Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church

Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill, and Kari Christofferson. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-19-934107-8
Aside from a decline in attendance at Mass, young American Catholics haven’t changed much over the last few decades, according to religion sociologist Smith and his co-writers. Their new work serves to undercut the widespread notion that there is a steady drop in association with, participation in, and adoption of Catholic teachings among this group. In their attitudes, “Catholic emerging adults basically look like other emerging adults,” writes Smith. Reminiscent of his influential Soul Searching (2005), this newest book drawn from Smith’s National Study of Youth and Religion data provides another in-depth portrait of emerging adults’ attitudes about faith. Unique among studies that present a single snapshot in time of a young adult cohort, the research presents extensive data on a group of emerging adults from a period of 10 years. Smith and his co-writers precede their findings with a concise, clear, and valuable history of the postwar Catholic Church. This excellent resource on the generations of emerging adult Catholics since the 1970s has numerous helpful tables and charts. The general reader may find it data-heavy, but this is a major work on an important subject. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/10/2014
Release date: 03/01/2014
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