I just got word from our principal investigator, Tricia Bruce at the University of Notre Dame, that we have received the funding for a project examining Americans’ attitudes on abortion. The McGrath Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame will be funding this important work.
In a nutshell: The vast majority of the literature we have on Americans’ attitudes on abortion is from surveys; these tend to offer respondents forced choice/close-ended sorts of questions, which lack the depth or subtleties that may better characterize their true thinking on the issue. The studies that allow respondents to elaborate their beliefs in their own words tend to focus on activists (who are generally not representative of your “typical” American in their position or level of commitment). Using interviews in conjunction with the extant survey data, this study will help us better understand the tensions people navigate and the moral values they tap into when it comes to the abortion issue, as well as illuminate what’s going on behind the survey data.
I just returned from an amazing faculty immersion trip in Xi’an, Shijiazhuang and Beijing. Big thanks to the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego. It was such a well-organized trip. We got to experience important educational and Catholic sites–schools, seminaries, and Matteo Ricci’s grave–and learn much of what it means to be a Catholic in China. Additionally, we attended cultural shows, ate amazing food, and saw some of the significant historical sites in Northern China. It was a very enriching experience.
Here I am pictured with Kate Yanina DeConinck, an anthropologist of religion from USD’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies, on the Great Wall. Quite the view; thank you, CCTC!
Here comes a 2-for-1 post.
1) I had a great time at my alma mater at the Jesuit School of Theology last Thursday. I had a very good meeting with the new GTU president, Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, to hear the projects the GTU is moving forward with. I also got to meet with a first-year doctoral student; look for Porsia’s work on sociology of Catholicism soon! Later that evening I had a beautiful experience at the liturgy remembering the lives of the four American churchwomen. Then I presented, to new and old friends, on studying and ministering to young adult Catholics. The following day I took the train to the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference and got to give two presentations on my book. Thanks for sponsoring me for this, Paulist Press!
2) If you are a fan of podcasts, NCR just finished a great series on Jewish perspectives of Catholicism. I was included as a sort of capstone of this, weighing in on what an outsider’s perspective can offer, as well as some concluding thoughts on polarization among U.S. Catholics. My interview begins at 25:20.
Happy to see my article, “Why are we at each others’ throats? Healing polarization in our church” in this morning’s National Catholic Reporter. Polarization is getting worse in our society and it is affecting US Catholics. The article provides data on this as well as steps for your congregation or diocese to help heal the fissures that polarization has caused. Here is a pull quote:
We need to grow charity in ourselves, in our parishes and in our world. Charity will help to rebuild the personal and social trust that has slowly eroded.
Hopefully we can start to realize we’re all in this together and remember James Joyce’s words in Finnegan’s Wake: Here comes everybody.
I appeared with my colleague, Dr. Joe Chinnici, and Fr. Dan Lackie in a recent article by Dan Morris Young entitled “Polarization in the Pews” in St. Anthony’s Messenger. Chinnici is a Franciscan and a historian and Lackie is a Franciscan author and retreat master. A well-written piece and very pertinent for today (and, as Joe points out, perpetually).
I am very excited to be giving two talks inspired by my edited collection on young adult Catholics this week. The first will be a Thursday evening lecture, open to the public, at my alma mater: the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. The second talk will be more formal (no pizza and beer here!) at the Santa Clara Faith Formation Conference.
The book is selling well! Amazon has just ran out of it and (I think) this is what led to its reappearance on Paulist Press’ bestsellers list. I’m so glad to know people are finding it useful and are spreading the word!
This year Dr. Linda Kawentel (Notre Dame) and I were co-recipients of the Constant H. Jacquet Research Award from the Religious Research Association (thanks so much!). I just accepted a position with them to be on their awards committee for the next three years. Looking forward to promoting (and funding) applied research on religion.