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The Church Confronts Modernity

Catholicism since 1950 in the United States, Ireland, and Quebec

Leslie Woodcock Tentler

Publication Year: 2012

The Church Confronts Modernity assesses the history of Roman Catholicism since 1950 in the United States, the Republic of Ireland, and the Canadian province of Quebec

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-x

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pp. 1-18

The March 2003 conference at the Catholic University of America that gave rise to the essays in this book coincided almost exactly with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The city of Washington was awash in rumors of an impending terrorist attack. The eight invited speakers, four of whom were coming from outside the United States, ...


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1. The Trajectory of Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Quebec

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pp. 21-61

In the space of little more than fifty years, between the end of the Second World War and the close of the twentieth century, the Canadian province of Quebec went from being one of the most socially traditional, politically conservative, and religiously devout regions of the developed world to one of the least. ...

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2. “They Are Not of Our Generation”: Youth,Gender, Catholicism, and Quebec’s Dechristianization, 1950–1970

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pp. 62-90

One of the most compelling problems of postwar Canadian history was the devastating evisceration of Quebec’s Catholic identity in the space of one short decade between 1961 and 1971. In 1961 fewer than 6,500 Quebecers (less than 1 percent) declared themselves to be unbelievers, and Sunday observance, even in the highly urbanized region of Montreal, ...


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3. The Catholic Church in Ireland since the 1950s

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pp. 93-149

In the fifty years between 1950 and the twenty-first century, Ireland has undergone the most profound and historic changes. From a country of mass emigration in the 1950s, it was in the early 2000s a receiving nation. Those coming to the island were not only returning Irish forced by economic circumstances ...

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4. Crisis of Faith or Collapse of Empire?

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pp. 150-174

I remember very well what it was like back then, when I first came here in 1970. Here in Pugin Hall there would be 600 for dinner. They would file in all in black—they used have to wear those always. And there would be no talking. Only the fellow who’d be up at the lectern reading some religious lesson through the whole of the meal. ...

United States

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5. The Catholic Church in the United States: 1950 to the Present

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pp. 177-207

According to the brochure for the conference for which this paper was originally written, “The United States, the Republic of Ireland, and the Canadian province of Quebec were in many respects quite dissimilar places in 1950. But the Catholic Church in all three places enjoyed an apparently high degree of institutional vigor, ...

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6. Decline or Relocation? The Catholic Presence in Church and Society, 1950–2000

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pp. 208-236

Comparison across national boundaries is a difficult challenge. Historians, idolaters of the particular, are not natural comparativists. In 1992 the Journal of American History announced the internationalization of its board and issued a call to comparative history. Forty-six issues later, there is scant evidence of anything like a movement ...

Comparative Perspectives

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7. Decline and Continuity: Catholicism since 1950 in the United States, Ireland, and Quebec

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pp. 239-267

The selection of the United States, Quebec, and the Republic of Ireland as the focus for a comparative analysis of Catholicism may strike some readers as an odd choice. What could possibly be learned from comparing the world’s only superpower with one of the smallest and until recently one of the poorest countries in Western Europe? ...

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8. Comparing Post–World War II Catholicism in Quebec, Ireland, and the United States

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pp. 268-296

The title of the conference for which these papers were originally prepared, “Decline and Fall?” suggests a general disappointment with the Catholic Church and an intellectual climate of doom. Paradoxically, at this very time, I am grateful to the Catholic Church (and the other churches in the United States and Canada) ...

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pp. 297-298

R. Scott Appleby is the John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and professor of history at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous books and articles on U.S. religious history and the challenges to religion in the modern world. ...


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pp. 299-302

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813220970
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214948

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 815970273
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Church Confronts Modernity

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Modernism (Christian theology) -- Catholic Church.
  • Catholic Church -- History -- 1965-.
  • Catholic Church -- History -- 20th century.
  • Catholic Church -- United States.
  • Catholic Church -- Ireland.
  • Catholic Church -- Québec (Province).
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