Roman and Catholic and American: The Transformation of Catholicism in the United States
Author: José Casanova
September 1, 1992
In "Roman and Catholic and American: The Transformation of Catholicism in the United States," José Casanova develops a thorough sociological history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, looking mainly at the period between the end of the American Revolution and the Second Vatican Council. Casanova argues that the Church in the United States can mainly be understood through four facts. First, it exists as a minority sect in a predominantly Protestant country, both in terms of numbers and in the attitudes of the country; second, the U.S. Constitution guaranteed an open religious market and free practice of all faiths, allowing the Catholic Church to compete with other denominations. Thirdly, the Church came to be composed of multiple different nationalities, yet managed to create a unified American Church, and fourth, Catholics often had to prove that they were simultaneously sufficiently American and sufficiently Catholic. Casanova elaborates on several other themes in the American Church, such as the difference between the "Republican Church" era following the revoluation and the "Immigrant Church" era between the 1840s and the 1940s, which led to the formation of a separate Catholic educational and social system. This articles was published in the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.