Journal Article

Children Speak: Catholic Second Graders’ Agency and Experiences in the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Jennifer Beste

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 72, issue 3, pages 327-350
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srr002
Children Speak: Catholic Second Graders’ Agency and Experiences in the Sacrament of Reconciliation

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Joining a growing number of childhood studies scholars who stress the need to engage in child-centered research and learn about children's religious experiences from children themselves, I have conducted a qualitative research study that explores how second graders interpret their experiences of a particular religious ritual—the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This article analyzes 73 interviews of Catholic second graders about their experiences of this sacrament, its various meanings, and its moral and spiritual effects. A key contribution of this research is the identification of a strong association between children's perceived sense of agency (or lack thereof) and (1) their affective and attitudinal response, (2) whether the sacrament is personally meaningful, and (3) its impact on their relationship with God and others.

Keywords: Catholicism; socialization; adolescents/youth; agency; religious experiences; Sacrament of Reconciliation

Journal Article.  9058 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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