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Civic Engagement And Church Policy In The Making Of Religious Vocations: Cross-National Variation In The Evolution Of Priestly Ordinations

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Chapter Summary

The evolution of Roman Catholic priestly ordinations is a matter of enormous practical significance and considerable relevance to scholars, yet the phenomenon has been insufficiently studied and inadequately understood. This chapter examines the significance of this phenomenon and offers a descriptive review of data that has assembled on changes in the national-level vocation rate in seventeen countries during the fifty years following World War II. It introduces a theoretical perspective emphasizing the role of socially solidaristic and civic commitments in the broader set of factors leading to new vocations. The chapter briefly reviews other theoretical perspectives including the claim attributing to Vatican II reforms primary responsibility for the decrease in new ordinations, and offers a partial assessment of the social solidarity/civic commitment approach and the Vatican II hypothesis.

Keywords: civic commitments; national-level vocation; Roman Catholic priestly ordinations; Vatican II



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