Intransigeance Ou Compromis: Sociologie et Histoire Du Catholicisme Actuel

Article excerpt

Intransigeance ou compromis: Sociologie et histoire du catholicisme actuel. By Paul-Andre Turcotte. [Heritage et Projet, 51.] (Quebec, Canada: Editions Fides. 1994. Pp. 464. $39.95 paperback).

The author combines sociological and historical methods to analyze the problems and opportunities facing the Roman Catholic Church in the Province of Quebec, Canada. This approach alone merits wide readership of the book by professionals in both fields. Its value, however, is not limited to methodology. While the data presented pertain mainly to Quebec, the analysis is a sociohistorical contribution to assessing the impact of Vatican Council II on the universal Church, at least in modern societies.

This is a compilation of previous studies, both empirical and theoretical, by the same author which focus on the parish, the school, and the religious order. While linkages are made between the various sections, the presentation suffers somewhat from inadequate integration, especially for readers who are not familiar with the history and religious situation of French Canada.

Utilizing the bi-polar concepts of intransigence and compromise as adaptations to the strains of cultural, social, and religious change, the author discusses the parish as the basic institution to maintain religious faith and practice, the school as the primary mechanism of religious socialization, and finally the religious order as an intermediate type of group at the intersection of traditional commitment and accommodation. Discussion in each of these sections is guided by Ernst Troeltsch's typology of Christian groupings within the context of Peter Berger's theories on the social credibility of religion in an environment characterized by increasing secularization and religious pluralism. …


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