The Catholic Imagination

The Catholic Imagination

The Catholic Imagination

The Catholic Imagination


"Greeley has written a lively, controversial and stimulating book in which he describes a Catholic imagination which is different from (not better or worse than) a Protestant imagination. Going beyond his own position, I believe Protestants have much to learn not just about the Catholic imagination but from it as he describes it."--Robert Bellah, coauthor of "Habits of the Heart"

"Andrew Greeley is the most vivid sociological writer of our time. By studying artists and artisans directly, he brings David Tracy's theory of religious imagination to life. The survey data show that ordinary people have imaginations too, and that the lay person's imagination is also framed by religious tradition. This book is a tour de force."--Michael Hout, University of California, Berkeley


Catholics live in an enchanted world, a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures.

But these Catholic paraphernalia are mere hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility which inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. As Catholics, we find our houses and our world haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of grace.

The assertions in the last paragraph are not statements of what Catholics should be like, nor are they demands that Catholics return to earlier modes of religious sensibility. They are, as I hope to show in this extended essay, factual descriptions of Catholics, both practicing and supposedly lapsed, and the Catholic religious imagination that shapes their lives.

This special Catholic imagination can appropriately be called sacramental. It sees created reality as a “sacrament, ” that is, a revelation of the presence of God. the workings of this imagination are most obvious in the Church's seven sacraments, but the seven are both a result and a reinforcement of a much . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.