This text reviews recent research carried out on American Catholics. Three theoretical perspectives have aided a refocusing. The argument provided is that the bishops introduced relatively modest changes to the church that were too much for the rigid structures of nineteenth-century Catholicism to absorb. Despite the trauma of the revolution and the continuing chaos, most Catholics remain stubbornly Catholic because of the appeal of the sacramentalism and communalism of the tradition. The gap between the higher and lower orders in the Church remains because the former does not understand that in certain matters they have lost all credibility with the latter. The argument is based on multiple bodies of data and is a coherent analysis, which refutes the current tendency to blame Pope John XXIII and his Council for the apparent destruction of Catholicism. The Catholic Revolution is a complex event for which no simple explanations are possible.
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