Maura Jane Farrelly

in Papist Patriots

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199757718
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932504 | DOI:

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Papist Patriots is about the development of a distinctly “American” Catholic identity in the decades leading up to the American Revolution. As a communal faith that stresses the importance of hierarchy, order, and obligation, Catholicism was not a natural fit for America, which tends to value individualism, republicanism, church-state separation, and religious pluralism. Several prominent scholars have explored the tension that characterized Catholicism’s relationship with American culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the eighteenth century, however, Catholics embraced the cornerstones of American cultural identity. While many historians have recognized this reality, none has explained it. Papist Patriots, therefore, explores how and why British colonial Catholics came to embrace the individualistic, anti-authoritarian, rights-oriented ideology of the independence movement, in spite of their Church’s antipathy to that ideology – and in spite of the anti-Catholic rhetoric that sustained the movement.

Keywords: identity; culture; communal; hierarchy; order; obligation; individualism; republicanism; church-state separation; religious pluralism; American Revolution; independence movement; anti-Catholicism

Chapter.  6035 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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