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Interpreting Change in American Catholicism: The River and the Floodgate

R. Hoge
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 27, No. 4 (Jun., 1986), pp. 289-299
DOI: 10.2307/3511869
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3511869
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Interpreting Change in American Catholicism: The River and the Floodgate
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Abstract

The changes in American Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council are best understood by using the model of a river blocked by a dam. When the floodgates are opened, the water rushes out with great energy. Vatican II was an opening of the floodgates to change, and the stored-up pressure was the result of decades of assimilation of Catholics into American society. Assimilation is continuing, producing more and more convergence between Catholics and Protestants. Today Pope John Paul II is suspicious of trends in the Catholic Churches in modern western democracies, and he has re-closed the floodgates. Pressures are building up again.

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