Introduction: The Archdiocese by the Lake
The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is composed of two counties, Lake and Cook, pushed up against Lake Michigan by the encroaching suburban dioceses of Joliet and Rockford, which greedily absorb as many of Chicago's Catholics as can be lured out of the City and out of Cook County. Chicago Catholics are also slightly younger than the national average for Catholics. The average age of Chicago Catholics is forty-four, a year less than for the general population, and two years younger than the average for all Americans. A very complicated place, this Archdiocese of Chicago—ethnic, college educated, young, suburban, intensely communal, and presumably loyal. One might sympathize with the leadership in the Archdiocese—how do cope with such a crowd of loyal, dedicated, well-educated people, especially when they tend to think for themselves on some critical ethical issues.