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The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America (original 2003; edition 2003)

by David Carlin

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221476,730 (4.5)None
Member:hermit
Title:The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America
Authors:David Carlin
Info:Sophia Institute Press (2003), Edition: Second Edition, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:History, American History, Church History, Catholic, Sociology, Ecclesiology, U.S. History

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The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America by David Carlin (2003)

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David Carlin has written this book as a sociologist to examine and analyze the decline of Catholicism in America since the end of Vatican II in 1965 and the confluence of two other social major factors that coalesced about 40 years ago to undermine and severely damage the US Catholic Church's culture and teaching authority. These three factors according to the author calls the “perfect storm” that include Vatican II, the end of the tight knit Catholic community called a “ghetto”, and the American cultural revolution of the late 1960's and early 1970's.

This is a very easy to read sociological study that flows. The author does an excellent job as he explains the factors that influenced the identity of America before it became a nation through the emergence of secularism. Country founded on Protestant fundamentals that were agreeable to the various sects that composed early America, a nation whose basis was Christian. That evolved through emigration to a country based on Judeo-Christian principles as the people as a group were admitted into the main stream of American life, to what we have today a nation whose religion is non-Christian if not down right secularist

We see that as the new belief systems are brought in that a denominational mindset sets in to allow all to work together and live in peace and prosper in the new paradigm. Each religion focuses only on what they have in common and not their differences. When the culture changed from Christian to Judo-Christian there was still founded on biblical morals. The Catholics who since the Council of Trent had a built a wall that emphasized the difference of Catholic's and Protestant's was destroyed by Vatican II. This event along with the change in national identity is when Catholics entered the public mainstream and started to adopt the cultural aspects of their country.

The problem as shown was at this time that secularism was being accepted as a respectable group in America and therefore its own denomination. This had the affect on the Judeo-Christian denominations having the need to find what they had in common with secularist in order to keep the “American Experiment” alive. This and a definite lack of leadership in the Catholic Church which still has a vacuum of true Catholic Leaders has lead to the decline of the Catholic Church in America.

The misuse of the intent of Vatican II documents embraced by the modernist, both laity and clergy, was used as the justification of the dismantling of the Catholic Church and its ancient traditions. The most important one was the liturgy in the form of the “New Mass” that was acceptable to all Christians. And the lack of courage or will of the bishops to stand up and defend the doctrines and dogma of the Church accelerated this destruction that was embraced by many. For without the biblical moral foundation what is to stop people from sliding too a selfish attitude instead of the normal Catholic community attitude.

Most of the authors work is on track and all is well researched but his proposed solution to create new rituals to differentiate Catholic's from secularism as the Council of Trent did for Protestant's follows in the thinking of the modernist that caused the development of the “New Mass”. So though he is interested in the Catholic Church surviving in America, for it will thrive in other countries, his solution follows the thinking of those who caused its decline in the first place. Even though all the ramifications that were the results of Vatican II are not touched on in this book and the author proposed solution lacking in systematic thought this book is worth reading.

The Catholic Church is over two millennium old and has always used its tradition as its bulwark to fend off all attacks. That is what is needed now. There are a remnant of laity and religious trying to do just this. All that is needed is true leadership to rebuke this ongoing attack of modernism on this ancient religion. The author is right in his analysis that the Catholic Church will survive, but the question is will it survive in America? The same could be ask of other Western countries. ( )
  hermit | Dec 14, 2010 |
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No one will deny that American Catholicism experienced a great transformation beginning in the mid-to-late 1960's.
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But the tendency is all in one direction; it is hard to get off the slippery slope after stepping on it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Many Catholics blame Vatican II for the decline of the Church in America these past 30 years: traditionalists say it caused too many changes, liberals say too few. In this book, sociologist David Carlin shows that although Vatican II was the flashpoint for change in the Church, the roots of today's crisis go deeper than anything that happened at the Council. Basing his conclusions on sociological analysis rather than on theology or Church teachings, Carlin shows that in the 1960's the Church in America was weakened by the triumph of tolerance as an American virtue (which led Catholics to downplay their uniquely Catholic beliefs for the sake of unity) and then was battered by a culture that, seemingly overnight, had become boldly secularist and even libertine. Called by Vatican II to engage the culture in order to evangelize it, while pressed by the culture to downplay its Catholicity in the name of tolerance, the Church in America lost its way. The result? A widespread loss of Catholic identity; weakening of fidelity to Church teachings; Catholics abandoning their faith; and a diminishment of the Church's role as a moral voice in American society. Carlin's analysis has uncovered a problem that's older and even more dangerous for the future of Catholicism than the deeds that have lately thrust the Church onto the front pages. Indeed, says Carlin, the scandals are merely symptoms of this deeper problem that will continue to drain the Church's vitality long after the scandals are forgotten.… (more)

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