Prof Bullivant on What Went Wrong after Vatican II
I'm going to be writing more about Prof Bullivant's new book, Mass Exodus, which examines the catastrophic decline of Catholic affiliation and practice since the Second Vatican Council, from a sociological point of view.
Here is a piece I have written for LifeSiteNews.
In a newly published book, Mass Exodus: Catholic Disaffiliation in Britain and America Since Vatican II, Professor Stephen Bullivant has explored in detail what went wrong with the Church after the Second Vatican Council, from the point of view of the sociology of religion. The sociological, as opposed to the supernatural, perspective has its limitations, but we should hear what it has to say.
I want to explore just one aspect of Bullivant’s argument (I heartily recommend the book for those interested in more). He introduces readers to the well-established theory of the “social network effect” in sustaining a world view. Simply put, if all your neighbors are Catholics, it is easier to remain a Catholic yourself. If you meet fellow worshipers from your parish in your workplace, in local shops, and in your leisure pursuits, if you read Catholic news sources, and if you are surrounded by Catholic devotional statues and holy pictures, the Catholic worldview will begin to seem not just one option among many, but the obvious way to look at things. Doubts can be answered or ignored. Going to church is just what everyone does. Examples of personal holiness and self-sacrifice for the Faith are easy to witness and to give.