Sengers Erik ,
“You don’t have to be a saint or a practicing catholic...” Higher tension and lower attachement in the Dutch Catholic Church since 1970,
Antonianum, 78/3 (2003) p. 529-545
Summary: Since 1970, a controversial reorganization of the Dutch Catholic Church has taken place. Rational choice theory on religion expects that a church will grow with such a policy, but that has not happened in Dutch Catholicism. This paper tries to answer the question why. A detailed analysis of the recent history of the Church shows that the conservative policy has not become effective on the local level, and has been met with severe resistance. But also, the bishops themselves have not fully realized their conservative policy. In the end, after much wrangling, nothing has been changed in Dutch Catholicism. The confrontation of the history of Dutch Catholicism with rational choice theory poses some interesting questions regarding theory and research, particularly in regard to the future of Dutch Catholicism.