Chapter

Unity and Diversity

Richard A. Schoenherr

Edited by David Yamane

in Goodbye Father

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195082593
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834952 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195082591.003.0007
Unity and Diversity

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The first trend in the matrix of social forces affecting the Catholic Church is the decline in the priest population combined with growth in church membership, and this dual force bears a catalytic relationship to the other six trends, so must be treated separately – in effect, priest shortage is the key to understanding why other social forces are reaching a critical threshold simultaneously. Thus, in Chs. 7–9, it is first shown that each of the other trends is reaching a state of balanced tension and then, at the end of Ch. 9, that priest shortage is a catalyst creating convergence among them.

This chapter addresses the second and third trends in the matrix: the decline of dogmatism coupled with the rise of pluralism; and the decline of Eurocentrism (the Western Church) coupled with the emergence of the Church inculturated in six continents (world Church); these have a direct bearing on the tension between unity and diversity in the Catholic Church. First, it is shown that the increasing tensions between dogmatism and pluralism help account for changes in expressive social forces, i.e., the cultural and motivational transformations occurring in Catholicism. Then it is shown how conflict between organizational centrism and localism helps account for changes in utilitarian social forces, i.e., the internal political–economic transformations facing the Church.

Keywords: Catholic Church; centrism; change; conflict; diversity; dogmatism; Eurocentrism; localism; pluralism; priest shortage; social change; transformation; trends; unity; Western Church; world Church

Chapter.  5902 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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