How can churches--and the Catholic Church in particular--ameliorate the polarization that rends American religion and reestablish the virtues of solidarity, love, and humility at the heart of the Christian message? This is one of the central challenges of the Church in the second decade of the twenty-first century. We propose to bring a distinguished group of scholars and church leaders together to produce an edited volume that will generate new knowledge and concrete responses to the social processes which constitute and reinforce polarization within US religious groups, and among Catholics in particular. As a part of this process, we will bring authors together with other collaborators for a conference at the University of Notre Dame in Spring 2015 which aims not only to produce the volume, but also to create a durable network to resist polarization in churches. Especially in the time of Pope Francis, a Christian leader who resists the categories and thinking which drives polarization in the United States, there could not be a more opportune time to engage these issues. The edited volume has three broad sections which: 1) discuss the social contours of polarization among Catholics, the wounds produced, and how Catholics reflect broader trends toward polarization in society writ large; 2) diagnose the problems and effects of polarization in different Catholics milieus, and 3) propose how young and future Catholic leaders (millenials, those representing new immigration and Catholics' diversity, theologians and Church leaders) should shape actions to heal polarization. We anticipate that the edited volume and other products of the conference will be of great use to denominational and congregational leaders in stimulating honest conversations among congregants about the wounds cansed by polarizing conflicts, forge relations of solidarity between those who come to resist polarization, and lead to constructive, healing, and unifying action.
|Polarization in the US Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal||2016||Book||
Mary Ellen Konieczny
Charles C. Camosy