An overview of the sociology of the catholic church

Church-sect typology[ edit ] A diagram of the church-sect typology continuum. Include church, denomination, sect, cult, new religious movement, and institutionalized sect. This church-sect typology has its origins in the work of Max Weber. Along this continuum are several additional types, each of which will be discussed in turn.

An overview of the sociology of the catholic church

Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families — those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay — are OK for raising children, too.

According to the survey, one-in-four Catholics have gone through a divorce. One-in-ten have not only divorced but also remarried.

One-in-ten are living with a romantic partner, sans wedding, and more than four-in-ten have done so at some point in their lives. When it comes to matters of sexuality, there are a number of issues on which Catholics either mostly disagree with the church e. But there also are numerous ways in which Catholics express their dedication to the church and its teachings.

For example, seven-in-ten say they cannot ever imagine leaving the Catholic Church, no matter what. Nearly six-in-ten Catholics say abortion is a sin.

The survey shows, furthermore, that Catholics who say they attend Mass regularly at least once a week are consistently more in agreement with church teachings than are Catholics who attend Mass less frequently. The survey also shows that the United States is a nation of people whose ties to Catholicism run both deep and broad.

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But they do identify as Catholic or partially Catholic in some other way. This attachment to Catholicism shows up in their lives in various ways: For example, one-third say they attend Mass at least occasionally.

And among cultural Catholics who were raised in the church, roughly four-in-ten say they could imagine returning to the faith someday. The new survey also suggests that Pope Francis may have a difficult time persuading Catholics in the U. Though six-in-ten Catholics say working to help the poor and needy is essential to their Catholic identity, only about half as many say the same about working to address climate change.

Catholics are divided on the question of whether it is sinful to spend money on luxuries without also giving to the poor, but large majorities say it is not a sin to live in a house larger than needed or to use energy without concern for the impact on the environment.


The survey finds that Hispanic Catholics are much more inclined than non-Hispanic whites to express concerns about the morality of excessive consumption. Catholics say, when it comes to parenting, a married mother and father are ideal — as good as, or better than, any other arrangement for bringing up kids.

But large majorities of Catholics think other family configurations generally are acceptable, too. Leaving children aside, Catholics also condone a variety of adult living arrangements that the church traditionally has frowned upon.

And seven-in-ten Catholics say married couples who opt not to have children have chosen a lifestyle that is as good as any other.

An overview of the sociology of the catholic church

But the survey also shows that Catholics who attend Mass regularly are more inclined to hew to the traditional teachings of the church. Roughly four-in-ten Catholics say they attend Mass at least once a week.

For details, see Chapter 2. Overall, Catholics are split on whether homosexual behavior is a sin. And the preponderance of lay Catholic opinion in the United States today is that living with a romantic partner outside of marriage is not a sin: Catholics would like the Catholic Church, as an institution, to adopt a more flexible or accepting approach toward people who are divorced, cohabiting with a romantic partner outside marriage or in same-sex relationships.Catholicism, along with Orthodoxy and Protestantism, is one of Christianity’s three principal branches and statistically the most important.

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