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Young Catholic AmericaEmerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church$
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Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill, and Kari Christoffersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199341078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199341078.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 September 2021

Catholic Emerging Adults in Historical Context: 1945 to 1970

Catholic Emerging Adults in Historical Context: 1945 to 1970

(p.9) 1 Catholic Emerging Adults in Historical Context: 1945 to 1970
Young Catholic America

Christian Smith

Kyle Longest

Jonathan Hill

Kari Christoffersen

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the history of American Catholicism across the twentieth century to set today’s Catholic emerging adults into historical perspective. It focuses especially on demographic and cultural changes inside and outside the Church. These include the rapid upward socioeconomic mobility of American Catholics in the middle of the twentieth century, and the consequent cultural accommodation it produced. Also discussed are the influenced of Vatican II, the decline in the number of priests and religious brothers and sisters in the 1960s and 1970s, and the effect that had on the Church’s ability to educate new generations in the faith. These within-Church changes are then related to broader cultural changes in American society that significantly influenced Catholics. A “perfect storm” of challenging factors thus confronted the Church in the late twentieth century that provided the context for the outcomes this book analyses.

Keywords:   Catholicism, Vatican II, priests, acculturation, Catholic schools

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