Sprekende cijfers - Katholieke sociaalingenieurs en de enscenering van de celibaatcrisis, 1963-1972 | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 123, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163


Rather than being the dawning of a secular age, the 1960s were also the start of religious transformation and revitalization, in which ‘those Dutch Catholics’ internationally stood out. Instead of focusing on the usual suspects (bishops or the Vatican), this article analyzes the finest hour of social scientists. These played a significant but hardly acknowledged role in the introduction of new narratives of crisis and renewal. Social engineers became trustworthy analysts within the realm of church as well as society, applying social sciences, e.g. opinion polls. The article focuses on the practices through which these engineers, among whom the Franciscan Walter Goddijn (director of the Pastoral Institute of the Dutch Church Province PINK) played a crucial role, applied the technique of social polling. It focuses in detail on the making of and the effects of the opinion poll among Dutch priests on the matter of celibacy. It shows how the aspirations of the engineers actively influenced the outcome of the polling. Furthermore, it analyzes how the interpretation of this polling staged a celibacy crisis that gained further momentum through media exposure, setting of an altering relationship between church and society.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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