Books and Major Reports

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Parish and Place: Making Room for Diversity in the American Catholic Church
by Tricia Colleen Bruce
Oxford University Press (August 2017)

* Winner, 1st Place, Catholic Press Association’s 2018 Book Awards “Immigration” Category
** Winner, Honorable Mention, American Sociological Association’s Religion Section 2018 Distinguished Book Awards

The Catholic Church stands at the forefront of an emergent majority-minority America. Parish and Place tells the story of how America’s largest religion is responding at the local level to unprecedented cultural, racial, linguistic, ideological, and political diversification. Specifically, it explores bishops’ use of personal parishes – parishes formally established not on the basis of territory, but purpose. Today’s personal parishes serve an array of Catholics drawn together by shared identities and preferences, rather than shared neighborhoods. They allow Catholic leaders to act upon the perceived need for named, specialist organizations alongside the more common territorial parish that serves all in its midst.

Parish and Place documents the American Catholic Church’s movement away from “national” parishes and towards personal parishes as a renewed organizational form. Tricia Bruce uses in-depth interviews and national survey data to examine the rise and rationale behind new parishes for the Traditional Latin Mass, for Vietnamese Catholics, for tourists, and more. Featuring insights from bishops, priests, and diocesan leaders throughout the United States, this book offers a rare view of institutional decision making from the top. Parish and Place demonstrates structural responses to diversity, exploring just how far fragmentation can go before it challenges unity.

Download the introduction to Parish and Place: Making Room for Diversity in the American Catholic Church

Reviewed favorably in Sociology of Religion; Reading Religion; Review of Religious Research; Religion Watch; Choice

Media coverage:

As traditional parishes decline, ‘personal parishes’ find new interest
National Catholic Reporter – 7/12/18

An evangelical Catholic movement inspires commitment, stirs controversy
Philadelphia Inquirer – Philadelphia – 1/12/18

Catholics and the Church Make Parishes Personal
WUOT/NPR Knoxville Affiliate – 10/12/17

Maryville College Professor Publishes Book about Diversity in the Church
Highland Echo – Maryville – 10/11/17

Catholic Community Life on the Wane?
National Catholic Register – 10/4/17

Guest Panelist on “Dialogue” with Brandon Hollingsworth
The American “Multiverse
91.9 WUOT/NPR Knoxville Affiliate – 9/6/17

Changing the parish to help keep unity in a changing Church

Crux News – 8/1/17

Making Parishes Personal
Crisis Magazine – 7/25/17

Making parishes more personal by making personal parishes
Crux News – 7/13/17

American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism

edited by Gary Adler, Jr., Tricia C. Bruce, and Brian Starks
Fordham University Press (2019), Catholic Practice in North America Series

Parishes are the missing middle in studies of American Catholicism. Between individual Catholics and a global institution, the thousands of local parishes are where Catholicism gets remade. American Parishes showcases what social forces shape parishes, what parishes do, how they do it, and what this says about the future of Catholicism in the United States. Expounding an embedded field approach, this book displays the numerous forces currently reshaping American parishes. It draws from sociology of religion, culture, organizations and race to illuminate basic parish processes—like leadership and education—and ongoing parish struggles—like conflict and multiculturalism.

American Parishes brings together contemporary data, methods, and questions to establish a sociological re-engagement with Catholic parishes, and a Catholic re-engagement with sociological analysis. Contributions by leading social scientists highlight how community, geography, and authority intersect within parishes. It illuminates and analyzes how growing racial diversity, an aging religious population, and neighborhood change impact the inner workings of parishes.

Featuring chapter contributions by Nancy Ammerman; Mary Jo Bane; Brett Hoover; Tia Noelle Pratt; Mark Gray; Kathleen Garces-Foley; Courtney Irby; and John Coleman, S.J.

Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church
edited by Mary Ellen Konieczny, Charles Camosy, and Tricia C. Bruce
Liturgical Press (2016)

It is no secret: the body of Christ in the United States is broken. While universality—and unity amid diversity—is a fundamental characteristic of Roman Catholicism, all-too-familiar issues related to gender, sexuality, race, and authority have rent the church. Healthy debates, characteristic of a living tradition, suffer instead from an absence of genuine engagement and dialogue. But there is still much that binds American Catholics. In naming the wounds and exploring their social and religious underpinnings, Polarization in the US Catholic Church underscores how shared beliefs and aspirations can heal deep fissures and the hurts they have caused. Cutting across disciplinary and political lines, this volume brings essential commentary in the direction of reclaimed universality among American Catholics.

Featuring chapter contributions by Mary Ellen Konieczny; Most Reverend Daniel Flores; Reverend John. I. Jenkins, CSC; Julie Hanlon Rubio; Christian Smith; Michael Sean Winters; Tricia C. Bruce; Susan Crawford Sullivan; Brian P. Flanagan; Holly Taylor Coolman; David P. Gushee; Amy Uelmen; Nichole M. Flores; Elizabeth Tenety; Erin Stoyell-Mulholland; Hosffman Ospino; Michael Peppard; and Charles C. Camosy.

Media Coverage:

In A Divided America, Ideas For Healing A Divided Church
WUOT (NPR) – Knoxville – 11/10/16

Daily Theology Podcast Episode 26: Interview with Tricia Bruce, with Steve Okey – 10/6/16

Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church
by Tricia Colleen Bruce
Oxford University Press (Hardback 2011, Paperback 2014)

In January 2002, reeling from a growing awareness of child sexual abuse within their church, a small group of Catholics gathered after Mass in the basement of a parish in Wellesley, Massachusetts to mourn and react. They began to mobilize around supporting victims of abuse, supporting non-abusive priests, and advocating for structural change in the Catholic Church so that abuse would no longer occur. Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) built a movement by harnessing the faith and fury of a nation of Catholics shocked by reports of abuse and institutional complicity. Tricia Colleen Bruce offers an in-depth look at the development of Voice of the Faithful, showing their struggle to challenge Church leaders and advocate for internal change while being accepted as legitimately Catholic. Guided by the stories of individual participants, Faithful Revolution brings to light the intense identity negotiations that accompany a challenge to one’s own religion and offers a meaningful way to learn about Catholic identity, intrainstitutional social movements, and the complexity of institutional structures.