Clerical Leadership, by David Carlin

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*Image: The Life and Martyrdom of St. Stanislaus of Szczepanów, Bishop by an unknown artist, c. 1520 [National Museum, Warsaw, Poland].

By David Carlin, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 2, 2020

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America.

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David CarlinWhen Vatican II began in 1962, I was already an adult, a college graduate, and a grad student in philosophy at Notre Dame – and so I’m old enough to have memories of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church in the United States.  I vividly recall many things about the American Church in those old days, some of them pleasant memories, some not so pleasant.

But one thing I remember is how effective our clerical leadership was in keeping Catholics within the Catholic fold, not allowing them to stray into Protestantism.  (I’m using the word “clerical” here in a very broad sense, so as to include bishops, priests, and religious sisters and brothers.)

Even though in those days the United States was an overwhelmingly Protestant nation, few Catholics turned Protestant.  And even fewer turned atheist. …