THE CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE: A Sociological Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism by Andrew M. Greeley

THE CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE: A Sociological Interpretation of the History of American Catholicism

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

American Catholicism has developed out of the experience of Catholic immigrants in a culture already established by Anglo-Saxon Protestant immigrants. For two centuries, American Catholicism has been ambivalent about its situation. On the one hand, some Catholics have seen the American environment as one in which the Church can grow and flourish. OtHers have tried to develop and preserve a sub-culture opposed to many of the values of the surrounding society. The problem has been more difficult because Rome has so often failed to understand the American situation and the American Church. In developing this basic thesis, the author makes no attempt to hide his loyalty to the ""Americanizers."" He supports his point of view through a series Of studies of prominent American Catholics--the Carrolls, England, Hughes, Gibbons, Shiel, and J.F. Kennedy, whom he calls a ""doctor of the Church,"" and whose election symbolizes, for the author, the final vindication of the Americanization trend. But, he argues, if American church leaders do not finally resolve the argument in favor of the Americanizers, the Catholic church is in for difficult times. In all of this history of two centuries, he finds American Catholic experience anticipating many of the issues and developments of the Vatican Councils. Cogent reading not only for Catholics, but for all ecumenicists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday