From Excommunication to Nullification: Testing and Extending Supply-Side Theories of Religious Marketing with the Case of Catholic Marital Annulments

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Abstract:

Since the Second Vatican Council (1965), Catholic marital annulments have risen dramatically, especially in the United States. A comparison of American and international rates demonstrates that, consistent with supply-side theories of religion, annulment rates have risen only in countries where the Church competes with other religious institutions. However, supply-side theory cannot explain why the American rate is double that of other countries with competitive religious economies. Historical analysis suggests that the growing number, estrangement, organization, and mobilization of divorced American Catholics motivated the American Church to engage in more intense marketing of annulments. I therefore argue that another variable that incorporates these “qualities of the target market” should be considered in future analyses of religious marketing.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0021-8294.00053

Affiliations: Department of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, Survey Research Center, California, mwilde@uclink4.berkeley.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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