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Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice Paperback – October 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
People who despise Catholicism and appreciate a well written and well referenced book arguing that Catholicism itself is the root of its problems will enjoy this book. The author genuinely seems to want anti-Catholicism to end. However he considers the substance of Catholicism to blame and believes that the solution is Catholicism reinventing itself so that its structure and beliefs enable it to blend better with popular secular culture.
The issue of the sexual abuse scandals is legitimately raised as a catalyst for extreme modern anti-Catholicism. The author rightly points out that "One of the many tragedies of the Boston Clergy sexual abuse case is its handy availability as proof positive for those citizens already uneasy with Catholicism that their fears were well placed after all."
Nevertheless, as has been pointed out in other literature, the scandal was exacerbated by critics of the Church who helped generate the media construct and who fanned the flames hoping to derive support for their ongoing attack on Catholicism.
Unfortunately the author leans toward continuing this exacerbation. Don't expect more than an incidental mention of the low incidence of abuse among the clergy relative to comparable groups and the mitigating reasons for inappropriate management by the Bishops.Read more ›
"The very randomness of these examples of what have termed Catholic-bashing - spanning the cultural spectrum from up-scale magazines of cultural comment and mass-market newspapers on the east coast to street theater in the Bay Area on the west coast - form a disturbing web of evidence. Some Catholic observers have argued that it is as though Catholic iconography, leadership, and sensibilities are somehow perceived by large sections of U.S. culture as fair game for attack, in ways that the beliefs and practices of other groups are not.Read more ›
Father Massa's book is a great reassurance that Catholicism is more than just what one does on Sunday mornings. It is a way of life and, for the most part, it is a good way of life. I particularly appreciated his chapters on the pedophilia scandals of recent years. His precise and exacting explanation of the events leading up to it and the way it was handled is unblinkingly honest but reassuring that, while many mistakes were made, they were human mistakes that had little to do with theology and the essence of what Catholicism is.
This is a beautifully written, touching and informative book. If you are a Catholic who feels you have to apologize for that at times and yet still believe, I urge you to read Father Massa's book.
Mark S. Massa
New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003; 2nd edition (October 1, 2005)
Review by Reverend Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Published in The Fellowship of Scholars Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 4 (Winter 2004): 39
This well-written work has two parts. The first is longer, and examines the anti-Catholic impulse in America. The second is an analysis of the crisis in American Catholicism, using the Boston sex scandals as the example.
Anti-Catholicism is a fact. It is both old and new, but it is not the only prejudice in America. The author balances every assertion with qualifiers and counter-assertions. The core idea is that two types of imagination and language inform the American culture. The dominant one is "dialectical" and has its origin in Calvinism and certain forms of medieval dialectical reasoning pre-dating Calvin. Dialectical minds distrust institutions and groups. The second mode is "analogical" and it is very different, stressing community and the sacramental order of history. Catholics are therefore "different" from the American mainstream, and they are destined never fully to fit in. While they may not be the only outsiders, they will never be anything but outsiders when true to their identity. They trust institutions and groups, particularly the church. Individualism and community, Calvinistic pessimism (whether of the religious type or secularized) and Catholic hopefulness are reconcilable only partially at best.
Father Massa's two heroes are Andrew Greeley and David Tracy. Greeley and Tracy provide the vocabulary of "dialectical" and "analogical" to study these social questions in America.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent academic treatment of a topic that most people ignore.Published 4 months ago by John T. Ford
Being Catholic, I've always felt the anti-catholic slant in my local newspaper. This book opens your eyes beyond what you see at your local level. Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by D. Krug