Four thousand Irish-born and Irish-seminary educated priests have served in the United States and nearly 1,250 are currently affiliated with American dioceses. The Irish-Catholic upbringing of these priests, along with their Irish education, immigrant status, and missionary spirit, distinguish them from American-born priests. These priests have left an indelible mark in the U.S. primarily by staffing Catholic parishes in the South, West, and Southwest. They are, however, a vanishing subculture due to an increasing mortality rate and the dearth of vocations to the priesthood in Ireland. This book is the beginning of a much-needed discussion about the experiences and beliefs of Irish priests. It provides a cultural analysis of these men, including an examination of the diverse and oftentimes contradictory sides they find themselves on, regarding philosophical, theological, and pastoral issues. The book is based on archival and survey research that has revealed numerous letters and other documents.
Survey research conducted in the 1990s, examines the priests' thoughts on seminary education, ethnicity, satisfaction with the priesthood, ecclesiological and theological concerns, and Vatican II.
William L. Smith is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia. Professor Smith holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame.
Chapter 1 List of Tables Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Credit Lines Chapter 4 Introduction: Irish Priests in America Chapter 5 Irish Seminaries and Their Alumni in the United States Chapter 6 Irish Priests in Late Eighteenth Century through Mid-Twentieth Century America Chapter 7 Irish Priests in Late Twentieth Century America: Part One Chapter 8 Irish Priests in Late Twentieth Century America: Part Two Chapter 9 Conclusion Chapter 10 References Chapter 11 Index Chapter 12 About the Author