Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1909-1967) President of the American Catholic Sociological Society in 1957 and professor at St. Louis University.

Spitzer used an anthropological, typological approach to discuss the organization, beliefs, and practices of mainstream North American, Mexican, and Montana Blackfeet Catholics. He portrayed Catholicism as a continuum that includes formal, nominal, cultural, and folk categories. Formal Catholicism is represented by the official church. Nominal Catholicism involves membership and membership allegiance. Cultural Catholicism represents such elements as national, artistic, aesthetic, and social life. Folk Catholicism represents popular Catholic expressions within indigenous cults, pagan elements, and superstitions. All these elements appear in the groups Spitzer analyzed.

James McClenon


A. Spitzer, "The Culture Organization of Catholicism," American Catholic Sociological Review 19(1958):2-12

A. Spitzer, "Religious Structure in Mexico," Alpha Kappa Deltan 37(1960):54-58

A. Spitzer and M. L. Spitzer, "Religious Reorganization Among the Montana Blackfoot," Review of Religious Research 2(1960):19-34.

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