The Catholicity of American Spirituality

Amanda Porterfield

in The Transformation of American Religion

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780195131376
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834570 | DOI:
The Catholicity of American Spirituality

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The blossoming of spirituality in late twentieth‐century America involved the mainstreaming of Catholicism within American culture. It also involved increasingly porous boundaries between American Catholicism and New Age religions. In a society previously dominated by Protestants and Protestant culture, Catholic spirituality moved to the fore as a matrix through which a wide variety of religious developments came to expression. This chapter traces some of the antecedents of this open, liberal form of Catholic spirituality to Transcendentalist interpretations of Catholic spirituality in nineteenth‐century America, and to progressive American Catholic leaders, especially Orestes Brownson and Isaac Hecker, who emphasized the importance of the Holy Spirit for social as well as personal life.

Keywords: American Catholicism; Catholic spirituality; Holy Spirit; Isaac Hecker; New Age; Orestes Brownson; Protestant culture; Transcendentalist

Chapter.  11446 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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