Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape

David Yamane, Author
David Yamane. Oxford Univ., $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-19-996498-7
Reviewed on: 03/10/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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Sociology scholar Yamane has been reflecting on the constituency of converts to Catholicism for well over a decade now. He asserts that this project—which gives a thorough overview and analysis of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) process throughout—is merely a “case study” of six parishes in Indiana, yet anyone who picks up this book will see that the work he accomplished is rather extensive. The heart of this book lies in the chapters that feature the individuals Yamane interviewed, many of them working-class individuals, earnest and reflective about their varying reasons for converting. Yamane is careful to attend to the economic, geographic, and ethnic diversity of the Catholic Church in his interviews. Though Yamane’s data is extensive, a glaring drawback is that all of it was gathered in 2001 and 2002. The world has changed drastically over the last decade due to new technologies, and it’s a shame that this research isn’t more recent, as surely faith conversion has been effected by such shifts. Heavy with references to the relevant academic literature and descriptions of methodology, this is an important read for scholars who are interested in ethnographic and sociological work, especially as it relates to Catholicism, though popular audiences will find the heavily academic language tough. (Apr.)
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