One in four Americans is Roman Catholic, and the beliefs, practices, structures, and loyalties of this large faith community are important to the political, social, and religious life of America. This book explores the dynamic and sometimes difficult relationship that Catholics have with American culture and society. It describes Catholics' history, contributions, unique characteristics, and participation in American life from the beginnings of the nation to the present. This volume portrays key figures and events in the life of American Catholicism, clarifies topics that may be commonly misunderstood by those who are not Catholic, and offers Catholics an objective look at their faith. With strong opinions and a widely diversified population, the American Catholic community remains one of the most visible in the nation.