The Transformation of the Catholic Literary Revival in the American Catholic College During the 1930s and 1940s
The mid-- 1930s represented a transition period in the Catholic literary revival and n the development of American Catholic religious thought. As in all transition periods, a number of contradictory emphases stood side-by-side. The promotional-apologetic theme in the Catholic literary revival remained a strong and constant factor. Lucille Papin Borden persisted in writing Catholic novels upholding Catholic moral and philosophical positions well into the 1940s, and indiscriminating Catholic critics like Francis X. Talbot continued to review them with predictable acclaim. Neo-scholastic philosophy still held the status of ideology in most American Catholic intellectual circles. 1 And there were still mid-- 1930s summonses by Daniel A. Lord and others for American Chestertons.
The history of American Catholicism in the 1930s, however, will be remembered not for how much it resembled the 1920s, but for how much it represented reversals in the mentality of the previous decade. The events of the 1930s had much to do with these changes. The Depression called forth new developments in Catholic social thought and, more than any other twentieth century event, forced Catholic Americans out of the parochial group-interest mentality that marked the 1920s Church.
New theological emphases--the Incarnation, the liturgy, and developments in Christology and the theology of the Mystical Body--also reshaped the intellectual outlook of many Catholic Americans. These theological breakthroughs were also linked to 1930s events as the challenge of Protestant neo-orthodoxy, the spiritual crisis between the wars, the rise of dehumanizing totalitarian ideologies, and finally war itself, forced Catholic thinkers, first in Europe and then America, to give