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The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America Hardcover – October, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Author David Carlin is a professor of philosophy and sociology at the Community College of Rhode Island, where he has taught for twenty years.

From 1981 to 1992, he was a Rhode Island state senator and in 1989 and 1990 he severed as Senate Majority Leader. In 1992, he was a Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representives.

Carlin has published more than a hundred articles on social, political, cultural, and religious topics, including articles for the New York Times, America, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Commonweal, First Things, and other journals, secular and religious.

Carlin and his wife, Maureen, have three adult children and one grandchild, and live in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sophia Institute Press (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1928832792
  • ISBN-13: 978-1928832799
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,465,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Connolly on April 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 with fervor and choose orthodoxy over "making it up as you go along." I wish every ordained clergyman and member of the Church would read this excellent book and take its message to heart and act on its providential message.
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Format: Hardcover
Written by sociologist and lifelong Catholic David Carlin (Professor of Philosophy and Sociology, Community College, Rhode Island), The Decline & Fall Of The Catholic Church In America is an insightfully critical study and critique of the erosion of the Catholic Church's influence from the election of John F. Kennedy to today. Taking the staunch view that the root of the Catholic Church's problems lie not in the scandals that reach the daily headlines, but rather a shift in American culture to embrace secularist, libertine, and anti-authoritarian values, that caused American Catholics to adapt by downplaying their faith, The Decline & Fall Of The Catholic Church In America is a thoughtful and thought-provoking wake-up call that holds out the possibility, albeit not with overmuch optimism, that the American Catholic Church can do what it needs most to turn itself around.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
I like the author's comments on Christ's promise that the Church that it would last to the end of the world. He asserts that while Christ's assertation will be true, Christ did not say America's Catholic Church would last to the end. There were Catholic diocese in Islamic countries centuries that currently are dead and gone. There are many places where the Church was that no longer survive. If Catholics in America do not get serious about being authentically Catholic, we may eventually lose the Church here. It will be of little consolation here in America if the Catholic faith thrives in Latin America, Africa, South America to the end of time, if our American Church dies here. We need to do what we can to perseve the faith where we live.
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Format: Hardcover
David Carlin's book is a great step by a Catholic Sociologist to examine and analyze the decline of Catholicism in America since the end of Vatican II in 1965. It is a must read book that belongs in every Catholic's library.
That said, I have to mention that Mr. Carlin does not go far enough or deep enough into the reasons behind Catholicism's decline, not only in America but worldwide. His book could be renamed "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America and around the world." His main thesis that the Church hit an unfortunate tripple whammy of Vatican II, the end of the Catholic ghetto and the mainstreaming of Catholics into the culture, and the rise of secularism. Yet, he does not examine all of the ramifications inherent in the first major cause, Vatican II and how it effected the other two.
In his analysis of what the Church needs to do to pull out of this decline, in the next to the last chapter, was once again lacking systematic thought. There is a mental incoherence which is inherent in the mass of neo-Catholic's today. Even when trying to fight liberalism and secularism, they are so infected by these two "isms", that they forver fail to connect all of the dots, or overcome their inherent mental inertia.
He goes into the need for the Church to "invent" new rituals in order to fight secularism, failing to notice that Catholcism is traditionaly anti-inventionist! In fact, it was the cult of inventionism and experimentation, ushered in by Vatican II, that has caused the problem in the first place.
There is no need to invent (sic) anything. One of the main secularizing and liberalizing influences in the Church today is the new mass.
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