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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 10, 2005

Joseph A. Varacalli
Pages 123-130
DOI: 10.5840/cssr20051010

Did the Decline of Catholicism in Post-Vatican II America Have to be So Steep and Is the Climb Back Really So Improbable?: A Few Questions at the Margins

The following comment expresses broad agreement with the Carlin thesis regarding the reasons leading to the decline in the health of the Catholic religion in the U.S. during the post-Vatican II era. Certain “questions at the margins” are raised, however, regarding such issues as:1. whether or not both a more orthodox episcopal leadership and Catholic intellectual elite could have lessened and can now reverse the decline; 2. the definition of what “American” means and whether contemporary secular elites can legitimately claim an organic connection to that heritage; and 3. whether or not the self-destructive tendencies of contemporary secular social life and policy have set the stage for a renewal within both American civilization and the Church in America.