“Effervescence” Spreads from the Council to the World

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:
“Effervescence” Spreads from the Council to the World

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This chapter studies what happened at the Council, and the consequent sweeping away of the old structure. Melissa Jo Wilde invokes a theory of collective behavior to explain the astonishing events. The tradition of collective behavior theory and research is impressed by the frequently observed phenomenon of individuals merging into a group experience that is more powerful than the sum of the individual experiences. French sociologist Emile Durkheim suggested that the “effervescence” that affected the group seemed to be something that existed apart from the group. The chapter details the various explanations for the phenomenon of collective effervescence. One of the reasons for the sudden and dramatic revolution was that the resources available to support the old structures were not very strong. The wineskins were fragile and leaking already. Since the council, a large numbers of Catholics have been able to rationalize the apparent conflict between their Catholic allegiance and their dissent from Catholic sexual teaching.

Keywords: effervescence; the council; Emile Durkheim; collective behavior theory; wineskins; sexual teaching

Chapter.  3006 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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