My first authored book, Catholic Activism Today: Individual Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice provides the reader with a clear sense of what animates contemporary Catholic civic engagement (available on amazon here).
In brief, I argue that American Catholic engagement was previously done through Catholic groups or organizations typically organized at the parish level. Today, Catholics who seek to be civically engaged as Catholics do so through “discipleship groups” where they are gathered for spiritual formation and then engage a wide variety of issues as individuals. There are five core values that animate discipleship groups: transformation, Christ-centeredness, community, outreach, and compassion. There are, of course, assets and liabilities for these discipleship groups, on a variety of levels, from the practical to the magisterial authority of the Church. Catholic Activism Today is part of the Religion and Social Transformation series at New York University Press and you can learn more about it, as well as download the instructor’s guide, at the title link above. It was enthusiastically received, winning a Catholic Media Award as well as being featured in Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Catholic Books Review, Choice, Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses and The CARA Report,
I have an edited collection with Paulist Press entitled Young Adult American Catholics: Explaining Vocation in Their Own Words (for the amazon listing, click here). This book has two primary target audiences. First, it is great for ministers or a parish looking to start or revamp a young adult ministry. Second, it would be insightful for scholars looking to learn more about young adults, Catholicism or vocation and meaning. The book is organized into thirteen subsections (e.g., Hispanic Catholics or emerging adults). Each of these is introduced by a sociologist who gives a “big picture” view of young adult Catholics of that demographic. This sociologist is followed by 2-6 “voices,” that is, young adults who are a part of that population. They write from their own experience and understanding of vocation as well as discuss the pastoral needs they have of the Church. Finally, each section closes with some discussion questions that will help you think about how to apply this scholarship and these experiences to your own parish context. For several weeks after publication it was #2 on the Paulist bestsellers list. The scholarly contributors are: Jerome P. Baggett, Jeffrey M, Burns, Tricia Colleen Bruce, Stephen M. Cherry, John Coleman, S.J., Maureen K. Day, Michele Dillon, Mark Erdosy, Mary Gautier, Kathleen Garces-Foley, Mary Ellen Konieczny, Hosffman Ospino, Tia N. Pratt, Brian Starks and Jeana Visel, O.S.B. It got lots of attention, being featured in the National Catholic Reporter, The CARA Report, American Catholic Studies, and was one of three “highlighted books” on young adults in FADICA’s report on parish vitality.
I have also published numerous academic and general public articles as well as reports. These appear in Review of Religious Research, American Catholic Studies, Religions, Journal of Media and Religion, National Catholic Reporter, America, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and more. For a full listing of my publications read my CV here.