Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth-Century Urban North

University of Chicago Press
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Parish Boundaries chronicles the history of Catholic parishes in major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia, melding their unique place in the urban landscape to the course of twentieth century American race relations. In vivid portraits of parish life, John McGreevy examines the contacts and conflicts between Euro-American Catholics and their African-American neighbors. By tracing the transformation of a church, its people, and the nation, McGreevy illuminates the enormous impact of religious culture on modern American society.

"Parish Boundaries can take its place in the front ranks of the literature of urban race relations."—Jonathan Dorfman, Washington Post Book Review

"A prodigiously researched, gracefully written book distinguished especially by its seamless treatment of social and intellectual history."—Robert Orsi, American Historical Review

"Parish Boundaries will fascinate historians and anyone interested in the historic connection between parish and race."—Ed Marciniak, Chicago Tribune

"The history that remains to be written will rest on the firm foundation of Mr. McGreevy's remarkable book."—Richard Wightman Fox, New York Times Book Review
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 13, 2016
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780226497471
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
Religion / Christianity / Catholic
Science / Earth Sciences / Geography
Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"[McGreevy] has written the best intellectual history of the Catholic Church in America."—Commonweal For two centuries, Catholicism has played a profound and largely unexamined role in America's political and intellectual life. Emphasizing the communal over the individual, protections for workers and the poor over market freedoms, and faith in eternal verities over pragmatic compromises, the Catholic worldview has been a constant foil to liberalism.

Catholicism and American Freedom is a groundbreaking tale of strange bedfellows and bitter conflicts over issues such as slavery, public education, economic reform, the movies, contraception, and abortion. It is an international story, as both liberals and conservatives were influenced by ideas and events abroad, from the 1848 revolutions to the rise of Fascism and the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, to papal encyclicals and the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s; and by the people, from scholarly Jesuits to working class Catholics, who immigrated from Europe and Latin America.

McGreevy reveals how the individualist, and often vehemently anti-Catholic, inclinations of Protestant intellectuals shaped the debates over slavery—and how Catholics, although they were the first to acknowledge the moral equality of black people and disavowed segregation of churches, even in the South, still had difficulty arguing against the hierarchy and tradition represented by slavery. He sheds light on the unsung heroes of American history like Orestes Browson, editor of Brownson's Quarterly Review, who suffered the disdain of abolitionists for being a Catholic, and the antagonism of conservative Catholics for being an abolitionist; and later heroes like Jacques Maritain and John Courtney Murray, who fought to modernize the Church, increased attention to human rights, and urged the Church "to adapt herself vitally . . . to what is valid in American democratic development."

Putting recent scandals in the Church and the media's response in a much larger context, this stimulating history is a model of nuanced scholarship and provocative reading.
At the start of the nineteenth century, the Jesuits seemed fated for oblivion. Dissolved as a religious order in 1773 by one pope, they were restored in 1814 by another, but with only six hundred aged members. Yet a century later, the Jesuits numbered seventeen thousand men and were at the vanguard of the Catholic Church's expansion around the world. In the United States especially, foreign-born Jesuits built universities and schools, aided Catholic immigrants, and served as missionaries. This book traces this nineteenth-century resurgence, showing how Jesuits nurtured a Catholic modernity through a disciplined counterculture of parishes, schools, and associations.

Drawing on archival materials from three continents, American Jesuits and the World tracks Jesuits who left Europe for America and Jesuits who left the United States for missionary ventures across the Pacific. Each chapter tells the story of a revealing or controversial event, including the tarring and feathering of an exiled Swiss Jesuit in Maine, the efforts of French Jesuits in Louisiana to obtain Vatican approval of a miraculous healing, and the educational efforts of American Jesuits in Manila. These stories place the Jesuits at the center of the worldwide clash between Catholics and liberal nationalists, and reveal how the Jesuits not only revived their own order but made modern Catholicism more global.

The result is a major contribution to modern global history and an invaluable examination of the meaning of religious liberty in a pluralistic age.

At the start of the nineteenth century, the Jesuits seemed fated for oblivion. Dissolved as a religious order in 1773 by one pope, they were restored in 1814 by another, but with only six hundred aged members. Yet a century later, the Jesuits numbered seventeen thousand men and were at the vanguard of the Catholic Church's expansion around the world. In the United States especially, foreign-born Jesuits built universities and schools, aided Catholic immigrants, and served as missionaries. This book traces this nineteenth-century resurgence, showing how Jesuits nurtured a Catholic modernity through a disciplined counterculture of parishes, schools, and associations.

Drawing on archival materials from three continents, American Jesuits and the World tracks Jesuits who left Europe for America and Jesuits who left the United States for missionary ventures across the Pacific. Each chapter tells the story of a revealing or controversial event, including the tarring and feathering of an exiled Swiss Jesuit in Maine, the efforts of French Jesuits in Louisiana to obtain Vatican approval of a miraculous healing, and the educational efforts of American Jesuits in Manila. These stories place the Jesuits at the center of the worldwide clash between Catholics and liberal nationalists, and reveal how the Jesuits not only revived their own order but made modern Catholicism more global.

The result is a major contribution to modern global history and an invaluable examination of the meaning of religious liberty in a pluralistic age.

"[McGreevy] has written the best intellectual history of the Catholic Church in America."—Commonweal For two centuries, Catholicism has played a profound and largely unexamined role in America's political and intellectual life. Emphasizing the communal over the individual, protections for workers and the poor over market freedoms, and faith in eternal verities over pragmatic compromises, the Catholic worldview has been a constant foil to liberalism.

Catholicism and American Freedom is a groundbreaking tale of strange bedfellows and bitter conflicts over issues such as slavery, public education, economic reform, the movies, contraception, and abortion. It is an international story, as both liberals and conservatives were influenced by ideas and events abroad, from the 1848 revolutions to the rise of Fascism and the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, to papal encyclicals and the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s; and by the people, from scholarly Jesuits to working class Catholics, who immigrated from Europe and Latin America.

McGreevy reveals how the individualist, and often vehemently anti-Catholic, inclinations of Protestant intellectuals shaped the debates over slavery—and how Catholics, although they were the first to acknowledge the moral equality of black people and disavowed segregation of churches, even in the South, still had difficulty arguing against the hierarchy and tradition represented by slavery. He sheds light on the unsung heroes of American history like Orestes Browson, editor of Brownson's Quarterly Review, who suffered the disdain of abolitionists for being a Catholic, and the antagonism of conservative Catholics for being an abolitionist; and later heroes like Jacques Maritain and John Courtney Murray, who fought to modernize the Church, increased attention to human rights, and urged the Church "to adapt herself vitally . . . to what is valid in American democratic development."

Putting recent scandals in the Church and the media's response in a much larger context, this stimulating history is a model of nuanced scholarship and provocative reading.
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