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The Road to Renewal

Victor Joseph Reed and Oklahoma Catholicism, 1905-1971

Jeremy Bonner

Publication Year: 2011

The Road to Renewal offers an important contribution to the study of Catholicism in the 1960s. Grounded in thorough archival research, the book breaks new ground in its examination of the implementation of Vatican II at the diocesan level.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, COpyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

When I was first invited to examine the life of Victor Reed, I was exceedingly grateful that someone was willing to pay for the completion of a work of historical scholarship, but rather inclined to dismiss the project as a somewhat parochial recounting of the story of a minor Catholic diocese in a comparatively unsung part of the United States. ...

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Introduction: From Catholic American to American Catholic

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pp. 1-20

Change is a profoundly disturbing concept for religious communities. All too often, it is assumed that religious institutions require flexibility only as long as is necessary to establish a missionary foothold. Once that has been achieved, the preference is for consolidation and the establishment of defined parameters of operation. ...

Part One. Before the Council, 1905–1957

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1. The Roman Way: Early Life, 1905–1934

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pp. 23-46

“Frankly, I had never considered any other career,” Victor Reed reminisced in 1963. “I wanted to be a priest from as far back as I can remember, and that was when I was about 10 years old.”1 Such conviction was very much the product of the world into which the future bishop was born, a world that was in a state of flux. ...

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2. A Youthful Apostolate: The Heyday of Catholic Action, 1935–1957

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pp. 47-76

During the early years of the Great Depression, Bishop Kelley had felt obliged to restrict overseas activities by his priests. In 1932, he instructed them not to request funds for a vacation in Europe and to keep their domestic vacations as brief as possible, not least for the sake of good public relations.1 ...

Part Two. The Institutional Church, 1958–1971

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3. On Being a Bishop: Renewing Diocesan Structures

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pp. 79-115

“Pope John’s decision to convene a general Council has already done much to clarify the proper image of the Church,” editorialized Oklahoma’s diocesan newspaper in July 1962. “As the primary purpose of this Council is the internal condition of the Church, the reform of institutions and procedures where reform is necessary, ...

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4. Educated Catholics: The School Question Revisited

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pp. 116-147

On March 11, 1960, a letter from a professor of history at St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee appeared in the diocesan newspaper urging Oklahoma Catholics to acknowledge how many of their children had been consigned to the public school system. “Let’s face it,” the priest concluded, ...

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5. Looking Outward: Parish Life and the Postconciliar Church

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pp. 148-178

Integral to immigrant Catholic life, the parish remained the cultural center of many Catholic communities well into the twentieth century. Although a substantial minority of parishes had been designated for particular ethnic groups in the early twentieth century,1 the general principle held that membership in a parish was determined by one’s residence, ...

Part Three. The Prophetic Church, 1958–1971

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6. Worship and the Intellect: The Challenge of Liturgical Renewal

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pp. 181-208

As he looked out over the expectant crowd assembled in Oklahoma City in 1961 for the twenty-second National Liturgical Week, Catholic Action stalwart James Cockrell warmed to the task of conveying what the liturgical movement had done for the average layman. ...

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7. We Are Our Brothers’ Keepers: The Ecumenical Impulse

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pp. 209-235

On August 22, 1961, Charles Scott, a Protestant resident of Duncan, Oklahoma, wrote to Bishop Reed protesting the failure of the Catholic Church to engage in genuine ecumenical dialogue. By way of illustration, Scott cited the case of his own family. After twenty-three years of marriage, his Catholic wife had been to his church on a single occasion ...

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8. A Colorblind Church: The Search for Racial Equality

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pp. 236-267

Nothing defined America in the 1960s more completely than the national campaign for black civil rights. As spokesman for the body of black Protestant religious leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. impressed upon two presidents and the wider American public the necessity of completing the work of black emancipation that had begun in 1863. ...

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9. Beyond Oklahoma: The Guatemala Mission and the Vietnam War

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pp. 268-292

During the 1950s and early 1960s, the gaze of Oklahoma Catholics increasingly came to be focused on Central and South America, most notably through missionary contact with the nation of Guatemala.1 The highlands of western Guatemala were the home of the nation’s Indian community, ...

Part Four. The Human Church, 1958–1971

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10. From Pastor to Professional: The Catholic Priesthood in the 1960s

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pp. 295-322

In February 1962, the president of the glass workers’ union in Henryetta, Oklahoma (a trustee of St. Michael’s parish) requested that his pastor, Monsignor Theophile Caudron, be awarded a papal honor. Three months later, Richard Lane, a Tulsa Presbyterian who had headed a 1954 fund-raising drive for St. John’s Catholic Hospital, made the same request. ...

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11. The Cost of Discipleship: Catholic Sisters and Modernity

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pp. 323-350

On Palm Sunday 1964, Victor Reed brought a message of encouragement to members of the orders of religious women based in Oklahoma. “We are living in an era of remarkable change,” he told them. “The changes are affecting the whole Church in all its parts, viz., the bishops, the clergy, the religious, and the laity, ...

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12. Out of the Ghetto: The Conscience of the Catholic Layman

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pp. 351-372

On March 11, 1960, the Oklahoma Courier published an editorial entitled “Rights without Fear.” American Catholics, the editor concluded, needed to take a stand based on their own experience, not that of Catholics in Europe: “We Catholics know that our full rights as citizens are not being respected. ...

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13. An Enduring Sense of Separation: Catholic Identity in Crisis

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pp. 373-394

While most Catholics welcomed the greater sense of social inclusion that they experienced during the 1960s, they were well aware that anti-Catholic prejudices lurked beneath the surface of society. Suspicion of Catholic intentions had produced its own brand of intolerance, and stories of convent abuses had been a staple of early-twentieth-century Oklahoma discourse. ...

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Conclusion: Aggiornamento Completed

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pp. 395-404

The meeting on March 1, 1971, at Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa had all the elements of grand drama: a wealthy businessman willing to spend millions of dollars to build a new cathedral for the city, a bishop desirous of moving his seat from the crumbling infrastructure of the downtown area to the expanding neighborhoods of the city’s south side, ...

Appendix of Maps

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pp. 405-408


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pp. 409-416


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pp. 417-425

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216881
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215075

Page Count: 440
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church -- Oklahoma -- History.
  • Reed, Victor Joseph, 1905-1971.
  • Catholic Church -- Bishops -- Biography.
  • Oklahoma -- Church history.
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