Book ReviewsAmerican Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church

Written by: William V. D’Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hogue, and Mary L. Gautier.  Rowman & Littlefield.  204 pages.  Paperback.  March 2007.


The Roman Catholic Church in the United State ranks after Brazil, Mexico and possibly after Italy with the most percentage of Catholics in the population.  There are around 64 million Catholics in the United States which is the largest denomination in this country.  The Catholic Church in the United States is a bit unique in that it exists in the richest country in the world and is the only superpower.  Additionally, five of the Supreme Court Justices including the Chief Justice himself are Roman Catholics which is the largest number of Catholics on this court in history.


American Catholics Today is the report of the survey and research that William V. D’Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge, and Mary L. Gautier conducted in 2005.  The introduction gives a summary review of the previous surveys that the authors had done with the Gallup Polling Organization.  The introduction describes that the 2005 survey participants were divided into four groups based on age groups or generations:  1. Pre-Vatican II (born in 1940 or earlier).  2. Vatican II (born between 1941 and 1960).  3. Post-Vatican II (born between 1961 and 1978).  4. Millennial (born between 1979 and 1987).  They also considered race, gender, amount of education, marital status, political affiliation, and income.


The following chapters focus on Catholic identity, Catholic commitment to the Church, the sacraments, issues within the Church, authority and the Church in politics.


William V. D’Antonio (Ph.D. 1958 from Michigan State University).  Is a fellow at the Life Cycle Institute at the Catholic University of America.  He is the co-author of eight books and editor of four others.


James D. Davidson (Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame).  He is a professor of sociology at Purdue University.  He is the author or co-author of several books and articles.  He has published articles in America, Commonweal, and Liguorian.


Dean R. Hoge (Ph.D. 1970 from Harvard).  He is a professor emeritus of sociology.  He is a fellow at the Life Cycle Institute at the Catholic University of America.  He has authored several books.


Mary L. Gautier (Ph.D. 1995 from Louisiana State University).  She is a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University.  She has authored two books and also edits The CARA Report.


American Catholics Today will be of interest to those involved in Church leadership and those interested in what Catholics think about various topics.  This book is highly recommended to them.

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