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Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith Hardcover – December 9, 2008
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"Jerome Baggett is now required reading for all of us seeking to understand the contemporary situation of the Catholic community in the United States...Go out and buy this book."--American Catholic Studies
"Cutting through clichés like 'cafeteria Catholics' and going beyond the false dichotomies like 'spiritual versus religious,' Jerome Baggett's sensitive probing yields great insights into the different ways of being Catholic in America-ways that manifest depth and richness, but which also show severe limitations. Essential reading for those who would understand rather than pontificate."--Charles Taylor, Northwestern University, author of A Secular Age
"As everything from extremist cults to right-wing religious crusaders occupies the attention of newscasters and many scholars, American Catholics remain understudied and poorly understood. Jerome Baggett's fine book changes that. Now at last we have an authoritative and engagingly written study of practicing Catholics at the grassroots and close up. Readers who thought religion was waning except on the margins will have their views challenged again and again." --Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University, author of After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion
"American Catholicism is undergoing dramatic cultural and demographic changes. Yet we know far too little about what that looks, sounds, and feels like on the ground among ordinary Catholics -- much less what it all means. Sense of the Faithful helps to remedy this problem, offering a well-informed and enlightening view of Catholic faith viewed from the grassroots. It will stimulate important conversations." --Christian Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, co-author of Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money
"I highly recommend Jerome Baggetts Sense of the Faithful. It is a gem." --CatholicBooksReview.org
"Sense of the Faithful provides useful information, wise insights and a 'conversation piece' for pastoral ministers and parishioners." --The Evangelist
"Important and insightful...Sense of the Faithful is an innovative and probing work. Consider this a must read for those following the 'messiness' of post-Vatican II 'lived' Catholicism, and for scholars probing the complexities of America's ever-zany free market religious economy."--Sociology of Religion
"Important reading for those who are in parish ministry and planning."--The Catholic Review
"This is a fine book that stands at the end of a series of books about American Catholics and lived religioni." --Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Top Customer Reviews
The author characterizes his book as a conversation piece..."the result of many conversations about present-day American Catholicism with students and colleagues at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley." He learned that there was very little known "about the people in the pews and how they find meaning in their two thousand year old religious tradition." And so he began his journey to find the "nonofficial" viewpoints expressed by the "rank and file."
"Sense of the Faithful" is based on conversations with nearly 300 active members of six Catholic parishes in the San Francisco Bay area:
* Saint Mary - Saint Francis de Sales, Oakland's first parish and one that celebrates cultural diversity with three distinct worship communities and fewer than 900 parishioners;
* Saint Louis Bertrand, an inner city parish in East Oakland, a 2500 member Initially, African-American and Latino parish few resources available and a focus on enhancing family life;
* St. Augustine, a growing "progressive" suburban 4000 family, mostly Anglo parish in Pleasanton with 64 innovative programs, focused on fostering a sense of community;
* St. Margaret Mary, a destination parish of "cultural resistance" in downtown Oakland where Missals are mostly in Latin with Latin Mass offered, where parish activities are mostly focused on liturgy...still done "correctly," and is not about meeting people's emotional, social or non-sacramental needs.Read more ›