Contemporary Religious Life: Death or Transformation?

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1996


Association for Religion and Intellectual Life, etc


We are all aware of the signs of diminishment that mark contemporary Roman Catholic religious communities: aging membership, decline in recruitment, dwindling financial resources in the face of relentlessly rising costs, loss of institutions, if we attend only to the material problems. When these are compounded by ecclesiastical harassment of individual members in their ministries and of congregations in their legitimate exercise of self-determination, and by intense struggles within congregations over self-understanding and identity, the picture can look bleak indeed.


A slightly different version of this article appeared as a chapter in Religious Life: The Challenge for Tomorrow, ed., Cassian J. Yuhaus, CR (Paulist Press, 1994).