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Organizational Revival From Within: Explaining Revivalismand Reform in the Roman Catholic Church

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The most enduring theoretical model for explaining the rise and fall of religious movements has been some form of the church-sect theory. Yet this model offers little explanation for the continued vitality of the Roman Catholic Church. We argue that a key to this institutional success is the Church 's ability to retain sect-like revival movements within its boundaries. We demonstrate that religious orders, like Protestant sects, stimulate organizational growth, develop innovations for adapting the church to a new culture or era, and provide institutional support for a high tension faith. Unlike Protestant sects, however, they do so within the institutional church. This source of internal reform and revival helps to explain the long term vitality of the Roman Catholic Church and its ability to operaate effectively as a religiou monopoly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, Indiana University

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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