I sat down recently with Brandon Hollingsworth at Knoxville’s local NPR station, WUOT, to talk about the realities of and responses to polarization during this election season. Our conversation builds upon the essays featured in my recently published co-edited volume, Polarization in the US Catholic Church. Listen to our full conversation here.
“The current historical moment that our nation finds itself in is not an accident. American exceptionalism, nationalism, the sinfulness of manifest destiny are all hauntingly present. Is there only room left for despair in the anxiety building up to today’s election? How can we take and put into effect the message of Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church in light of our nation’s politics?”
“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.
I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Steve Okey for the Daily Theology podcast, out today. You’ll hear more about how and why I do the sociology of religion, my research on personal parishes, diversity and polarization in the American Catholic Church, teaching, writing…and even my desired superpower.
A great new edited volume, Polarization in the US Catholic Church is out TODAY with Liturgical Press. Edited by myself, Mary Ellen Konieczny, and Charlie Camosy, the volume features contributions by an impressive mix of sociologists, theologians, Catholic leaders, and journalists:
- Mary Ellen Konieczny
- Most Rev. Bishop Daniel Flores
- Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
- Julie Hanlon Rubio
- Christian Smith
- Michael Sean Winters
- Michael McGillicuddy
- 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
- Charles C. Camosy
A brand new Handbook of Religion and Society (Springer 2016) edited by David Yamane is now out, featuring a chapter I coauthored with Josh Packard on organizational innovation!
This volume offers an exceptional resource for understanding religion at the nexus of social institutions, organizations, change, inequality, politics, globalization, and more. Josh Packard and I coauthored a groundbreaking chapter on organizational innovation in which we reframe outdated typologies and set an agenda for future scholarship. Order a copy for yourself and your library today!