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American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America's Most Powerful Church

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  53 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
"A cracking good story with a wonderful cast of rogues, ruffians and some remarkably holy and sensible people." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

Before the potato famine ravaged Ireland in the 1840s, the Roman Catholic Church was barely a thread in the American cloth. Twenty years later, New York City was home to more Irish Catholics than Dublin. Today, the United States boa
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Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 27th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Mark Desrosiers
Sep 13, 2007 Mark Desrosiers rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Looking for personal insight, I was dismayed to discover that my own Catholic experience (at St. Rose parish, in East Hartford, CT) didn't seem to dovetail with this absorbing account at all! Where were the Asian-Americans? The French Canadian immigrants? The blue-collar Connecticut and Nebraska Catholic fuck-ups? Still, very well-researched.
Bree
Mar 27, 2013 Bree rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago and was extremely impressed. I was not raised Catholic, but this history of the church in America kept me on the edge of my seat. This book is also about immigration, violence and the growth of America's cities. Always relevant!
Jessica
Feb 17, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Catholic who often struggles with "official" positions on issues of personal morality and interspecies ethics, I found Morris' historical account of the American Catholic Church to be comforting. Far from the monolithic institution sometimes portrayed in films and tv, the Church, according to Morris, is comprised of fairly autonomous clergy who tailor their dioceases and parishes to the needs of the people.

My only gripe about the book is that *I* read it ten years too late. I found myself
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Jim
Sep 09, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. This was no oh-the-church-is-so-great whitewash. A fair and balanced analysis of the history of the Catholic church is the US, warts and all, written by someone with an overall positive view of the institution. The sex abuse scandal is discussed, but this book was published in 1997, before the big wave broke over the past decade. I was surprised to learn that I am in the majority not the minority with the doubts (to put it mildly) I have with several of the church's ...more
Siobhan
May 19, 2008 Siobhan rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was all the rage when I read it a few years ago. It was an exhaustive study of the Catholic Church in the US, including ideas about the future of the American Catholic Church. It was written before 2002, so the scandal that is currently plaguing the Church isn't touched upon. For anyone interested in learning about the development of the Catholic Church in America, though, this is the book to read.
Lindsay
Dec 03, 2007 Lindsay rated it liked it
As a recent convert to Catholicism, I wanted to learn about the Church's experience in America. This book fit the bill. The interplay between ethnic groups was particularly interesting, and gives me a lot of insight on present-day Chicago and New York.
James
Jan 02, 2008 James rated it liked it
Shelves: lmu
i read the hardcover edition
Jim Moffett
Aug 31, 2013 Jim Moffett rated it it was amazing
08-98
Robert Federline
This book is about so much more than the Catholic Church in America. It details divisions in the Church and the ebb and flow of life within the Church, and then places that all in the context of the constantly changing political and economic landscape of the United States of America. it is a macro-view of these two bodies and their changing interaction.

It demonstrates how unconventional each is in the world. Catholics were (and in many places, still are) heavily discriminated against. The tale i
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Crystal
Sep 17, 2014 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Fascinating account of the history of the Catholic Church in the U. S. - and the influence of Irish clergy on its development.
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