The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$20.23
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$13.38
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $7.82
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 62%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $7.82   
  • New (5) from $20.05   
  • Used (6) from $7.82   

Overview

Shaken by the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal, and challenged from within by social and theological division, Catholics in America are at a crossroads. But is today’s situation unique? And where will Catholicism go from here? With the belief that we understand our present by studying our past, James O’Toole offers a bold and panoramic history of the American Catholic laity.

O’Toole tells the story of this ancient church from the perspective of ordinary Americans, the lay believers who have kept their faith despite persecution from without and clergy abuse from within. It is an epic tale, from the first settlements of Catholics in the colonies to the turmoil of the scandal-ridden present, and through the church’s many American incarnations in between. We see Catholics’ complex relationship to Rome and to their own American nation. O’Toole brings to life both the grand sweep of institutional change and the daily practice that sustained believers. The Faithful pays particular attention to the intricacies of prayer and ritual—the ways men and women have found to express their faith as Catholics over the centuries.

With an intimate knowledge of the dilemmas and hopes of today’s church, O’Toole presents a new vision and offers a glimpse into the possible future of the church and its parishioners. Moving past the pulpit and into the pews, The Faithful is an unmatched look at the American Catholic laity. Today’s Catholics will find much to educate and inspire them in these pages, and non-Catholics will gain a newfound understanding of their religious brethren.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe

An intriguing book, brimming with wisdom. It studies the evolution of U.S. Catholicism by dividing it into a half-dozen historic segments, from the Colonial "priestless church" to the muscular, immigrant-fed church a century ago, to the reformist, post-Vatican II church and beyond.
— Rich Barlow

St. Petersburg Times

O'Toole crams an array of stories, profiles and statistics into his book that will make it a welcome addition to the shelf of anyone interested in the country's religious culture. His focus is on how the relationship between rank-and-file Catholics and the church has changed since the country's colonial era...O'Toole's prodigious research and engaging writing ensure that The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America will be the authoritative work on this subject for quite some time.
— Claude R. Marx

America

[O'Toole] relies on a wide range of source material, writes in vivid detail and, above all, pays a great deal of attention to religious practice and ritual. It is this last that distinguishes The Faithful from previously published histories of American Catholicism...He is certainly not the first to write Catholic history from the perspective of the people in the pews. But it is true that his narrative eschews, to a much greater extent than other surveys, expositions of ideological or political conflict among the church hierarchy. Instead, he frames his book in a manner designed to capture the myriad ways in which ordinary American Catholics have lived, prayed and practiced their faith...It is the Catholic faithful more broadly who stand to gain the most insight from reading this book...[It] deserves a wide readership.
— Kathleen Cummings

Commonweal

[A] splendid new history of Catholics in the United States.
— Rodger Van Allen

David O'Brien
The Faithful is a truly original and mature work that gives us a rich history of American Catholics. There is simply no comparable book.
Robert Orsi
An ambitious narrative history of American Catholicism, written with great historical range and attention to lived experience. It has profound contemporary resonance. This courageous book, unafraid to explore the story's darker moments, is destined to become the new standard text on American Catholicism.
R. Scott Appleby
Solidly researched, engagingly told and insightfully interpreted, The Faithful is the first comprehensive history of lay Catholic prayer, politics and creative fidelity to church teaching, even in times of crisis such as the present. It could not come at a better time, as American Catholics struggle to reclaim a legacy of moral leadership and stalwart service to the nation.
Leslie Tentler
O'Toole surveys the lay Catholic experience in America with remarkable breadth and mastery. Lively and accessible, this book provides a valuable introduction to American Catholic history.
Boston Globe - Katherine A. Powers
Especially timely...This is not so much a history as, in this case, a penetrating, deftly worked summary of organizational and liturgical developments, formal and informal, in the American Catholic Church with emphasis on the role and influence of the laity.
St. Petersburg Times - Claude R. Marx
O'Toole crams an array of stories, profiles and statistics into his book that will make it a welcome addition to the shelf of anyone interested in the country's religious culture. His focus is on how the relationship between rank-and-file Catholics and the church has changed since the country's colonial era...O'Toole's prodigious research and engaging writing ensure that The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America will be the authoritative work on this subject for quite some time.
Boston Globe - Rich Barlow
An intriguing book, brimming with wisdom. It studies the evolution of U.S. Catholicism by dividing it into a half-dozen historic segments, from the Colonial "priestless church" to the muscular, immigrant-fed church a century ago, to the reformist, post-Vatican II church and beyond.
America - Kathleen Cummings
[O'Toole] relies on a wide range of source material, writes in vivid detail and, above all, pays a great deal of attention to religious practice and ritual. It is this last that distinguishes The Faithful from previously published histories of American Catholicism...He is certainly not the first to write Catholic history from the perspective of the people in the pews. But it is true that his narrative eschews, to a much greater extent than other surveys, expositions of ideological or political conflict among the church hierarchy. Instead, he frames his book in a manner designed to capture the myriad ways in which ordinary American Catholics have lived, prayed and practiced their faith...It is the Catholic faithful more broadly who stand to gain the most insight from reading this book...[It] deserves a wide readership.
Commonweal - Rodger Van Allen
[A] splendid new history of Catholics in the United States.
Commonweal
[A] splendid new history of Catholics in the United States.
— Rodger Van Allen
America
[O'Toole] relies on a wide range of source material, writes in vivid detail and, above all, pays a great deal of attention to religious practice and ritual. It is this last that distinguishes The Faithful from previously published histories of American Catholicism...He is certainly not the first to write Catholic history from the perspective of the people in the pews. But it is true that his narrative eschews, to a much greater extent than other surveys, expositions of ideological or political conflict among the church hierarchy. Instead, he frames his book in a manner designed to capture the myriad ways in which ordinary American Catholics have lived, prayed and practiced their faith...It is the Catholic faithful more broadly who stand to gain the most insight from reading this book...[It] deserves a wide readership.
— Kathleen Cummings
St. Petersburg Times
O'Toole crams an array of stories, profiles and statistics into his book that will make it a welcome addition to the shelf of anyone interested in the country's religious culture. His focus is on how the relationship between rank-and-file Catholics and the church has changed since the country's colonial era...O'Toole's prodigious research and engaging writing ensure that The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America will be the authoritative work on this subject for quite some time.
— Claude R. Marx
Boston Globe
An intriguing book, brimming with wisdom. It studies the evolution of U.S. Catholicism by dividing it into a half-dozen historic segments, from the Colonial "priestless church" to the muscular, immigrant-fed church a century ago, to the reformist, post-Vatican II church and beyond.
— Rich Barlow
Publishers Weekly

Recent studies of the Roman Catholic Church in America have brought into focus the emergence of Catholics into mainstream culture and the colorful particularities of the faith in various parish neighborhoods. O'Toole, a historian at Boston College, follows this trend of telling the story "from below," but begins his narrative from the birth of the nation in the 1770s. For many, the biggest revelation in the book will be O'Toole's designation of the colonial church as "priestless." While that was not entirely the case-a handful of priests did serve the small number of Catholics who had settled here-many did not see a priest more than once a year. As Catholics today are aware, the church currently faces a similar priest shortage. For readers who are familiar with the church, the primary joy of this book will be found in checking their own experiences against those described by O'Toole. Still, the genial style of writing together with a plentiful amount of fascinating tidbits will keep all but the most jaded expert going. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Archivist-turned-historian O'Toole (Boston Coll.; Passing for White: Race, Religion, and the Healy Family, 1820-1920) deftly tells the history of lay Catholics in America. Beginning with the priestless church of the Colonial period, he goes on to explore the church in the democratic republic, the immigrant church, the church of Catholic Action, the church of Vatican II, and the church in the 21st century. Each chapter begins with a short biography of a lay Catholic of his or her time; the last chapter opens with a portrait of "Maria," O'Toole's projection of a typical modern-day Catholic. O'Toole does not shrink from treating the pedophilia crisis, but he does so from the perspective of an impassioned historian. In addition, he is careful to explain any term that might be unfamiliar. Less academic in style and format than Patrick W. Carey's The Roman Catholics and more accessible than Charles R. Morris's American Catholic, this is a worthy successor to James Hennesey's American Catholics and Jay P. Dolan's The American Catholic Experience, both classics. Highly recommended.
—Augustine J. Curley

Kirkus Reviews
Intermittently intriguing look at the development of the American Catholic church from the perspective of its laity. O'Toole (History/Boston Coll.; Habits of Devotion: Catholic Religious Practice in Twentieth-Century America, 2004, etc.) divides the Catholic history in America into six eras. In each case, he focuses on the laypersons who powered the work of the church and made up its ever-changing demographic. Starting with the "Priestless Church" of the nation's early decades, when parishioners had to make their way in both fledgling cities and the wilderness without much clerical leadership, the author then moves on to the "Church of the Democratic Republic," which tried to reconcile American egalitarianism with the church's hierarchical structure. Later in the 19th century came the "Immigrant Church," which struggled with accommodating rapid and often volatile changes in the national population. The 20th century saw the "Church of Catholic Action" followed by the "Church of Vatican II," eras which included social unrest and sea changes in the church itself. Finally, the author looks at the "Church in the Twenty-first Century" and its struggles with the clergy molestation scandal, a scarcity of priests and the continued shifting of demographics due to immigration. O'Toole's history, focusing especially on personal narratives, makes for captivating reading. But that same reliance upon individual accounts becomes somewhat problematic, as the author often seems to identify national trends based on scant information from primary sources. The book also fails to place American Catholicism within a global context. For instance, O'Toole describes the change in communion being administered inthe hand instead of on the tongue, which was practiced by many parishes in the mid 20th century. But was this new practice found in America only or was it part of a global trend?A history worth reading.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674034884
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 353,255
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James M. O’Toole is Clough Millennium Professor of History, Boston College.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. The Priestless Church

2. The Church in the Democratic Republic

3. The Immigrant Church

4. The Church of Catholic Action

5. The Church of Vatican II

6. The Church in the Twenty-first Century

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    Very Good history of the U.S. Catholic Church; too rosy a view of the impact the pedophile priest crisis (and hierarchy's involvement) had on the laity and clergy

    Although a well-read Catholic, I haven't read much on the history of the Catholic Church in America so I found this book an excellent introduction and feel it was presented with an easy to understand approach. <BR/><BR/>To the Author: Perhaps you have relied on faulty data regarding the impact of the sexual abuse crisis on the laity and clergy of the Archdiocese of Boston. Belonging to 2 City of Boston parishes during and after the crisis, each with a history of abuse by assigned priests, showed me the devastation to the congregations. Some priests would not appear in public wearing a collar, others were too embarrassed to discuss the issues, one I know seriously contemplated leaving the Church and became very depressed, 2 developed serious problems with alcohol. Regarding the laity, many felt betrayed and angry and had difficulty participating in Church activities, many activities disappeared, parish membership declined, attendance at Sunday Mass plummeted, and collections were much diminished. Those abused weren't the only victims; clergy and laity were each damaged grievously. I can only continue to pray that the grace of God heals all those affected and those who are young will not be deprived of the faith of their mothers and fathers. Too bad that too many lukewarm Catholics also took advantage of the crisis as an excuse to leave the Church - this too impacts the Church and its future. The anger still lingers in the churches and parish halls and can be heard at most parish functions. Perhaps your 2nd edition could reveal more about the damage to the clergy and laity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2008

    A Unique and Much-Needed Approach to American Catholic History

    The author's approach to selecting a representative person whom he had researched in each of several historical eras was a very engaging and enlightening technique. No matter what one's personal bias, it is fascinating to see the development of a missionary church reach an era of great power and influence and then on to watch its moral authority being seriously compromised. In addition, the final chapter offers some interesting possibilities for the the American Catholic church of the future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)