
Young Catholic America, the latest book based on the groundbreaking National Study of Youth and Religion, explores a crucial stage in the life of Catholics. Drawing on in-depth surveys and interviews of Catholics and ex-Catholics ages 18 to 23--a demographic commonly known as early "emerging adulthood"--leading sociologist Christian Smith and his colleagues offer a wealth of insight into the wide variety of religious practices and beliefs among young Catholics today, the early influences and life-altering events that lead them to embrace the Church or abandon it, and how being Catholic affects them as they become full-fledged adults. Beyond its rich collection of statistical data, the book includes vivid case studies of individuals spanning a full decade, as well as insight into the twentieth-century events that helped to shape the Church and its members in America.
An innovative contribution to what we know about religion in the United States and the evolving Catholic Church, Young Catholic America is the definitive source for anyone seeking to understand what it means to be young and Catholic in America today.
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Oxford University Press
February 03, 2014
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