Critical Masses by Leon J. Podles

Review

Critical Masses

Young Catholic America: Emerging Adults In, Out of, and Gone from the Church
by Christian Smith, Kyle Longest, Jonathan Hill, and Kari Christoffersen
Oxford University Press, 2014
(333 pages, $29.95, hardcover)

reviewed by Leon J. Podles

The authors, two of whom teach at Notre Dame, surveyed the religious lives of a representative group of Catholic young people in 2002. At that time, the members of the group were between the ages of 13 and 17. The sociologists re-contacted the same group in 2005 and again in 2007–2008. They therefore were able to see how attitudes and practices changed as the teenagers became emerging adults.

Their main finding was of stability. As the teenagers were, so were the young adults. Any change was in the direction of less commitment to Catholicism.

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Leon J. Podles holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, has worked as a teacher and a federal investigator, and is president of the Crossland Foundation. He is the author of The Church Impotent (Spence), Sacrilege (Crossland Press), and Losing the Good Portion: Why Men Are Alienated from Christianity (St. Augustine Press). Dr. Podles and his wife have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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