Parish and Place

Making Room for Diversity in the American Catholic Church

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Tricia Colleen Bruce
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , September
     304 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Julia Brumbaugh forthcoming.


The Catholic Church stands at the forefront of an emergent majority-minority America. Parish and Place tells the story of how America's largest religion is responding at the local level to unprecedented cultural, racial, linguistic, ideological, and political diversification. Specifically, it explores bishops' use of personal parishes - parishes formally established not on the basis of territory, but purpose. Today's personal parishes serve an array of Catholics drawn together by shared identities and preferences, rather than shared neighborhoods. They allow Catholic leaders to act upon the perceived need for named, specialist organizations alongside the more common territorial parish that serves all in its midst.

Parish and Place documents the American Catholic Church's movement away from "national" parishes and towards personal parishes as a renewed organizational form. Tricia Bruce uses in-depth interviews and national survey data to examine the rise and rationale behind new parishes for the Traditional Latin Mass, for Vietnamese Catholics, for tourists, and more. Featuring insights from bishops, priests, and diocesan leaders throughout the United States, this book offers a rare view of institutional decision making from the top. Parish and Placedemonstrates structural responses to diversity, exploring just how far fragmentation can go before it challenges unity.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Tricia C. Bruce is associate professor of sociology at Maryville College, whose books include Faithful Revolution and Polarization in the US Catholic Church. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara, and has conducted research for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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