Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church

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The real cause of the disintegration of the Catholic Church in America

Many Catholics blame Vatican II for the woes of the Catholic Church in America. Traditionalists claim that changes in the Mass brought on the decline while liberals say it was caused by failure of the Church to bring its theology in step with the times.

In this groundbreaking study, David Carlin challenges both views. The roots of the crisis in America are not theological, he says; they're cultural. Forty years ago the Church in America unwittingly sailed into a perfect storm spawned by the unprecedented confluence of three powerful social forces.

Changes introduced by Vatican II unsettled the self-identity of American Catholics just as their improved social status began to draw them from their Catholic enclaves into full communion with American culture. Then, as they struggled to adjust to unfamiliar roles in the Church and in society, American culture shifted out from under them, abandoning its traditional Protestant character to become openly secularist, libertine, and boldly anti-authoritarian.

American Catholicism might have withstood one of these transformations, says Carlin, or perhaps even two. But together, the three combined into a perfect storm that capsized the Church in America.

Demoralized and adrift, American Catholics forged a compromise with their new secular culture. They downplayed specifically Catholic elements of their faith. They stopped seeing Catholicism as the one true Church to which all are called and came to think of it as just another denomination among many.

That led to a widespread loss of Catholic identity in America, a general weakening of fidelity to Catholic doctrine, and the exodus of many from the Church.

Carlin shows that it has taken more than bad priests, weak bishops, and liturgical abuses to cripple this once formidable institution; it will take more than good priests, strong bishops, and a reverent liturgy to save it. Fundamental changes must be made. Unfortunately, Carlin's diagnosis leaves little reason to hope the American Church can make those changes soon enough to save itself.

The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America takes you past the lurid headlines to reveal the fundamental reasons for the collapse of Catholicism in America. It's essential reading for anyone who hopes to rebuild the Church.

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Editorial Reviews

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"Among books that attempt to analyze and prescribe for the crisis in American Catholicism, David Carlin's stands out for its uncompromising religious orthodoxy and its hard-headed sociological realism. He explains accurately how we got into this mess and what will have to be done — supposing it can be done this late in the game — to get out of it."

Russell Shaw

Product Details

  • Pages: 432
  • Format(s): Paperback, eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-622821-69-3
  • Product Code: 1693
  • Availability: Out of Stock

Customer Reviews

543212 reviews
A book that is very eye opening
This book does an execellent job of looking at the decline of the Catholic Church since the 1960's from a sociological perspective. Carlin addresses in an easy to read manner the step by step cultural upheavals that helped errode the faith of most Catholics in the last forty years. While I would have liked him to have a brighter perspective on the Catholic Church's future in America, I cannot but help feeling he is right on the mark with his assessments. The general assessement of the books is that the Catholic Faith will gradually become weaker and weaker a force in shaping America's future and will become as impotent a force as the Amish culture in shaping country's future if we continue to water down our faith to be more acceptable in the eyes of our secular American society. As long as we are content to water down the tough issues (Abortion, Euthanasia, Artificial Contraception, divorce, fornication, homosexuality) we will cease to be authentically the Catholic Church Christ founded and will simply become just another liberal church bowing at the altar of secular opinion polls.
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Outstanding Synthesis
An outstanding synthesis of how three major factors coalesced about 40 years ago to undermine and severely damage the US Catholic Church's culture and teaching authority. I remember the Church as a very young child before 1962 and can appreciate the catastrophic post-Vatican II effects David Carlin so eloquently describes. His assessment of how we got to where we are today, as well as his prescription for rescuing Christ's holy Church in the US is right on target. I applaud Mr. Carlin's brilliant analysis. With lots of prayers, another St. Charles Borromeo for the 21st century, and a miracle, we may avoid falling into further irrelevancy and decline. Given our current secularist culture, as sick as it is and as pervasive even in the Church, I pray for bishops and priests to have the moral courage to preach the truth and do all they can to reverse the ominous trends Mr. Carlin describes. His book is a highly commendable first step in helping the leaders of the Church to speak the truth
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