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American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America's Most Powerful Church Paperback – October 27, 1998
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Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Morris sheds much light on the hostility and suspicion that Catholics in America have faced. He also illustrates in a masterful way how Catholics have attempted to find a way between the desire for acceptance by the larger, Protestant culture and the desire to retain a sense of Catholic identity. This latter stance has sadly resulted in various forms of isolationism and is characterized by a failure on the part of Catholics to evangelize American culture.
Morris writes clearly and avoids unnecessary Catholic jargon. His insights are often penetrating. Throughout most of the book Morris is fair to various perspectives within American Catholic culture.
I consider this text to be "required reading" for religious studies students and students of theology; it is also highly recommended to anyone who wishes to understand the role of Catholicism in American public life.
Nevertheless, the following omissions make this a less than perfect book: (1) He limits his discussion of Catholicism to the Latin (Roman) Rite; (2) there is a curious silence concerning the questions "what is Catholicism?" or "how does Catholicism differ from Protestantism?"; (3) despite the fact that a good third of the book is devoted to events since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the fact that Morris draws from a variety of theological points of view, he fails to address the Church's own self-understanding as articulated in the documents of Vatican II: communio ecclesiology.
EASTERN CATHOLICS.Read more ›
In retrospect, some of the concerns Morris finds diminishing in his 1997 study have only increased, such as the pedophilia (or more often adolescent boys rather than pre-teens with priests, Morris and many critics parse) scandals that grew more prominent rather than less so in the beginning of the current decade. Vocations appear to keep tumbling at least in the West; non-compliance with Catholic teaching by the rank-and-file grows in the American segment due to democratic tendencies constantly eroding the earlier, pre-assimilationist culture that codified American Catholicism mid-20 c. These tendencies, as Morris shows, created tension from the later 19 c onward, and the battles with Rome by the U.S.Read more ›
This book told me as much about who I was, where I come from and where I am going as a Catholic as anything I've ever read. I could not put the book down and read it over and over again for the sheer joy of reading. I'm afraid I might have missed something.
The story about Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Philadelphia's long-time Archbishop, was worth the price of admission alone. The author's story about how Cardinal Doughtery dealt with racial prejudice was compelling as was the anecdotes about the Cardinal's ego, his need to curry favor with ROme and his eccentricities. And the book provides a marvelous look at William Cardinal O'Connell of Boston, alias "Gangplank Bill," for his wintering in warm tropical locales. You sometimes wonder when the next Martin Luther would evolve after reading some of this story.
But this is just part of the story.
The assessment this book brings to contemporary conservative Catholicism was eye-opening. Those who are liberal Catholics might gag at what the book describes as happening in Lincoln, NE, but the story is real and the results quantified and quite positive. The book has considerable advice for the future and talks glowingly of how some Bishops due what we in corporate America have done for years, evaluate priestly sermons, rate them and recommend ways to better reach congregants.
Trust me, this book is not on Pope John Paul II's reading list. But is should be! The Pope could better minister to us and be a much better representative of Christ if he read it and understood who and what we are in America.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is far too much detail. I didn't finish the book. It is a 450 page book that probably would have been good distilled to about 250 pages.Published 3 months ago by michael soriano jr.
Morris is a superb writer and researcher, and that makes for a first-class fascinating history. Highly recommended.Published 14 months ago by John D. Murray
I have just begun reading it. I think the author writes very well, and I am enjoying it very much!Published 19 months ago by rosemary l molloy
He wrote in the Preface of this 1997 book, "The bitter disputes over papal authority, women priests, marriage rules and sexual ethics are implicitly about the limits of adapting to... Read morePublished on April 7, 2014 by Steven H Propp
This 400+ page, 1997 book ambitiously tried to cover an encyclopedic range of material and reads quickly, but author Charles R. Read morePublished on July 30, 2011 by Joseph P. Tevington
This book was an enjoyable read. I found it especially interesting because I myself am a devout Catholic. Read morePublished on April 23, 2009 by Lauren Koetting
Excellent reading material for all who wish to learn more about the growth of a nationality or the Catholic Church. Read morePublished on May 25, 2008 by Clare B. Gerber
The title was so catchy that I couldn't help reading it. Mr. Morris is writer whose probably too old to see that his feelings are getting in the way of his facts. Read morePublished on April 30, 2007 by Tommy Toquemada