ISBN : 9780199964987
The history of Christianity and particularly of Roman Catholicism has been profoundly shaped by conversion for centuries, from the first apostles to such prominent modern converts as John Henry Newman, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, G.K. Chesterton, Thomas Merton, and Graham Greene. Each year, approximately 150,000 Americans convert to Roman Catholicism. Catholic converts collectively are 2.6 percent of the U.S. adult population; together these 5.85 million individuals would comprise the fifth largest religious body in America, just behind the Mormon Church. In Becoming Catholic, David A. Yamane offers the first book-length study of Roman Catholic converts in contemporary America. The process of adult initiation in the 21st century Catholic Church looks very different than it did 50 years ago. One of the many revolutionary products of the Second Vatican Council was a revised process of initiation called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). The RCIA process takes individuals on a journey through four distinct periods of formation, with elaborate ritual transitions that carry individuals from period to period. Drawing on six years of observational fieldwork and interviews with more than 200 people undergoing the conversion process, Yamane follows converts through each stage of the RCIA, shedding light on what it means to choose Catholicism in contemporary America. Becoming Catholic offers a window onto the transmission and transformation of the Catholic tradition in a pluralistic and voluntaristic, twenty-first-century society, illuminating a critical aspect of American Catholicism and American religion at the outset of the third millennium.
Notes on Terminology and Sources
Introduction: Becoming Catholic in America
1. Vatican II and the Reinvention of Adult Initiation
Prelude - Diane Gall: Finding a Home in Catholicism
2. The Circumstantial Convert as Moral Actor
Prelude - St. Mary's and St. Mark's: A Tale of Two Parishes
3. Visions of Catholicism in RCIA Catechesis
Prelude - The Rite of Election: Through the Cathedral to Purification and Enlightenment
4. Liturgy, Experience, and Formation
Prelude - St. Innocent: "A People Destined For Heaven Is Born Here From Holy Seed"
5. Objective and Subjective Incorporation through the Sacraments of Initiation
Prelude - Mystagogy: The End and The Beginning
6. The Difference It Makes
Conclusion: Catholic Initiation as ...