Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Experience in America

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Catholic Experience in America

Article excerpt

The Catholic Experience in America. By Joseph A. Varacalli. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 2006. pp. xxii, 314.)

Part of a larger series "The American Religious Experience," the present volume is designed as a text book for senior high school students, presumably in Catholic high schools. The first half of the volume is about the past history of Catholicism in America. Professor Varacalli, of Nassau Community College, covers the basic facts and controversies of the past. His narrative is unexceptionable, though it does tend to celebrate the Catholicism of the decades after the end of World War II as an apogee.

In more recent history, however, the book displays a traditionalist approach to Catholicism and a more conservative political stance-disapproving of what the author calls the "Kennedy-Cuomo" political orientation. True to the vision of his mentor Monsignor George A. Kelly, Varacalli laments the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the religious behavior of American Catholics and advocates as desirable the return to stricter Catholicism of the pre-councilior days. He expresses the hope that Pope Benedict will restore discipline to the Church in this country. The book, therefore, will be very useful in those high schools which wish to emphasize the deterioration of Catholicism in the United States and the lack of political courage of Catholic politicians. …

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