Hoge, Dean R. 1937-2008 (Dean Richard Hoge)

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Hoge, Dean R. 1937-2008 (Dean Richard Hoge)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 27, 1937, in OH; died of stomach cancer, September 13, 2008, in Baltimore, MD. Sociologist of religion, educator, and author. Hoge was a Protestant professor of sociology at a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church, who became a highly respected scholar of the Roman Catholic priesthood and of changing trends in Catholic religious practices at the parish level. He taught at Princeton Theological Seminary for five years in the early 1970s before joining the faculty of the Catholic University of America, where he spent the rest of his career. Hoge retired from the university in 2004 as the director of the Life Cycle Institute. He spent his retirement years, in part, as the president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Hoge was drawn repeatedly to the study of the priesthood, especially to the increasing shortage of priests for American Catholic congregations. He explored the factors that seem to perpetuate the shortage, from the aging of the priesthood to the difficulties faced by young priests, from low morale among the clergy to the recruitment challenges for an all-male, celibate vocation in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Hoge did not limit his research to Roman Catholic issues. He also observed trends in Protestant religious observance, including an apparent loosening of allegiance to specific mainstream denominations and an increasing mobility in church attendance among Presbyterian, Methodist, and other churchgoers. He observed changes in traditional patterns of giving, both in the form of monetary donations and in charity to the community. He also explored the impact of immigration on American church membership and attitudes. Hoge wrote more than twenty books during his career. A few of the more recent titles include Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Protestant Baby Boomers (1994), Plain Talk about Churches and Money (1997), Evolving Visions of the Priesthood: Changes from Vatican II to the Turn of the New Century (2003), Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry (2005), and Religion and the New Immigrants: How Faith Communities Form Our Newest Citizens (2007).



New York Times, September 24, 2008, p. A29.