Who are American Catholics and what do they believe and practice? What is distinctive about the expression of Catholicism in America and how have Catholics influenced and been influenced by American culture and society? What different types of Catholics make up the church today? Chester Gillis offers a cogent survey of U.S. Catholic history, emphasizing the post-Vatican II era, and goes on to explore the various roles and missions of the church in education, health care, charity, and more. One of the themes running through the narrative is the persistent tension between Rome and the American church, which is shaped by a thoroughly modern, dynamic, and secular culture. Also discussed is the changing role of authority and how Catholic notions of authority have changed over the past forty years and why.
Chester Gillis is associate professor of Theology and Catholic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. He is the author of A Question of Final Belief and Pluralism: A New Paradigm for Theology.
One: Who Are American Catholics? Two: A Brief History of Catholics in America: Colonial Times to 1900 Three: A Brief History of Catholics in America: 1900 to the Second Vatican Council Four: The Post-Vatican II Church in America Five: Teachings and Beliefs: Part I Six: Teaching and Beliefs: Part II Seven: The Organization of the Church Eight: The Church and Popular Culture Nine: Challenges Ten: The Future Appendix One: Selected Profiles of American Catholics Appendix Two: Time Line