Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kornacker, Mildred

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Catholic Church--United States; Catholic Church--Education--United States


Sociologists have discussed the effect of change on social institutions, but they have done little research on the effect of change on subcultural institutions. This study explores the impact of change on the religious sub-culture of American Catholicism, with focus on the Catholic educational institution. Specifically, this study examines the relation of the change to parents’ reasons for utilizing Catholic education. The major hypothesis was that parents have basically changed their reasons for utilization of Catholic education. It was expected that before the change in Catholicism their reasons were intrinsic to Catholicism and have since changed to extrinsic reasons. The parents’ response to the change in Catholicism was also examined. This was done to check the relation between parents’ response and their reason of utilization. It was hypothesized that there would be no relation between these variables. Previous studies of Catholic education have established an association between certain variables and utilization of Catholic education for intrinsic reasons. These variables are higher socio-economic status, Irish ethnicity, high index of religiousness, and completely Catholic educational background. Secondary hypotheses check for the current relation of these variables to intrinsic reason of utilization. It was hypothesized that there would be no relation between these variables. This study focused on a Catholic high school in the city of Chicago. Thirty structured interviews were held with a random sample of mothers of students recently enrolled in the school. Peter Berger’s "accommodation/resistance" model was adapted to categorize response to the change in Catholicism. Definitions of the social variables which had been associated with intrinsic reasons were adapted from Andrew M. Greeley and Peter H. Rossi’s study of Catholic education. The variables were cross tabulated to test for relations. Where feasible, the chi square test of significant differences was used to rule out differences due to chance. The findings of this study confirm the major hypothesis -- reasons for utilization of Catholic education have changed since the change in Catholicism. Prior to the change 90 per cent of the parents claimed that they had sent their children to Catholic schools for intrinsic reasons; after the change only 30 per cent made the same claim. In addition, change from intrinsic to extrinsic reason appears to be related to a lessening of participation in Catholicism. The findings also indicate a lack of support for the relation which had formerly been established between intrinsic reason of utilization and several social variables. This affirms the secondary hypotheses. The findings suggest that a subcultural institution might survive change independent of the welfare of the sub-culture itself. Further study is needed.


Includes bibliographical references.||Pagination skips number 76.


vi, 107 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type