Transition from Vowed to Lay Ministry in American Catholicism
Blasi, Anthony J.
Zimmerman, Joseph F.
This study is about the experiences of the people who served the American Catholic Church in religious orders and subsequently left those orders. This work reveals what aspects of their religious formation remained with them during the course of their lay lives and continue to inspire them, and what were the insurmountable problems for them when they tried to serve the Church within the framework of the traditional vows and communal life.
“The authors have given us a valuable new study of the men and women who left religious life in the 1960s and 1970s, presented in a manner to help us understand the revolution in Catholic religious life at that time. The book is an examination of three specific groups which teaches us about the general sea-change in American Catholism.” – (From the Preface) Dean R. Hoge
“This is the first comparative study that I am aware of to examine the motivations and subsequent careers of the men and women who left Roman Catholic religious communities. Few studies have examined this population in the past, and fewer still were ever published or remain in print ... Thus, Drs. Blasi’s and Zimmerman’s explicit comparison of religious priests and brothers, and of males and females exiting religious orders, is groundbreaking. Their use of statistics from their survey data as well as from quotations from their extended interviews is a useful balance. I was especially interested in their findings of patterns in the family backgrounds (education of parents, years in Catholic schools) of those who left the order as compared to those who stayed. The annotated bibliography s a scholar’s treasure ... Overall, this is a good and thorough treatment of a too-little-covered topic.” – Dr. Patricia Wittberg, Indiana University-Purdue University
“[This book] contains very valuable research data which fills a glaring lacuna in sociology of religion and American Catholic Studies ... This study fills an important niche in the sociology of ordained ministry. It helps us see the social and cultural shifts which led to increased departures from the 1960’s on in ordained ministry and vowed religious life and the difficulties in recruiting new cohorts to fill in their ranks ... [This book] will be welcomed by professional sociologists and the growing cadre of persons who staff the burgeoning training programs for lay ministry.” –Dr. John A. Coleman S.J., Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles
"For a sociologist, Dr. Anthony Blasi has an extensive grasp of the history of American Catholicism and has amassed an impressive bibliography of research on American clerly and religious ... That alone is worth the price of the book ... The authors analyze the experiences of three communities of vowed religious to gain insight into some of the factors that caused large numbers of men and women who entered religious life in the 1950s and 1960s to leave ... I would recommend this book for graduate students in a course on American Catholicism or for students in a ministry formation program to help them gain a better perspective on the enormity of change in ministry formation that has occurred in the Catholic Church in the United States over the last forty years. The book would also be a useful resource for those who implement ministry formation programs as the author has a number of suggestions in the last chapter for ways to design programs that can attract young people to ministry, nurture them along the way, and prepare them for a lifetime commitment." - Mary L. Gautier, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University
"I would recommend this book for graduate students in a course on American Catholicism or for students in a ministry formation program to help them gain a better perspective on the enormity of change in ministry formation that has occurred in the Catholic Church in the United States over the past forty years. The book would also be a useful resource for those who implement ministry formation programs as the author has a number of suggestions in the last chapter for ways to design programs that can attract young people to ministry, nurture them along the way, and prepare them for a lifetime commitment." - American Catholic Studies
Table of Contents
1. What We Can Learn and How We Can Learn It
2. Backgrounds of Current and Former Religious
3. Age of Entry
4. Seminary and Formation Experiences
5. Community, Ministry, and Leaving
6. After Leaving
7. Implications for Forming Future Ministers
ISBN10: 0-7734-6391-7 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-6391-2
Roman Catholic Studies Number: 20
Subject Areas: Religion & Society,
Roman Catholic Studies - Religion,
Studies In American Religion - Religion,
Imprint: Edwin Mellen Press
USA List Price: $139.95 UK List Price: £ 94.95
Discounts: Discounts are available. Please
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