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BOOK REVIEWS105 and Salish of the Rockies and beyond. Kateri Tekakwitha serves as a thematic figure for all these peoples. As a seventeenth-century convert, half Mohawk and half Algonkian, she epitomized two-part cultural identity. As one pronounced blessed,June 22, 1980, she offers hope and inspiration to all of us but perhaps especially to Native American Catholics. This splendid work has been a long time in coming. The wait was well worth it. In partial explanation ofwhat lies behind its production, it thanks eighty-five different people for their help and specifies eleven archives that provided aid to the author. Its bibliography covers both primary and secondary sources in helpful detail. The text is richly descriptive and fair in its analysis. The scope is ambitious ; the narrative unfolds at a persistent pace, and the unifying theme of Indian-Catholic synthesis recurs with instructive regularity. On a final note, this reviewer finds himself corrected at several places in the present publication and is happy to acknowledge the fact. Vecsey's study furnishes more information , presents it from a more nuanced perspective, and supersedes all previous contributions in this genre. It moves us to a new plateau of missions scholarship , improving on past efforts and thus eliciting better ones to come. Henry Warner Bowden Rutgers University Houses of God: Region, Religion, and Architecture in the United States. By PeterWWilliams. [Public Expressions ofReligion in America.] (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. 1997. Pp. xix, 321. $34.95.) Construction, modification, closure, and demolition of Roman Catholic churches are topics of heated debate among and between the nation's clergy, laity, design professionals, and preservationists. The inherent value of Catholic churches, in regard to either Catholic theology and liturgical practices orAmerican urbanism, is unresolved within these controversies. Soundly reasoned judgments regarding these buildings' status that are capable of superseding the vicissitudes of liturgical revisionism, personalities, or aesthetic trends are required. Identifying a building's worth, i.e., the role it plays within society, is one ofarchitectural history's traditional tasks. This generally requires synthesizing pertinent information that scholars in various fields have compiled, in conjunction with analyzing buildings' physical and aesthetic attributes. To identify the inherent value of America's Catholic churches, background scholarship would include histories of the American Catholic experience, of Catholic ecclesiological concerns, and of the broader pattern ofAmerican church building. This book by Peter W. Williams, a professor of religion and American studies, is of the third category and as such is a welcome addition to the scholarly discourse . Williams' study addresses the places of worship built by America's major Christian and non-Christian denominations, and is divided into seven chapters 106BOOK REVIEWS based on geographic regions. He identifies "cultural hearths" within regions, through which specific religious values and aesthetics became normative. These include the Puritans, Evangelical Protestants, Quakers, Mormons, and Spanish Colonial Catholics. Williams' methodology muminates the relationship between religious values and architectural form most effectively when dealing with the Puritans, Quakers, and Mormons, but this review focuses on his observations regarding Roman Catholic churches. Williams falters in recognizing Roman Catholic "hearths" and in his judgment of which architectural forms achieved prototypical status. Failing to recognize Collegeville, Minnesota, as an important cradle ofAmerican Catholic twentiethcentury liturgical reform and its aesthetic expression is a serious omission. Williams also argues that the architectural form of the Mission and Baroquestyled Spanish colonial churches did not become influential prototypes within their regions of origin or nationally, stating that they seldom rose above the level of "craft," and "seem to lead practically nowhere." This ignores Catholic, Protestant, and secular "high-style" versions of New Mexico's colonial mission architecture, like Santa Fe's St. Francis Auditorium (1916), Laboratory of Anthropology (1930), Cristo Rey Church (1939), First Presbyterian (1939), or S. Maria de la Paz (1994), and similar structures built in the Spanish Baroque style in Texas, California, and throughout the nation. This book also contains disturbingly frequent inaccuracies and omissions regardingAmerican Catholic history and building practices. These include: (1) identifying the Bishop ofQuebec as the ecclesiastical authority for all of North America prior to the establishment of the See of Baltimore; (Z) labeling the episcopal reigns of George Mundelein (1909-1939...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 105-106
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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