Spring 2012 introduced another round of journal reviews for my book, Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church (Oxford UP, 2011).
A review written by John C. Seitz (author of No Closure: Catholic Practice and Boston’s Parish Shutdowns, Harvard UP, 2011) beautifully summarizes the irony of VOTF’s attempts to change from within. As he puts it, “faithfulness and revolution make profoundly uncomfortable partners.” Seitz’s review, published in the Spring 2012 issue of American Catholic Studies, commends “the book’s theoretical contributions…[that]…never outweigh its attentiveness to the voices of the people.” The full review can be found here.
Michele Dillon (whose books include Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power, Cambridge UP, 1999) raises important questions about social movement outcomes when she writes in Sociology of Religion that, despite VOTF’s emergence, “the vast majority of American Catholics continue to practice the same kind of Catholicism and to think about it in the same relatively autonomous way that they did prior to the crisis.” Indeed, this frustration over how to achieve (and measure) meaningful change in the Catholic Church continues to plague the VOTF movement today. As Faithful Revolution explores, intrainstitutional social movements both facilitate and hinder the possibility of real change. Movement actors may already know the “rules of the game” for the institution they seek to change, but this puts them at simultaneous risk of replicating the very dynamics that mobilized them in the first place. Read Dillon’s review here.