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Call for Papers for Sociology Compass Special Issue: “Catholic Youth: Highly Religious Young Catholics in Society”

Sociology of religion is, at least in the Western world, very concerned with (post)secularization processes in general or with religious-secular dynamics. The linear process of secularization, with an inevitable decreasing trend in terms of traditional religiosity, occurs alongside other processes which are signs of post-secularization. Secularization brings with it the seeds of new possibilities of religiosity, in old terms, in a traditional way, or in new terms, with innovative forms.

As one of the world religions, Catholicism too is being influenced by post-secularization processes, where the religious and the secular are in continuous debate. For instance, the new ecclesial movements are good examples of Catholic rejuvenation in a post-modern world. New religious forms are being produced where their religious nature mingles with secular aspects.

Within Catholicism, youth are usually less religious than the general population. At the same time, as in the general population, Catholic youth reflect a mix of different religious types: from non-religious (atheists or agnostics) to extreme religious. This last type seems a paradox in the secular environment in which we live: the transmission of values, the preservation of religious memory, and the public manifestation of religiosity are intriguing for many people. In fact, some may assume that nowadays there are no highly religious Catholics, especially from the youth segment. But, in fact, they exist and are renewing the Catholic landscape, albeit with different expressions in different national contexts. In short, they are unusual Catholics worthy of greater scholarly attention.

Against this background, the editor/s invite contributions to this special issue that engage with the following questions. Articles with an international comparative approach are especially welcome:

  • Who are these highly religious young Catholics? How can they be characterized in terms of religiosity and in terms of a range of social issues (life choices, participation in society, relationship with others, etc.)? If there are differences between countries, which differences exist?
  • How do they differentiate from their parents, relatives, and friends, from the other young Catholics, and from the whole youth? Are there really differentiating features? Are they young people like the others?
  • What is the relation between religious identity and overall post-modern values and high pluralization? How do these young people interact with our modernity and its values? Do they look at modernity differently? Do they see it as a threat or an opportunity?
  • How these young Catholics became so highly religious? What is the very nature of religious socialization that can explain this? Did they convert? May their life histories explain the nuances of their path towards high religiosity?
  • What is their role in Catholic Church’s evangelization? Are they fundamental for the Catholic Church? What is their involvement in parishes organization and in ecclesial movements? Do they have a different involvement in civil society?

Special Issue Editors

  • Brian Conway, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • José Pereira Coutinho, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Portugal
  • Sinisa Zrinščak, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Submitting an abstract for this special issue: