Journal Article

Catholic Conceptions of Faith: A Generational Analysis*

Andrea S. Williams and James D. Davidson

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 57, issue 3, pages 273-289
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1069-4404
e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Catholic Conceptions of Faith: A Generational Analysis*

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This article describes generational differences in Catholics' conceptions of faith. The differences were found in fifteen focus groups with Catholics from each of three birth cohorts. The youngest cohort of participants was born between 1961 and 1976 and expressed its faith in individualistic terms, placing more emphasis on personal relationships with God than on involvement in the church. Those belonging to the oldest cohort, born on or before 1940, described faith in institutional terms—viewing the church as an important part of faith. Some participants in the middle cohort (born between 1941 and 1960) had religious sensibilities similar to those of the younger cohort, while others maintained views comparable to older participants. This article argues that generational differences in conceptions of faith are a result of both societal changes and changes within the Catholic Church.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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