One of my main lines of research has been on the Catholic Church in postwar America. In addition to my work on the Catholic Church in state politics, I also have published on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.

In October 2014, I gave one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity at the College of the Holy Cross. A video of the talk is freely available on YouTube and iTunes U.

The lecture was based on my book, Becoming Catholic: Finding Rome in the American Religious Landscape, which was published in 2014 by Oxford University Press. A sampling of this project has been published recently in the Review of Religious Research“Initiation Rites in the Contemporary Catholic Church: What Difference Do They Make?”

Becoming Catholic Cover

I also previously co-authored a book based on this same project, targeted to theologians and practitioners, published by The Liturgical Press in 2006:

Real Stories Book Cover


I also for a period of time became expert in issues surrounding the Catholic priesthood. When my graduate school mentor Richard Schoenherr passed away unexpectedly, he left very close to completion his magnum opus. His widow asked me to step in and edit the manuscript and see it through to publication. I was happy to do so and — at the publisher’s request — whittled the manuscript from 1,200 to 400 pages and also researched and wrote an introduction updating the book. Goodbye Father was published by Oxford University Press in 2002 and was reviewed by Garry Wills in The New York Times Book Review.

Goodbye Father book cover