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Religions 2016, 7(2), 14; doi:10.3390/rel7020014

The Catholic Bishops in the U.S. Public Arena: Changing Prospects under Pope Francis

Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, MSC 05 3080, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, USA
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Byrnes
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 12 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catholic Bishops in US Politics)
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Abstract

The public profile of the Roman Catholic bishops of the United States results not simply from their own interventions in political life, but from the broad array of actions and actors within “public Catholicism” broadly conceived. This article assesses the contemporary profile of the American bishops from this broad angle, particularly in light of new dynamics under the papacy of Francis I. It does so by documenting public Catholicism’s presence in ecclesial institutions, other public institutions, and lay-centered social movements (particularly faith-based community organizing) and via a case study of the healthcare reform debate around the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act. Cultural and institutional factors shaping Catholic public presence are analyzed in three dimensions of social life: institutional leadership; authority dynamics within the Church; and the culture of prayer, spirituality, and worship in parishes. Finally, the conclusion discusses the key dynamics likely to shape the future of public Catholicism in America. View Full-Text
Keywords: Roman Catholic bishops; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; public religion; public Catholicism; health reform; Affordable Care Act; faith-based community organizing; PICO National Network Roman Catholic bishops; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; public religion; public Catholicism; health reform; Affordable Care Act; faith-based community organizing; PICO National Network
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wood, R.L. The Catholic Bishops in the U.S. Public Arena: Changing Prospects under Pope Francis. Religions 2016, 7, 14.

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