Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology



First Advisor

Alan Wells


This study proposes to treat the Catholic Church as an organization with internal and external aspects comparable to strictly secular organizations with the central hypothesis being that as the structural characteristics of the Church resemble those of other large scale multinational organizations, the behavior pattern will also. This phenomenon would represent a significant case of shifting goals in an organization. The Church is an organization dedicated to a non-mundane ideology, yet some of its offices are strictly concerned with high level finance. Newspaper and journalistic accounts of the wealth amassed by Vatican financiers are a source of controversy both within and without the Church. The Vatican has reportedly made sizable worldwide investments in the areas of real estate, banking, private and government industries. At the same time, it continues to function as a major philanthropic religious institution.

A study of the literature written about the modern Church has revealed that this disparity exists within its structure as well as its operations~ Questions have been raised regarding the extent to which the Church is operating as a self interested corporation and the degree of acceptance that will be afforded such a policy by its members.

In this paper I examine these issues and suggest that the Church is a viable global corporate entity and that some aspects of its organization may serve as a model to be emulated by other global concerns.



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