Adapting in Eden: Oregon's Catholic Minority, 1838-1986

Article excerpt

Adapting in Eden: Oregon's Catholic Minority, 1838-1986. By Patricia Brandt and Lillian A. Pereyra. (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2002. Pp. via, 216. $21.95 paperback.)

Far to the west of the original Eden, another land of unspoiled beauty and unshackled freedom arose that became known as Oregon. Adaptation in the first Eden resulted in sin and banishment; succeeding adaptations in the history of the Catholic Church of Oregon have attempted to advance the lot of humanity, to make the Pacific Northwest truly a second Eden, with supernatural beauty comparable to its natural splendor. Nothing is accomplished without a price, and the history of Oregon's Catholic minority reflects a story of passion, prejudice, and persecution as the price. From the earliest days of the new Catholic presence in the Oregon territory, with its interdenominational competition, to the rise of fashionable prejudice promoted by the KKK, down to the present challenges of living in the most highly secularized society of the United States, the authors fearlessly recount everything. Patricia Brandt and Lillian A. Pereyra's book, Adapting in Eden: Oregon's Catholic Minority, 18.38-1986, relates the story of the Catholic Church in Oregon with pride and honesty.

Although the book is small in size, it is grand in stature. The writing is thoughtful and assists the reader with entering into each succeeding era with its concurrent challenges and triumphs. It credibly presents a sophisticated rendering of Oregon Catholic Church history organized around the administrations of Oregon's Catholic bishops. It presents well-realized views of the various bishops, their times and, most importantly, how the differing characters and interests of the bishops worked to shape the Church's presence during difficult times confronting complex issues. …