The Rise and Fall of Catholic Religious Orders

A Social Movement Perspective

By Patricia Wittberg

Subjects: Women In Religion
Series: SUNY series in Religion, Culture, and Society
Paperback : 9780791422304, 440 pages, October 1994
Hardcover : 9780791422298, 440 pages, October 1994

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Table of contents

List of Tables


1. The Extent of the Problem

Part One: Preliminary Definitions and Theoretical Background
2. Theories of Ideology
3. Roman Catholic Religious Life

Part Two: Mobilization of Religious Virtuosi
4. Personal Incentives for Membership
5. Mobilization of Resources by Religious Orders
6. Frame Alignment and Religious Virtuosity
7. Elements of Virtuoso Ideologies
8. Ideological Supports for Religious Virtuosity
9. Determinants of Ideological Change

Part Three: Perspectives on Movement Decay
10. Previous Decline Periods in Religious Orders
11. Religious Orders as Intentional Communities

Part Four: The Present Collapse
12. A Brief History of U.S. Religious Orders
13. The Collapse of Ideology, I
14. The Collapse of Ideology, II
15. The Withdrawal of Resources
16. Conclusions





Name Index

Subject Index

Patricia Wittberg, S.C. is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indiana University, Indianpolis.


"It is a fine example of how to apply theoretical analysis to historical material in a way that sheds light on a contemporary social phenomenon. I have seen nothing in this genre with a similar respect for the complexities involved in the rise and decline of Catholic religious orders. This group—a sociological goldmine—has been largely ignored in the sociological analysis of intentional communes and communities. Wittberg's treatment is broad in scope, historically and theoretically, and should lead to further research on contemporary groups using the theoretical model presented here." — Loretta M. Morris, Loyola Marymount University

"Reduction in the numbers of religious order members has blockbuster consequences for the various missions of the Catholic Church. No one has written on this topic with the commanding scholarship exhibited by the author."— Patrick McNamara, University of New Mexico