An American Religion and a Roman Church, 1960–2001

Jay P. Dolan

in In Search of an American Catholicism

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780195069266
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834143 | DOI:
An American Religion and a Roman Church, 1960–2001

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The five themes presented in Ch. 3 (democracy, American national identity, gender equality, devotional Catholicism, and the Americanization of Catholic doctrine) are further examined here in the context of seeking to show how American culture shaped Catholicism in the period 1960–2001. The chapter starts by examining the role of President Kennedy in enabling Catholics to stand taller, and the changes initiated by Pope John XXIII's election in 1958, which led to the Second Vatican Council reforms (1962–65). It then examines the further emergence of a public Catholicism that sought to influence the shape and values of American society. The chapter also touches on some issues that have generated considerable controversy among Catholics in recent years – the ethical issues of abortion and birth control, the desire for more democracy in the management of parish life, the role of women in the church, the increased ethnic diversity of Catholicism, and the new rituals of prayer and worship that have emerged in the past 40 years.

Keywords: abortion; American culture; American national identity; Americanization of Catholic doctrine; anti‐Catholicism; birth control; Catholic doctrine; culture; democracy; devotional Catholicism; ethnic diversity; gender; gender equality; national identity; Pope John XXIII; prayer; President Kennedy; public Catholicism; reform; Second Vatican Council; women; worship

Chapter.  21438 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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