Roman Catholicism in America

Roman Catholicism in America

Roman Catholicism in America

Roman Catholicism in America


Who are American Catholics and what do they believe and practice? What is distinctive about the expression of Catholicism in America and how have Catholics influenced and been influenced by American culture and society? What different types of Catholics make up the church today? Chester Gillis offers a cogent survey of U. S. Catholic history, emphasizing the post--Vatican II era, and goes on to explore the various roles and missions of the church in education, health care, charity, and more.

One of the themes running through the narrative is the persistent tension between Rome and the American church, which is shaped by a thoroughly modern, dynamic, and secular culture. Also discussed is the changing role of authority and how Catholic notions of authority have changed over the past forty years and why.


The picture of Pope John Paul II at Camden Yards baseball park in Baltimore is on the cover of this book because it represents a good deal about Roman Catholicism in America. in October 1995, tens of thousands of people came to Camden Yards for a celebration of the Eucharist because the pope was presiding. No one represents the institution of Roman Catholicism more than the pope. This may have been a celebration of the American church, but the pope, who is the bishop of Rome, is also the hierarchical head of the church all over the world. the American church is under the guidance of Rome. the celebration took place in Baltimore, the founding diocese of the American church with roots going back to John Carroll, the first bishop in America.

The mass was celebrated in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, at the time a brand new stadium intentionally built to resemble an old one, like Fenway Park in Boston with the city as a backdrop and a warehouse over the right field wall. It is a state-of-the-art facility with an air of nostalgia.

This is not unlike the church in America, a part of the richest and most technologically advanced society, but holding on to a tradition that ties it to antiquity. the mass in Camden Yards was one of the highlights of the pope's visit to America in October 1995. But, like a baseball game, even an important one like a playoff or part of a world series, people came in droves to watch, but they returned the next day to their lives, and routines, little changed after the event. American Catholics seem to enjoy the pageantry of the papacy and are charmed by the personality of the pope. Yet the majority fail to agree with him on issues such as birth control, clerical . . .

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