This book provides the first in-depth case study of 'Renew' - a pastoral programme of religious revitalization. The programme originated in the United States in 1976 and has been widely adopted throughout the Roman Catholic world. Initiated from the top down in a hierarchically-structured church, it can be seen as an example of clerical attempts to stimulate and control lay spirituality in an organizationally controlled manner (as opposed to grass-roots movements,
such as those associated with liberation theology).
The authors look at the history of religious organizations in the Roman Catholic Church and the affects of modernity on religious practice, and the decline in the latter which prompted the diocese to adopt 'Renew'. Their findings show that the effects of 'Renew' were limited and short-lived, an inevitable consequence of the ambiguous and often contradictory aims. In analysing these findings they suggest some ways in which the church might reform itself - by decentralization and a reform of
the papacy, for example - to meet the challenges of the modern age.