Despite national calls for churches to become more involved in social service, many churches may not be willing or able to respond. Drawing on sociological theory, previous research, and interviews with pastors and parish social ministers from Catholic congregations in a large, urban city in Texas, we examine key factors linked to church-based social service efforts. Particulara ttention is given to church leadership,r ace/ethnicity,o rganizational characteristics, social and political networks, and the intersection of these factors in affecting service provision and advocacy. We then discuss the likely impacts of policies calling for religious organizations to increase their social service activities.

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