“The second part of the volume, “Naming the Wounds,” includes four essays that seek to examine the roots of this polarization – whether real of perceived. In ¨Polarized Preferences, Polarized Pews,” Tricia C. Bruce examines the rise of “personal” or ideological parishes. In the past, parishes were determined by geographical boundaries; one was expected to attend the parish in his or her area. Today, however, many parishes represent “elective affinities”; they are formed by people who have come together due to a common liturgical preference, like the traditional Latin Mass, or an ideological stance, like liberation theology.
For Bruce, this is not necessarily a negative thing; she suggests that these parishes provide a home for Catholics who might otherwise be marginalized and add to the “rich mosaic” of the Church. At the same time, she does raise the point – which Michael Peppard echoes at the end of the volume – that by binding like-minded Catholics together, such parishes foster the same kind of divisions that Internet news “echo chambers” do: instead of forcing us to encounter those who are different, they allow us to isolate ourselves among the like-minded.”
Read the review in its entirety here.