Plot Twists

Catholics in the American Century

'Catholics in the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History'
Edited by R. Scott Appleby and Kathleen Sprows Cummings
Cornell University Press, $21.95, 218 pp

Historical narratives are important. They give meaning to both personal and public experience. Like everyone else, Catholics use such stories to make sense of their religious experience. For example, when some bishops questioned the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic integrity because it invited President Barack Obama to give the 2009 commencement address, a particular narrative about how Catholics have become too assimilated by secular American society was invoked. Notre Dame...

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About the Author

David J. O'Brien, author of Isaac Hecker: An American Catholic, is Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies Emeritus, College of the Holy Cross, and Distinguished Professor at Large, University of Dayton.