Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Catholic Identity
Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power


  • Date Published: October 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521639590

£ 32.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • It has been well documented that American Catholics tend to be Catholics on their own terms, or choose to remain Catholic while selectively embracing official Church doctrine. But why do Catholics who disagree with official Church teachings on major issues such as homosexuality, women's ordination, or abortion, and are thus institutionally marginalized, choose to remain Catholic? Why do they stay, when the cost of staying and being stigmatized would seem to be greater than the benefits they might gain from switching to religious groups whose doctrines would validate their beliefs on these issues? Michele Dillon, drawing upon in-depth interviews with Catholics who are openly gay or lesbian, advocates of women's ordination, and pro-choice, investigates why and how pro-change Catholics continue to remain actively involved with the Church, despite their rejection of the Vatican's teaching on sexuality and gender.

    • Draws upon in-depth interviews with Catholics who are openly gay or lesbian, advocates of women's ordination, and pro-choice
    • Investigates why and how pro-change Catholics continue to remain actively involved with the church
    • Demonstrates how Catholicism is defined in practice by ordinary Catholics
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'How do Catholics cope with the dramatic and traumatic changes in their Church? How do they manage to sustain a Catholic identity while at the same time dissenting from their hierarchy? Do they redefine their faith in order to continue to be Catholic? Professor Dillon's response to these questions presents a more subtle and sophisticated model of Catholicism than commonly perceived. Her work is a major contribution both to the sociology of religion and to the understanding of American religion.' Andrew M. Greeley, University of Chicago

    'This scholarly yet lively and populist study shows how and why progressive Catholics are deeply informed by tradition and strongly committed to Church membership, Dillon brilliantly combines sociology, theology, and a large life of Catholic experience to argue that the Vatican too created and engaged safe communities in which diversity need not cause fragmentations. This book will make invaluable, provocative reading for anyone trying to take stock of the contemporary North American Church.' Lisa Cahill, Boston College

    'With both richness of detail and theoretical flourish, Dillon shows us how these 'pro-change' Catholics are re-making Catholic identity - in spite of the Church and yet within the Church. And in the process she also shows us some very important things about the nature of community and identity in a world of valued differences.' Nancy Ammerman, Hartford Seminary

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521639590
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Pro-change Catholics: forging community out of diversity
    2. Doctrinal change in the Catholic Church
    3. Official Church teaching on homosexuality, women's ordination, abortion, and the role of the theologian
    4. Pro-change groups in the Catholic Church: dignity, the women's ordination conference, and Catholics for a free choice
    5. Gay and lesbian Catholics: 'owning the identity differently'
    6. Using doctrine to critique doctrine
    7. Pluralism in community
    8. Reasoned theology: legitimating emancipatory possibilities
    9. The challenges of difference.

  • Author

    Michele Dillon, Yale University, Connecticut

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.