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The faithful departed : the collapse of…
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The faithful departed : the collapse of Boston's Catholic culture

by Philip F. Lawler

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The Faithful Departed traces the rise and fall of the Catholic Church as a cultural dynamo in Boston, showing how the Massachusetts experience set a pattern that has echoed throughout the United States as religious institutions have lost social influence in the face of rising secularization.

The collapse of Catholicism in Boston became painfully apparent in 2002, with the full explosion of the sex-abuse crisis. But Lawler brings an insider’s knowledge and a journalist’s sense of drama to show that the sex-abuse scandal was neither the cause nor the beginning of Catholicism’s decline in Boston. In fact, the scandal was itself a symptom of corruption that was already well advanced.

Full of colorful anecdote and gripping social history, The Faithful Departed will be of interest not only to Catholics and to those acquainted with Boston’s rich political tradition, but to anyone concerned about the interplay between religious faith and public policy. The demise of Catholic influence in Massachusetts is an especially vivid example of a secularizing trend that is visible throughout the United States.[Amazon.com 4/21/2014]

CONTENTS: Introduction: The good of the church -- The Catholic century -- The Irish conquest -- Under new management -- Good neighbors -- Personally opposed, but-- -- Shifting foundations -- The center cannot hold -- Waiting for Roe -- Moving out of the Catholic ghetto -- "Southie won't go" -- Lost battles -- Habits of denial -- The collapse -- The learning curve -- Not enough millstones -- Lost in Dallas -- The death watch -- Ruin -- Generations betrayed -- The Beacon Hill massacre -- Restoration -- The wrong explanations -- The dash-2 bishops -- The church militant
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Faithful Departed traces the rise and fall of the Catholic Church in Boston, showing how the Massachusetts experience set a pattern that echoed throughout the United States as religious institutions lost influence in the face of rising secularization. The collapse of Catholicism in Boston became apparent with the explosion of the sex-abuse crisis. Lawler shows that the sex-abuse scandal was neither the cause nor the beginning of Catholicism's decline in Boston.… (more)

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