Lucas Sharma, graduate student at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, has offered an insightful review of Catholic Activism Today in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; thanks to Sharma for his time in this! I appreciated two of the book’s takeaways that Sharma identified: the way contemporary Catholics are bringing their faith and citizenship together in public life and the complex ways individuals, meso-level institutions (like parishes), and the Catholic hierarchy interact with one another. Sharma closes by identifying the multiple audiences that would find this book useful:
In conclusion, Day should be commended for an excellent book that contributes to a great legacy of Catholic sociology of religion. At the same time, the findings and questions raised above suggest that Catholic Activism Today could be helpful not just for sociologists, but for pastoral programs, church planning offices, seminaries, and schools of theology and ministry across the country.
My thanks go out to Dr. Peter Baltutis, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Canada, for his generous review of my latest book. Dr. Baltutis and I have several overlapping interests that are explored in the book–including Modern Catholicism, Catholic social teaching and service learning–so it was truly affirming to read his positive assessment of Catholic Activism Today in Studies in Religion / Sciences Religieuses. Here are some excerpts of the review:
More than a narrow study of one faith-based organization, Day effectively uses JFM to draw some important conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of this new discipleship style and the implications that it has for the contemporary Catholic Church… Day’s thought-provoking study of the emergent discipleship style of American public Catholicism is most helpful to scholars seeking to understand contemporary Catholic life and the newest wave of Catholic civic engagement.
Day’s in-depth portrait of JustFaith Ministries serves as an illuminating case for anyone interested in civic engagement, religious or not, especially in the tensions between justice and charity. For sociologists and theologians alike, Day also offers thought-provoking discussion about the role of the Catholic Church in the American public square.
The Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition has published my post, “Contemplating the Trinity: A Lenten Exercise” on their blog. It is a reflection on the prayer that concludes St. Francis’s “A Letter to the Entire Order,” which offers much to contemplate in this season of Lent. Enjoy!
My blogpost for Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs came out today. My post, “Catholics and American Public Life: Problems and Possibilities,” discusses two Catholic experiences in American public life, and the challenges and opportunities Church leaders face as they attempt to articulate a more robust public Catholicism. My post was part of a larger collection that explores the election of Joe Biden and Catholicism in U.S. Politics. I’d definitely encourage those interested in learning more about American Catholic public life to read the whole series as they are very well-written pieces.
The newest issue of The Way of St. Francis has just come out and in it you can read my reflection on experiencing Lent during a pandemic. I draw upon the scholarship of medieval historian Bert Roest and his analysis of the eremitical tradition and the life of the Order. I use this to consider the ways the our own homes can act as a hermitage in this season of Lent (and our lives more broadly). You can read my piece, “Entering Lent From a Hermitage,” here.
Co-authored with Barbara McCrabb of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, our new article on successfully integrating professional campus ministers with missionaries is out. The article, Integrating Ministerial Visions: Lessons from Campus Ministry, is available through Religions. It is based on an analysis of a national survey and qualitative study of Catholic campus ministers as well as the work of a task force specially commissioned to offer guidelines and a process for campuses seeking to integrate professional ministers with a missionary team. The article is also forthcoming in a special issue containing some of the most recent and timely studies of Catholic youth and young adult ministry, so be sure to grab the whole issue if that is your area of research or ministry. Here is the abstract for the article:
In recent years, colleges and universities have seen an increase in a relatively new model of Catholic campus ministry: missionary organizations. As these missionaries grow in number, there is also an increase in the number of campuses that simultaneously use missionaries and long-term, professional ministers with graduate degrees. Drawing upon two national studies of Catholic campus ministers and the work of a national task force, this article will illuminate the obstacles these blended teams face in crafting a more holistic engagement with the Catholic tradition. It will also outline the steps to promote a more integrated ministerial vision and to become more pastorally effective. Implications for ministry more broadly are discussed.
My thanks go out to Dr. Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist at Queen’s University Belfast, for her positive review of Catholic Activism Today in Catholic Books Review. I know scholars are much busier in this pandemic time, so I’m all the more appreciative of us carving out time to alert academics and the public of the new books hitting the market. I’ll share the final paragraph of the review here:
Day’s analysis of Catholic activism is valuable in and of itself. But she also points us beyond her case study, asking to what extent the characteristics she has identified in discipleship style Catholicism reflect wider trends in the American religious landscape. Readers familiar with scholarship in the sociology of religion will recognize the traits of discipleship Catholics in other contemporary groups, from liberal Protestants to the Emerging Church Movement and beyond. As such, Day reminds us that discipleship Catholics are by no means unique actors within American religion. But they shed light on how religious actors can have unique impacts on their own local contexts.
My article, “Latinx Catholic Financial Giving and Clergy Responses: Understanding Stewardship Frames,” has been published in American Catholic Studies. The findings reveal reasons why Hispanic Catholics tend to give less than their non-Hispanic counterparts as well as the motivations behind those who give more. It also explores the strategies–both successful and less so–pastors of Hispanic parishes employ to solicit donations from their parishioners. A huge thank you to Villanova University’s Center for Church Management for their generous funding of this project. Here is the abstract:
Scholars have demonstrated that Latinx Catholics give less money to their parishes than their non-Latinx counterparts. However, we do not know why this gap exists, and so Catholic clergy are left unsure as to how to respond. There are several pastoral concerns that emerge because of this gap; these have significance now and especially in the future, as U.S. Catholicism is becoming increasingly Latinx. Using interviews with pastors, high-giving Latinx, and low-giving Latinx, this paper explores the cultural understandings of stewardship among Latinx Catholics and examines the strategies pastors of predominantly Latinx parishes use to encourage giving. The results indicate that pastors and parishioners have significant overlap in their stewardship frames; both use “Receive then Give” frames. However, there is also dissonance in other aspects of their frames. Pastors place more emphasis on financial obstacles to giving while lay Catholics indicate that historical factors as well as poor perception of their parish’s financial needs are the biggest obstacles. This paper concludes by discussing the implications of the findings, including recommended practices to increase Latinx giving.
I would like to invite you to the virtual launch of Catholic Activism Today: Individual Transformation and the Struggle for Social Justice (NYU Press 2020). The launch is sponsored by the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture at the University of San Diego and will be held over Zoom on Tuesday, October 6th, at 2pm Pacific Time. You can get more information, including how to register, on this flyer.