February 18, 2010

A Cultural Turnaround Based on Experience

Justin Katz

Here's an interesting result from a survey of U.S. Catholics done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, appearing in an article in the Rhode Island Catholic, but not apparently online anywhere:

"The youngest Catholics ... look a lot more like the pre-Vatican II [than the] Vatican II or post-Vatican II cohorts," [social scientist Barbara Dafoe Whitehead] said. "Huge majorities - 80 percent or more - of these youngest Catholics believe that marriage is a lifelong commitment and that people don't take marriage seriously enough when divorce is readilly available."

Many children of this generation have experienced divorce in their own families, and they are determined not to divorce themselves, Whitehead said.

Of course, one should also consider the possibility that increasing liberalism after Vatican II led to fewer Catholics of the sort who would disagree with this young generation and a concentration of traditionalists among those who are still religious (which could be a leaping point for further discussion about the effectiveness at liberalizing doctrine to be more amenable to shifts in cultural mores). Still, it's not difficult to imagine cultural backlash among a generation that's been on the receiving end of negative life-changing trends such as increases in divorce.

What would be the texting jargon for "'til death do us part"?