Skip to content

Sociologists see strong identity, less commitment in young Catholics

February 8, 2007

Source: Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Young adult Catholics have a strong Catholic identity but do not feel much of a commitment to the institutional church or its moral teachings, two sociologists said Feb. 6 in Washington.

The seemingly paradoxical assessment came from James A. Davidson of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and Dean R. Hoge of The Catholic University of America in Washington at a Woodstock Forum on the campus of Georgetown University. Davidson and Hoge are co-authors with William V. D’Antonio of Catholic University and Mary L. Gautier of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown of American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church, to be published in late March by Rowman & Littlefield.

The book analyzes Gallup surveys from 1987, 1993, 1999 and 2005, and finds that Catholics born after 1979, in what the authors call the “millennial generation,” have deep differences from previous generations of Catholics — differences that are unlikely to disappear when they marry and have children. “There’s a disconnect between them and the institutional church,” said Davidson. “And when they get older, they are not going to be like the Catholics of previous generations. They are going to be the Catholics they are now.”

The news are kind of vague in that we do not know specifically why these sociologists think that young Catholics (born after 1979) are disconnected from the institutional Church. If anything, I experience among young adults more of a return to orthodoxy as I read in Carroll’s The New Faithful where young Catholics embrace chastity and traditional moral values through a personal choice rather than by tradition, whereas our parents’ generation because they more or less inherited their faith traditions from their parents, they did not embrace them with the same fervor as young Catholics todayin their earlier years. However, I think that this view is also biased by the group of people we are constantly around that represents our perception of who these “young” Catholics are. This will definitely be an interesting read.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: