Smile When You Say 'Laity'

The Hidden Triumph of the Consumer Ethos

“We already run the church.” Reacting to Charles Morris’s question on women’s ordination, Joan Peters of Saint Cecilia Parish in Houston could have been speaking about the American Catholic laity (see Commonweal, “A Tale of Two Dioceses,” June 6, 1997). Though the reality and depth of the laity’s victory may be obscured in certain ways, I want to argue in this essay that the laity have emerged triumphant in the course of a velvet revolution in U.S. Catholicism...

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About the Author

Eugene McCarraher is associate professor of humanities and history at Villanova University. He is completing The Enchantments of Mammon: Corporate Capitalism and the American Moral Imagination.