Sunday, May 5, 2013

American Church

Russell Shaw is very afraid for what the future has in store for the American Catholic Church. In American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America (Ignatius Press, 2013), Shaw analyses the assimilation of immigrant Catholics into the American mainstream and the disaster that accommodation with the secular culture has become.

Originally titled The Gibbons Legacy the book tracks the career of Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore who promoted Catholic assimilation in the late 19th and early 20th century.  
The process of "Americanizing" the immigrant church has worked so well that except for a small percentage of devout persons, the behavior of most American Catholics is indistinguishable from the larger culture.  With the culture becoming militantly secular,  those who hold to the teachings of the Church can expect to be marginalized at best and punished at worst.

Shaw is calling for a new Catholic subculture which will resist the inroads of the larger culture.  This is a good book which should be widely read.  (Review from National Catholic Register here.  Review from First Things here.). Pax.

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