Daily Theology Review of Polarization in the US Catholic Church

“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?”

Thanks to Meg Stapleton Smith for her thoughtful and thought-provoking Daily Theology review of my co-edited volume, Polarization in the US Catholic Church. Read it in its entirety here.

Vox Nova Book Review: Here Comes Everybody!

Thanks to jeanninemariedymphna for posting a thoughtful review of my co-edited volume, Polarization in the US Catholic Church, on Vox Nova. This excerpt comments on my own chapter contribution:

“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.

Reviews for Polarization in the US Catholic Church

It’s great to see a positive reception to my new volume, coedited with Mary Ellen Konieczny (U. of Notre Dame) and Charlie Camosy (Fordham U.). Here’s a sampling of reviews:

“Polarization is one of the gravest illnesses infecting the US Catholic Church. In fact, Catholics often have an easier time talking with members of other Christian denominations and other religious traditions than with one another. Before we can accomplish anything in our church, we must first be able to talk to one another charitably. This book is an important step forward, as some of the church’s most thoughtful men and women lay out the scope of the problem, consider its roots, and point to healthy and life-giving ways to move ahead. Essential reading for Catholics in the United States.”
James Martin, SJ, Author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage


“A must-read for anyone trying to assess where the church is today and needs to go to be credible in the future.”
Kevin W. Irwin, Catholic University of America


“The volume is a rich collection of essays that offer a diversity of voices on the reality of polarization in the Catholic Church, a polarization that reflects the reality of the broader American reality. The essays offer wisdom drawn from personal experiences of polarization brought to bear on the expertise of religious leaders, academics, and advocates. I encourage anyone interested not only in understanding the phenomenon of polarization in the Church but also in finding insights into strategies to address it to pick up this book. The honest assessments of the wounds in our Church and society are coupled with genuine hope for healing grounded in the various authors’ experiences of working toward creating the space for genuine dialogue. This volume is a gift to those of us who long to help create such spaces. It was truly a pleasure to read this work. I intend to bring different essays into my various classes, work with students, and conversations with colleagues.”
Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, PhD; Malcolm and Mari Stamper Endowed Chair in Catholic Intellectual and Cultural Traditions; Director, Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture; Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, Seattle University


“Pope Francis reminds us that `open and fraternal debate makes theological and pastoral thought grow.’ We should welcome such debate as evidence of a vibrant Church engaging issues at the heart of our faith. Polarization in the US Catholic Church advances this effort, challenging Catholics to remember that ours is a Church of relationship rooted in love and that our discourse must reflect that if we’re to advance our evangelizing mission.”
Kim Daniels, Member of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, Former spokesperson for the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

NEW BOOK OUT TODAY: Polarization in the US Catholic Church

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

Order your copy here http://bit.ly/2bcH2Fp or here: http://tinyurl.com/zd92b3j!

Organizational Innovation & Religion

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!