Catholic Schools in the News: Major Changes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Two big stories about American Catholicism were front page news this weekend:  Archbishop Dolan’s appointment to the College of Cardinals and the news that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is about to close or consolidate 48 schools. Those involved in Catholic education likely won’t be surprised to hear of more school closings. Catholic schools have lost over half of their enrollment since their peak in 1965 and each year since 1965 the total number of schools has declined. In the course of my dissertation research on the causes and consequences of Catholic school closings I have read hundreds of local news stories from dioceses across the nation documenting a school’s closure or consolidation. However, the large number of schools involved in this re-organization is noteworthy. Continue reading

Sociological Research on Liturgy

So, where can we find relevant empirical research on liturgy?  Since Mike McCallion was the very first person to comment on this blog, I decided that I would highlight some of his previous research on liturgy, and I am hoping that he will write about his current research in a later post.

McCallion’s dissertation research examined the implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) within the Archdiocese of Detroit.  In a later book (co-authored with his dissertation adviser, David Maines of Wayne State), the lens was broadened to depict the general implementation processes that followed Vatican II liturgical reforms. Continue reading

Travelling Faith: Do Congregational Trips Matter?

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Written by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings over a half-century ago, these words catch the mindset of the short-term international travel phenomenon that has likely swept a congregation, high school, or college campus near you.

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The New Translation: Research Thoughts

After reflecting on my personal experience with the new translation of the mass, I wanted to write a little about research on liturgy within sociology.  While changes in Catholic liturgy following Vatican II led to much discussion about the relative merits and demerits of liturgical change, I am aware of surprisingly little systematic research on this topic within sociology–at least in the US. Continue reading