Cover image for American Catholics, American Culture : tradition and resistance
American Catholics, American Culture : tradition and resistance
Steinfels, Margaret O'Brien, 1941-
Publication Information:
Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, [2004]

Physical Description:
xviii, 203 pages ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX1406.3 .A485 2004 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Sheed & Ward, in partnership with Commonweal magazine, presents the second of two volumes in the groundbreaking series, American Catholics in the Public Square, a project funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Essays by scholars, journalists, lawyers, business and labor leaders, church administrators and lobbyists, novelists, activists, policy makers and politicians address the most critical issues facing the Catholic Church in the United States. Volume 2, American Catholics, American Culture: Tradition and Resistance, is introduced by Peter Steinfels and Robert Royal. Part One, 'Against the Grain, ' explores the philosophical and practical differences between Catholicism and American culture on issues in sexuality, marriage, abortion, stem cell research, women's rights, and physician-assisted suicide. The essays attempt to mediate the divide between Catholicism's communal and personalist view of the human person and the American preference for autonomy and pluralism. Part Two, 'Popular Culture & Literature, ' confronts the role and interaction of the Church in popular culture and explores the identity of the 'Catholic' writer on the literary page and in the media. Part Three, 'Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice?' endeavors to define what anti-Catholicism is, where it is found in North American culture, what it means for maintaining group identity, and how it can be interpreted as an American or religious phenomenon.

Author Notes

Margaret OOBrien Steinfels, co-director of American Catholics in the Public Square project, was the editor of Commonweal from 1988 to 2002.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This is the second of two volumes in the "American Catholics in the Public Square" series, edited by Steinfels, former editor of Commonweal. The collection explores philosophical and practical aspects of the intersection of popular culture and Catholicism. Issues like abortion, sexuality, women's rights, euthanasia, Catholic identity, and anti-Catholicism are vigorously dissected by contemporary authors drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, including scholars, activists, church administrators, and politicians. The format preserves the spirit of the Commonweal Colloquia, where the essays were first presented, with a natural dialog resulting from the arrangement of opposing and respondent articles. This editorial technique focuses on the debates and keeps the inquiry lively. A timely introduction to some of the drama unfolding in today's headlines as well as a responsible, reasoned summary of some key challenges facing American Catholicism, this volume is a valuable contribution to what it calls a "vigorous and articulated religious participation in public affairs" and should be in any library keeping abreast of current issues. Sheila Peiffer, Acad. of the Holy Names, Albany, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Peter Steinfels and Robert RoyalJohn T. McGreevyLuke Timothy JohnsonBarbara Dafoe WhiteheadSusan A. RossRichard M. DoerflingerMary C. SegersMichele DillonBrian DoyleJames T. FisherMark MassaPaul ElieValerie SayersKenneth J. DoyleJ. BottumMark MassaJohn T. McGreevyAndrew M. GreeleyKenneth L. WoodwardMark SilkGail Buckley and Daniel Callahan and William Donohue and Paul Moses and Alan Wolfe
Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Part 1 Against the Grainp. 1
Catholics in America: Antipathy and Assimilationp. 3
Abortion, Sexuality, and Catholicism's Public Presencep. 27
Connecting Sexuality, Marriage, Family, and Children: A Responsep. 39
The Complexities and Ambiguities of the "Prophetic Dimension": A Responsep. 43
The Pro-Life Message and Catholic Social Teaching: Problems of Receptionp. 49
The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Pro-Life Agenda: A Responsep. 59
The Abortion Debate: Good for the Church and Good for American Societyp. 71
Killing Yourself: Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregonp. 76
Part 2 Popular Culture and Literaturep. 99
Catholicism as American Popular Culturep. 101
"As If in Prayer": A Response to "Catholicism as American Popular Culture"p. 112
The Last Catholic Writer in America?p. 119
Being a Writer, Being a Catholic: Sometimes the Twain Can Meetp. 129
The Press and the Church's Social Teaching: Friends or Foes?p. 135
Assertions, Not Reasons: A Responsep. 145
Part 3 Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice?p. 149
Anti-Catholicism in the United States: The View from Historyp. 155
An Ugly Little Secret Revisited: A Pretest on Anti-Catholicism in Americap. 162
Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice? Yesp. 169
Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice? Nop. 174
Voices from the Field: A Panel Discussionp. 178
Indexp. 191
About the Contributorsp. 201