Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice

By Shattuck, Gardiner H., Jr. | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice


Shattuck, Gardiner H., Jr., Anglican Theological Review


Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice. By Mark S. Massa, S.J. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2003. x + 245 pp. $24.95 (cloth).

Recent headlines about the misdeeds of various Roman Catholic priests and bishops, which have focused so much attention on the failings of the American church and its hierarchy, have proved to be a boon to scholars interested in anti-Catholicism. The year 2003, for example, saw the publication of two significant (and almost identically titled) books on this subject: Philip Jenkins's The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice and Mark Massas Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice. As Massa, a Jesuit, notes in the conclusion of his book, one of the unfortunate features of the current uproar over clergy sexual abuse is its "availability as proof positive for those . . . already uneasy with Catholicism that their fears were well placed" (p. 195). Still, as his book ably demonstrates, the embarrassments of the present day also offer an exceptional opportunity for probing the nature of anti-Catholic prejudice.

Massa, who directs the Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, is well qualified to undertake this study, and he has produced an engaging account that guides readers through several centuries of American religious history. Fears of papal Christianity, he shows, were so thoroughly imbedded in the hearts and minds of the first English settlers in the New World that it is difficult to separate anti-Catholicism from the origins of the American nation. "Break the Pope's Neck," for instance, was a popular game among children in Puritan New England, and when these same boys and girls memorized the alphabet, they began with the admonition to "Abhor that abhorrent Whore of Rome" (p. 19). Although violent acts of anti-Catholic hatred peaked in the mid-nineteenth century, as recently as the 1980s television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart openly condemned Roman Catholic teachings, warning Catholics that unless they renounced their church's "errant doctrines" (p. 141) they risked eternal damnation. While most mainline Protestants in the twentieth century neither shared the theological assumptions of their Puritan ancestors nor sanctioned the views of flamboyant preachers like Swaggart, they nevertheless remained highly suspicious of the Roman Catholic Church. It is no surprise, then, that one of the most egregious modern expressions of anti-Catholic bigotry-Paul Blanshard's American Freedom and Catholic Power (1949)-was published by Beacon Press, the stalwart liberal publishing house in Boston, and received accolades from establishment figures such as John Dewey, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Given all the evidence presented, one must agree with Massa's contention about the widespread nature of anti-Catholic prejudice among non-Catholic Americans.

Although Massa approaches his topic primarily from a historical perspective, he also employs the insights of theology and sociology to add further nuance to his argument. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Anti-Catholicism in America: The Last Acceptable Prejudice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.