Roman Catholicism in the United States: A Thematic History takes the reader beyond the traditional ways scholars have viewed and recounted the story of the Catholic Church in America. The collection covers unfamiliar topics such as anti-Catholicism, rural Catholicism, Latino Catholics, and issues related to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the U.S. government. The book continues with fascinating discussions on popular culture (film and literature), women religious, and the work of U.S. missionaries in other countries. The final section of the books is devoted to Catholic social teaching, tackling challenging and sometimes controversial subjects such as the relationship between African American Catholics and the Communist Party, Catholics in the civil rights movement, the abortion debate, issues of war and peace, and Vatican II and the American Catholic Church.
Roman Catholicism in the United States examines the history of U.S. Catholicism from a variety of perspectives that transcend the familiar account of the immigrant, urban parish, which served as the focus for so many American Catholics during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries.
Introduction: Writing American Catholic History, 1
Margaret M. McGuinness and James T. Fisher
Part I. Beyond the Parish
1. Ambiguous Welcome: The Protestant Response to American Catholics, 21
2. Latino Catholics in the Southwest, 43
3. Left Coast Catholicism: The Tradition of Dissent in the California Church, 63
Jeffrey M. Burns
4. Strangers in Our Midst: Catholics in Rural America, 86
5. “An Embassy to a Golf Course?” Conundrums on the Road to the United States’ Diplomatic Representation
to the Holy See, 1784–1984, 108
Part II. Engaging the World
6. American and Catholic and Literature: What Cultural History Helps Reveal, 133
Una M. Cadegan
7. Gospel Zeal: Missionary Citizens Overseas and Armchair Missionaries at Home; American Catholic Missions in China, 1900–1989, 150
Robert E. Carbonneau, C.P.
8. Northern Settlement Houses and Southern Welfare Centers: The Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine, 1910–1971, 173
Margaret M. McGuinness
9. Pulp Catholicism: Catholics in American Popular Film, 193
Anthony Burke Smith
Part III. Prophetic Catholicism
10. American Catholic Social Thought in the Twentieth Century, 219
11. Catholics, Communism, and African Americans, 240
Cecilia A. Moore
12. Praying in the Public Square: Catholic Piety Meets Civil Rights, War, and Abortion, 264
James P. McCartin
13. The Resurrection Project of Mexican Catholic Chicago: Spiritual Activism and Liberating Praxis, 284
Karen Mary Davalos
14. The Church and American Catholics, 304
Jeffrey M. Burns
List of Contributors, 333
I’ve seen the future of American Catholic studies, and it is in this superb collection of consistently engaging, provocative, and well-written essays. This is now required reading for scholars and students of the Catholic experience in the United States.
Mark Massa, S.J., Director, The Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College
This book is a cornucopia of outstanding critical essays from an all-star team of scholars. Collectively, the anthology offers a comprehensive treatment of Catholic history in the US, refracted through creative historical lenses that expand our notions of what it means to be “Catholic,” but also how the story of US Catholicism should be told. Each essay is a bonafide stand-alone, but collectively they weave a complex and compelling narrative of the varieties of experience within Catholicism in this land. This volume pushes back against the prevailing monochromatic linear-upward-mobility narrative of American Catholics (from the Irish Potato Famine to JFK), but in a constructive way that draws the reader into the granular level of on-the-ground Catholic life. The chapters telescope deftly between the macro-level national and geopolitical to the hyperlocal grassroots, painting a dynamic picture of how Roman Catholic social traditions seeded and grew throughout the United States. Roman Catholicism in the United States: A Thematic History has the rare virtue of being invaluable to both seasoned scholars and new arrivals to the discipline. It’s a great read.
Jack Lee Downey
The Bread of the Strong: Lacouturisme and the Folly of the Cross, 1910-1985