Manual 54 Years that Changed the Catholic Church

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The paperback edition features a new preface that explores the potential for change in the church in light of Pope Francis's first year. Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s Its title suggests another philippic against an intransigent Catholic Church, but the book is something much better. Ralph is as concerned to show readers that the present-day church can change, not just that it should change. Ever so refreshingly, she draws only on scripture and official church documents to make her case and names names only as sources.

She establishes the grounds for change via papal pronouncements on biblical interpretation-the church reads the Bible contextually, not fundamentally-and on observing the proper domains of different methods of learning; for example, theology deals with spiritual reality, whereas the sciences deal with physical reality.

She makes cases for change in three chapters on issues that concern both non-Catholics as well as Catholics: contraception, discrimination against women, and the civil rights of homosexuals. Four chapters focus on the effectiveness of Catholic teaching and practice about abortion, marriage and annulment, social justice especially in Catholic workplaces , and Christian unity. She writes straightforwardly, in common language, with the love of Paul 1 Cor.

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Simply invaluable. Long a diocesan leader in religious studies, she here quotes both scripture and official Church documents to show changes over time in magisterial teaching, given the emergence of new scientific knowledge and cultural shifts. She explains that inconsistency between word and action among some Church authorities has produced a credibility gap for the faithful today that continues to get a great deal of attention, and diminishes the greater good produced by the Church and its members.

VERDICT Fair, well documented, and contextually based, the book is a convincing, succinct review of moral issues broadly impacting Catholic laity and is offered as a way toward reasoned dialog and respectful understanding within and without the Church. Ralph argues for needed changes while affirming the Church's core teachings.

Recommended for those involved in today's Catholic Church and informed lay readers. For many contentious issues, Ralph uses scripture and church history to explore how teachings could change. This stimulating book deserves an audience.


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She writes from inside the Roman Catholic Church as a critical member and not as an outside critic. All in all Ralph does a good job of opening up topics that have been discussed for years by those both in and outside the Roman church. The book would make a good selection for a reading circle or readers' forum. It deserves the widest possible readership. Curran, Scurlock University Professor of Human Values, Southern Methodist University Seldom have I read such calm, compelling, and well-reasoned theological reflection on very contentious church issues.

Yet the ordinary layperson can remain informed and engaged here! I think Margaret Nutting Ralph goes well beyond any too easy progressive or conservative dualisms, and authentically searches for authentic Catholic Tradition and teaching. You will find both spiritual intelligence and comfort here. This is the kind of informed discussion, grounded in Scripture and tradition, that transforms what some perceive as threat into the conversation essential for this era.

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Kies je bindwijze. Religiosity is strongly related to age, with older Americans far more likely than younger adults to be members of churches. However, church membership has dropped among all generational groups over the past two decades, with declines of roughly 10 percentage points among traditionalists, baby boomers and Generation X. Most millennials were too young to be polled in Now that they have reached adulthood, their church membership rates are exceedingly low and appear to be a major factor in the drop in overall U. The low rates of church membership among millennials conform with the generation's weaker attachment to religion in general.

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How big is the impact of Catholicism on public life in the US?

Not only are millennials less likely than older Americans to identify with a religion, but millennials who are religious are significantly less likely to belong to a church. The lower rate of church membership among religious millennials appears to be more a product of generational differences than of life-stage effects. Given that church membership, and religiosity in general, is greater among older adults, the emergence of an increasingly secular generation to replace far more religious older generations suggests the decline in U.

Gallup has previously reported that church attendance has dropped more among Catholics than among Protestants. Consistent with this, the decline in church membership has been greater among Catholics. Much of the decline in Protestant membership is attributable to the increasing percentage of Americans who simply identify their religion as "Christian" rather than as a specific Protestant denomination such as Baptist, Lutheran or Methodist. In contrast to the variable changes in church membership among generational and faith subgroups, the declines have been fairly similar among most other demographic subgroups.

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Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations , it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque. The rate of U. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.

The challenge is clear for churches, which depend on loyal and active members to keep them open and thriving. How do they find ways to convince some of the unaffiliated religious adults in society to make a commitment to a particular house of worship of their chosen faith? Roughly one in four U. Church leaders must also grapple with the generational slide away from religion. Millennials are much less likely than their elders to indicate a religious preference, and presumably the nearly one-third of millennials without a religious preference are unlikely to ever join a church.

But the roughly two-thirds of millennials who do express a religious preference may one day be convinced to join, perhaps as more get established in their lives, including having families, which can be an impetus to becoming a part of a faith community. Another obstacle churches face is Americans' eroding confidence in the institution of organized religion. While organized religion is not the only U.

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In addition to the ongoing trends toward declining religiosity, Americans who are religious may also be changing their relationship to churches. They may not see a need to, or have a desire to, belong to a church and participate in a community of people with similar religious beliefs. These trends are not just numbers, but play out in the reality that thousands of U. Religious Americans in the future will likely be faced with fewer options for places of worship, and likely less convenient ones, which could accelerate the decline in membership even more.

I. Executive Summary

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works. Results are based aggregated data from Gallup telephone interviews with random samples of U. Annual trend results on church membership are mostly based on samples of at least 2, U.