FRED N., 35, is a regional-sales representative in California. He was educated at Roman Catholic schools from first grade through college. He and his wife Cathy, 31, are regular worshipers at their parish church; their three daughters attend its parochial school; one young son is still at home. Convinced that they cannot afford to have more children, Fred and Cathy for the past few years have practiced birth control. Otherwise, they are loyal Catholics—and typical in their disaffection from what they feel are the church's outdated ways, in their hopes for further renewal.

"At one time," Fred told TIME'S Mayo Mohs, "it...

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