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The Spirit's TetherFamily, Work, and Religion among American Catholics$
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Mary Ellen Konieczny

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199965779

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199965779.001.0001

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Religion, Moral Polarization, and the Fragmentation of Tradition

(p.234) Conclusion
The Spirit's Tether

Mary Ellen Konieczny

Oxford University Press

This book's Conclusion considers the extent and limits of its case study findings andemploys these findings to propose a general explanation of moral polarization among Catholics.Exploration of the architecture of moral polarization inlocal religious cultureshas revealed that public disagreement is reflected in private’ lives and religious identities such that opposed groupsdo not just disagree, but have antagonism for those that think differently.Polarizing social processes in parishes create fragmentation of the Catholic tradition by unintentionally institutionalizing elements of tradition buttressing only one side of contested issues through the concrete activities of parish life.By contrast with views of tradition that conceptualize vital traditions as necessarily involving conflict, this study demonstrates that polarizing conflicts diminish institutional vitality through the local practice of fragmentary Catholicisms and antagonisms that foster groups’ dissociation and disengagement from one another.

Keywords:   Moral polarization among Catholics, Local religious cultures, Fragmentation of tradition, Institutional vitality, Fragmentary Catholicisms, Dissociation

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