Is the Catholic Church in danger of collapse in Western European societies where an inexorable rise in religious indifference has been observed for over a century?
The question is always answered with the same response: Yes, the crisis is serious, but the Church has weathered formidable storms in the past and has always overcome them! However, this optimistic prognosis may now find its limit. For the current crisis is not only the result of external threats, induced by the cultural, social and political changes that are transforming its environment. If the Catholic Church today risks implosion, it is because it is sick of the Roman system that it has built over the last three centuries to counteract these changes. The purpose of the lecture will be to clarify, from a sociological point of view, the relevance of this hypothesis.
Danièle Hervieu-Léger is a sociologist and professor emeritus at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). She was President of EHESS from 2004 to 2009. Her work deals with the mutations of religion, and specifically of Christianity in secularized Western societies, with a particular focus on Roman Catholicism. Questions of utopia and memory in religion are central to her research. Her most recently published books: Le Temps des moines. Clôture et hospitalité, Paris, PUF, 2017 ; Religion, utopie et mémoire, Paris, Ed. de l’EHESS, 2021 ; Vers l’implosion ? Réflexions sur le présent et l’avenir du catholicisme, (avec J.L Schlegel), Paris, Seuil, 2022.
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