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The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice Hardcover – April 17, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The American media, usually painstaking in their efforts to offend members of no racial, religious or gender category, consistently make one major exception-the Roman Catholic Church. So argues Jenkins, professor of history and religion at Penn State and a prolific author whose titles include Pedophiles and Priests and The New Christendom. Though anti-Catholicism arrived with the Pilgrims, only since the 1960s has it been aided by dissenters within the Catholic Church, primarily those who disagree with the church on sexual matters: birth control, feminism, abortion, homosexuality. Citing copious recent examples of anti-Catholicism in public protests, movies, television, publishing, the arts, the news media and academia, Jenkins concludes that offenses against Catholicism, unlike those against, say, Judaism or Islam, are rarely censored and never considered hate crimes. Similarly, historical offenses by Catholics are treated differently from those against Catholics: "If seizing Christian Syria and Palestine by the Muslim sword was acceptable in the seventh century, why was it so atrocious to try to reclaim them with the Christian lance 400 years later?" Jenkins, an Episcopalian, wants evenhanded treatment for all religions, whether through equal respect or equal openness to attack. Liberal Catholics may contend that vigorous dissent helps keep the hierarchy honest; others might argue that the largest American denomination does not need the protections afforded more vulnerable groups. For Jenkins, however, it's about fairness: "One does not make light of black heroes and martyrs, of AIDS or gay-bashing, yet when dealing with Catholics, no subject is off-limits."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Fear and hatred of Catholicism have a long pedigree in English North America--land settled, after all, by Protestants more sanguinary than sanguine about their religious freedom. The anti-Catholicism book Jenkins promised in "The Booklist Interview" [BKL O 1 02] first recaps the history of American anti-Catholicism and distinguishes anti-Catholicism from anticlericalism, or distrust and hatred of the clergy, which need be neither anti-Catholic nor anti-Christian. Both right and left have been anti-Catholic at different times. The Know Nothing Party and the Ku Klux Klan attacked Catholicism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but liberals prosecuting Prohibition, family planning, sex education, legalized abortion, feminism, gay rights, and other progressive causes embraced anti-Catholicism later. Jenkins examines liberal anti-Catholicism in chapters on whether "The Church Hates Women" and "The Church Kills Gays"; the treatment of Catholics and the church by the news media, in the movies, and on TV; the current "pedophile priest" crisis; and dissident Catholic historians' critique of Pope Pius XII's relations with the Third Reich. He always carefully discriminates prejudice from mere tastelessness (e.g., recognizing South Park as deliberately vulgar, not bigoted) and liberal from conservative conceptions of what is antireligious. He concludes with shrewd prognostication about what may cause future flare-ups of this resilient American prejudice. If not as globally portentous as The Next Christendom [BKL Ap 1 02], this book is at least as eye-opening and complacency shaking. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (April 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195154800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195154801
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.9 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The New Anti-Catholicism" is a comprehensive, timely study of modern anti-Catholicism. Drawing on recent events while simultaneously mindful of history, Philip Jenkins makes a solid case that Roman Catholicism is subjected to a disproportionate amount of scrutiny, satire, and scorn in American life. The subject of some ugly anti-Catholic remarks myself, I impulsively bought this book as soon as I learned of its existence. What I found was not the polemical denunciation of anti-Catholic prejudice that I had craved (in order to feel vindicated) but rather a careful, erudite--at times sociological--study of anti-Catholicism which I ultimately found no less fascinating!
Chapters 2 and 3 (there are ten total) concern the history of American anti-Catholic bigotry. Consisting of largely classic nativist paranoia about anti-Catholicism, the history itself I found to be rather dry. But I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. Understanding the history of the prejudice, Jenkins demonstrates, is necessary to understand anti-Catholicism as a whole. Indeed, many of the vicious ultraliberal attacks on the Church that we encounter today are strikingly similar to the ultraconservative bigotry of a century ago. The book picks up pace after Chapter 3, however, as Jenkins explores topics like gay and feminist anti-Catholicism, Catholicism and the news media, Catholics in art, Catholics in Movies & TV, the recent sex abuse scandal, and what he calls "Black Legends," distortions of Church history. The chapter on clerical sexual abuse is so engrossing that it is almost worth the price of the book by itself!
Throughout the book, Jenkins explores the definitional aspects of anti-Catholicism in addition to the topical aspects that I listed in the previous paragraph.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a really scholarly investigation into the blatant bias against the Catholic Church as promulgated by all forms of media and tolerated by American society. The author,a former Roman Catholic, now an Episcopal teaches religious studies and history at the Pennsylvania State University. Although he has made a decision to remove from his Catholic roots he is none the less very fair in his analysis of the bias which has pervaded the Church for the whole of our country's existence; in fact I believe he may be much more credible because of his independence from the Church.
Philip Jenkins takes many issues including abortion,homosexuality,race,contraception,Church hierachy and papal infallibility and discusses these issues in light of historical perspective. He clearly shows that in an earlier era the "conservatives" of the populace were most threatened by Catholicism and were the most vigorous in trying to suppress it. Now, however, it is clearly the "liberals" who for totally different reasons and for different agendas are vehemently opposed the the Catholic Church.
Dr.Jenkins brings to light issues that have become unpopular to discuss or even intelligently critique due to the transformation of social "norms" that even a generation ago were considered fair game. Even I, an orthodox Roman Catholic, find myself falling for some of these new acceptable prejudices. Dr. Jenkins clearly demonstrates the fallacy of these new biases.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When my local public library purchased Professor Jenkin's study of anti-Catholicism I was ambivalent. I checked out the book with the intention to skim through it, but soon I began to more deeply read individual chapters, and eventually ended up reading the entire book. Prof. Jenkins (a non-Catholic) presents a solid and balanced portrayal of the radically changing face of American anti-Catholicism, as well as how American Catholics have both combatted and contributed to this anti-Catholicism in the past and present. The superficial similarities and profound differences between modern anti-Catholicism and past prejudice is simultaneously astounding and unsurprising. The only book I know which surpasses this one in presenting the history of American anti-Catholicism is out of print ("John F. Kennedy and American Catholicism"). Coincidentally, that other work was also written by a non-Catholic (a Jewish scholar to be exact). I highly recommend this book to Americans of all backgrounds who wish to understand the story behind American anti-Catholic prejudice today.
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By A Customer on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jenkins has done it again. Hopefully this will be the first of many exposes of anti-Catholic bigotry. He has done all religions a great service by revealing the discrimination and hate that are heaped on Catholicism. Usually in the name of tolerance and by the most "liberal" of people. People who would never make a remark or joke about Jews, Muslims, or African-Americans have no problem doing so about Catholics. This book is a good scholarly first step towards fairness and respect. Make sure your library has a copy of this book on its shelves.
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Format: Hardcover
Philip Jenkins, author of other books on Christianity, takes another look at a contempoary issue involoving Christainity - this time specifically the Catholic Church.Reading at the title, one would think that Jenkins is a polemic for the Church. Far be it - he does take the Church to task for some of the way they have handled certian things like the Child sex abuse scandel.
With that said, he defends the Church from silly and often agenda type attacks where individuals and groups opposed to the Church distort much of current events and reconstruct history to fit in with their agenda. He calls to task the illogical and disingenious assertions thrown by those people concerned only with their agenda.
Topics discussed are: Feminizism, gay-rights, and the new media, just to name a few. The one real fault in this book is probably that it is too short for such a polemic topic. In order to probably please his editors, this book is only about 216 reading pages. However, it is exhaustively researched so one can go to primary source documents for themselves if needed.
Oh, by the way, Jenkins is not Catholic and neither am I, just in case someone thinks his book or my review is denominationally swayed.
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