When Catholics change their minds about the faith: Disaffiliation and 'Deconversion’ in the Church today


Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 8 p.m.
Dolan School of Business Dining Room
Free

Image: T BeaudoinRecent studies by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life have found that a third of U.S. adults under the age of 30 claim no religious affiliation and that nearly a quarter of adults raised Catholic no longer identify themselves as such.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 8 p.m., two prominent theologians will speak at Fairfield University about the changes in heart and mind that many American Catholics are experiencing with regard to their relationship with Catholicism. Fordham University faculty members Tom Beaudoin and Patrick Hornbeck will deliver this free, public lecture: "When Catholics Change Their Minds about the Faith: Disaffiliation and 'Deconversion' in the Church Today." Presented by Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies, the event is part of Fairfield's Ignatian Heritage Week (See other event listings.)

It will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room.  

Disaffiliation, once broadly stigmatized in terms of "lapsing" and "falling away", is now a regular feature of the U.S. Catholic landscape, according to the professors. At the same time, many Catholics decide to stay on in the Church, living with substantial disagreements, "deconverting" in place.

Image: P HornbeckDr. Beaudoin and Dr. Hornbeck will explore the contours of what they call "deconversion." They will also discuss the history of deconversion research, talk about the early findings to emerge from their current study of deconversion among local Roman Catholics, and address the implications of this work for the Catholic Church, Catholic theology, and society at large.

Dr. Beaudoin is associate professor of theology in the Graduate School of Religion at Fordham. He studies the relationship between "secular" and "spiritual" experience, and is the author of more than 75 articles, chapters, essays and reviews on religion and culture, as well as three books.

Dr. Hornbeck is assistant professor and associate chair for undergraduate studies in the theology department at Fordham. His work focuses on the history of medieval and early modern Christianity along with contemporary American Roman Catholicism. Hornbeck holds a doctorate in theology from Oxford University. He is the author of What Is a Lollard? Dissent and Belief in Late Medieval England (Oxford University Press 2010) and co-editor of Wycliffite Controversies (Brepols Publishers, 2011) and Wycliffite Spirituality (Paulist Press, 2013), in addition to other articles and essays on medieval, early modern, and contemporary Roman Catholicism.

For more information, visit the the Center for Catholic Studies.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 6, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 211