Printer Friendly Version Of American Sociological Association: 2008 Press Release

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April 15, 2008

Sociological Experts Available to Comment
on Papal Visit to the United States

Pope Benedict XVI will visit the United States April 15-21 with stops in Washington, DC, and New York City. The pope's visit comes at a pivotal time for the Catholic Church in the United States: parishes are closing or being consolidated, churches are aging, there is a priest shortage, and fallout from the sexual abuse scandal continues.

Sociologists are available to comment on the implications of the pope's visit, the state of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, and related issues.

Sociologists available for media interviews include:

William V. D'Antonio (202-244-5419 or is a fellow at the Life Cycle Institute at The Catholic University of America. His most recent books include: American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church and Voices of the Faithful: Loyal Catholics Striving for Change, a co-authored study of a Catholic lay social movement striving to help change the Catholic Church. He is co-author of eight other books, and co-editor of four.

Michele Dillon (781-239-3552 or is professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. Dillon has written extensively on the Catholic Church and its engagement in moral/cultural debates in the United States and Europe. Her research gives particular attention to the reasons why American Catholics who disagree with the Vatican on various issues continue to remain Catholic. She has also written on the aftermath of the sex abuse crisis for the Church and the organizational and doctrinal challenges confronting Voice of the Faithful, a Catholic lay organization formed in 2002 following the sex abuse scandals. Her publications include Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith and Power (1999, Cambridge University Press).

R. John Kinkel (586-945-8013 or is a visiting professor of religious studies at Oakland University. His books include: Chaos in the Catholic Church (2005), Letters to Pope Benedict (ed.) (2008), Cinderella Church: The Story of Early Christianity (forthcoming 2008). His recent paper, "Popes, Condoms and AIDS: When Religion Becomes a Social Problem," examines the teachings and procedures of the Catholic Church and its ban on the use of condoms to prevent AIDS.

Anthony J. Pogorelc (202-756-4912 or is a research fellow at the Life Cycle Institute of The Catholic University of America and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. A priest of the Society of St. Sulpice, he is on the faculty of the University Seminary: Theological College. He specializes in the sociology of religion and has written on social movements in religious organizations, leadership in religious institutions and Catholic social teaching. His most recent book is Voices of the Faithful: Loyal Catholics Striving for Change (2007, Crossroad), co-authored with William D'Antonio.

Patricia Wittberg (317-274-4478 or is professor of sociology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, and a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio. She has written several books on changes in Roman Catholic religious orders, most recently From Piety to Professionalism—And Back? (2006, Rowan and Littlefield).

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.