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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for accurate title and fascinating book
It took me about ten days to read this fascinating book. The author has made an excellent contribution to U. S. history by carefully keeping to his title topic (Catholicism and American Freedom: A History), halting his account when he has made his point, and jumping ahead ten or fifteen years. With a hundred pages of notes and a helpful index, McGreevy has fashioned a...
Published on May 26, 2003 by Joe McMahon

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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So boring
Unless you're a diehard Cathlic, this book can be a really really boring read for religion classes. If you have the option, don't try to write a paper on it. It's long and pretty dense.
Published 21 months ago by JFC


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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for accurate title and fascinating book, May 26, 2003
By 
Joe McMahon (Long Island, New York) - See all my reviews
It took me about ten days to read this fascinating book. The author has made an excellent contribution to U. S. history by carefully keeping to his title topic (Catholicism and American Freedom: A History), halting his account when he has made his point, and jumping ahead ten or fifteen years. With a hundred pages of notes and a helpful index, McGreevy has fashioned a parade of people exposing their thoughts and prejudices. I had already known many of the names and events, but I found the quotations startling. Such brazen words written by such renowned men! As for wisdom and insight, Jacques Maritain stood out. I must explain the withheld fifth star: Other authors enliven their work by colorizing, presenting one view with convincing animation. This book is nuanced, more like life, therefore a bit more difficult to read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of Catholicism in the United States, November 3, 2004
By 
Redbird (Springfield, VA) - See all my reviews
Catholicism and American Freedom: A History is a readable, scholarly work, with extensive references. Although it is a history of Catholicism, one also gets an education on the great influence of all Christian religions on US historical development, which is woefully lacking in modern, politically correct textbooks. (One can learn here how Justice Felix Frankfurter invented the "wall of separation of church and state," which did not exit before 1948.)

There are a couple of threads to the book. One is the struggle of Catholics to gain acceptance as loyal Americans first from Protestant antagonism, which has ebbed and flowed over two centuries, to the attacks by secular liberalism, today. The book opens in 1859 with Protestants questioning Catholic motives because of the refusal of a Catholic child in a public school to recite the Protestant enumeration of the Ten Commandments. One hundred years later, in that same state (Massachusetts), Catholics were berated for inflicting their views of contraception on non-Catholics. In the mid-1800s, the Church saw slavery as an acceptable institution (though not in its form in the American South); by the late 1960s, the Church was a leader for racial equality. Also, since the early 1900s, the Church began leading the campaign for social justice in the US. Today, the Catholic Church finds itself aligned with conservative Protestants against secular liberals' insistence on legal abortion. The final chapter of the book is about the post-Vatican II Church's handling of internal problems, such as pederasty by priests, and its effect on the Church's mission in America. This section is weak, but the scenario is still being played out.

A second thread is the struggle by the institutional Church to come to grips with democracy, and with individual freedom, which is the hallmark of American democracy. In early American history, the Church was suspicious of democracy because of the persecution of Catholics and seizure of Church property by European democracies, and the Church favored governments that sponsored Catholicism as the state religion. Though it took over a century, the American experience was a major influence on changing the Church's thought to realize that freedom of religion is better for the Church and that individual freedom in a democracy is preferred over authoritarian rule.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Review, September 11, 2005
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Excellent. This writer documents every assertion, often with quotations. As a professional historian, he tells the story without inserting his own opinions until the very last chapter. Even then, he inserts very few of his own opinions. The book documents the often-uneasy relationship between Protestant viewpoints derived from a belief that each individual is responsible for himself and his own actions, and Catholic viewpoints that are based on Thomistic understanding of the community/common good, and individuals' relatinships to each other through the common good. This is not Protestants versus Catholics. This is two different mindsets, both of which produce responsible citizens.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So boring, March 13, 2013
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This review is from: Catholicism and American Freedom: A History (Paperback)
Unless you're a diehard Cathlic, this book can be a really really boring read for religion classes. If you have the option, don't try to write a paper on it. It's long and pretty dense.
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Catholicism and American Freedom: A History
Catholicism and American Freedom: A History by John T. McGreevy (Paperback - September 17, 2004)
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