Catholic Lives, Contemporary America

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What does it mean to be—or to have been raised—Catholic in America today, now that formally nonpracticing Catholics outnumber the memberships of any other single denomination? Catholic Lives, Contemporary America is a collection of informed and spirited essays focusing on Catholic lay practices not commonly recognized or, at times, officially sanctioned. For the formidable array of scholars and writers gathered here, being Catholic is not simply a matter of going to confession or attending Mass, and Catholicism’s...

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Catholic Lives, Contemporary America

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Overview

What does it mean to be—or to have been raised—Catholic in America today, now that formally nonpracticing Catholics outnumber the memberships of any other single denomination? Catholic Lives, Contemporary America is a collection of informed and spirited essays focusing on Catholic lay practices not commonly recognized or, at times, officially sanctioned. For the formidable array of scholars and writers gathered here, being Catholic is not simply a matter of going to confession or attending Mass, and Catholicism’s contributions to American cultural identity remain open to question.
Edited and with an introduction by Thomas J. Ferraro, Catholic Lives, Contemporary America offers a banquet of essays and interviews, at once subtle and accessible, treating American Catholic lives and legacies with compassion and flair.

Contributors. Patrick Allitt, Paul Crowley, Thomas J. Ferraro, James T. Fisher, Paul Giles, Mary Gordon, Stanley Hauerwas, Frank Lentricchia, Robert A. Orsi, Camille Paglia, David Plante, Richard Rodriguez, Kathy Rudy, Andrew Sullivan, Mary Jo Weaver

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Thomas J. Ferraro's very fine collection of essays in Catholic Lives, Contemporary America speaks volumes for Catholic vitality and struggle.
Commonweal
[A] decidedly lively collection of essays.
Journal of Religion
The collection, indeed a feast, is a meditation on cultural Catholicism, unearthing the presence of traditional Catholic discourses of 'iconicity and ritual, original sin and sacramentality, intercessory mediation and corpus christi' in unexpected places. The volume succeeds at illustrating the myriad ways in which postconciliar writers have returned to Catholic materials and in suggesting how Catholics have evolved 'from fifties self-assurance to nineties self-challenge. Cultural, intellectual, and religious historians will benefit from Catholic Lives.
Non-Catholics interested in the effects of anti-Catholicism on American culture, and persons interested in the impact of postmodernity on religion, will find much to ponder. Readers interested in the 'turn to ethnography' will find excellent examples of the genre. . . . In the editor's words, the collection is 'conflicted, polysemic, and syncretic.' Therein lies both its aggravations and charms.
St. Anthony Messenger
This collection...informs, entertains, and challenges, with no apparent ideological axe to grind. Catholic Lives, Contemporary America is lively reading for adults looking for a deeper take on the recent Catholic past and present.
America
This collection by and about contemporary artists, writers, and academicians suggests the continuing influence of Catholicism, even in some unlikely and unexpected places.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822320432
  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas J. Ferraro is Associate Professor of English at Duke University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Not-Just-Cultural Catholics 1
"Mildred, is it fun to be a cripple?": The Culture of Suffering in Mid-Twentieth-Century American Catholicism 19
Father Chuck: A Reading of Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's, or Why Priests Made Us Crazy 65
Clearing the Streets of the Catholic Lost Generation 76
Making It to Mepkin Abbey 104
The Intertextual Politics of Cultural Catholicism: Tiepolo, Madonna, Scorsese 120
The Bitter Victory: Catholic Conservative Intellectuals in America, 1988-1993 141
Virtually Normal 171
Feminists and Patriarchs in the Catholic Church: Orthodoxy and Its Discontents 187
The Double-Effect/Proportionalist Debate 205
My Parents, My Religion, and My Writing 222
A Homage to Mary and to the University Called Notre Dame 227
A Pornographic Nun: An Interview with Camille Paglia 238
An Ancient Catholic: An Interview with Richard Rodriguez 259
Contributors 267
Index 271
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