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Faithful Revolution: How Voice of the Faithful Is Changing the Church 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195385847
ISBN-10: 0195385845
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Editorial Reviews


"Tricia Colleen Bruce's new book could not come at a better time. Faithful Revolution makes a significant contribution to the study of social movements." --Mobilization

"What [Bruce] does especially well, and is evidenced throughout her book, is tease out the analytical nuances derived from her deft framing of VOTF as an 'intrainstitutional social movement.' this fine book provides an excellent model for the very sort of scholarship required to tell that currently unfolding story with rigor and verve" --Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"Drawing on participant observations, interviews, and discourse analysis, the book's theoretical contributions (related to social movement studies) never outweigh its attentiveness to the voices of the people. With the help of Bruce's insightful explanation of the structural dilemmas of existence in the 'church that can and cannot change,' future studies can deepen our understanding of the sensory, emotional, familial, and relational fabric of life as a VOTF Catholic. This book is an excellent choice for upper-level Catholic Studies course and for graduate seminars on social movements and/or post-Vatican II Catholicism." --American Catholic Studies

"Faithful Revolution brings to light the intense identity negotiations that accompany a challenge to one's own religion and offers a meaningful way to learn about Catholic identity, intrainstitutional social movements, and the complexity of institutional structures."--ASA Sociology of Religion Section Newsletter

"Faithful Revolution provides an excellent introduction to a road map for that journey."--Catholic4Change

"...The book is a successful contribution to scholarship."--CHOICE

"Few things have rocked the American Church more than the clergy sexual abuse scandals of recent years. Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a grassroots group committed to holding the church accountable, emerged as a result. Tricia Bruce shows with empirical depth and theoretical nuance the potential power and the institutional challenges facing such efforts. There are lessons here for students of American Catholicism, religious organizations, and social movements." ---Rhys H. Williams, Director, McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion, Loyola University Chicago

"This important contribution to social movement studies reveals the strengths and limits of intrainstitutional social movements, where obedience to authority of the bishops is a given, and places the study of religious movements within the broader context of intrainstitutional social movements. The book is rich in first-hand accounts from the movement's founders and active members."--William V. D'Antonio, co-author of Voices of the Faithful: Loyal Catholics Striving for Change

"Through her deft use of discourse analysis, interview, and participant observation methods, Tricia Colleen Bruce tells the story of Voice of the Faithful--an example of what she calls an 'intrainstitutional social movement'--in great depth. As if this were not enough, she also broadens her account by explaining how institutional context shapes activists' strategies, collective identities and, ultimately, their chances of being successful. This is a very thoughtful analysis."---Jerome P. Baggett, author of Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith

About the Author

Tricia Colleen Bruce received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2006. Her research interests include American Catholicism, social movements, and the sociology of religion. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Maryville College, residing in Maryville, Tennessee, with her husband and two children.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195385845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195385847
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tricia Bruce is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Maryville College with a focus on the sociology of religion. She holds undergraduate degrees in sociology and communication from Southwestern University in Texas and a PhD in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). She was previously a Research Assistant Professor at Georgetown University. Additional information about her research and teaching is available at http://www.triciabruce.com.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are few events in contemporary life that have provoked more moral outrage than those that comprise what we generally refer to as the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. And, surely, it is righteous outrage. With no lessening in sympathy and empathy for the victims of this abuse, and their families, and with no excuses for the perpetrators, let us note that the crisis enveloped thousands of other people as well. Indeed, among the pressing questions that arise from any reflection of the events and circumstances of this tragedy are, "Who in this situation deserves compassion? Who deserves forgiveness? Who is allowed to feel pain, and what sort of pain, and to what lengths are those affected allowed to go to ameliorate the pain?"

For, in some measure, all of us were victimized by this scandal.

One particular group of victims is faithful Catholics who were betrayed by their church. And this is one group that mobilized to act in a certain way. Tricia Bruce has done us the extraordinary favor of telling their story. The movement calling itself Voice of the Faithful emerged in short order following the particular revelations of abuse in Boston in early 2002. The reporting by the Boston Globe brought to light a decades-old pattern of institutional pathology and prompted parishioners at St. John the Evangelist parish in Wellesley, Massachusetts, to consider how to channel their outrage in a manner that would both provide support for victims but also to work to change the church from within. Voice of the Faithful quickly became a national movement.

This book then is an accomplished and astute sociological study of what Dr. Bruce calls an intra-institutional social movement (IISM).
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Format: Hardcover
The publication of this book is very timely, in that it deals with the efforts of Catholic laity to address issues of child sexual abuse by priests, and the Church's reassignment of such priests from parish to parish. In a broader sense, the book addresses sociological issues, e.g., how can people at the base of an organizational pyramid effect change when the organizational structure is a hierarchy that demands absolute obedience from the top down, and enforces those demands through coercive powers such as excommunication? I recommend the book to all people of faith, and to all those seek transparency and accountability from leaders of the religious institutions whose decisions have profound effects on our society.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book for anyone interested in the sex-abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church. Even more, it is for anyone interested in the internal repercussions of those scandals told via the story of a group of faithful Catholics who attempted to bring about change within their own church.

Tricia Bruce has authored a fascinating sociological study of a grassroots movement called Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) that formed in 2002 to pursue three straightforward goals: support victims of abuse; support priests of integrity; and bring about change in the structure of the Catholic Church. But, as this book so ably recounts, how challenging the pursuit of those three goals would be!

Bruce takes us on a journey with VOTF as it encounters resistance from church hierarchy, from other social movements, and from within its own ranks. She thoroughly examines the reasons for the group's setbacks and successes, and compares VOTF with other social movements that have similarly sought to change their own institutions from within.

Bruce writes in a clear, straightforward style that never gets in the way of the engrossing story she is telling. Excellent short summaries at the end of each chapter remind us of what's been covered and introduce us to what's coming next.

As a non-Catholic unfamiliar with church hierarchical terms, I would have found a short glossary handy. However, a quick Internet search gave me the definitions I needed to differentiate a parish from a diocese, a pastor from a bishop.

I highly recommend this very well-written book that provides an inside look at a most fascinating `revolution.'
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Format: Hardcover
Surely, this book was written tongue-in-cheek. The idea that this dwindling group of graying baby-boomers is "changing the Church" in any meaningful way is laughable. The blip in popularity VOTF enjoyed after its founding is long gone nine years hence. They are at best minor players -- some would say irritants -- who seem oblivious to the fact that the Church's apostolic structure around her bishops is indeed a matter of faith and morals which Catholics are bound to obey. Any assertion of "faithfulness" on their part must come to grips with the rejection of this structure. In any event, despite the author's cheer-leading, this book amounts to little more than an extended whistling past the graveyard of "progressive" Catholicism.
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