Michele Dillon is a sociologist who rigorously studies various aspects of contemporary religion, the tension between tradition and societal change, secularization, and changes in religion/spirituality over the life course. She has special expertise in Catholicism – with a focus on issues of sexual behavior (including contraception, abortion, non-marital and same-sex relations), gender, and family life; the relationship between the laity and the church hierarchy; the impact of Pope Francis on the Church and society.
Most of Professor Dillon's research is on American Catholicism, but she also writes about changes in religion/Catholicism in Ireland. Her most recent book is Catholics in Transition (2013), which reports on a survey of American Catholics; and one of her earlier books, Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power (1999), examines doctrinal diversity among the laity on church teachings on sex and gender.
Ms. Dillon is currently writing a book (Post-secular Catholicism) examining the mutual tensions and ties between secular and religious forces as played out within Catholicism and between the Church and society.