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Catholic Social Science Review

Volume 10, 2005

John F. Quinn
Pages 117-122
DOI: 10.5840/cssr2005108

The Decline and Fall...and Revival of the Catholic Church in America

In The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America, the sociologist David Carlin offers insightful explanations for why Catholicism began to unravel in the 1960s. Facing the aftershocks of Vatican II, the collapse of their cohesive urban neighborhoods, and the onslaught of the cultural revolution, American Catholics experienced a “perfect storm” from which they have yet to recover. Carlin sees little reason for optimism about the future. Among other things, he notes the bishops’ “appallingly poor” handling of the sex abuse scandal and their tolerance of homosexuality in the seminaries. While agreeing with most of Carlin’s analysis, this reviewer is more optimistic about the future prospects of the Church in America.

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