ECOLOGICAL, ETHNIC AND CULTURAL FACTORS OF CHURCH PRACTICE IN AN URBAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

ROBERTO OCTAVIO GONZALEZ NIEVES, Fordham University

Abstract

This is a study of a modern urban parish in the midst of rapid social change. It consists of a telephone survey of a selected sample of Catholic parishioners, and it was designed to identify major demographic characteristics of the sample, as well as their levels of church practice in terms of Mass attendance and reception of the Eucharist. For the Hispanic respondents further questions concerning church and religious practice were added in order to observe selected cultural elements of their religious behavior. The data were analyzed in order to provide a reliable indication of the state of religious practice in the parish and the relationship of religious practice to other significant sociological variables of the population.^ The study was also designed to investigate the main conclusions of a former study of the same parish, Sts. Philips and James, in the Bronx, New York City, which had been completed in 1956 by Joseph P. Scheuer, C.PP.S. However, since the demographic composition of the parish area has changed drastically from the time of the Scheuer study, it was not possible to replicate the main conclusions of his dissertation, The Parish As A Response To An Ecological Situation.^ Considerable variation was found in church practice by ethnicity and ses even among third generation American respondents. For instance, it was observed that generally the poorer respondents had the higher rates of church practice in terms of mean Sunday Mass attendance and reception of communion in four weeks. The study also found that Puerto Rican respondents had significantly higher rates of church practice than most of the other ethnic groups (foreign born and second generation Americans) in the parish sample population.^ This inquiry also found that Hispanic Catholics in the sample also had significantly higher levels of church and religious practice, when selected religio-cultural elements of Catholicism in Latin America were incorporated into the analysis. Among Hispanic Catholic respondents, church practice was highest among the poorest respondents.^ By having incorporated the ecological and cultural paradigms of research in its analysis, this thesis demonstrates that the variable of church practice in the parish is a complex sociological reality, which necessitates multi-paradigmatic methodological and theoretical investigations. ^

Subject Area

Sociology

Recommended Citation

GONZALEZ NIEVES, ROBERTO OCTAVIO, "ECOLOGICAL, ETHNIC AND CULTURAL FACTORS OF CHURCH PRACTICE IN AN URBAN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8506329.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506329

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