Chapter

The “Confident” Church

Andrew Greeley and Paul Wink

in The Catholic Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238176
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938779 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238176.003.0003
The “Confident” Church

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This chapter distinguishes between Catholic rules and the Catholic sense of sacramentality and community. Up to 1965, no one in the Church would have considered that distinction important. The rules were the Church. The Church became concerned that Catholics were sleeping together before marriage, practicing birth control, getting divorced, not and going to mass every Sunday. The Church had preserved their faith. It had successfully met what it thought to be its most serious challenge: the defense of immigrant faith against destruction by a hostile Protestant culture. Yet by the end of the 1960s, these signs of vigor were disappearing. The confident Church had been overconfident. Attendance at Mass declined sharply. Married people were practicing birth control, often with the approval of their priests, and not confessing it. It proudly denounced science, rationality, and democracy as godless. It categorically rejected the modern world, whatever “modern” might have meant at any given time. It excommunicated, silenced, or denounced any of its own members who were even slightly inclined to consider the theories of the French Revolution.

Keywords: French Revolution; Protestant culture; Attendance at Mass; birth control; rationality; godless

Chapter.  4997 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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