The (Catholic) Politics of Catholic Studies


in The Catholic Studies Reader

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234103
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240906 | DOI:

Series: Catholic Practice in North America

The (Catholic) Politics of Catholic Studies

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Support for reflective intelligence about Catholicism has proven controversial in the Catholic Church and even in academies sponsored by the Church. Research and teaching about Catholicism requires resources, human and material, and that support has proven hard to come by. This chapter provides a short commentary on the development of Catholic Studies in the United States over the last thirty years. It focuses on the way in which debate about Catholic Studies has been an important factor in the development of American Catholic institutions and ministries, and self-understanding, since the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). It locates the movement for Catholic Studies programs at the heart of this political tumult, with the scramble for access to potential donors, the need to secure institutional and moral support and other pre-requisites for flourishing Catholic Studies programs now implicated in the cultural and religious politics of Catholic identity and mission, a struggle waged not only on campuses but also in the Church broadly construed.

Keywords: Catholic Studies; Catholicism; Catholic Church; politics; United States; ministries; self-understanding; donors; Catholic Studies programs

Chapter.  6655 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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